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Chronology
April 16, 2013 – July 15, 2013

Arab-Israeli Conflict

See also Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey

Apr. 17: Two rockets fired from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula struck the Israeli resort city Eilat near the Red Sea and caused no casualties or damage. Islamic extremist group, the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Jerusalem Environs, claimed credit for the attack, which it said avenged Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. [WP, 4/17]

Apr. 22: Palestinian prisoner Samir al-‘Isawi agreed to end his hunger strike after reaching a deal with Israeli authorities for his release after eight additional months of jail time. His imprisonment and eight-month fast stoked weeks of demonstrations across the West Bank protesting against unlawful imprisonment and poor conditions in Israeli prisons. [AJE, 4/23]

Apr. 25: An Israeli aircraft shot down an unmanned, suspected Hizbullah drone fired from Lebanon off the coast of the northern city of Haifa. [BBC, 4/25]

Apr. 26: About 500 Palestinian villagers from Dayr Jarir in the West Bank marched towards a nearby outpost of the Israeli settlement of ‘Ofrah before Israeli soldiers dispersed them with tear gas and rubber bullets. Villagers said that the protests responded to settlers both burning cars on April 22 and throwing stones at villagers the previous week. [AJE, 4/26]

Apr. 30: A Palestinian stabbed and shot a Jewish settler to death in Yitshar, the first fatal attack in a West Bank settlement in 18 months. The murder triggered retaliatory violence in both Jerusalem and the West Bank, though there were no fatalities. [Guardian, 4/30]

An Israeli missile strike in the Gaza Strip killed a Palestinian militant allegedly involved in the April 17 firing of rockets at the Israeli resort city of Eilat from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. An Israeli spokesman stated that the militant was a weapons manufacturer for a number of militant groups in the Gaza Strip. [NYT, 5/1]

May 8: Israeli police detained Muhammad Ahmad Husayn, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, over his suspected involvement in a disturbance on May 7 between Israeli settlers and Palestinians at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Some Palestinians threw chairs at a group of settlers touring the Temple Mount after they were prevented from praying in the mosque. The mufti’s detention prompted protests in Jordan, and Jordan’s parliament threatened to expel the Israeli ambassador from the country and to recall its own ambassador from Israel. [AJE, 5/8]

May 9: The Israeli Defense Ministry confirmed that approval had been granted for construction of 296 apartments in Beit El, a settlement near the West Bank city of Ramallah. [BBC, 5/9] [End Page 593]

May 12: Several rockets launched from Syria landed in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, and Israel temporarily closed Mount Hermon to visitors. On May 12, unidentified armed men released four UN peacekeepers they captured on May 7 in the Golan. [CNN, 5/15]

May 31: Workers renovating a Muslim cemetery in Jaffa discovered six mass graves containing dozens of skeletons, suspected by many to be Palestinian civilians killed in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Experts debated the sources of the skeletons. [Haaretz, 6/3]

Jun. 18: Israeli housing minister Uri Ariel announced that Israel froze construction of nearly all housing in settlements, excluding those already under construction. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) released a statement that such claims intended to appease US Secretary of State Kerry in upcoming US-brokered peace talks. [Reuters, 6/18]

Vandals slashed the tires of 28 cars and sprayed anti-Arab graffiti in Abu Ghawsh, a Jerusalem suburb in Israel. On June 16, the Israeli government had approved stricter measures on “price tag” vandals, designating them as members of illicit organizations which placed them at the same level as Palestinian militants. “Price tag” vandalism by Jewish ultranationalists, or revenge attacks for perceived threatening of West Bank settlements, increased with attempts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. [NYT, 6/19]

Jun. 23: Militants launched six rockets into Israel from Gaza on June 23. No group claimed responsibility for the strike, which broke weeks of calm on the Israel-Gaza border. The Israeli military carried out air strikes against two weapons facilities and a launch site in Gaza on June 24. [NYT, 6/24]

Jul. 9: Israeli troops located the remains of a rocket north of Eilat that was fired from Egypt on July 4. A Salafi group called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the rocket and accused Israel of responsibility for Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi’s July 3 ouster. [Reuters, 7/9]

Central Asia and the Caucasus

See also Afghanistan, Israel

May 13: Azerbaijani soldiers began week-long military exercises near the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh frontline with Armenia. Observers interpreted the show of force as support for Azerbaijan’s threat to retake the region if no agreement was reached between the two countries over the territory. The Nagorno-Karabakh region was seized by Armenia-backed separatists in 1994, and no final peace deal had been reached concerning rights to the territory. [Daily Star, 5/14]

May 17: About 50 gay rights activists were attacked by a mob of counterdemonstrators led by priests of the Georgian Orthodox Church during a demonstration in downtown Tbilisi, Georgia, injuring 12 people. The crowds broke through the police barricade protecting protestors and threw rocks and eggs at the demonstrators while shouting homosexual slurs. The incident reflected the increasing political and social sway of the Orthodox Church, which deemed homosexuality sinful. [Reuters, 5/17]

May 19: Zayd Saidov, a Tajik businessman and former minister of industry who announced his plans in April to create an opposition political party, the New Tajikistan Party, was arrested by agents of the government’s anticorruption agency in Dushanbe’s airport. Saidov was accused of abuse of power and fraud, in addition to two criminal cases opened against him on May 11 investigating accusations of theft and polygamy. Saidov called the charges baseless and part of political pressure against him and his party members. [RFE/RL, 5/19]

May 31: Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev called a state of emergency in the northern district of Jeti-Ögüz after clashes between police and thousands of protestors calling for nationalization of Kumtor, the country’s largest gold mine. The protestors blocked the road to the mine on May 28, and violence broke out when police attempted to clear the road on May 31. Protests calling for the mine’s nationalization also occurred in the southern city of Jalalabat. [NYT, 6/1] [End Page 594]

Jun. 10: Kazakhstan completed construction of a 6,750-mile new transit railway connecting Europe to China, roughly following the ancient Silk Road trade route. The railway escalated competition among neighboring Central Asian states to transport a growing flow of goods between China and Europe. [Reuters, 6/10]

A Bishkek court sentenced former Kyrgyz prime minister Daniyar Usenov in absentia to 15 years in prison for illegally appropriating public land during his term. Usenov fled the country before the April 2010 antigovernment protests that overthrew former president Kurmanbek Bakiev. Usenov’s whereabouts at the time of the trial were unknown. [RFE/RL, 6/10]

Ovazmammet Mammedow was elected to a parliamentary seat in the eastern Lebap Province, marking the first election of a legislator who was not a member of the ruling party since Turkmenistan’s 1991 independence. Mammedow was chairman of the Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Party, created in August 2012, after President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow proposed the formation of a second party. Critics noted that Mammedow’s election did not represent a step towards political pluralism due to his close relationship with the president. [RFE/RL, 6/10]

Jun. 20: Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow accepted the credentials of Israel’s first ambassador to Turkmenistan, Shemi Tsur. While Turkmenistan and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1992, the previous two candidates were rejected due to tensions with neighboring Iran. [Daily Star, 6/20]

Jun. 24: Former Georgian premier Ivane Merabishvili was charged with obstructing investigations into the 2008 murder of prominent banker Sandro Girgvliani. Merabishvili was initially arrested and jailed in May on charges of embezzlement and abuse of power. Merabishvili insisted that the charges were part of a series of arrests targeting members of President Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) party. [RFE/RL, 6/24]

Jun. 27: About 500 protestors calling for nationalization of the Kumtor gold mine demonstrated in the northern district of Jeti-Ögüz. The protests came one month after clashes with police during demonstrations for nationalization of the mine prompted President Atambaev to declare a three-day state of emergency in Jeti-Ögüz. [RFE/RL, 6/27]

Jun. 30: UK prime minister David Cameron visited Kazakhstan, the first ever visit to the country by a British premier. Cameron, accompanied by 33 British businessmen, met with Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev to discuss trade and energy partnerships between the countries. [Guardian, 6/30]

Jul. 8: A Tashkent court sentenced Uzbek woman Khursand Akhadova to 14 years and six months in prison for leading a human trafficking ring that forced Central Asian women into prostitution in Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. Akhadova was extradited from Thailand in 2012. [RFE/RL, 7/10]

Youth activists protested the presence of Russian soccer players and lawmakers outside of the Courtyard Marriott hotel in Tbilisi, where the latter stayed. The protest came one day after three Georgian activists were detained for protesting at a soccer match between the Georgian team and visiting Russian team. [RFE/RL, 7/8]

Jul. 10: Three Tajik men were arrested and charged with illegally accessing information from the phone company Indigo-Tajikistan to illegally manufacture SIM cards. Police called the case the first instance of online hacking from within Tajikistan. [RFE/RL, 7/10]

Jul. 12: Tajikistan temporarily closed five out of the country’s six legal madrasas, or Islamic religious schools, over a lack of necessary documents. All five schools were located on the Tajik side of the Ferghana valley, where many alleged Islamic extremists had been detained. [RFE/RL, 7/1] [End Page 595]

Afghanistan

See also Central Asia and the Caucasus, Pakistan, Qatar

Apr. 17: Five attacks across Afghanistan killed 24 people, including members of the Afghan security forces. Seven children and women died in Herat Province in western Afghanistan when their truck hit a roadside bomb, while two health workers died in crossfire from an insurgent attack in northern Jowzjan Province. The bodies of six soldiers killed by the Taliban were also found in Jowzjan. [Daily Star, 4/17]

Apr. 21: Taliban militants stormed a police post in Deh Yak District of Ghazni Province and killed six policemen while they slept. The district chief stated that the militants were aided in entering the compound by a policeman who also joined in the attack. The incident raised concerns over increased penetration of insurgents within police ranks, which resulted in a number of “insider” attacks on both foreign and Afghan soldiers. [Daily Star, 4/21]

Apr. 24: A 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan, which along with flash floods in the north, killed at least 33 people. Hundreds of homes collapsed near the epicenter of the earthquake in Laghman Province and in the neighboring provinces of Kunar and Nangarhar. [Reuters, 4/24]

Apr. 29: President Hamid Karzai confirmed accusations that he had received cash deliveries from the CIA, over the more than a decade since he assumed the presidency after the 2001 US invasion. While he stated that the amounts of money were small, former and current advisers speaking anonymously to the newspaper accused him of accepting “tens of millions of dollars” used to bribe warlords and lawmakers for support. [NYT, 4/29]

May 1: Shah Wali Khan, the head of the High Peace Council in southern Helmand Province and a key figure in negotiating the NATO power handover to Afghan forces, was killed along with his two bodyguards when an explosive planted by Taliban was detonated under his vehicle. The attack came after the Taliban declared the start of their annual spring offensive on April 27. [Daily Star, 5/1]

Afghan and Pakistani forces exchanged fire that killed one Afghan policeman, after Afghan soldiers attempted to retake a disputed border crossing held by Pakistan. The clash occurred in Nangarhar Province near the Durand Line, the 1893 British border recognized by Pakistan, but not Afghanistan. The clash sparked rallies in Afghanistan hailing the slain policeman as a national hero. [Daily Star, 5/2]

May 4: A roadside bomb planted by Taliban killed five US soldiers in Kandahar, while an Afghan soldier fired on NATO forces in an “insider attack” and killed two US soldiers. An insurgent attack in the northern city of Baghlan killed a German soldier, bringing the death toll to eight in the deadliest day yet for coalition forces in 2013. [NBC, 5/5]

May 16: A suicide bomber drove a car full of explosives into a US convoy in Kabul, killing two American soldiers and four American civilian contractors, as well as nine Afghan civilians, including two children. The attack was the deadliest in two months in the capital city. Hizb-i Islami, an insurgent group rival to the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. [BBC, 5/16]

May 20: A suicide bomber in a police uniform detonated himself next to head of Baghlan’s provincial council, Rasul Mohsini, killing him and 13 others. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that they deliberately targeted Mohsini, widely seen as the most powerful man in the province, because he was “corrupt and anti-Taliban.” [AJE, 5/20]

May 22: About 200 male Islamist students protested in front of Kabul University against a decree protecting women’s rights, calling it un-Islamic. The protest came a day after efforts to cement the Elimination of Violence Against Women Decree as an act were thwarted by conservative lawmakers’ [End Page 596] opposition. The decree included bans on child marriage, forced marriage, and prosecuting rape victims for adultery. [NYT, 5/23]

May 24: A bomb in a mosque in Ghazni Province’s Andar District accidentally detonated during Friday prayers, killing 12 people, eight of them Taliban insurgents. The insurgents placed the bombs in the corner of the mosque as they stopped by to offer prayers. [WP, 5/25]

May 25: Afghan volunteers, artists, and activists distributed 10,000 free pink balloons in downtown Kabul as part of the “We Believe in Balloons” art event organized by American artist Yazmany Arboleda. The Taliban condemned the event as un-Islamic, stating that it encouraged Western behavior. [Daily Star, 5/25]

May 28: Two officers who recently rejoined the Afghan National Police after defecting to the Taliban killed seven fellow police officers as they slept in the Arghistan district of Kandahar Province. [Reuters, 5/28]

May 29: Three militants attacked a Red Cross office in Jalalabad, killing an Afghan security guard before security forces then killed the militants. The Taliban released a statement disavowing responsibility for the attack. Afghan officials stated that the attackers belonged to a loosely affiliated Taliban faction, or that the Taliban did not accept responsibility because of the Red Cross’s popularity and neutrality. [NYT, 5/31]

Jun. 5: US staff sergeant Robert Bales pleaded guilty in a US military court to intentionally killing 16 Afghan civilians in March 2012. The murders took place in Kandahar Province and were a source of severe tension in US-Afghan relations. [WP, 6/5]

Jun. 9: A Taliban assault on Kabul’s international airport that targeted NATO headquarters resulted in a fierce gunfight that killed seven militants. Two of the militants detonated themselves in suicide attacks. The attackers did not breach the airport’s perimeter. [Guardian, 6/10]

Jun. 10: Two boys were discovered beheaded in Zharey District of Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan, allegedly due to accusations of spying, after the two accepted food from local police and soldiers. The Taliban denied any responsibility for the beheadings, but it was unclear whether the attack was perpetrated by a rogue Taliban militant unit. [Reuters, 6/10]

Jun. 11: A Taliban suicide bomber detonated a car full of explosives next to commuter buses carrying Afghan Supreme Court employees, killing 17. The Taliban claimed that the attack avenged sentences passed against mujahideen by high court officials, though no justices were killed in the attack. [NYT, 6/12]

Jun. 12: The Georgian defense minister announced the closure of two bases for troops in Afghanistan after 10 Georgian soldiers were killed in two recent attacks. The base in Helmand Province, where an attack on June 6 killed seven soldiers, was one of the two closed. [RFE/RL, 6/12]

Jun. 18: NATO forces officially transferred control of security to Afghan forces in a handover ceremony in Kabul, though senior NATO officials noted the likelihood that little would change on the ground for foreign troops. A rocket attack on Bagram Airfield killed four soldiers hours after the ceremony concluded. [RFE/RL, 6/19]

Jun. 19: President Karzai temporarily suspended bilateral peace talks with the Taliban due to anger over the US’s preemptive declaration of negotiations on June 18 and the opening of the organization’s office in Doha. The Taliban office bore the name “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” and the flag used before its 2001 ousting. Karzai denounced the perceived portrayal of the Taliban as a government-in-exile and agreed to resume negotiations on the condition that the name and fag be removed. [BBC, 6/19]

Jun. 21: An attack by Taliban fighters in northern Kunduz Province resulted in a firefight that left two local policemen and 18 Taliban militants dead, according to local [End Page 597] officials. The provincial police spokesman stated that several foreign fighters were among the attackers. [RFE/RL, 6/22]

Jun. 25: Taliban gunmen used counterfeit security passes to infiltrate Kabul’s fortified diplomatic zone and fired on the presidential palace and the former Ariana Hotel, now used as a CIA base, killing three guards. The attack came amidst stalled US attempts to broker peace negotiations between the Taliban and President Karzai’s government intended to take place in Qatar. President Karzai released a statement on June 29 reiterating his commitment to peace talks. [Guardian, 6/25]

