Special Correspondent, Middle East
Alistair's Feed
Jan 11, 2012

Assad vows victory, Syria accused of war crimes

BEIRUT, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad vowed on Wednesday to vanquish “foreign conspirators”
plotting to end his rule, and an Arab League observer quit
Syria, accusing the authorities of committing war crimes.

Assad, fighting 10 months of pro-democracy protests, greeted
thousands of rapturous supporters in a Damascus square, only a
day after breaking a six-month public silence.

Jan 9, 2012

Embattled Assad to make speech on “internal issue”

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, locked in a violent struggle against a wave of unrest, is to make a speech on Tuesday on “the internal issue and international and regional developments”, state media said.

The SANA news agency gave no further details. Assad, whose forces are accused of killing thousands of protesters over the last 10 months, is coming under increasing scrutiny from neighbouring states.

Jan 9, 2012

Arab monitors “buy time” for Assad: Syria opposition

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Arab League monitors are only giving Syrian authorities more time to crack down on opponents, opposition figures said on Monday after the League opted to keep the mission in place despite Syria’s failure to comply fully with an Arab peace plan.

The observers, whose mission began two weeks ago, have so far failed to stop a violent crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad in which the United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed in the past 10 months.

Jan 7, 2012

Syria buries victims of contested bombing

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Crowds waving Syrian flags and pictures of President Bashar al-Assad gathered on Saturday to bury 26 people who the authorities said were killed by a suicide bomber at a busy Damascus crossroads.

The opposition Syrian National Council has accused the government of staging Friday’s explosion to try to bolster its contention that it is fighting foreign-backed “terrorists”, not a popular pro-democracy movement.

Dec 23, 2011

Syria bombings signal deadlier phase of revolt

LONDON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Two suicide bombs that killed 40 people in Damascus on Friday may mark a new order of violence aimed at toppling Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, although some of his foes pointed the finger at his own intelligence services.

“We have all sorts of suspicions that this could be organised by the regime itself,” said Basma Qadmani, spokeswoman for the main opposition Syrian National Council.

Dec 23, 2011

Analysis: Syria bombings signal deadlier phase of revolt

LONDON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Two suicide bombs that killed 40 people in Damascus on Friday may mark a new order of violence aimed at toppling Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, although some of his foes pointed the finger at his own intelligence services.

“We have all sorts of suspicions that this could be organized by the regime itself,” said Basma Qadmani, spokeswoman for the main opposition Syrian National Council.

Dec 3, 2011

Islamist poll win sets up tussle with Egypt military

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian voters are sweeping Islamists to a victory that sidelines liberals and sets up a struggle with army generals eager to keep their power despite the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

The Islamists won’t have it all their way. They are split into two main factions. If they push a religious agenda too hard, they risk alienating the many floating voters who decided to give them a chance.

Dec 3, 2011

Analysis: Islamist poll win sets up tussle with Egypt military

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian voters are sweeping Islamists to a victory that sidelines liberals and sets up a struggle with army generals eager to keep their power despite the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

The Islamists won’t have it all their way. They are split into two main factions. If they push a religious agenda too hard, they risk alienating the many floating voters who decided to give them a chance.

Dec 2, 2011

Egypt awaits poll results, Tahrir protest starts

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt will hear the results of elections which Islamist parties expect to win on Friday and protesters rallied in Cairo to remember 42 people killed in clashes with police last month.

“Without Tahrir, we wouldn’t have had these elections,” said Mohamed Gad, in the Cairo square that was the hub of the revolt that ousted Hosni Mubarak in February. “God willing, the elections will succeed and the revolution will triumph.”

Dec 1, 2011

Islamists seen winners in Egypt election

CAIRO (Reuters) – Initial results of Egypt’s first free election in six decades will emerge on Thursday, with Islamist parties expecting to command a majority in parliament, hard on the heels of victories by their counterparts in Tunisia and Morocco.

Parliament, whose exact makeup will be clear only after Egypt’s staggered voting process ends in January, may challenge the power of ruling generals who took over in February when a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak, an ex-air force chief.

    • About Alistair

      "I cover the Middle East, with an emphasis on political analysis, region-wide stories and in-depth features. I live in Beirut and have been in my current post since June 2006. Outside my main Middle Eastern beat, I have covered Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan."
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