By James Brandon
The last few days have seen a fresh surge in violence in many ‘Arab Spring’ countries, raising new questons over the emerging direction of the ‘new’ Middle East.
In Egypt, almost 80 people were killed two days ago when political violence broke out at football match. Clashes between police and various groups are still continuing around the country, with five more people killed in Suez today. Separately, two female American tourists were briefly seized by armed gunmen in Sinai.
In Libya, new crimes apparently committed by country’s powerful militias continue to emerge. Human Rights Watch today reported that man who had served as a senior Libyan diplomat under Gaddafi had been tortured to death by a Tripoli militia after being taken into custody in mid-January. Yesterday other militias fought a pitched battle in the capital as they struggled for control of an army barracks.
In Syria, violence also continues with both the regime and opposition forces apparently targetting civilians and non-combatants. Earlier today, Human Rights Watch alleged that Syrian government forces were routinely detaining and tortuing children as young as thirteen. Separately, Sunni-led opposition forces are believed to have kidnapped a number of Iranian Shia pilgrims in the country’s east, leading Iran to urge pilgrims to avoid travelling to Syria by road. (more…)