Jul. 1: The Interior Ministry reported that 299 local and national police officers were killed in June, a 22% increase in deaths compared to the same month last year. The spike was attributed to the increased militant use of roadside bombs and the increased role of the Afghan forces. [RFE/RL, 7/1]

Jul. 5: A suicide bomber attacked a dining hall inside a police base in Tarin Kowt, the capital of central Rozgan Province, and killed at least 12 people. [VOA, 7/5]

Jul. 8: Afghan officials reported that a raid by police in Wardak Province left 16 militants dead, while a smaller operation in the province killed four militants. A gun battle between militants and the Afghan intelligence service killed two militants in Laghman Province. Ten Afghan security forces died in the operations, which came as military officials reported a rise in insurgent activity in the east. [RFE/RL, 7/8]

Jul. 9: A roadside bomb planted by Taliban detonated under a trailer of villagers in Owbeh District of western Herat Province, killing 17 people. [Reuters 7/9]

Algeria

Apr. 27: President ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Bouteflika had a transient ischemic attack, or minor stroke, and was then hospitalized. Prime Minister ‘Abd al-Malik Sellal said Bouteflika’s situation was not serious. [AP, 4/27]

May 2: A court in the city of Oran sentenced rai singer Cheb Faisal to six months in prison and a 1,000 euro fine for mocking the police in one of his songs. The lyrics refer to the police as “weighing scales.” Faisal denied the charges, claiming that someone altered his original lyrics. [Daily Star, 5/2]

May 5: An Algerian court sentenced Djilali Kouri, 32 and ‘Antar ‘Ali, 35 to death for killing 500 people during Algeria’s civil war between 1996-2004, including the rape and murder of 60 women. Kouri and ‘Ali admitted to killing members of security forces in the civil war, but denied raping and killing civilians, claiming to be victims themselves. They were also charged with founding a terrorist group that murdered hundreds of civilians and soldiers. [AFP, 5/5]

May 27: An Algiers criminal court sentenced doctor Khalifa Hanouti to 12 years in jail and a 10,000 euro fine for kidnapping Algerian children born to single mothers and selling them for adoption in France. Hanouti’s lawyer claimed that all adoptions complied with the law. In 2002, Hanouti was also convicted of performing abortions, and served nine months in prison. [Daily Star, 5/28]

Bahrain

See also Lebanon

Apr. 18: Over 10,000 protestors took to the streets of Manama for four days to push for government reform and accuse the government of using the Formula One races to gain international attention and conceal human rights abuses. Police clashed with demonstrators and fired tear gas as youth threw stones and petrol bombs in response. [AJE, 4/20]

May 14: ‘Ali Abdulemam, a leading Bahraini blogger and human rights activist in the 2011 antigovernment demonstrations, received asylum in Britain after living in hiding for two years. Abdulemam was [End Page 598] sentenced to 15 years in prison for inciting violent attacks against police. Abdulemam denied the government’s charges, saying he campaigned for democracy and civil rights. [Daily Star, 5/14]

May 15: A Bahraini court sentenced six activists to one year in prison for “misusing the right of free expression.” The activists were charged with insulting King Hamad bin ‘Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa and writing statements that undermined Bahraini values. [Daily Star, 5/15]

May 17: Security forces raided the house of top Shi‘i cleric, Ayatollah Shaykh ‘Isa Qasim in the village of Diraz, and there were no casualties. Prominent human rights activist, Mohammed Al-Maskati, believed the security forces pursued fugitives who had escaped to the shaykh’s house. [Reuters, 5/17]

May 27: Bahrain banned all political groups from making any contact with Hizbullah, the Lebanese Shi‘i militant group. This decree came after Bahrain listed Hizbullah as a terrorist organization in April. [Reuters, 5/27]

Jun. 25: A Bahrain court sentenced leading pro-democracy activist Zaynab al-Khawaja to two months in jail for insulting police, extending her jail term until February 2014. She was serving several additional sentences for insulting and humiliating a public employee. Her father, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Khawaja, was among eight opposition figures sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly plotting to overthrow the state. [BBC, 6/25]

July 5: A Bahrain court sentenced 29 protesters to one month in prison for trying to enter Pearl Roundabout, a heavily guarded area that served as the center of antigovernment protests. [Daily Star, 7/5]

July 15: Assailants hurled firebombs at the home of ‘Abbas al-Madi, a Shi‘i lawmaker, in the town of Dayr near the capital Manama. No one was injured, but parts of the house were damaged and burnt. [Daily Star, 7/15]

Egypt

See also Arab-Israeli Conflict, Algeria, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, UAE

Apr. 19: Street battles between Islamists and revolutionaries in Cairo and Alexandria resulted in 105 injuries following rallies in support of a proposed bill to change the retirement age of federal judges. Advocates of the bill and of President Mohamed Morsi claimed that the bill would purge the court of corrupt judges appointed under former President Husni Mubarak, while opponents feared the legislation would allow Islamists to dominate the Supreme Constitutional Court. After his 2011 election, the court accused Morsi of disregarding its authority on multiple occasions. [AP, 4/20]

Apr. 21: Parliamentary elections scheduled for April remained suspended after the Supreme Administrative Court rejected an appeal from President Morsi’s legal agency to proceed with the elections. [AP, 4/21]

Justice Minister Ahmad Makki resigned after protesters in Cairo called for President Morsi to “cleanse” the court of judges appointed under former President Mubarak. Makki expressed concern over a new bill aiming to lower the retirement age of federal judges and had threatened to resign from his post since August 2012. [BBC, 4/21]

Apr. 23: President Morsi’s legal adviser Muhammad Fu’ad Gadallah resigned amid debate over a controversial bill that proposed to lower the retirement age for judges, which would unseat several judges appointed under former president Mubarak. [Reuters, 4/23]

A court sentenced former finance minister under former president Mubarak, Yusuf Butrus-Ghali, in absentia, to 25 years in prison for misusing $3.6 million in public funds. [AP, 4/23]

Apr. 29: The Egyptian delegation left talks in Geneva in frustration after a 1995 resolution to create a Middle East free of nuclear weapons failed to materialize. It alleged that Israel’s presumed possession of nuclear weapons [End Page 599] prevented the resolution from succeeding and that other nations did not take the Middle East nuclear threat seriously. [AJE, 4/30]

May 7: President Morsi rearranged his cabinet for the second time during his presidency, appointing nine new ministers. Two appointees were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, bringing the total number of Brotherhood members in the cabinet to 10 out of 36 total seats. Morsi appointed new ministers of finance, oil, justice, and international cooperation, among others. [AP, 5/7]

May 10: Security forces detained Ahmad Mahir, leader of the revolutionary April 6 Youth Movement, for one night after he arrived at the Cairo airport from the US. He allegedly planned an antigovernment protest that occurred outside the minister of the interior’s home in March. [BBC, 5/10]

May 11: Police in Cairo arrested three people with links to al-Qa‘ida planning to execute suicide attacks on French and US targets in Cairo and Alexandria. The three men were found with explosive chemicals and to have had contact with al-Qa‘ida operatives in Pakistan and Algeria, but they denied planning the attacks. [Reuters, 5/12]

May 16: Armed members of Islamist group al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad kidnapped seven policemen and soldiers near al-‘Arish in the Sinai Peninsula, demanding the release of imprisoned insurgents in exchange for the hostages. [Reuters, 5/16]

May 17: In response to the May 16 kidnapping of security forces in the Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian police closed the border crossing at Rafah on April 17 and at al-‘Awja on April 19, preventing travelers from migrating to and from Gaza. Police said the crossings would remain closed until the hostages were returned. [AP, 5/17]

May 22: President Morsi announced that seven Egyptian security officers kidnapped in Sinai on May 16 had been freed, although he did not disclose the identity of their captors or the reason for their release. He credited tribal shaykhs in the region for assisting in negotiations with the suspects. [NYT, 5/22]

May 25: The Supreme Constitutional Court declared four provisions of the new election law unconstitutional, including the lifting of a ban on religious slogans during campaigns. The judges claimed that such slogans would distract voters from candidates’ platforms and threatened national unity. The court then referred the law back to the Shura Council for further deliberation. [Reuters, 5/25]

Jun. 2: Although it did not dissolve the Shura Council outright, the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled the upper house of Egypt’s legislature unconstitutional on charges that it was illegally elected. The court also ruled the council that composed the new constitution illegal, although the constitution remained in effect. The Islamist-majority Shura Council gained legislative power after the courts ruled the lower house of the legislature invalid in June 2012 because its members were elected under an unconstitutional law. [AP, 6/2]

Jun. 4: Forty-three foreign NGO workers from the US, Europe, and the Middle East were convicted in absentia by a Cairo court of illegally receiving funds from abroad and using them to run unlicensed organizations after the 2011 revolution. According to the court, the US government diverted $150 million from its Egypt aid budget toward these groups, several of which trained Egyptians in voter education and election monitoring. In 2011, the Egyptian government raided many of the convicted NGOs’ offices and confiscated files along with computers. [Reuters, 6/4]

During a live televised meeting with President Morsi, Egyptian politicians threatened to take subversive action to prevent Ethiopia from completing a $4.2 billion hydroelectric Nile dam project. Not all attendees realized that the discussion was broadcast live. Ethiopian officials said the project, which began two years ago, would not threaten the water supply of Egypt or Sudan. [AP, 6/4] [End Page 600]

Jun. 11: Police intervened when Islamists and artists clashed in front of the Ministry of Culture with sticks and stones. Artists had camped outside the ministry building to protest new culture minister ‘Ala’ ‘Abd al-‘Aziz’s replacement of important offices with Morsi supporters. [Reuters, 6/11]

Jun. 15: President Morsi cut diplomatic ties with Syria amid its civil war. He announced the closing of the Syrian embassy in Cairo, called for the withdrawal of Hizbullah from Syria, and requested that foreign powers implement a no-fly zone over the country in order to assist opposition forces in overthrowing Syrian president Bashar al-Asad. [AJE, 6/15]

Jun. 16: President Morsi named 17 new regional governors, seven of whom were members of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), giving Morsi’s party control of 13 out of 27 governorships. Morsi appointed as governor of Luxor ‘Adil al-Khayyat, who belonged to the political arm of the Islamist al-Gama‘a al-Islamiyya group. The group orchestrated the 1997 shooting of 58 tourists in the region. [NYT, 6/16]

Jun. 19: Tourism Minister Hisham Za‘zu‘ resigned after President Morsi appointed ‘Adil al-Khayyat as governor of Luxor, a popular tourist destination. Khayyat belonged to the political arm of al-Gama‘a al-Islamiyya, but insisted that tourists would be safe in Luxor under his leadership. Prime Minister Hisham Qandil refused Za‘zu‘’s resignation and demanded a review of the situation. [AFP, 6/19]

Jun. 20: A Cairo court ordered the release of former prime minister Ahmad Nazif, who served under ousted president Mubarak, until his dismissal in 2011. The court had convicted Nazif of unlawful possession of property in September 2012, but overturned the conviction in February 2013 and ordered a retrial. Nazif, the most prominent Mubarak-era official released since the revolution, appealed his incarceration based on the expiration of a limit for pretrial detention. [Reuters, 6/20]

Jun. 21: The Muslim Brotherhood hosted a rally in Cairo in support of President Morsi, which over 10,000 Egyptians attended. The rally, which occurred ahead of a planned anti-Morsi opposition rally on June 30, started after noon prayers and lasted into the night. [Reuters, 6/21]

Jun. 23: Newly appointed Luxor governor ‘Adil al-Khayyat resigned from his post amid tourism workers’ protests against him. President Morsi assigned Khayyat to the post on June 9, but the decision was controversial due to Khayyat’s alleged links to al-Gama‘a al-Islamiyya. [VOA, 6/23]

A group of Salafis in the Cairo suburb of Zawiyat Abu Musallim beat to death five Shi‘i men, including leader Hasan Shihata, after the group found them hosting a religious gathering in a home. About 3,000 people joined the mob, which also set fire to the house, in which 34 Shi‘a gathered. President Morsi promised justice against the perpetrators, although Shi‘a claimed that the government was responsible for supporting the mob. [Reuters, 6/24]

Jun. 25: Egyptian authorities arrested eight people accused of killing five Shi‘a in Zawiyat Abu Musallim on June 23. After video of the attack was posted on the internet, the court accused the suspects of killing the victims, then mutilating their bodies by dragging them through the streets. [Reuters, 6/25]

Jun. 26: Supporters of President Morsi and members of the political opposition battled in the streets of Mansura and Tanta, two cities in the Nile Delta, killing two and injuring 170. The catalyst of the violence remained unclear. The violence occurred days before planned opposition protests to call for Morsi’s resignation. [AFP, 6/26]

Jun. 28: Protesters set fire to FJP offices in both Alexandria, where two died, and in the Delta city Aga. Tens thousands of Morsi supporters gathered in Cairo’s Nasr City to support Morsi ahead of planned opposition protests on June 30 calling for his ouster. [AFP, 6/28] [End Page 601]

Jun. 30: An estimated three million demonstrators took to the streets in cities throughout Egypt in both protest against and support of President Morsi on the one-year anniversary of his inauguration. Security sources and the health ministry reported seven people dead and over 600 injured in street clashes. The protests came after a petition drive by opposition group Tamarod that allegedly garnered 22 million signatures demanding Morsi’s resignation. [Guardian, 6/30]

Jul. 1: About 50 opposition protesters laid siege to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters overnight, first burning sections of the building, then looting it for supplies. Security guards shot at the protesters, killing at least four and injuring 80, until the protesters forced the guards out of the building. Vandalism continued until police arrived midmorning. [Guardian, 7/1]

The defense minister, General ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, issued an ultimatum to President Morsi threatening military intervention within 48 hours unless Morsi worked with opposition leaders to resolve political differences that sparked countrywide protests. The army pledged to offer a road map for peace and promised it did not seek power if Morsi left office. Opposition protesters praised the announcement. [BBC, 7/1]

Security forces engaged in a shootout with 15 bodyguards of Muslim Brotherhood leader Khayrat al-Shatir before arresting them on suspicion of possessing illegal guns outside Shatir’s home. The guards were accused of shooting at protesters who attacked the party’s Cairo headquarters on June 30. [Reuters, 7/1]

Unidentified individuals launched petrol bombs at the headquarters of the moderate Islamist Wasat Party in Cairo, starting a fire at the building. [Reuters, 7/1]

Jul. 1–Jul. 2: Six ministers resigned from President Morsi’s cabinet in solidarity with protesters asking him to resign. The ministers of water, environment, legal affairs, tourism, and communications all resigned on July 1, and Foreign Affairs Minister Muhammad Kamil ‘Amr followed on July 2. Two of the president’s spokesmen in the foreign ministry also resigned July 2. [AJE, 7/1]

Jul. 2: Human Rights Watch reported at least 91 violent sexual assaults in Tahrir Square between June 29 and July 2, blaming the violence on a lack of police presence in the area, especially at night. Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault, a group that patrolled Tahrir and intervened in cases of sexual assault, reported seven attacks on June 29, 46 on June 30, 17 on July 1, and 23 on July 2. [AFP, 7/3]

Jul. 3: The army met with religious leaders, opposition figures, and youth activists to discuss a compromise addressing political discontent calling for President Morsi’s removal. The army proposed a road map that suspended the constitution, dissolved parliament, and scheduled new presidential elections. The FJP refused to attend crisis talks with the army, defending the president’s legitimacy. [Reuters, 7/3]

In a live televised statement, General Sisi announced that the military removed President Morsi from power after he did not meet the demands of Egyptians. With the support of Shaykh Ahmad al-Tayyib of al-Azhar Mosque, Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Church, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, and the Salafi Nour Party, the army also suspended the constitution; called for new elections and a coalition government; passed presidential power to ‘Adli Mansur, chief of the Supreme Constitutional Court; and denied any intention of controlling the new government. The army placed travel bans on Morsi and other top FJP officials and held them at the Presidential Republican Guards Club as a preventative measure. [LA Times, 7/3]

