Showing posts with label arab league. Show all posts
Showing posts with label arab league. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Syria Divided by Armed Conflict (Feb. 2012)

There are newer versions of this map available. To see them, view all Syria updates.

Country Name: Syria (English), Sūriyya/Sūryā (Arabic)
Official Name: Syrian Arab Republic (English), al-Jumhūriyyah al-‘Arabīyah as-Sūriyyah (Arabic)
News Category: Divided Countries, Intergovernmental Organizations
Summary: Ten months in Syria's popular uprising, parts of the country have fallen out of government hands and into the control of the "Free Syrian Army," a group made up mostly of defectors from the national military. Meanwhile, Syria has been been suspended from the Arab League due its government's failure to stop using violence against unarmed protesters.

Known areas of armed activity for the rebel "Free Syrian Army" - many rural areas may be under full rebel
control. Unarmed protests, much more widespread than armed rebel activity, are not shown here. Map is my
own work, starting from this blank map by German Wikipedia user NordNordWest. License: CC BY-SA (Corrected
Feb. 26, 2012 for partial Hama control and eastern region activity; again on Mar. 9, 2012 for Rastan control.)

Full Story
The "Arab Spring" has brought incredible upheaval to the the Middle East and North Africa - first the Tunisian and Egyptian dictatorships fell to peaceful protesters; then Libya became embroiled in a civil war, while Yemen too began to fragment under opposing forces. Now, Syria has become the third country in the region to be divided between warring armies, as the 10-month-old uprising has given way to formidable armed resistance from a growing network of military defectors calling themselves the "Free Syrian Army" (FSA).

Wikipedia: Arab Spring

Even before the armed resistance began in earnest last September, the Syrian government and its president, Bashar al-Assad, were making headlines with their brutal crackdowns on peaceful protesters, along with tank-led sieges of disobedient cities. After six months of government violence, the FSA rebels burst onto the stage with a successful, if temporary, takeover of the anti-government city of Rastan (See News Bits: October 2011). They were eventually driven out of Rastan, and moved their headquarters across the border into Turkey, using the next three months to slowly consolidate control over the northwestern province of Idlib, while also gaining ground in the city of Homs and the provinces of Hama and Daraa. [Update: The FSA took control a of Rastan a second time just as this post was being written.]
Map of the Arab Spring. Protests, and in some cases full scale revolutions, have reached across the entire Arab
World. Map is from this Wikipedia page (public domain; original graphic).
All the while, the rebels were hitting targets closer and closer to the capital city of Damascus, until finally in January they successfully seized the nearby city of Zabadani. Fighting around the capital escalated quickly, with the FSA spreading its control across most of the suburbs of Damascus by January 27. Over the next few days, Assad's government launched a largely successful offensive to take back the areas surrounding the capital, though the rebels still claim control of Douma, Damascus's most populous suburb. The cities of Homs and Idlib are also reported to be largely under FSA control, along with much of rural Idlib province. And the territorial division in Syria may be even more extensive than we know - journalists have been forbidden to enter the country, making it difficult to follow developments on the ground.

Wikipedia: 2011–2012 Syrian uprising

The Arab League, with Syria in lighter green at top right.
Map by Danalm000, from Wikimedia (license: CC BY-SA)
Arab League Involvement
The League of Arab States (better known as the Arab League), an international organization of which Syria is a founding member, has taken a close interest in the events unfolding within the country. In November, the body voted to suspend Syria's membership unless President Assad brought an end to the violence against civilian protesters. Assad failed to follow through with any concrete action, and the country was suspended from the League. In January, the organization sent a delegation of observers into Syria to examine the situation; they were allowed inside the country, but eventually were forced to leave due to escalating violence between government forces and the FSA. As the region's main representative body, the Arab League will likely be a major player in any future decisions by the international community to intervene in Syria's civil war.

Wikipedia: League of Arab States

Monday, November 7, 2011

Libya Reunited Under Rebels

Country Name (official): Libya (English), Lībyā (Arabic)
News Category: Divided Countries
Summary: Libya's civil war came to an end two weeks ago, as rebels under the National Transitional Council (NTC) completed their two-month campaign to flush out the last forces loyal to dictator Muammar Gaddafi. After taking the capital city of Tripoli in August, the NTC had already assumed Libya's seat in the United Nations, the African Union, and the Arab League, with formal recognition from 100 U.N. member states. With the end of the war, the air-based foreign military intervention that helped bring victory to the rebels has also now come to a close.
The NTC's last campaigns to reunite Libya. Gaddafi-held cities (green) and
rebel-held cities (black) as of 2 Sep. Rebel movements and capture dates
in red. My own work based on public domain map from Wikipedia (source).

Full Story
Libya's participation in the "Arab Spring" movement happening across the Middle East and North Africa began as a series of protests in February, and quickly transformed into an armed uprising after national leader Muammar Gaddafi responded with violent crackdowns. Soon the country's territory was divided between Gaddafi's government and rebel forces under the National Transitional Council (NTC), with the latter dominating the eastern half of the country as well as the western mountains near Tripoli, the national capital. A near-stalemate held for about five months, as a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone and NATO-led bombing campaign kept Gaddafi's forces at bay. Then, in late August, the rebels suddenly stormed into Tripoli, taking the national capital and many of the surrounding areas. The Gaddafi government only remained in control of a few scattered cities and desert outposts.

See Also: Political Geography Now: Libyan Rebels Take Capital

The NTC's official flag of Libya (bottom) has replaced that
of Gaddafi (top). Public domain, from this Wikipedia page.
For two months following the takeover of Tripoli, the NTC mounted a campaign to drive out the last bastions of Gaddafi loyalist control and reunite the country under their own banner. The first area to fall was the southwestern Fezzan, a desert region with Sabha as its major city, in mid-to-late September. Then came Tripoli's neighbor Bani Walid on 17 October, and finally Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte three days later. As Sirte fell to the rebels, Gaddafi himself was finally captured, and soon died under mysterious circumstances. NTC Chair Mustafa Abdul Jalil declared the war officially over on 23 October. NATO's enforcement and bombing mission ended one week later, following the U.N. Security Council's withdrawal of its authorization for a no-fly zone and military protection of civilians. The rebel victory also brings an end to the dispute over the country's flag (see illustration at left) and its official name, now just "Libya" rather than Gaddafi's inventive "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya."

Wikipedia: 2011 Libyan Civil War

As the NTC rebels expanded their control over the country and Libyan diplomats abroad defected by the dozen, many countries around the world made the gesture of recognizing the NTC as the legitimate government of Libya. One hundred U.N. member states and four non-member states have declared their recognition of the new government, though the point is largely moot now that the NTC officially represents Libya in the United Nations itself. On 16 September, the U.N. General Assembly voted by a majority to hand over the country's seat to the NTC, with 114 countries in favor and only 17 countries from Africa and Latin America voting against (a number of other delegations abstained or were absent). The African Union, within which Muammar Gaddafi was until recently a prominent figure, had declined to fully support the rebels during the war, but finally authorized the NTC to hold Libya's seat in the organization on 20 October. Libya is also a member of the Arab League, which handed representation over to the NTC after the fall of Tripoli in August. Prior to that, Libya's Arab League membership had been suspended in support of the rebels.

Countries officially recognizing the NTC during the war in dark blue, and countries officially opposing it in dark red. Libya in yellow. Countries in lighter colors unofficially acknowledged or opposed the NTC through diplomatic activities or votes in the U.N. General Assembly. Slightly modified from public domain Wikimedia map (source).
Wikipedia: International Recognition of the National Transitional Council