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Middle East and North Africa in revolt

A country-by-country overview of the main shock waves spreading across North Africa and the Middle East since the revolt that overthrew Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January.

world Updated: Feb 15, 2011 19:46 IST

A country-by-country overview of the main shock waves spreading across North Africa and the Middle East since the revolt that overthrew Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January:

TUNISIA: On January 5 the death of a young man who set himself on fire in despair over unemployment and harassment by officials provided a focus for endemic revolt.

On January 14 president Ben Ali, who had ruled with an iron hand for 23 years, fled the country, which is now ruled by a provisional government. The Tunisian revolution set off shock waves throughout the Arab world and beyond.

EGYPT: Ten days after the fall of the Tunisian dictatorship widespread unrest broke out in Egypt, which is both the most populous Arab state and a key link in US strategy for the region, notably in support of Israel.

After 18 days of nationwide revolt including strikes and a million-strong march, president Hosni Mubarak left Cairo and handed power to the army on Friday February 11. Mubarak had been in power for almost 30 years.

On Monday the military government called for an end to widespread strikes.

IRAN: The revolution of 1979 turned Iran into an islamic republic and made it a key enemy of the United States. In 2009, contested elections sparked a wave of revolts led by two defeated candidates who claimed the poll was rigged.

Although the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad officially welcomed the overthrow of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, security forces have cracked down on protests calling for a similar revolt in Iran. A bystander was reported shot dead during such protests on Monday.

YEMEN: The fall of the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes have brought a wave of militancy by students against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years.

Protests and clashes were continuing on Tuesday on Yemen, the poorest of all the Arab states.

ALGERIA: After winning independence from France in a bitter war in the 1950s, Algeria has been under a state of emergency since the military stepped in to halt elections in 1992.

Since the revolt in Tunisia, its immediate neighbour, the country has seen a wave of protests, partly motivated by unemployment and high food prices. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been in power since 1999.

BAHRAIN: Protests in the small Gulf island state, which hosts major US naval facilities, have centred on discontent among its Shia Muslim population, who form a majority but have little representation among the predominantly Sunni elite. Two Shiites died in violence on Monday and Tuesday after calls for protests based on the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt.

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: The fall of the Mubarak regime brought scenes of jubilation in both the Gaza Strip -- which borders Egypt -- and in the West Bank. On Monday, the government of the Palestinian Authority resigned ahead of elections which are seen as a way of boosting its legitimacy in the light of the Arab revolt. However the Hamas movement which controls the Gaza Strip has refused to hold new elections.

JORDAN: Since early February, several protests have been held in support of the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt and against high food prices. However King Abdullah II, who succeeded his father on the throne in 1999, has opened talks with Islamist opposition.

On Monday the situation in Jordan was complicated by a row with neighbouring Israel, after a Jordanian minister described the killer of seven Israeli schoolchildren as a "hero".

LIBYA: After initially expressing regret at the fall of the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia, which borders Libya, leader Moamer Kadhafi has expressed support for the Arab revolts. On Sunday he called on Palestinian refugees to march on the Palestinian territories.

Meanwhile Libyan groups using the Internet were calling for a "day of rage" in the country on Thursday.