Security forces raided and shut down multiple media outlets considered sympathetic to deposed president Morsi, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s official television station and newspaper; three Salafi television channels; and Al Jazeera’s Egyptian [End Page 602] station. At Al Jazeera, authorities detained 28 staff members, but released all within 24 hours except for the managing director and broadcast engineer. [AP, 7/4]

Jul. 4: A day after President Morsi was ousted by the military, ‘Adli Mansur, head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, was inaugurated as interim president. Mansur served as deputy head of the Court from 1992 until Morsi appointed him to the head position in the Court in May 2013. [AJE, 7/4]

Police arrested several key members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Muhammad Badi‘, the group’s supreme guide; chief strategist and financier Khayrat al-Shatir; FJP head Sa‘d al-Katatni; and deputy leader Rashad al-Bayumi. Authorities released Katatni and Bayumi on July 5, although all men remained under investigation for inciting violence. Police issued an additional 300 warrants for Brotherhood members. [LA Times, 7/4]

Jul. 5: Between 24 and 37 people died and more than 1,100 were injured in violence across Egypt on what the Muslim Brotherhood dubbed the “Friday of Rage,” in which supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi demonstrated for his reinstatement, and anti-Morsi protesters also took to the streets. Muhammad Badi‘, supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, addressed a crowd of over 10,000 in a Cairo suburb, calling for bloodshed to urge Morsi’s reinstatement. [Reuters, 7/5]

Public prosecutor ‘Abd al-Magid Mahmud resigned from his post three days after an appeals court order reinstated him. Morsi dismissed Mahmud, who had been appointed by former president Husni Mubarak, in November 2012, triggering an extended legal battle. Mahmud resigned due to potential conflicts of interest in future prosecutions. [Reuters, 7/5]

Interim President Mansur dissolved the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament. Mansur also appointed Muhammad al-Tuhami as new head of intelligence, to replace Muhammad Raf’at Shahhata, who served under Morsi. [Al Arabiya, 7/5]

Security forces closed the border crossing to the Gaza Strip indefinitely after a series of attacks on military and police outposts. Suspected Islamist militants attacked two military checkpoints, a police station, and an airport, resulting in the death of one soldier. About 200 Palestinians were sent back to Gaza after the order took effect. [AP, 7/5]

Following normal protocol, the African Union (AU) suspended Egypt from all activities after the overthrow of President Morsi. Similar suspensions typically lasted until the offending country hosted new elections. The decision prevented Egypt from joint decision-making processes undertaken by the AU. [Reuters, 7/5]

Jul. 6: A lower court in Cairo adjourned the retrial of former president Mubarak until August 17, after the end of Ramadan. Mubarak allegedly contributed to the deaths of 800 protesters during the 2011 uprising that removed him from office. [Reuters, 7/6]

Jul. 7: Central bank governor Hisham Ramiz fled to Abu Dhabi despite his announcement that he would remain in the post on July 5. Ramiz left after reports surfaced that the government sought financial aid from Gulf states after the army deposed President Morsi on July 3. The reason for his departure remained unclear. [Reuters, 7/7]

A court acquitted twelve activists critical of the Muslim Brotherhood, including ‘Ala’ ‘Abd al-Fattah, Nawara Nagm, and blogger Ahmad Duma, of inciting violence at a March protest outside of Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in March 2013 that resulted in 160 injuries. Duma remained in jail on separate charges related to calling then-president Morsi a criminal. [AP, 7/7]

Over three days, armed militants staged attacks in the Sinai Peninsula. On July 5, five policemen died in skirmishes in al-‘Arish; [End Page 603] on July 6, militants shot and killed a Coptic priest in the same city; and on July 7, armed men attacked four security checkpoints in Shaykh Zuwayd, near the Gaza border. Also on July 7, a natural gas pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula, which led to Jordan, suffered damage from an explosion. [Reuters, 7/7]

Jul. 8: Army and police forces killed 51 civilians and injured more than 400 outside the Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo during dawn prayers. The civilians staged a sit-in to protest the removal of former president Morsi and claimed that they did not provoke security personnel to attack, which the army denied. The interim government later issued a statement saying that the protesters attempted to storm the building, prompting the violent response, and it established a judicial committee to investigate the incident. [NYT, 7/8]

The Salafi Nour Party declined to participate in preparing an interim government in response to the killing of 51 Islamist protesters by the military and police on the morning of July 8. On July 7, Nour, the only Islamist party supporting the overthrow of former president Morsi, opposed the proposed appointment of liberal Mohamed El-Baradei as prime minister. [NYT, 7/8]

A court ordered the shuttering of the Muslim Brotherhood’s FJP headquarters in Cairo after police found flammable liquid, knives and arms inside the office. The weapons were allegedly intended for use at anti-Morsi protests that began on June 30. [AFP, 7/8]

During a press conference hosted by the military to address the killing of 51 protesting Islamists, Egyptian journalists demanded that reporters from Qatar-owned network Al Jazeera leave the meeting. Egyptian journalists suspected Al Jazeera of sympathizing with the Muslim Brotherhood. [AP, 7/8]

Interim President Mansur issued details determining the time frame of constitutional review and parliamentary elections. A panel of university professors and judges amended the Islamist-drafted constitution before submitting it to a plebiscite assembly for editing and a popular referendum. Mansur then set a date for parliamentary elections, followed by presidential elections. The Muslim Brotherhood rejected the decree on July 9, which scheduled parliamentary elections for early 2014, as illegitimate. [AP, 7/9]

Jul. 9: Interim President Mansur named French-educated liberal economist Hazem Beblawi as interim prime minister. Beblawi, 76, ran Egypt’s Export Development Bank for 12 years and served as an advisor at the Arab Monetary Fund in Abu Dhabi. He served in Egypt’s transitional government until October 2012, when he resigned in response the killing of Coptic Christian protesters by security forces. [Reuters, 7/9]

The UAE pledged $3 billion, and Saudi Arabia pledged $5 billion of economic aid to Egypt, in loans, grants, cash, energy products, and bank deposits, following the arrest of former president Morsi. On July 10, Kuwait promised $4 billion, bringing total Gulf aid to $12 billion, nearly doubling Egypt’s reserves of $14.9 billion. [AP, 7/11]

After Syrian refugees allegedly participated in increasing domestic unrest, Egyptian authorities mandated that they apply for visas before moving to Egypt. The government promised the new measures were temporary. According to the UN, at least 70,000 Syrians registered as refugees in Egypt since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011. [AFP, 7/9]

Jul. 10: Interim President Mansur appointed former appeals court judge Hisham Barakat as prosecutor general. The previous week, a court nominated ‘Abd al-Magid Mahmud, the former prosecutor general under Mubarak, who resigned on July 5 due to potential conflicts of interest in future trials. Morsi removed Mahmud in November 2012 to replace him with Tal‘at Abdullah, who remained prosecutor general until Mahmud briefly replaced him. [Reuters, 7/10]

FJP leader Muhammad Kamal announced that Muslim Brotherhood officials would not accept any cabinet posts offered to them by [End Page 604] Interim Prime Minister Beblawi. Prior to the announcement, the liberal National Salvation Front (NSF) and youth activist group Tamarod criticized Interim President Mansur for not consulting them before issuing a new elections timetable. The NSF quickly retracted its harshest criticism. [AP, 7/10]

Egypt’s prosecutor issued arrest warrants for Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide Muhammad Badi‘ and nine other group leaders on charges of inciting violence that led to the deaths of more than 50 people at an Islamist protest in Cairo on July 8. He also ordered the further detention of 206 Islamist activists involved in the protest, after releasing another 464 held on similar charges. [BBC, 7/10]

After first closing the gate on July 5, Egyptian security forces reopened the Rafah crossing to allow foreigners, Palestinians with work permits, and medical patients to travel to and from the Gaza Strip. The closing followed the Egyptian army’s month-long crackdown on trade through underground tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. [Reuters, 7/10]

Jul. 11: Former supplies minister Basim ‘Awda stated that Egypt only possessed about a two-month supply of imported wheat, an amount far less than previously admitted. The government typically maintained six-month stores of imported wheat, necessary to supplement Egyptian wheat, which was low in gluten. [Reuters, 7/11]

Jul. 12: Thousands gathered to protest the overthrow of former president Morsi demonstrated in Cairo to demand his reinstatement. The majority of the demonstrators gathered in front of Rabi‘a al-‘Adawiyya Mosque in Nasr City, close to where a clash between the army and protesters yielded over 50 deaths on July 8. Many of the protesters travelled from rural provinces, where citizens strongly supported the Muslim Brotherhood. [Reuters, 7/12]

Jul. 13: About 20 Islamists from the Shura Council, which was dissolved July 5, demanded former president Morsi’s reinstatement and called on other parliaments not to recognize the interim military government. They joined an Islamist sit-in at Rabi‘a al-‘Adawiyya Mosque, and urged supporters to resist military rule. [AP, 7/13]

The prosecutor’s office released a statement admitting to the investigation of complaints against former president Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide Muhammad Badi‘, and FJP officials. Complaints included spying, inciting violence, and ruining the economy, although the identities of the complainants were not revealed. [Reuters, 7/13]

Jul. 14: Two Kuwaiti oil tankers were diverted in the Suez Canal to Egypt as part of a $4 billion aid packaged pledged by Kuwait on July 10 after Morsi’s ouster. The first carried 100,000 tons of diesel, and the other contained 1.1 million barrels of crude oil. [Reuters, 7/14]

The interim government swore in liberal NSF leader Mohamed ElBaradei as vice president after former president Morsi’s ousting. It had previously nominated ElBaradei as prime minister, but the Salafi Nour Party rejected the nomination. [AFP, 7/14]

The prosecutor’s office froze the assets of 14 Islamist leaders. Individuals affected by the freeze included Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide Muhammad Badi‘; former parliament speaker Sa‘d al-Katatni; and Muslim Brotherhood strategist, Khayrat al-Shatir. The government charged the men with inciting violence after the removal of former president Morsi. [NYT, 7/14]

Jul. 15: Three workers from a cement factory died when unidentified militants fired rocket-propelled grenades at their bus in northern Sinai. Authorities said the militants aimed for a police vehicle, but misfired and hit the bus instead. [Reuters, 7/15]

Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat demanded the arrest of seven more senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including ‘Isam al-‘Iryan and Muhammad al-Baltagi, on charges of inciting violence and [End Page 605] thuggery. Authorities implicated the two in previous similar allegations, but did not arrest them. [Reuters, 7/15]

Iran

See also Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia

Apr. 17: The government installed more uranium enrichment centrifuges at its Natanz underground plant following failed diplomatic talks with other world powers in April. In March 2013, the government announced plans to install 3,000 centrifuges, and unnamed diplomatic sources estimated that 500 to 600 were installed since the announcement, although none were activated. [Reuters, 4/17]

Apr. 27: Iranian scientist and electrical engineering professor Mojtaba Atarodi, who was detained in the US in late 2011, returned to Iran. US authorities arrested him on charges of buying advanced technological equipment in violation of US sanctions. Oman helped negotiate the release. [Daily Star, 4/27]

Apr. 30: Police announced that they arrested Baqer Asadi, a prominent Iranian diplomat supportive of Iranian reformists, in March. They placed Asadi, formerly a senior diplomat at Iran’s UN mission in New York, in solitary confinement in Evin Prison on vague charges. Fellow politicians speculated that Asadi faced confinement in advance of presidential elections, in which conservatives hoped to maintain power. [Reuters, 4/30]

May 1: In the first publicized incident of its kind, the Basij force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) claimed hackers targeted its website. The force said the attack originated in Poland and labeled it an attempt to disrupt the paramilitary force ahead of presidential elections. [RFE/RL, 5/1]

May 11: One child died and six villages suffered damage when a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit southern Iran, one month after the country’s strongest earthquake in 50 years. [AFP, 5/11]

Over 600 people declared their intent to run for president of Iran in the June 14 elections. Some of the most influential candidates included former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, and Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi. Many citizens, expressed concern about the fairness of the impending election in the wake of the 2009 election, which many believed was fixed. [Reuters, 5/11]

May 15: Talks in Vienna between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to negotiate the inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities failed. The parties set no date to begin a new round of talks. [RFE/RL, 5/15]

May 16: The Council of Guardians, responsible for vetting presidential candidates ahead of the June 14 election, disqualified female candidates from running based on the constitution. About 30 women had registered to run. [AJE, 5/17]

May 19: Iran hanged two men accused of spying for the US and Israel, but publicized no details of the individuals’ arrest or trial. Neither Israeli nor American officials commented on the deaths. [CNN, 5/20]

May 21: The Council of Guardians eliminated former president Rafsanjani and presidential aide Esfandiyar Rahim Masha’i from the ballot. The council gave no reason for the decisions, but narrowed down the pool of over 600 potential candidates to only eight men, largely perceived by the public as loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah ‘Ali Khamenei. [Reuters, 5/22]

May 30: Parliament adopted an amendment to an adultery law, which would allow judges to choose alternative forms of execution besides stoning in cases of adultery. Originally, stoning had been removed from the law as a punishment option altogether, but the Council of Guardians reinserted it. [AFP, 5/30]

Jun. 3: US president Barack Obama imposed further sanctions against Iran, including sanctions on foreign financial [End Page 606] institutions that conducted large transactions in the Iranian rial and sanctions against people involved in the Iranian automotive industry. The US increased the sanctions in an effort to force Iran to abandon its nuclear program. [Reuters, 6/3]

Jun. 5: Protesters requesting the release of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi demonstrated at the funeral of pro-reform cleric Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri in the city of Isfahan. Authorities placed Mousavi and Karroubi under house arrest in February 2011. Clerics knew Taheri for his oppositional stance towards the clerical establishment. [AFP, 6/5]

Jun. 10: Conservative presidential candidate Gholam-‘Ali Haddad ‘Adel withdrew from the race, but did not endorse a single candidate for the position. Instead, he asked that voters observe Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s principles when electing a candidate. Haddad ‘Adel served as Speaker of parliament from 2005 to 2008. [AJE, 6/10]

Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant had technical problems with its generator and closed until experts arrived to fix the issues. Iranian officials denied that the problems had any relation to the earthquake in the region on April 16. [Reuters, 6/10]

Jun. 11: Former vice president and reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza ‘Aref left the Iranian presidential race after former president Mohammad Khatami, leader of the reformist movement, requested his withdrawal to improve the odds for the other reformist candidate, Hassan Rouhani. Both Khatami and former president Rafsanjani endorsed Rouhani after ‘Aref’s withdrawal. However, ‘Aref did not explicitly endorse any other candidate. [BBC, 6/11]

Jun. 13: The search engine Google reported that it saw a rise in phishing attacks within Iran, in which parties requested information over the Internet under false pretences, ahead of the June 14 election. The company said the targets and timing of the attacks implied that they were politically motivated. [BBC, 6/13]

Jun. 15: Moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani won Iran’s presidential election, with 51 percent of the vote. Reformists endorsed Rouhani in one of Iran’s most successful elections, in which 73 percent of voters showed up at the polls. Authorities extended voting by five hours to accommodate the voters. [BBC, 6/15]

Jun. 19: Britain’s high court demanded that UK-imposed sanctions on Iran’s Bank Mellat be removed. The bank, Iran’s largest private financial institution, received the sanctions for allegedly promoting Iran’s nuclear programs. US sanctions on the bank remained, and its assets remained frozen as the EU appealed the decision to the European Court of Justice. [Guardian, 6/19]

Jul. 1: US-mandated sanctions on Iranian gold trading began, eliminating an economic shortcut that had been used to support Iran’s financial system, which suffered under other US sanctions. The sanctions further penalized Iran’s automotive industry, and marked the first sanctions instituted since President Rouhani’s election. [NYT, 7/1]

Jul. 8: The postal service instituted a national email program purported to improve communication between state authorities and citizens. The software required registration and cost a fee, and technology analysts noted that the poorly encrypted software was susceptible to hacking. The nature of the service in terms of regulation and Iranians’ access to their existing email accounts remained unclear. [Reuters, 7/8]

Jul. 15: Authorities released activist and former diplomat Baqer Asadi from prison after four months, during which he stayed in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer. Authorities released no information of the reason for his arrest or the status of his case. [Reuters, 7/15]

