International news reporter studying in New York. I cover world news around the clock, anything from politics, war and conflict, protest, foreign policy, terrorism, security to breaking news. I drink lots of coffee.
Soon there will be no empty walls in the villages west of Manama, capital of the tiny island kingdom of Bahrain. Graffiti calling for the king’s overthrow are crossed out by the authorities every day, only to reappear somewhere else, until the walls are entirely covered by black splodges. Police vehicles sit at the entrance to every village. Even in the shiny, built-up areas of Manama many residents grumble. “There is no freedom, no justice and no democracy,” complains one man.
Bahrain, where a Sunni monarchy has long ruled over a Shia majority, saw a brief flickering of Arab spring protests in February 2011. The biggest were brutally put down with the help of troops from neighbouring Saudi Arabia. Yet smaller protests have continued. Violent clashes erupted on December 6th when the government hosted a jamboree of security and military officials from the region (Bahrain’s 40-person delegation included people close to the Shia opposition). Youths in several villages threw stones and Molotov cocktails; security forces lobbed back tear gas and sound bombs.
The Arab Spring started in Tunisia, they even had unemployment protests and clashes just this past fall. Another example is Egypt with their ongoing revolution that seems to never end. Libya is another state that has had the Arab Spring present - and here is their possible comeback.
I think a few things are going on. The first is that many Muslim countries lack a tradition of free speech, and see ridicule of the prophet as part of a larger narrative of the West’s invading or humiliating the Islamic world. People in these countries sometimes also have an addled view of how the United States handles blasphemy.
More broadly, this is less about offensive videos than about a political war unfolding in the Muslim world. Extremist Muslims like Salafis see themselves as unfairly marginalized, and they hope to exploit this issue to embarrass their governments and win public support. This is a political struggle, not just a religious battle
Press Statement Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State Washington, DC September 11, 2012
I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today. As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack.
This evening, I called Libyan President Magariaf to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya. President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government’s full cooperation.
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.
In light of the events of today, the United States government is working with partner countries around the world to protect our personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide.
“Election regulators named Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood the winner of Egypt’s first competitive presidential elections, handing the Islamist group a symbolic triumph and a new weapon in its struggle for power with the ruling military council. After an hourlong speech in which he detailed dozens of specific inquiries down to the ballot-box level, the chairman of the election commission, Farouk Sultan, announced that Mr. Morsi had won 51.7 percent of the runoff vote completed last weekend. The other candidate, the former general Ahmed Shafik, won 48.3 percent. In Tahrir Square, where hundreds of thousands had gathered to await the result, the confirmation of Mr. Morsi’s win brought instant, rollicking celebration. Fireworks went up over the crowd, which took up a pulsing, deafening chant: “Morsi! Morsi!” Mr. Morsi now becomes the first Islamist elected to be head of an Arab state. But his victory is an ambiguous milestone in Egypt’s promised transition to democracy after the ouster 16 months ago of President Hosni Mubarak. After an election that international monitors called credible, the military-led government has recognized an electoral victory by an opponent of military rule over Mr. Shafik, who promised harmony with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. But Mr. Morsi’s recognition as president does little to resolve the larger standoff between the generals and the Brotherhood over the balance of power over the institutions of government and the future constitution. Under the generals’ plan, Mr. Morsi, 60, will assume an office stripped of almost all authority under a military-issued interim constitution. Having dissolved the democratically elected and Brotherhood-led Parliament on the eve of the presidential vote, the generals who seized control after Mr. Mubarak’s ouster abrogated their pledge to hand power by June 30, eliciting charges of a new military coup. After 84 years as an often outlawed secret society struggling in the prisons and shadows of monarchs and dictators, the Brotherhood is now closer than ever to its dream of building a novel Islamist democracy. And its leaders vowed to fight on for the restoration of Parliament regardless of Mr. Morsi’s win.”