crisis coverage

As the pro-democracy rebels expand their control over Tripoli, they will need to forge a new Libyan identity – one not based on the empty nationalism of Pan-Arabism, common geography, shared history, or even Islam. No, to avoid this North African nation splintering along tribal lines or to prevent another dictator, Libyans must reimagine themselves as citizens.

Libya's internet connections appear to be slowly coming back online after a six-month appeared that Libyans were making use of their newly restored connectivity - when available - to chronicle fast-moving events inside the country. Groups such as the Libya Youth Movement posted Twitter messages giving regular updates on attempts to capture Colonel Gaddafi's compound.

The move has been closely coordinated with European, Turkish and Arab allies and would come one day after al-Assad told the head of the United Nations that military and police operations against anti-government protesters have stopped...

The servers that house Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger don't have a political, social or legal agenda. Their job is simply to transmit what people post and deliver it to people who want to see it. But the same technologies can also be used to espouse unpopular causes or even rally people to anti-social, illegal or destructive acts.

August 16, 2011

Something big is happening in China, and it started soon after the onset of the “Arab Spring” demonstrations and regime changes: the most serious and widespread wave of repression since the Tiananmen Square crackdowns 22 years ago. The spread of protest from one Arab-Islamic country to its neighbors might have seemed predictable. Less so was the effect in China.

As Syrian forces reportedly begin a third day of their assault on the port of Latakia, newspapers in the region have expressed anger about Arab states' failure to respond to events in that country. Several commentators strongly criticise the "shameful Arab silence" towards the Syrian authorities, with one saying that it amounts to handing over the country to "anarchy."

The Syrian revolt is an important part of the broader Arab Spring that is transforming the Middle East, and U.S. policy must transform with it. After months of disappointing statements urging Assad to "reform," the Obama administration has begun to align itself with the Syrian people....

Al Jazeera English has squashed several planned rebroadcasts of “Shouting in the Dark,” an hourlong documentary about Bahrain’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters that abrought complaints from Bahraini authorities. The episode illustrates the thorny issue of independence for Al Jazeera, which is financed by the emir of Qatar and is perceived by some people to be a diplomatic tool of the country.