More than 200 steel workers staged a two-day sit-in opposite parliament to protest layoffs, payment lapses, and high inflation. Most of the demonstrators traveled from Qorveh, in Kordestan Province, and worked at the Zagros Steel Factory. [LA Times, 7/16] [End Page 607]

Iraq

See also Iran, Syria, Turkey

Apr. 19: Attacks across northern Iraq and Baghdad killed 10 people, one day before Iraq’s first provincial election since the US troop withdrawal in 2012. A bombing in a popular billiards café in west Baghdad on April 18 that killed 27 people brought the two-day total to 37 dead. No group claimed responsibility, but Sunni militias and the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Iraq’s al-Qa‘ida branch, increasingly bombed both Shi‘i and Sunni areas since late 2012 to stoke sectarian tensions. [Daily Star, 4/19]

Apr. 20: Voting for Iraq’s first provincial elections since US withdrawal took place in most provinces despite a series of bombings and mortar attacks near polling sites north and south of Baghdad. Officials postponed elections in the Sunni majority provinces of Nineveh and Anbar due to security concerns, prompting protests in both provinces. Kirkuk and the three provinces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) also did not vote. [Reuters, 4/20]

Apr. 23: A raid by Iraqi forces on a Sunni protest camp in the village of Hawija, outside the northern city of Kirkuk, provoked a gunfight between protesters and forces that killed at least 42 people and provoked additional clashes across Iraq. The protest camp was part of a Sunni movement that began in late 2012 against marginalization by the primarily Shi‘i government. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki promised to investigate the Hawija deaths. [Reuters, 4/23]

Apr. 28: The Iraqi media commission revoked operating licenses for Al Jazeera and nine other television channels and prohibited channel journalists from reporting inside the country. Iraq’s government accused the television channels of inciting violence and spreading misinformation, citing their increased coverage of sectarian clashes between Sunnis and Shi‘a after an April 23 raid on a Sunni protest camp. [NYT, 4/29]

Apr. 29: Car bombs in predominantly Shi‘i areas across Iraq killed more than 23 people. The deadliest attack killed at least nine people in a market in the southern city of ‘Amara. While no one claimed responsibility for the attacks, coordinated car bombings in different cities were a favored tactic of ISI. [Daily Star, 4/29]

May 2: A spokesman for the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq reported that 712 people were killed in April, 595 of them civilians. The death toll, which was the highest since June 2008, came amidst renewed sectarian conflict that escalated after a government raid on a Sunni protest camp on April 23. [CNN, 5/2]

May 13: Militants bombed the Kirkuk– Ceyhan pipeline, severely damaging the pipeline in the third attack in two weeks. The pipeline carried oil from Iraq’s oil-rich north to Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and resumed working only the day before, after repairs to damage from the previous attack. [Reuters, 5/13]

May 17: Two bombs exploded outside a Sunni mosque in Ba‘quba, killing at least 41 people. The bombings were the latest in a string of attacks targeting mosques since April, including a bomb blast at the Shi‘i al-Zahra’ shrine on May 16 that killed 12 people. Other attacks in Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad raised the death toll for May 17 to 76. [Reuters, 5/17]

May 20: A wave of car bombings and suicide attacks killed at least 76 people and brought the week’s death toll to more than 200. Car bombings in Shi‘i areas in Baghdad and Basra killed at least 44 people, and a car bomb north of Baghdad killed 12 Iranian and two Shi‘i pilgrims. Gunmen also killed at least 15 policemen in Anbar Province. Prime Minister Maliki blamed the violence on militant groups and spreading tensions from Syria. [NYT, 5/20]

May 23: Gunmen attacked a police checkpoint in the town of Taji and killed four soldiers. A separate gunfight between [End Page 608] militants and pro-government Sunni fighters and military forces in the western village of Karma killed three soldiers. The Sunni militias, known as Sahwa, were targeted by ISI and other Sunni militants for their government allegiance. [NYT, 5/23]

May 25: About 20,000 Iraqi forces attacked locations linked to Sunni militant groups in the country’s western desert, killing at least two senior members of al-Qa‘ida’s ISI and arresting several others. The operation was prompted by rising Sunni militant activity within Iraq and concerns that the militant groups used the western desert as a base for rebel operations in Syria. [Daily Star, 5/25]

May 30: Bombings in Baghdad and Mosul killed more than 30 people. The attacks came a day after a bomb struck a wedding party in Baghdad, killing 20 people, while bombs near a Baghdad market killed 12 others. On May 27, car bombings in Shi‘i neighborhoods of Baghdad killed an additional 53 people. No group claimed responsibility for the attacks, marking a trend in unclaimed attacks during the rise of violence that began in April. [NYT, 5/30]

Jun. 1: A UN spokesman reported that 1,045 civilians and Iraqi security personnel were killed in May, surpassing April 2013 as the highest monthly death toll since June 2008. [BBC, 6/1]

Jun. 5: Gunmen impersonating soldiers at a checkpoint detained and killed 14 people, including 10 border patrol soldiers, in Anbar Province. The attack was the latest in a surge of violence targeting policeman and military officials. [NYT, 6/6]

Jun. 7: A suicide bomber drove his car into a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims in Muqdadiyya, killing at least nine people. The bus was part of a convoy traveling from Iran to Shi‘a shrines in southern Iraq, and Iranian foreign minister ‘Ali Akbar Salahi condemned the attack. [Reuters, 6/7]

Jun. 9: Prime Minister Maliki visited the KRG for the first time since 2010. Maliki’s visit endeavored to restart negotiations over control of oil and land in the region that ceased in 2010 and to improve relations with the KRG. [NYT, 6/9]

Jun. 10: A string of bombings and attacks by gunmen in northern Diyala Province and the capital Baghdad killed 57 people. The deadliest attack killed 15 in Diyala Province, where three car bombs exploded at a crowded vegetable market. Diyala was an epicenter of the 2006–2007 sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shi‘a. [NYT, 6/10]

Jun. 12: About 1,070 Kurdish soldiers defected from the Iraqi army and stated their intention to join the KRG security forces. According to spokesmen for the Iraqi army, the soldiers deserted following their refusal to take part in an operation in the Sunni-majority town of Sulayman Bak. [Daily Star, 6/12]

Jun. 14: Gunmen shot a Sunni candidate in Iraq’s provincial elections as he left a mosque in the northern city of Mosul. Militants killed at least six candidates in violence ahead of the June 20 elections. [Daily Star, 6/14]

Jun. 15: A mortar attack on the exile camp of Iranian dissident group Mojahedin-e Khalq (PMOI) killed two Iranian nationals. A Shi‘i militia group claimed responsibility for the attack and vowed to continue attacking until PMOI left Iraq. [Reuters, 6/15]

The head of Iraq’s al-Qa‘ida branch, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, rejected a command by al-Qa‘ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to end the group’s merger with the Nusra Front in Syria. In an audio message purportedly from Baghdadi posted online, Baghdadi reaffirmed the merger, which the leaders of the Nusra Front and al-Qa‘ida previously rejected. [AJE, 6/15]

Jun. 19: Two suicide bombers shot three guards before forcing their way into a Shi‘i mosque in Baghdad and killing at least 31 people. The attack was the latest in two days of sectarian strife that left 48 others dead following a statement by Ayman al-Zawahiri [End Page 609] threatening increased violence against Shi‘a in Iraq. [BBC, 6/19]

Jun. 22: A suicide bombing in a Shi‘i mosque about 20 miles north of Baghdad and a suicide car bombing on a police patrol in the village of al-‘Adhba, near Mosul, killed 18 people. Gunmen killed three people in an attack on a vehicle of off-duty police officers in Tuz Khurmatu. While no group claimed responsibility for the attacks, coordinated bombings across cities had been a tactic of the ISI. [NYT, 6/23]

Jul. 12: A suicide bomber detonated himself in a crowded café in the disputed city of Kirkuk, killing 39 people. Most of the patrons had gathered at the café for late-night Ramadan celebrations, and police ordered that all cafés in the city be temporarily closed due to security concerns. [NYT, 7/14]

Jul. 13: Bombs exploded near the entrances of two Sunni mosques in separate attacks in Baghdad, killing 23 people. The attacks occurred just after the end of the Ramadan evening prayer. [Reuters, 7/14]

Jul. 14: A surge of bomb attacks by unidentified assailants in mainly Shi‘a areas of Baghdad, Basra, and other southern cities of Iraq killed at least 38 people, including a local municipal council member and his son. A bomb blast also struck the Sunni Dura neighborhood in Baghdad, killing four people in the second bomb attack in the neighborhood in two days. [Reuters, 7/15]

Israel

See also Arab-Israeli Conflict, Central Asia and the Caucasus, Egypt, Syria

Jul. 7: The Israeli cabinet approved a draft law nullifying complete military exemptions for ultra-Orthodox seminary students. The number of exemptions for seminary students would decrease from an estimated 8,000 per year to 1,800. Pressure from many Israelis to reduce subsidies for ultra-Orthodox Jews and support their military and workforce integration provoked outrage and protests from ultra-Orthodox Jews. [Reuters, 7/7]

Jul. 8: Several thousand ultra-Orthodox Jewish protesters formed a blockade in front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem to prevent 300 members and supporters of the Women of the Wall group from holding mixed gender prayer services at the holy site, which ultra-Orthodox Jews strongly opposed. [Reuters, 7/8]

Israeli courts sentenced an Israeli-Arab citizen accused of joining Syrian rebels for a week at a base camp in Syria to 30 months in prison. Hikmat Masarwa pleaded guilty to travelling illegally to a hostile state and meeting with a foreign agent, charges that carried a greatly reduced sentence from Masarwa’s initial charges of undergoing weapons training with radical Islamists. [Reuters, 7/8]

Jordan

See also Syria

Apr. 18: The Pentagon sent about 200 army planners to Jordan to help deliver humanitarian supplies for a growing number of Syrian refugees and plan for possible US-led military operations. The move marked the first deployment that US defense secretary Chuck Hagel described as a potential step towards direct military involvement in Syria. [LA Times, 4/17]

Apr. 21: Officials arrested eight Syrians on suspicion of inciting riots that occurred the previous day at the Za‘tari refugee camp near the border with Syria. About 100 Syrian refugees threw stones at police in protest of poor living conditions and a ban on leaving the camp. [BBC, 4/21]

Apr. 24: The UK signed a mutual assistance treaty with Jordan ensuring the transfer of imprisoned radical cleric Abu Qatada. UK home secretary Theresa May declared that the agreement guaranteed Abu Qatada protection from a retrial in Jordan with evidence obtained by torture. Abu Qatada was in and out of jail in the UK since 2001 and served as Usama Bin Ladin’s primary contact in Europe. [BBC, 4/24] [End Page 610]

Apr. 28: An armed fight occurred at Al-Hussein Bin Talal University in Ma‘an, leaving four dead and 25 injured. The clash erupted between students from two different tribes, and moved beyond the university as tribal members issued threats. The outburst marked the second fatal incident within a month at a Jordanian university. [JT, 4/29]

May 3: Russia and China, two close allies of Syria, blocked a UN Security Council plan to inspect Syrian refugee camps in Jordan. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov deemed it a potential attempt to prepare for foreign intervention. Jordanian ambassador to the UN Prince Zayd al-Husayn told Security Council envoys that the refugee crisis represented a threat to the country’s future stability. [AJE, 5/3]

May 21: Officials turned away approximately 1,000 Syrian refugees within a week in Jordan’s first border clampdown since the Syrian conflict began. All four unofficial northern border crossings were closed, while the official crossing at Jabir was left open. Jordan continuously expressed security and resource concerns regarding the 473,587 Syrian refugees it hosted as of May 2013. [Daily Star, 5/21]

Jun. 3: Authorities arrested 13 people in Ma‘an after overnight riots and clashes with police due to the unresolved murder of two men in the city. Businesses closed for two days in an act of civil disobedience after the clashes. [Daily Star, 6/3]

July 7: Radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada was deported from Britain to Jordan, ending a years-long battle to force the Jordanian national to leave Britain. Abu Qatada was tried and convicted in absentia in Jordan in 1999 on two charges of conspiracy to cause explosions and sentenced to life imprisonment. Abu Qatada was in and out of jail in Britain since his first arrest in 2001. An extradition treaty adopted by Jordan and Britain the previous week enabled his return. [Daily Star, 7/7]

July 8: Upon arrival in ‘Amman, Abu Qatada was taken to a nearby courthouse for two hours of questioning, after which prosecutors charged him with conspiring to carry out two terrorist attacks in the country. Abu Qatada pleaded not guilty to the charges. Jordanian authorities issued a 15-day detention order for Abu Qatada at the Muwaqqar prison pending further questioning. [AJE, 7/8]

July 13: Seven Jordanians were killed while fighting alongside Islamist rebels in Syria, raising the total number of Jordanians killed while fighting in Syria to 45. Over 700 Jordanians fought with Islamist rebels in Syria at the time. [JT, 6/13]

Kuwait

See also Egypt, Palestinian Territories

Apr. 15: Palestinian Authority president Mahmud ‘Abbas visited Kuwait as the first Palestinian leader to do so for more than two decades. The visit strengthened ties with the inauguration of a new Palestinian embassy in Kuwait City. In 2003, Kuwait snubbed ‘Abbas by postponing a visit for his failure to apologize for former Palestinian leader Yasir ‘Arafat’s support of Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. [Reuters, 4/15]

A criminal court sentenced opposition politician and former MP Musallam al-Barrak to five years in jail for insulting the emir. At an opposition demonstration outside parliament in October Barrak warned the emir, Shaykh Sabah Al Sabah, against taking the country towards autocracy. [BBC, 4/15]

Apr. 17: Police fired tear gas and stun grenades at nearly 10,000 activists protesting against the raid on the house of opposition politician Musallam al-Barrak, who recently received a five year jail sentence for insulting the emir. The clash around a police station southwest of Kuwait City marked the first unrest since Kuwait underwent violent protests against electoral law changes in late 2012. [AJE, 4/17]

Apr. 22: An appeals court granted opposition politician Musallam al-Barrak bail on a payment of $17,000 while he [End Page 611] appealed his conviction and his sentence. Protests and international criticism followed Barrak’s five-year jail sentence for insulting the ruling emir. [Reuters, 4/22]

May 27: Oil Minister Hani Husayn resigned to avoid questioning over a $2.2 billion penalty payment to US Dow Chemical Company and other irregularities. Since parliamentary elections in December, at least four MPs have filed requests to question both Husayn and Interior Minister Shaykh Ahmad al-Hamud Al Sabah. [Daily Star, 5/27]

Jun. 10: A Kuwaiti court sentenced Huda al-‘Ajami, a 37-year-old teacher, to 11 years in jail for insulting the emir, calling for regime change, and insulting a religious sect on the social networking website Twitter as well as misusing her mobile phone. Several Twitter users were punished in previous months for insulting the emir, who is considered “immune and inviolable” in the constitution. [BBC, 6/10]

Jun. 16: Kuwait’s highest court dissolved parliament and called for new elections after the December 2012 elections that were boycotted by the opposition. The court also approved the controversial electoral law that sparked the boycott and allowed the emir to reduce the number of votes allowed per citizen from four to one. This marked the second time within a year that parliament was dissolved. [Reuters, 6/16]

Jun. 18: Kuwait hanged two Egyptian men, Ahmad al-Bayli for two premeditated murders, and Hajjaj al-Sa‘idi for raping five children. Twenty-nine people remained on Kuwait’s death row. [Reuters, 6/18]

Lebanon

See also Arab-Israeli Conflict, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria

Apr. 20: Syrian rebels fired five rockets at the villages of al-Qasr and Hawsh al-Sayyid ‘Ali in northeast Lebanon. The nearby town of Hermel also experienced two days of shelling from across the Syrian border. [Daily Star, 4/20]

Thousands participated in a rally for peace in Tripoli, where sectarian clashes plagued the city for two years. Long-standing rivalries between ‘Alawis and Sunnis, the former supporting Syrian president Bashar al-Asad and the latter supporting the opposition, intensified with the Syrian uprising, leaving hundreds killed or wounded in clashes since March 2011. [Daily Star, 4/21]

Apr. 23: The European Union provided 30 million euros in additional funding to the 428,000 registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The EU designated five million euros for the approximately 40,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria. The donation brought the total amount of assistance offered by the EU to Lebanon to more than 90 million euros. [Daily Star, 4/23]

Apr. 30: Hasan Nasrallah, leader of the Shi‘i group Hizbullah, confirmed that the milita helped Syrian president Asad fight Syrian rebels. Hizbullah fighters informally assisted the Syrian regime since the start of the Syrian uprising in March 2011. [Guardian, 4/30]

May 10: Police arrested nine people for attempting to smuggle arms and bombs from Palestinian camps in southern Beirut to Syria. Lebanese army intelligence seized explosive devices and detonators. The men were suspected to have links to al-Qa‘ida. [Daily Star, 5/10]

May 12: Around 400 Syrian workers rallied in support of Syrian president Asad in the Lebanese coastal city of Sidon. The protesters described the Syrian rebels as terrorists. Pro-Asad rallies were a rarity in the largely Sunni city, a base of support for the Syrian uprising. [Daily Star, 5/12]

May 27: A rocket attack from an unknown source in Syria killed a teenage girl in the northern Lebanon town of Hermel. The attack also wounded both of her parents. Several rockets hit the area in previous weeks, but this was the first death since two were killed in similar rocket attacks in April. [Daily Star, 5/27] [End Page 612]

May 26: Two rockets hit Hizbullah-controlled Beirut suburbs, wounding four people. The attack was the first on Hizbullah’s Beirut stronghold since the beginning of the Syrian conflict. No group claimed responsibility, but the strikes came just hours after Hizbullah leader Nasrallah announced his group would support the Syrian president. [NYT, 5/26]

May 28: Unidentified gunmen killed three soldiers after opening fire on a military checkpoint in the eastern Biqa‘ Valley, then escaped across the border into Syria. [Daily Star, 5/28]

May 29: Tripoli experienced a series of Syria-fueled clashes, beginning on May 20, between Sunnis in the Bab al-Tibbana neighborhood and ‘Alawis in the adjacent Jabal Muhsin neighborhood that killed 30 people. The two neighborhoods had a decades-long history of strife, and the neighboring Syrian conflict reignited the rivalry. [CNN, 5/23]

May 31: Parliament voted to postpone June elections until November 2014, citing deadlock and the conflict in Syria. This was the first time elections were delayed since the Lebanese civil war ended in 1990. [Guardian, 5/31]

Jun. 1: Over 16 rockets fired from Syria hit towns in the northern Biqa‘. Four Syrians in Lebanon were arrested on suspected links to the attacks. Free Syrian Army members claimed responsibility, saying the rockets were in response to Hizbullah’s intervention in the Syrian conflict. Meanwhile, gunmen opened fire on a Shi‘i shrine in the Biqa‘ city of Ba‘albek, resulting in no casualties. [Daily Star, 6/1]

Jun. 2: Hizbullah guerrillas and Syrian rebels fought east of Ba‘albek, killing at least 12 rebels and one Hizbullah fighter. Rebels were ambushed as they set up rockets to fire into predominantly Shi‘i areas of the Biqa‘ Valley. Rebels said they would carry out attacks inside Lebanon in response to Hizbullah’s support for Syrian troops’ assault on the town of Qusayr. [Reuters, 6/2]

Jun. 5: The Gulf Cooperation Council issued a travel warning for Lebanon due to a spillover of violence from neighboring Syria. Visitors from Gulf countries account for much of Lebanon’s vital tourism income, which was hit hard by Syria’s unrest. Members of the GCC had long called for the overthrow of Syrian president Asad, and both Saudi Arabia and Qatar were arming Syrian rebels. [Daily Star, 6/5]

Jun. 7: Two pro-Hizbullah Sunni Muslim leaders survived assassination attempts in Tripoli as clashes in the city beginning on June 2 left at least six dead. In separate incidents, the cars of Shaykh Mahir Hammud and Shaykh Ibrahim Buraydi came under attack, leaving both unharmed. The Lebanese Armed Forces’ 12th Brigade was dispatched to the area to restore calm after days of clashes between rival families. [AJE, 6/3]

Jun. 9: Unknown men attacked a protest staged by the Lebanese Option Party in front of the Iranian embassy in Beirut, killing one. The group protested Iranian intervention in Syria. [CNN, 6/10]

Jun. 10: About 27,000 Syrian refugees fled from Qusayr to the Lebanese village of Arsal, making the Syrians almost half of the total village population. [Daily Star, 6/10]

Jun. 16: Gunmen shot and killed four Shi‘a men in an ambush in Wadi Rafiq, a border area in the Biqa‘ Valley. Three of the men were traveling in a truck that took a direct hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. The fourth victim was a mechanic who stopped to help them. [Daily Star, 6/16]

Jun. 23: Violence broke out in Sidon, between supporters of radical Sunni cleric Shaykh Ahmad al-Asir and Lebanese soldiers. At least 18 soldiers and dozens of Asir supporters were killed. Asir claimed soldiers attacked his mosque and supporters, so his supporters retaliated with an attack on a military checkpoint. The first two days of fighting marked the bloodiest 48 hours for Lebanon’s army since the conflict in Syria began. [WP, 6/23] [End Page 613]

Jun. 29: An unknown sniper killed at least two people in Tripoli as tensions escalated between mainly Sunni neighborhoods of Rifa and Baqqar and the predominantly ‘Alawi neighborhood of Jabal Muhsin. In a separate incident, masked gunmen opened fire on soldiers near the state-run hospital in the northern town of Qubba. [Daily Star, 6/29]

July 9: A car bomb exploded in a Hizbullah stronghold in the suburb of Bi’r al-‘Abd in southern Beirut, wounding over 50 people. The attack was the second within three months targeting the southern suburbs. The March 14 Alliance, a bloc of parties that stood against the Syrian regime, claimed the bombing was the product of Hizbullah’s intervention in the Syrian conflict, and condemned the incident as a terrorist act. [Daily Star, 7/9]

July 15: The al-Minya Hospital in north Lebanon turned away 28 wounded Syrian refugees due to personal feuds and a dispute between an aid organization and the hospital’s management. The men had stayed in the hospital for over a month receiving treatment for wounds sustained during clashes in the Syrian border town of Qusayr. [Daily Star, 7/15]

Libya

See also Tunisia

May 13: A car bomb exploded near al-Jala’ Hospital in Benghazi, killing 15 people. Four police stations were also bombed in Benghazi the previous weekend, resulting in no fatalities. Authorities blamed radical Islamists for the violence. [Daily Star, 5/13]

Jun. 8: At least 31 people died in clashes in Benghazi between pro-government protesters and the Libya Shield Force, militias operating with defense ministry approval. Armed protesters gathered outside the Libya Shield Force’s headquarters because they believed militias prevented national stability. [Reuters, 6/8]

Jun. 25: Libya’s national assembly elected Nuri Abu Sahmayn, as its new president after his predecessor, Jum‘a ‘Atiqa, quit due to his association with late Libyan leader Mu‘ammar al-Qadhafi’s regime. Abu Sahmayn was the first self-identifying Berber politician to hold such a high post. Berber rights were denied during Qadhafi’s rule. [Reuters, 6/25]

Jun. 27: Ten people died and over 100 injured in clashes between militias in Tripoli that began on June 25. Prime Minister ‘Ali Zaydan called for the removal of Defense Minister Muhammad al-Barghathi following the clashes. [Reuters, 6/27]

July 7: An armed group shut down export operations at the crude oil port of Ra’s Lanuf, a large complex in central Libya that includes the country’s biggest refinery. The closure was allegedly linked to the closure of the Sidra crude oil export terminal three days previously, which was closed by armed guards demanding payment of late salaries. Worker protests shut down several oilfields in previous weeks. [Daily Star, 7/7]

July 26: Lawyer and prominent political activist ‘Abd al-Salam al-Mismari died immediately after being shot in the heart as he left a mosque after Friday prayers. The attack was the first against an activist in Benghazi. Mismari regularly opposed the Muslim Brotherhood and the presence of militias on Libya’s streets. [Reuters, 7/26]

July 27: Over 1,000 detainees escaped from the al-Kuwayfiyya prison near Benghazi, and Prime Minister Zaydan blamed the jailbreak on people living near the prison who did not want it in their neighborhood. Hundreds of protesters stormed political party offices, across Libya in protest of activist ‘Abd al-Salam al-Mismari’s assassination. About 100 of the escapees were recaptured in al-Marj and Ajdabiya on July 28. [VOA, 7/27]

Mauritania

May 18: Sanda Ould Boumana, the Timbuktu-based spokesman for militant group Ansar Dine, turned himself in to the Mauritanian army. Linked to al-Qa‘ida, Ansar Dine ruled the cities of Timbuktu [End Page 614] and Kidal in northern Mali for 10 months starting in late March 2012, but was dislodged by French forces in January 2013. [Daily Star, 5/20]

Morocco and Western Sahara

Apr. 25: The UN Security Council passed a resolution extending the UN peacekeeping mission’s mandate in the disputed Western Sahara for one year. The resolution omitted a US proposal to include language allowing the mission to conduct human rights monitoring, which faced strong resistance from Morocco and France. Morocco was accused of human rights abuses against Sahrawis in the Western Sahara territory. [Al Arabiya, 4/26]

May 4: About 500 pro-independence Sahrawi activists demonstrated peacefully in Laayoune, the largest city in Western Sahara, in the biggest protest in the region in decades. Violence broke out after the protest between policemen and activists. [AJE, 5/6]

Jun. 3: Health Minister El-Hossein El-Ouadi spoke the Tamazight Berber language in parliament, marking the first time it was used in a government setting since its recognition as an official language in the 2011 constitution. [France 24, 6/4]

Jul. 10: The Istiqlal Party quit the governing coalition it formed with the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) to protest subsidy cuts supported by the PJD that it said would hurt the poor. The resignations opened the potential for early elections or a change in the government makeup, as the PJD was required to seek a new coalition partner. [Reuters, 7/10]

Oman

See also Yemen

May 21: In a $2.1 billion deal, Oman purchased weapons from the US company Raytheon, including a ground-based air defense system that included multiple types of missiles. [Reuters, 5/21]

Jul. 11: Police apprehended nine Omanis and 30,933 pistols aboard a tanker in the port of Suhar, north of Muscat. The vessel allegedly departed from Turkey and was bound for Yemen, although authorities refused to confirm these details. [AP, 7/11]

Pakistan

See also Afghanistan, Iran, Qatar

Apr. 16: A 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck southeast Iran killed at least 35 people and destroyed several hundred houses in southwest Pakistan. Pakistan’s army deployed troops and aircraft to transport medical aid and tents. [Reuters, 4/16]

A Taliban suicide bomber attacked an election rally by the ‘Awami National Party (ANP), killing 17 people. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) named the ANP, Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as targets for attack due to their perceived liberalism before the country’s May 11 parliamentary elections. [BBC, 4/16]

Apr. 19: Police arrested Pakistan former president Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad on charges concerning his 2007 decision to dismiss Pakistan’s senior judges and place them under house arrest. Musharraf returned to the country from self-imposed exile on March 24 despite death threats and numerous charges against him. [NYT, 4/19]

Apr. 25: A bomb planted outside the MQM Party’s office in Karachi killed five people. The bombing was the latest in a series of attacks on parties, including the ANP and the PPP, deemed as targets by the TTP. [NYT, 4/25]

Apr. 30: The Peshawar High Court banned former president Musharraf from politics for life, thwarting his attempts to run for president in the May 11 general election. Musharraf was the first Pakistani citizen to receive a lifelong ban from elections and remained under house arrest following his April 19 arrest. [Reuters, 4/30] [End Page 615]

May 2: Sarabjit Singh, an Indian charged in 1991 with spying by Pakistani courts, died after being badly beaten by fellow inmates in a Pakistani prison. His death sparked outrage from the Indian public and Indian opposition parties, and further strained relations between the two countries. A Pakistani prisoner died on May 9 after being beaten by inmates in an Indian prison in apparent retaliation for Singh’s death. [Daily Star, 5/2]

May 3: Gunmen shot and killed Chaudhry Zulfiqar, the chief prosecutor investigating the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, in Islamabad. The killing came after a court ordered on April 15 that former president Musharraf remain under house arrest on charges of failing to provide Bhutto with adequate security before her death. [Reuters, 5/3]

May 6: A bomb killed 20 at an election rally for the Jami‘at ‘Ulama’-i Islam Party in the Kurram tribal region bordering Afghanistan. The Taliban attack on one of its close political allies was unusual, but the group’s militants claimed that the party’s candidate, Munir Khan Orakzai, had betrayed Arab jihadis detained by the Pakistan Army, and who were later transferred to US custody. [NYT, 5/6]

May 11: Over 60% of eligible voters participated in national elections, despite four bomb blasts that killed 14 that day. Two bombs planted by the TTP at the ANP’s Karachi office killed 11 people, the second time the office was attacked in one month. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s faction, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), won the elections on May 12. [CNN, 5/11]

May 18: Unknown gunmen killed Zahra Shahid Husayn, a senior female member of Imran Khan’s PTI Party, outside her home in Karachi during an apparent robbery attempt. Khan blamed the attack on the MQM Party, whose leader Altaf Husayn, wanted on murder charges in Pakistan, had threatened PTI members in a broadcast from London a few days earlier. [Reuters, 5/18]

May 23: A bomb planted in an auto-rickshaw detonated next to a truck carrying security personnel in the city of Quetta in Baluchistan Province killed 13 people. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. [Reuters, 5/23]

May 25: A gas cylinder exploded on a school bus in Gujrat, a town 100 miles southeast of Islamabad, killing 17 children. The rising use of relatively cheap natural gas cylinders in Pakistan as a result of severe energy shortages caused an increase in cylinder explosions. [Reuters, 5/25]

May 29: A suspected US drone strike killed Wali-ur-Rehman, second in command of the TTP, along with four other alleged militants in North Waziristan Province. The attack dealt a blow to the Taliban’s leadership, which was subsequently divided over choosing a new deputy leader. The foreign ministry condemned the strike as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. [NYT, 5/29]

Jun. 5: Nawaz Sharif was sworn into office as prime minister, marking the first transition of power between two democratically elected governments since Pakistan’s independence in 1947. Sharif’s swearing in followed his PML-N party’s victory in May’s legislative elections. Sharif had previously served as premier but was deposed in a 1999 military coup. [Reuters, 6/5]

Jun. 8: Two US drones struck a compound in Waziristan Province, killing seven people. It was the first US strike since Prime Minister Sharif demanded an end to the attacks on June 5. Sharif decried the strike as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. [BBC, 6/8]

Jun. 15: Militants from the group Lashkar-e Jhangvi blew up a bus of female university students in Quetta. A suicide bomber and gunmen then attacked the hospital where the wounded were taken and killed at least 23 people, including the Quetta deputy commissioner. [CNN, 6/15] [End Page 616]

Separatists in Baluchistan Province attacked and destroyed the house once occupied by Pakistani national hero, Muhammad ‘Ali Jinnah, and killed a policeman guarding the residence. Observers stated that the attack by the Baluchistan Liberation Army indicated the nationalistic and ethnic tensions in Pakistan’s identity. [NYT, 6/16]

Jun. 16: Gunmen killed two volunteers giving polio vaccinations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province’s Swabi District. Polio volunteers were targets of attacks that escalated after the discovery that the CIA used decoy vaccination teams to collect blood samples from Usama Bin Ladin’s family in Abbottabad. The violence hindered immunization in one of the three countries worldwide where polio remained endemic. [NYT, 6/16]

Jun. 18: A Taliban suicide bomber killed 30 at a funeral in Mardan District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, including legislator ‘Imran Mohmand. Police suspected that the Taliban targeted Mohmand because of his previous association with the ANP, though at his death Mohmand was a member of ‘Imran Khan’s PTI party. [Reuters, 6/18]

Jun. 21: A suicide bomber shot at security guards before detonating explosives at a Shi‘i mosque and seminary in Peshawar, killing at least 14 people. Lashkar-e Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack targeting the minority Shi‘i community. [RFE/RL, 6/21]

Jun. 23: Taliban gunmen attacked a base camp at Nanga Parbat, a mountain in the Pakistani Himalayas, and killed ten people, including nine foreign hikers. A TTP spokesman stated the attack was retaliation for the US killing of its deputy leader, Wali-ur-Rehman, on May 29. [BBC, 6/23]

Jun. 26: Taliban detonated a motorcycle bomb next to the vehicle of a senior judge, Maqbul Baqir, in Karachi, injuring him and killing seven bodyguards. Another Taliban bomb also struck the vehicle of Malik Hashim Khan, a tribal chief in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province and former head of a peace committee, killing him and two relatives. [RFE/RL, 6/26]

Jun. 30: A suicide bomber attacked a predominantly Shi‘i neighborhood in Quetta, killing at least 28. Lashkar-e Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack as part of its campaign against the mainly Shi‘a Hazara ethnic group, who were violently persecuted in Pakistan and Afghanistan. [BBC, 6/30]

A bomb targeting a Pakistani security convoy in Peshawar instead hit a market, killing 14. The TTP carried out the attack, part of a string of recent assaults retaliating against the death of the Taliban’s deputy commander from a May 29 US drone strike. [Reuters, 6/30]

Jul. 10: A suicide bomber detonated himself outside the vehicle of President Asif ‘Ali Zardari’s security chief, Bilal Shaykh, killing him and two others in Karachi. Shaykh was a close aide to the president and a member of the PPP. No group claimed responsibility for the attack. [Reuters, 7/10]

Jul. 12: Malala Yousafzai spoke in front of the UN General Assembly in her first speech since Taliban gunmen shot her on October 9, 2012. Yousafzai advocated education as the solution to both Pakistan’s problems and the world’s and presented a petition to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon signed by four million people in support of the 57 million children worldwide unable to attend school. [Reuters, 7/12]

Palestinian Territories

See also Arab-Israeli Conflict, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon

June 6: Rami Hamdullah was sworn in as the new Palestinian prime minister in the Fatah-ruled West Bank. President Mahmud ‘Abbas selected Hamdullah after the April resignation of former prime minister, Salam Fayyad. Hamdallah emphasized the importance of improving Palestine’s economy and working towards better cooperation with Gaza Strip-based Hamas. [NYT, 6/7] [End Page 617]

Jun. 22: Gazan singer Muhammad ‘Assaf’s victory in the Arab Idol song contest in Cairo set off mass celebrations attended by tens of thousands in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. ‘Assaf was the first Palestinian to win the widely watched contest and was celebrated as a nationalist triumph by many Palestinian leaders. [Reuters, 6/22]

Jun. 23: President ‘Abbas accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Hamdullah, who quit on June 20 just two weeks after assuming the position. Hamdallah’s resignation over a conflict of authority with deputies came two months after the resignation of the previous prime minister, Salam Fayyad, and resulted in disarray among the Palestinian Authority’s leadership. [Reuters, 6/23]

Qatar

See also Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Syria

May 2: The Qatari government put forth a series of requirements for the Taliban to fulfill before they established a political office in Doha. With the support of the US and Afghanistan, Qatar demanded the Taliban abandon global jihadism before opening the office, which would serve as an international negotiation center rather than a fundraising or governing base. Past negotiations between the US and the Taliban in Doha failed. [Guardian, 5/2]

Jun. 20: Disagreements between the Taliban and the Afghan government surrounding the Taliban office in Qatar led Afghan president Hamid Karzai to refuse to participate in scheduled negotiations between the Taliban and the US aimed at ending the 12-year war in Afghanistan. The removal of the Taliban flag and a nameplate reading the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the office, as demanded by the Qatari government, did not appease Karzai. Pakistan, which had supported the talks in an effort to thwart the growing Taliban presence in that country, criticized Karzai’s decision. [Reuters, 6/20]

Jun. 21: A court sentenced five people to six years in prison each for negligence leading to a fire at Doha’s Villagio Mall in May 2012, which killed 19 people, including 13 children. Among the sentenced was the owner of the mall’s nursery, Shaykh ‘Ali bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to Belgium and member of the ruling family, and his wife Iman al-Kuwari. All those sentenced planned to appeal. [BBC, 6/21]

Jun. 22: International supporters of Syria’s opposition attending the Doha conference committed to provide “material and equipment” to the rebels, although specific donors and their donations were not disclosed. The 11-nation strong Friends of Syria group, which included the US, UK, France, Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, met after independent investigations revealed that Syrian president Bashar al-Asad used chemical weapons against the rebels. The nations also agreed to provide humanitarian aid to five million displaced Syrians. [WP, 6/22]

Jun. 25: Emir Shaykh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani resigned his post in favor of his son, Crown Prince Shaykh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani. The outgoing emir, who bloodlessly deposed his father in 1995, explained that he made the decision in order to clear the way for a new generation, a rare move in the Arabian Gulf, where emirs usually serve for life. British-educated Shaykh Tamim became the youngest ruler in the Gulf, at the age of 33. [BBC, 6/25]

Jun. 27: Emir Shaykh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani named his cabinet, appointing Shaykh ‘Abdullah Bin Nasir Al Thani as prime minister and interior minister. He also appointed a new foreign minister, minister of economy and trade, and a female minister of communication and information technology. Shaykh Tamim retained Muhammad al-Sada, the energy minister. [AFP, 6/26]

Jul. 9: The Taliban temporarily closed their offices in Doha to protest the forced removal of various symbols from their building. After complaints from Afghan president Hamid Karzai, the Qatari government ordered the dismantling of a nameplate reading the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and a white [End Page 618] flag from over the office. Staffers refused to report to work or answer phone calls, and provided no estimate regarding the length of the closing. [AP, 7/9]

Saudi Arabia

See also Iran, Qatar, UAE

Apr. 16: Officials from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) met in Riyadh to address concerns about radiation from Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, which days before the conference was in the proximity of a 6.3 earthquake. Iran said it detected no radiation leak after the quake, but GCC countries urged the allowance of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to assess the plant. If radiation escaped from the Bushehr plant, dominant winds could blow the fallout over Qatar and the UAE. [Reuters, 4/14]

Apr. 20: King ‘Abdullah named Prince Fahd bin ‘Abdullah as deputy defense minister, replacing Prince Khalid bin Sultan. The state-owned Saudi Press Agency provided no reason for the change. [Reuters, 4/20]

Apr. 22: In an attempt to reduce unemployment among Saudi nationals, the cabinet approved rules that charged sponsors of illegal workers with the paying of deportation fees. The ruling came amidst a wave of legislation cracking down on illegal workers, including the hiring of 1,000 inspectors to examine small business’ employment practices and fining or imprisoning offending employers. [Daily Star, 4/22]

May 4: Twenty-four people died during severe weather and widespread flash flooding that started on April 28. Almost 900 people evacuated the southwestern Bisha province, in the wettest season in 25 years. [Daily Star, 5/2]

Education ministry spokesman Muhammad al-Dakhini announced the legalization of female participation in sports at private schools. The education ministry required students to maintain modest dress while practicing and stated that female teachers must supervise their activities in accordance with shari‘a law. [AP, 5/5]

May 13: A court sentenced two Lebanese men to hundreds of lashes and prison terms after allegedly helping a Saudi woman convert to Christianity and leave the country in July 2012. Sweden granted the woman asylum in 2012, and the case garnered much attention since proselytism was illegal and apostasy was a capital crime in Saudi Arabia. Both men planned to appeal the verdict. [Reuters, 5/13]

May 15: The interior ministry’s website crashed after receiving a large volume of service requests from overseas addresses. The site recovered after two hours and the motive of the attack remained vague. The attack marked the second time in two years that hackers attacked Saudi institutions; a 2012 attack on Saudi Aramco damaged 30,000 computers. [Reuters, 5/17]

In a rare protest, over 100 people congregated outside the police department in Riyadh to protest the death of a vegetable seller. The man allegedly self-immolated after a search by police resulted in the confiscation of his goods after he failed to produce proof of citizenship. [BBC, 5/17]

May 20: Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with the Philippines granting protections to maids working in the country, including allowing one day of rest per week, enforcing a minimum wage of $400 per month, and disallowing employers from confiscating their maids’ passports. An estimated 60,000 Filipinos expected to benefit from the arrangement. [Daily Star, 5/20]

May 21: Police arrested ten more people allegedly involved in spying operations within the country. Authorities accused the suspects of providing information on vital installations to Iranian intelligence services, which Iran denied. Eighteen people were arrested on similar allegations in March. [Reuters, 5/21]

May 27: King ‘Abdullah named his son Prince Mut‘ib to head the new National Guard Ministry, consisting of the current presidency of the Saudi National Guard, [End Page 619] a separate branch of the armed forces. The announcement came in a series of promotions for younger princes in the Kingdom over the course of a month. [Reuters, 5/27]

Jun. 5: The government freed novelist Turki al-Hamad, who was detained in December 2012 for criticizing Islamism on the social networking website Twitter. Hamad did not face trial during his six-month imprisonment, and the government gave no reason for his release. [Reuters, 6/5]

After Talmon Marco, CEO of Internet calling company Viber, refused to comply with demands from the government, authorities blocked Viber’s use in the kingdom. Marco refused to disclose how the company’s software worked, information the government sought in hopes of determining how to best monitor users. Skype and Whatsapp, two other popular online communication services, received similar requests but remained active in the Kingdom. [BBC, 6/6]

Jun. 9: About 12,000 Indonesian workers lined up at that country’s consulate in Jeddah to get their residency status or exit visas secured ahead of a crackdown on illegal immigrants slated for July. Protesters lit a fire outside the consulate wall, and a stampede broke out inside in which one woman died. Since April 1, when the government announced the July penalties, about 180,000 illegal workers left Saudi Arabia. [AJE, 6/10]

Jun. 16: Officials reduced the number of pilgrims allowed to perform the hajj in October 2013. Hajj Minister Bandar Hajjar credited the reduction to ongoing construction work intended to raise the capacity of the Mecca’s Sacred Mosque to 2.2 million people. The government halved the quota for pilgrims coming from within Saudi Arabia, and reduced by 20 percent quotas for pilgrims from abroad. [Daily Star, 6/16]

Jul. 7: Twenty people infected with MERS died across Saudi Arabia throughout June and in the first week of July, bringing the death toll to 38 and reported infections to 65 since the first detection of the virus in summer 2012. On July 5, before the hajj, for which thousands of international pilgrims come annually to Saudi Arabia, the World Health Organization (WHO) formed an emergency committee to determine a contingency plan if MERS spread. [Reuters, 7/7]

Jul. 12: A court sentenced 11 people to between 18 months and 15 years in prison each for allegedly participating in weapons training, bomb manufacture, and ties to al-Qa‘ida. Although those charged included foreigners, authorities did not release the nationalities of the individuals. [AFP, 7/12]

Jul. 13: Health officials urged pregnant women, children, elderly people, and those with chronic health conditions to postpone any plans for the October hajj in consideration of the spreading MERS virus. The official statement also required pilgrims to wear masks at holy sites and crowded places to prevent spread of the virus. The WHO confirmed a total of 80 cases of MERS, including 44 deaths, prior to the announcement. [BBC, 7/13]

Jul. 17: In response to reports of Ethiopian maids allegedly killing Saudi children in their care, authorities placed a temporary ban on workers entering the Kingdom from Ethiopia. Officials stated that the ban would remain in place until investigations into the allegations ended. [AFP, 7/17]

Jun. 19: While attempting to board a flight to Istanbul, human rights activist Iman al-Qahtani discovered that the government placed a ban on her ability to travel abroad. Qahtani, who used the social networking site Twitter to report on the trials of other activists Mohammed Al-Qahtani and ‘Abdullah al-Hamid, declared in April that she ceased tweeting in order to protect her family. She resumed posting on the social networking site to protest the travel ban. [BBC, 7/19]

Jun. 22: Police shot and killed two men in Qatif, a predominantly Shi‘i district in Eastern Province on the nights June 21 and 22. Police said the two men participated [End Page 620] in ongoing unrest in the region that began in 2011, in which Shi‘a complained of institutional discrimination by the Saudi government, which the government denied. Violence occurred in the same area in summer and winter 2012. [Reuters, 6/23]

Jun. 23: King ‘Abdullah changed the work week to move the weekend from Thursday–Friday to Friday–Saturday in an effort to strengthen the Kingdom’s economy by operating along the same weekly schedule as other countries in the region. Saudi Arabia became the last GCC state to make the change, after Oman made the shift in May. [Reuters, 6/23]

Jun. 24: A court sentenced seven activists to five to ten years in prison each for attempting to incite antigovernment protests via the social networking website Facebook in September 2011. The protesters came from Eastern Province, where Shi‘i activists staged multiple demonstrations against the government. Human Rights Watch urged the EU to condemn the sentences. [Guardian, 6/30]

Jun. 25: The government announced that activist ‘Abd al-Karim al-Khudayr, founder of the Saudi Political and Civil Rights Association, had been sentenced to eight years in prison for inciting sedition. Khudayr’s colleagues, Mohammad Al-Qahtani and ‘Abdullah al-Hamid, received ten- and eleven-year sentences, respectively, on similar charges. The group called for a constitutional monarchy and accused the current regime of various human rights abuses. [BBC, 6/26]

Jul. 2: Citing bureaucratic delays, King ‘Abdullah extended an amnesty originally set to expire on July 3 until November 3. The amnesty forgave outstanding worker fees for visa violations and granted time for them to change their visa status or to leave the country. The amnesty came amidst a crackdown on foreign labor in an attempt to combat the 12 percent national unemployment rate. [Reuters, 7/3]

Sudan and South Sudan

Apr. 23: The governments of Sudan and South Sudan announced an agreement to open the border between the two countries after talks in Ethiopia moderated by the African Union (AU). The borders closed in 2011 after South Sudan’s secession. Both governments advocated the ten new crossings, eight of which opened immediately, to increase the flow of oil and strengthen both countries’ economies via travel and trade. [Reuters, 4/23]

Apr. 27: Rebel insurgents from the Sudanese oppositional Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attacked the city of Umm Rawaba in Sudan, drawing closer than ever before to Khartoum in an attempt to overthrow President ‘Umar al-Bashir. After the rebels allegedly vandalized a power plant, gas stations, and a communications tower, the army initiated air strikes that drove the insurgents from the city. Before the incident, rebel attacks occurred mostly in rural areas. [Reuters, 4/27]

Apr. 29: A senior official from the Darfur region announced that only five people died when an unlicensed gold mine collapsed in the Jabal ‘Amir District on April 29, yet miners from the affected area continued to claim that at least 60 people died in the accident. Rescuers recovered eight bodies from the scene, after which efforts stopped on May 4 due to dangerous conditions. [AFP, 5/4]

May 3: Two weeks after Sudan reopened the border to South Sudan, a group of travelers found the bodies of 11 Sudanese traders near the town of Renk in South Sudan. Colonel Philip Aguer of South Sudan alleged that militiamen who did not favor peace between the two nations attacked the traders. [AP, 5/3]

May 4: Border clashes between the Missiriyya tribe in Sudan and the Dinka tribe in South Duan led to the death of top Dinka leader Deng Majok, an Ethiopian peacekeeper, and seven tribesmen. The incidents occurred in the contested, oil-rich [End Page 621] region of Abyei close to the border between the two countries. [AJE, 5/6]

May 18: The rebel group JEM killed former leader Muhammad Bashar and his deputy Sulayman Arko in Chad. Bashar had signed a peace treaty with the Sudanese government in Doha on April 6. [AJE, 5/18]

May 22: UN humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos announced that a total of 300,000 people have been displaced due to increased violence in Darfur in the past year, a greater number than combined displacements from the region in the past three years. [AFP, 5/24]

May 25: The government temporarily halted publication of two national newspapers as punishment for negative coverage. The government suspended al-Intibaha, the largest daily, for one week after it reported on military engagements in South Kordofan, while Almeghar Alsyasy, Sudan’s second-most circulated daily, took a hiatus after criticizing supporters of President Bashir and the performance of South Kordofan’s defense minister. [Reuters, 5/25]

May 29: The Banu Halba and al-Qimr tribes renewed fights over gum arabic production lands in south Darfur. The gum Arabic trade, one of Sudan’s key agricultural exports, suffered negative economic effects due to a rise in smuggling to Chad. [Reuters, 5/30]

Jun. 2: The government banned the printing and circulation of Midan, the official newspaper of the opposition Communist Party, one week after suspending publication of the two largest newspapers. Midan editor Madiha ‘Abdullah promised that the newspaper would still publish online, and that he would pursue a lawsuit against the government. [Reuters, 6/2]

Jun. 12: The government accused rebels based in South Sudan for an attack on a pipeline in the Difra oilfield in Sudan, which led to a fire that lasted for several hours. [Reuters, 6/13]

Jun. 27: A clash over a gold mine between the Banu Husayn and Rizayqat tribes in Darfur killed at least 30 people, although other reports estimated that the death toll rose to 100. The groups had been contesting the region since January 2013. [Reuters, 6/27]

Jun. 29: An estimated 10,000 protesters demonstrated in the city of Omdurman, demanding President Bashir’s resignation. The opposition, which organized the rally, expressed frustration over growing food prices and corruption. It threatened to remove Bashir from office within 100 days. [Reuters, 6/29]

Jul. 10: Authorities freed former intelligence chief Salah Gosh on the first day of Ramadan after holding him in custody since November 2012 for allegedly plotting a coup attempt against President Bashir. Bashir previously pardoned an additional 15 intelligence and army officers implicated in the coup. [Reuters, 7/10]

July 11: Fighting began in the Darfur city of Nyala on July 3 between security forces allegedly divided over the killing of an officer of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police, previously part of the Janjaweed militia. Two Sudanese World Vision aid workers died in the struggle, along with an undetermined number of others, and the UN’s World Food Program announced disruptions of food aid to about 400,000 people. Sudanese troops were deployed to the city on July 11 to combat the violence. [AFP, 7/11]

Jul. 12: Seven Tanzanian UN peacekeepers died after unidentified gunmen attacked them near Nyala. Rebels in the region accused the Sudanese government of perpetrating the attack, while the government blamed various insurgent groups in the region. The attack was the worst in the five-year history of the AU-UN’s Mission in Darfur. [AFP, 7/14] [End Page 622]

Syria

See also Arab-Israeli Conflict, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey

Apr. 17: In a report adopted unanimously, the United Nations Security Council accused Syria’s army, intelligence agency, and the pro-government Shabbiha militias of sexual war crimes including systematic rape and assault on women and children. [Daily Star, 4/17]

Apr. 21: Ahmad Mu‘adh al-Khatib, leader of the oppositional Syrian National Coalition (SNC) resigned almost a month after first announcing his intention to step down. Khatib said his resignation intended to denounce the failure of the international community to stop the conflict in Syria. On April 22, the SNC named Syrian National Council president George Sabra as interim leader until the umbrella opposition group’s leadership elections were scheduled to take place two weeks later. [Daily Star, 4/22]

Apr. 22: European Union member states eased an oil embargo on Syria, allowing opponents of the regime to sell crude oil. The EU first imposed sanctions on Syria’s oil industry in September 2011 in response to government protest crackdowns. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) believed that rebel groups controlled most of the oil fields. [BBC, 4/22]

In the rebel-held area of Aleppo Province, militants kidnapped Yuhanna Ibrahim and Bulus Yaziji, the Syriac Orthodox and Greek Orthodox archbishops of Aleppo respectively. The clerics were dragged from their car after carrying out humanitarian work near the Turkish border. Their driver was killed during the attack. [Daily Star, 4/23]

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported 500 people were killed in a week-long assault by the Syrian army on the Damascus suburbs of Jadidat al-Fadl and Jadidat al-‘Artuz, beginning April 15. Many of the dead were civilians, and SOHR reported that some were summarily executed. The massacres were considered some of the bloodiest episodes since the civil war began two years previously. [Reuters, 4/22]

Apr. 24: The 12th century minaret of the Great Mosque of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was destroyed during clashes in the city of Aleppo. Considered one of the most beautiful in the world, the mosque was at the center of fierce fighting for months and already suffered extensive damage. Both parties blamed the other for the damage. [BBC, 4/24]

Apr. 29: Prime Minister Wa’il al-Halqi survived a car bomb targeting his convoy in Damascus’s western Mazza district. Six people died, including one of Halqi’s bodyguards. [Daily Star, 4/29]

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a group claiming to support the Syrian regime, hacked CBS, the Associated Press, and The Guardian’s accounts on the social networking website Twitter beginning on April 21. The same group hacked several BBC Twitter accounts the previous month. A posting made by the SEA that the White House had been attacked from the AP’s account spooked US markets, causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to drop 150 points. [BBC, 4/24]

Apr. 30: A bomb exploded in the central district of Marja in Damascus, killing at least 13 people. The attack took place in a busy commercial district, leaving civilians and security personnel among the victims. Syrian state media blamed the attack on terrorists, but no group claimed responsibility. [BBC, 4/30]

A Syrian air strike on headquarters of a rebel brigade along the Turkish border killed at least five people, including three children. The strike was the closest to the border to date, and targeted buildings and warehouses belonging to Ahrar al-Sham, a Salafi rebel unit. [Daily Star, 4/30]

May 2: The SOHR estimated over 50 people died in fierce clashes between Syrian troops [End Page 623] and rebels in the predominantly Sunni village of al-Bayda’ in Syria’s largely ‘Alawi coastal region of Baniyas. Other reports estimated the death toll at over 100. Some victims were summarily executed, shot to death, stabbed, or immolated. [Daily Star, 5/2]

May 5: Israel carried out air strikes on May 3 and May 5 in Damascus, targeting stockpiles of advanced surface-to-surface missiles from Iran that were bound for the Lebanese Shi‘i group Hizbullah. US president Barack Obama said Israel had the right to defend itself against the transfer of weapons to Hizbullah. The Syrian government said that Israeli air strikes against Syrian military targets were a declaration of war and threatened retaliation. [Reuters, 5/4]

May 7: Syrian rebels kidnapped four Filipino UN peacekeepers along the armistice line between Syria and the Israeli-ruled Golan Heights. The rebel group Yarmuk Martyrs’ Brigade claimed that they seized the peacekeepers to protect them from the Syrian military. The UN Security Council strongly condemned the peacekeepers’ detention and demanded their immediate release. The Yarmuk Martyrs’ Brigade abducted 21 Filipino peacekeepers in the same area in March. [WP, 5/7]

May 14: Syrian troops captured three villages in the Qusayr district of Homs Province, cutting supply lines to rebels inside the town of Qusayr. Surrounded by government forces on three sides, the town was a central site of violence between rebels and Hizbullah-backed Syrian government forces. On May 10, the Syrian army claimed they dropped leaflets over Qusayr warning the town’s remaining 25,000 residents to leave ahead of an imminent attack. [Daily Star, 5/14]

A video was posted portraying an insurgent from Homs called Abu Saqqar cutting out the heart of a Syrian soldier and eating it. Abu Saqqar led a group called the Independent ‘Umar al-Faruq Brigade, an offshoot of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Human Rights Watch called Abu Saqqar’s action a war crime. [BBC, 5/14]

May 15: Syria’s Internet and landline phone services experienced a 19-hour long blackout on May 7, followed by another eight-hour long blackout a week later. State news agencies blamed the blackout on faulty optical fiber cables, but opposition activists blamed the Syrian authorities. Syria also experienced a three-day Internet shutdown in November 2012. [BBC, 5/8]

Rebels detonated two car bombs to blast through the walls of a prison in Aleppo, which held 4,000 inmates, including 250 antigovernment activists. The blasts prompted fierce clashes between government troops and opposition fighters around the prison, killing at least 15 soldiers. [BBC, 5/15]

May 16: Russia sent advanced antiship cruise missiles to Syria, increasing support for the regime of President Bashar al-Asad. The Yakhont missile system had the capacity to establish a no-fly zone or carry out airstrikes, as well as counter any effort by international forces to reinforce Syrian rebels by sea. [NYT, 5/16]

Fighters of the al-Qa‘ida–linked Nusra Front executed 11 soldiers accused of taking part in massacres by regime forces in the coastal town of Baniyas two weeks prior. The execution was the second within two days. Nusra Front broadcast a video showing three blindfolded men being shot in the head in the town of Raqqa. Videos of executions and torture were increasingly common in Syria. [Daily Star, 5/16]

May 17: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that more than 1.5 million people fled Syria as of May 2013. Most arrived to Jordan and Lebanon, where the UNHCR counted 473,587 and 470,457 respectively. The council reported another 4.25 million had been displaced within Syria. [BBC, 5/17]

May 26: Clashes in the northern Afrin region of Syria between rebels and members of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party left 11 dead. Since the beginning of Syria’s uprising, Kurds, who make up 15 percent [End Page 624] of the population, largely refrained from fighting. However, in some areas, including Aleppo, rebels and Kurdish groups joined forces against the regime. [Daily Star, 5/26]

May 27: In a surprise visit, US Senator John McCain crossed the border from Turkey to meet with opposition leaders and discuss calls for heavy weapons and a no-fly zone. [Reuters, 5/27]

After fierce debate, the EU decided not to renew an arms embargo on the Syrian opposition. While the vast majority of EU states opposed the move, they assented in order to preserve unified policy. France and the United Kingdom were the main proponents, arguing that there was growing evidence of chemical weapons use and that lifting the embargo would help end the civil war. [Guardian, 5/27]

Jul. 2: The Vatican confirmed that Father François Murad, a Syrian Roman Catholic priest, was killed on June 23 in the Custody of the Holy Land Convent in the town of Ghassaniyya. Islamists shot him inside his church after attacking and ransacking the monastery. [BBC, 7/2]

Jun. 4: French foreign minister Laurent Fabius confirmed that sarin nerve gas was used by Syrian troops “multiple times and in a localized way” in Syria. It was the most specific claim to date by a Western power regarding chemical attacks in Syria. UK and UN human rights investigators followed by confirming that tests they conducted from samples in Syria were positive for sarin. [Daily Star, 6/4]

June 5: Government forces took control of Qusayr, ending their assault on the rebel-controlled town, which began May 14. Lebanese Hizbullah militants fought alongside Syrian military forces in a battle with the heaviest shelling since the beginning of the Syrian civil war. An opposition group estimated more than 500 rebels died, and at least 1,000 fighters and civilians were wounded. [BBC, 5/19]

Jun. 11: Two suicide bombers attacked a Damascus police station, killing at least 14 people, mostly police. The blasts occurred in central Marja Square near the Interior Ministry, and were the first attacks targeting the capital since the regime took control of Qusayr a week previous. [Daily Star, 6/11]

Jun. 12: Rebels attacked the largely Shi‘i village of Hatla near the Iraqi border, killing at least 60 mostly pro-government fighters. The village had been under opposition control for over a year, but some residents had started to collect arms to support the Asad regime. After the attack, about 150 Shi‘i villagers fled to the nearby government-controlled village of Jafra. [BBC, 6/12]

Jun. 13: After concluding that Syrian troops used chemical weapons against civilians, US president Obama announced that the US would begin supplying the rebels with small arms and ammunition for the first time. US defense secretary Chuck Hagel announced the US would also move F-16 fighter jets and Patriot missiles to Jordan. [NYT, 6/13]

Jun. 17: A rebel suicide bomber detonated six tons of explosives in a truck at a military checkpoint near Aleppo, killing at least 60 Syrian soldiers. A jihadi group affiliated with al-Qa‘ida claimed responsibility for the attack, which was one of the deadliest strikes against government forces to date. [AJE, 6/17]

Jun. 22: Friends of Syria, a group of ministers representing countries opposing the Asad regime, agreed to give urgent military support to the Western-backed rebel Supreme Military Council. This aimed to slow Syrian government forces and offset the growing power of jihadi fighters. Rebels confirmed that they received “game-changing” weapons after the decision was made. [Guardian, 6/22]

Jun. 26: The SOHR announced that the death toll in Syria had surpassed 100,000 people. Meanwhile, the army took full control of the town of Tall Kalakh, near the Lebanese border. The gain consolidated [End Page 625] government control around the city of Homs after his capture of rebel stronghold Qusayr earlier in the month. [Daily Star, 6/26]

Jul. 5: Israel allegedly carried out an air attack near the port city of Latakia, targeting stores of Yakhont missiles. On July 13, US officials confirmed the attack came from Israel, though Israeli officials continued to neither confirm nor deny involvement. The strike was the fourth known Israeli air attack against targets in Syria during 2013. [NYT 7/13]

Jul. 6: The SNC elected a new president, Ahmad Jarba, in an attempt to end months of division within rebel groups. Jarba was a tribal leader from the northeast and a former political prisoner. The group portrayed Jarba as a consensus builder able to unite the group’s many rival factions. [NYT 7/6]

Women political prisoners at the Damascus Central Prison began an indefinite hunger strike to protest prison conditions. Many were held without charge, and a number of cases included torture and sexual abuse. The prisoners’ demands included the right to fair trial, communication with their families, and medical attention. [Daily Star, 7/6]

Jul. 7: Syrian warplanes bombarded rebel-held districts in Homs for over a week. According to the UN, 2,500 to 4,000 people were trapped in the besieged areas. Intense fighting left 60–70% of the rebel-held districts damaged, destroyed, or uninhabitable. Homs served as a crucial gateway for smuggling weapons and personnel from nearby Lebanon, bolstering the rebel cause in the city. [Daily Star, 7/7]

Jul. 8: The ruling Ba‘th Party elected a new regional leadership, which included replacing the country’s long-time vice president, Faruq al-Shara‘. Vice President Shara‘ was a close associate of the Asad family. [Daily Star, 7/8]

Opposition Prime Minister Ghassan Hitto resigned, citing his inability to form an interim government and claiming his resignation was for the revolution’s benefit. Hitto was appointed in March 2013 by the SNC in order to head an interim government for rebel-held areas. Some opposition members mistrusted Hitto because of his proximity to the Qatar-backed Muslim Brotherhood. [Daily Star, 7/8]

Jul. 9: Russia claimed it had evidence showing the use of sarin gas in an attack by rebels in the village of Khan al-‘Asl near Aleppo. The March 19 attack killed at least 27. Both the government and rebels blamed each other for using chemical weapons, and both sides denied using such weapons. The US claimed it had not seen any evidence to suggest any party other than the Syrian government had used chemical weapons. [Reuters, 7/9]

Members of the Syrian opposition said they gave up hope that the US would deliver promised military aid. The US Congress delayed the plan to send weapons due to fears that arms would fall into the hands of Islamist militants such as the Nusra Front. [Daily Star, 7/10]

July 12: Fighters from the al-Qa‘ida–linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant killed senior FSA commander Kamal Hamami. The member of the FSA Supreme Military Council was stopped at a checkpoint and then killed alongside his brother after a heated debate with a local leader of the jihadi group. FSA fighters said the killings were tantamount to a declaration of war. [AJE, 7/12]

Tunisia

See also Libya

Apr. 30: A military court sentenced former Tunisian president Zine El-‘Abidine Ben ‘Ali to life in prison for violence against protesters in southeast Tunisia in 2010 and 2011, in which one protester was killed. Ben ‘Ali previously received two other life sentences while in exile in Saudi Arabia. He and his wife, Leila Trabelsi, were also convicted of narcotics possession, housing fraud, and abuse of power in July 2011. [AFP, 4/30] [End Page 626]

May 2: A Tunis court acquitted Manouba University dean Habib Qazdaghli, accused of slapping a veiled female student in March 2012, in an incident that triggered intense public controversy. The initial incident occurred when the student and an accomplice allegedly ransacked Qazdaghli’s office, after which the student claimed that Qazdaghli slapped her, which he denied. [AFP, 5/2]

May 19: After the government banned the annual meeting of Ansar al-Shari‘a, a Salafi organization with links to al-Qa‘ida, police clashed with about 500 Salafi protesters in the central city of Kairouan and suburb of Ettadhamen, resulting in one death. The government had banned the meeting amid concerns over public security. Before the protest, police arrested Ansar al-Shari‘a spokesman Saifeddine Raïs. [Guardian, 5/19]

Jun. 7: Two soldiers died after their vehicle hit a roadside bomb as it traveled by Mount Chambi, near the Algerian border. The soldiers had been tracking insurgents linked to al-Qa‘ida in the Islamic Maghrib. The incident marked the first military deaths from bombs during the counterterrorism campaign that began in December 2012. [AFP, 6/7]

Jun. 12: A Tunis court sentenced three European members of FEMEN, a Ukraine-based women’s rights group, to four months in prison on charges of indecency after marching topless in front of the Justice Ministry on June 5. The women had been protesting the May 19 arrest of Tunisian FEMEN member Amina Sboui after she posted topless photos of herself on the social networking site Facebook and sprayed “FEMEN” on a cemetery in Tunis. [RFE/RL, 6/12]

Jun. 27: After apologizing for their actions and promising not to repeat them, three European FEMEN activists arrested on May 29 for public indecency and offending public morals left Tunisia shortly after a Tunis court released them. Once the women landed in Paris on June 27, they retracted the apology. Police arrested the women for baring their breasts in front of the main courthouse in Tunis, to protest the incarceration of Tunisian FEMEN activist, Amina Sboui, marking Femen’s first protest in the Muslim world. [AFP, 6/27]

Jun. 30: Hundreds of Libyan and west African refugees residing in the Choucha camp in southern Tunisia refused government orders to leave, obstructing officials’ attempts to take down their tents, despite authorities’ severing of electricity lines and water to the camp. Refugees demanded asylum in western nations, protesting the permanent accommodations offered to them in Tunisia, which they believe lacked laws protecting refugees from discrimination. The camp still housed about 700 people, down from 18,000 during the Libyan Revolution. [AFP, 6/30]

Jul. 1: At least a dozen opposition leaders left Tunisia’s Constitutional Assembly in response to the final draft of the postrevolution constitution, which they claimed the ruling Islamist Ennahda Movement unfairly altered. The assembly began drafting the constitution in October 2011, working eight months longer than the allotted year granted to produce the draft. [AP, 7/1]

Jul. 5: French president François Hollande pledged an additional $645 million to support Tunisia’s new democracy on a two-day trip to Tunis. Hollande, the first French leader to visit since the 2011 overthrow of former president Ben ‘Ali, referred to Tunisia as an example for the region for developing a new government after unrest. [Reuters, 7/5]

Jul. 11: The Tunis Appeals Court ordered the release of former interior minister ‘Abdullah Kallel and former secretary general of the ruling Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD), Mohamed Ghariani. Kallel was arrested in March 2011 on charges of embezzling funds from the RCD, and a military court sentenced him to two years in jail for torturing of army officers accused of planning a coup against Ben ‘Ali in 1991. Police arrested Ghariani in 2011 for embezzlement and abuse of power. [AFP, 7/11] [End Page 627]

Turkey

See also Syria

Apr. 15: An Istanbul court sentenced world-renowned Turkish pianist Fazıl Say to a suspended ten-month prison term over a series of posts on the social networking website Twitter that allegedly insulted Islamic values. [Hurriyet, 4/15]

May 1: Riot police clashed with thousands of May Day demonstrators in Istanbul’s central Şişli district, firing tear gas and water cannons as protesters tried to break through barricades. At least 28 were injured and 72 arrests were made. Major roads, bridges, bus routes, and subway stations were closed in an attempt to keep people away from Taksim Square. [Daily Star, 5/1]

May 11: Two car bombs killed at least 50 and injured at least 100 in Reyhanlı, a town near the Syrian border serving as an entry point for refugees. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Antakya a day after the bombs, and local people attacked cars with Syrian license plates. Nine suspects were detained over alleged connections to the attack. Turkey blamed radical Marxists backed with the Syrian regime, but no group claimed responsibility. [BBC, 5/11]

May 15: Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse around 300 students demonstrating in Ankara against the attacks in Reyhanlı. Students hurled stones and demanded the resignation of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. [Daily Star, 5/15]

May 23: Turkey closed the Yayladagı border crossing with Syria, the last still controlled by the Syrian government, following two deadly bombings in May. Customs Minister Hayati Yazıcı said the gate would remain closed for a month, during which only Turkish citizens or non-Syrians would be allowed to cross into Turkey. All border crossings from Turkey to Syria were banned for that month. [Daily Star, 5/23]

May 24: Turkey passed a law banning alcohol advertising and prohibiting shops from selling alcohol from 10 PM to 6 AM, with fines of up to $270,000 and a one-year jail sentence for selling to minors. Since 2002, the government took multiple measures against alcohol. While Turkey had a secular constitution, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was criticized for undermining the separation of state and religion. [Reuters, 5/24]

May 30: Police arrested 12 people suspected of links to the Nusra Front and possible connections to the twin car bombings in Reyhanlı on May 11. The men were arrested in raids in Istanbul, Adana, and Mersin. Unknown chemicals were also found in the raids. [BBC, 5/30]

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was placed on the US State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations for another year. The Turkish government initiated peace talks with the PKK at the end of 2012, and the PKK started withdrawing its militants from Turkey in May. The US first designated the PKK as a terrorist organization in 1997. [Hurriyet 5/31]

May 31: Demonstrators began a week-long sit-in on May 27 at Gezi Park in downtown Istanbul after trees were torn up under a government redevelopment plan that involved building a shopping center in the park. At least 12 people were injured after Turkish police used tear gas and water cannons on May 31, sparking a broader demonstration against the AKP government. [BBC, 5/31]

Jun. 1: Turkish police pulled out of Taksim Square for one day as thousands of protesters poured in. Protesters claimed victory after police left and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo an conceded the police response was excessive. By June 1, dozens had been injured and almost 1000 arrested in more than 90 antigovernment protests across Turkey related to the Gezi Park project. [BBC, 6/1]

Jun. 2: Police used tear gas and water cannons against protesters in Istanbul’s Taksim Square and in Ankara as the protesters erected barricades near Prime Minister [End Page 628] Erdoğan’s office. The premier dismissed the demonstrators as “looters” and hundreds were injured in the clashes. Meanwhile, a car ploughed into demonstrators occupying a highway in Istanbul, which marked the first death in the clashes since the Gezi Park protests began. [Daily Star, 6/2]

Jun. 3: The Borsa Istanbul 100, Turkey’s main share index, fell 10.5 percent following investor concerns over the escalation of antigovernment protests. The Turkish lira also fell to a 16-month low. [BBC, 6/3]

Jun. 4: Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç apologized to protesters injured in Gezi Park demonstrations and referred to the original protests as legitimate. However, he called for the protests to end, saying that terrorists had been taken them over. Thousands of protesters returned to Taksim in defiance of Arınç’s calls and demanded that he sack police chiefs in Istanbul, Ankara, and other major cities. Meanwhile, public workers in Istanbul launched a two-day strike in support of antigovernment protests. [BBC, 6/4]

Jun. 11: Riot police cleared Taksim after two weeks of antigovernment protests and clashes between protesters and police. Police deployed water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets, causing protesters to flee into nearby Gezi Park. Some protesters hurled fireworks, firebombs, and stones at police. [BBC, 6/11]

Jun. 13: The death toll from antigovernment protests rose to five when Ether Sarisuluk died several days after a tear gas canister struck his head during protests in Ankara on June 1. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Erdoğan held talks in Ankara with members of a key protest group. Protesters rejected Erdoğan’s ultimatum to evacuate Gezi Park in return for a referendum on its planned redevelopment. [Daily Star, 6/13]

The Turkish Armed Forces exchanged fire with a group of 500 civilians trying to illegally cross the Bükülmez border crossing near the Syrian border. The group fled towards Syria after the exchange. [Hurriyet, 6/13]

Jun. 15: After talks with protesters, the government suspended redevelopment plans for Gezi Park until a court decided its legality. Meanwhile, Turkish police cleared the park and nearby Taksim Square of protesters, injuring several people with water cannons, rubber bullets, and tear gas. [BBC, 6/15]

Jun. 17: Prime Minister Erdoğan rallied hundreds of thousands of supporters at a parade ground in Istanbul as riot police fired tear gas at antigovernment rallies in Taksim Square. Erdoğan told supporters that protests had been manipulated by terrorists and dismissed accusations that he was behaving like a dictator. [Daily Star, 6/17]

Jun. 18: Prime Minister Erdoğan claimed victory over antigovernment protesters after a heavy crackdown on demonstrators. Police raided homes and arrested dozens of demonstrators in an effort to quell three weeks of unrest. By June 21, over 500 demonstrators were arrested and at least 24 faced charges including membership in a terrorist organization and damaging public property. [BBC, 6/21]

Jun. 27: Turkey asked the social networking website Twitter to set up a representative office inside the country, allowing the government a tighter rein on the website, which had been accused of encouraging antigovernment protests. Government officials claimed that without Twitter’s corporate presence, they could not quickly reach Twitter officials with orders to take down content or request user data. Twitter declined to respond to the request. [Daily Star, 6/27]

Jun. 28: Turkish police killed one person and wounded at least six when they fired on a group protesting the construction of a new police outpost in Kurdish-dominated southeastern Turkey in the village of Kayacık in Diyarbakir Province. On July 30, Kurdish protesters clashed with security forces ahead of planned demonstrations against Ankara’s lack of commitment to a peace process with Kurdish militants. [Daily Star, 6/28] [End Page 629]

Jul. 4: An administrative Istanbul court blocked the Gezi Park redevelopment project that ignited widespread protests a month previously. The decision was not final and the government was likely to appeal to a higher court. The court said the plan violated historical preservation laws for park and the Taksim area. [Daily Star, 7/5]

Jul. 8: Istanbul governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu reopened Gezi Park to the public, but quickly closed it only a few hours later, after warning that he would not allow it to become a site of further protests. Police fired water cannons at protesters in the area. The park reopened the following day after a night of clashes between police and protesters. [Daily Star, 7/9]

Jul. 13: The Grand National Assembly amended the Turkish Armed Forces’ code, changing a clause granting the military the responsibility of preserving the Republic, previously used as a justification for coups. The clause was changed to define the army’s main duty as protecting the nation from foreign threat. The military staged three coups between 1960 and 1980 and had a history of tension with the ruling AKP. [BBC, 7/13]

Jul. 14: Police fired tear gas and water cannons at hundreds of antigovernment protesters in Gezi Park. Protesters scattered into side streets before starting to regroup near Taksim Square. Demonstrators also clashed with shopkeepers unhappy about weeks of bad business caused by demonstrations. [Daily Star, 7/14]

United Arab Emirates

See also Egypt

Apr. 18: Seven militants were arrested in Dubai allegedly belonging to an al-Qa‘ida cell on charges of fundraising and recruiting for the group, as well as for planning attacks on nearby oil-producing states for the second time in a year. [Reuters, 4/18]

Apr. 29: President Shaykh Zayid bin Sultan Al Nahyan pardoned 100 Egyptian prisoners. Emirati officials released no details on the identities of or charges against the convicts. [Reuters, 4/29]

Jun. 19: An Abu Dhabi court charged 30 Egyptians and Emiratis for allegedly forming an unauthorized cell of the Muslim Brotherhood. Officials accused the founders of recruiting and fundraising in Abu Dhabi, which had banned political parties. The UAE denied Egypt’s request for the release of its citizens. [AFP, 6/19]

Jun. 27: Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch publicized parts of 22 letters smuggled out of an Emirati prison that included allegations of torturing prisoners. The details mentioned sleep deprivation and beatings as coercion methods. [BBC, 6/27]

Jul. 2: The Federal Supreme Court sentenced 68 members of the Islamist opposition group al-Islah allegedly plotting to overthrow the government between three and 15 years in prison without appeal. Twenty-six others accused were acquitted. The trial of the group began in March, and the Emirati government accused them of having organizational ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which the prisoners denied. [Reuters, 7/2]

Yemen

See also Oman

Apr. 17: Two alleged US drone strikes in April killed seven people, including Hamid al-Radmi, a leader of al-Qa‘ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The first strike killed four militants alongside Radmi on April 17 just south of Sana‘a, while the second strike killed two people at an AQAP training camp in central Yemen. Authorities also found a stockpile of weapons at the second strike site. [Reuters, 4/21]

Apr. 23: A court convicted 11 AQAP members for conspiring to undermine national stability by planning attacks on both foreign embassies and the army. The judge sentenced them to ten years in jail. [AP, 4/23] [End Page 630]

Apr. 27: Two alleged AQAP insurgents died in an attack on a military checkpoint which killed five soldiers south of Sana‘a. [AJE, 4/28]

Apr. 30: Over two days, regional power lines and a major oil pipeline were damaged in eastern Yemen, resulting in extensive power outages and a disruption of oil flow to the Red Sea. Electricity Minister Salih Sumay‘ blamed local tribes loyal to former president ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Salih. A similar incident occurred on April 8. [AFP, 4/30]

May 8: Militants killed three Yemeni pilots en route to meet US forces at al-‘Anad airbase in Lahj Province. Local officials accused AQAP of coordinating the attack. [Reuters, 5/8]

May 9: Suspected AQAP kidnappers freed a Finnish couple and an Austrian student captured by masked gunmen in Sana‘a on December 21. In a video released in February, the student requested that Austria, Yemen, and the European Union pay for the detainees’ freedom. However, Oman paid the ransom for the hostages’ release. [AJE, 5/9]

May 18: Two suspected US drone strikes on vehicles traveling in southern Yemen killed a total of six AQAP militants and wounded several others over the course of two days. Two similar attacks killed six in April. [Reuters, 5/20]

May 24: Unidentified insurgents bombed a pipeline in the Sarwah region of central Ma’rib Province, blocking all crude oil from reaching the Red Sea. A similar incident occurred in April, but the suspects did not stanch the oil flow completely. Militants dissatisfied with the national government repeatedly targeted pipelines as a form of protest in 2013. [Reuters, 5/24]

May 27: Hundreds of activists calling for the release of 58 political prisoners implicated in the 2011 uprising against former president Salih began a two-day sit-in outside the public prosecutor’s office in Sana‘a. President ‘Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi ordered the release of the detained prisoners in March, but the public prosecutor did not comply. Twenty of the current prisoners went on hunger strike on May 24 to increase pressure for their release, while the status of 17 other prisoners was not disclosed. [AFP, 5/28]

South African diplomats arrived to attempt to find a couple kidnapped by suspected tribesmen in the city of Ta‘izz on May 27. The couple was involved in developing a hotel in the city, and the incident marked the first kidnapping in Ta‘izz. [AFP, 5/29]

Jun. 5: Nine people, including soldiers and militants, died when the army launched an attack on the city of al-Mukalla in the eastern Hadramawt region, where AQAP militants vowed to establish an Islamic state. Some 10,000 troops, backed by tanks and army jets, participated in the attack. [AP, 6/5]

Jun. 10: Soldiers raided the hideout of AQAP leader ‘Umar ‘Ashur in Hadramawt. At least one soldier and seven militants died in the raid, and ‘Ashur was apprehended along with six other AQAP members. [Reuters, 6/10]

Jun. 13: One soldier died when insurgents attacked a technical convoy on its way to repair a pipeline damaged by other tribesmen in the Sarwah region. The attack completely stopped the flow of oil through the pipeline, which flowed from the Yemeni company Safer’s oilfields to the Red Sea port of Hudayda. A subsequent attack on the same pipeline occurred on June 27 and yielded some damage, but did not stanch the flow of oil completely. [AFP, 6/13]

Jul. 6: A roadside bomb contained in a plastic bag killed three security personnel in the al-Hasaba district of Sana‘a. No party claimed responsibility for the attack. [Guardian, 7/6]

Jul. 8: Unknown assailants killed Colonel Ahmad Muhammad al-Suhayli, a commander and artillery battalion leader in Hadramawt, as he headed home from work. Suhayli exchanged fire with his assailants and wounded one of them. [Reuters, 7/8] [End Page 631]