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Welcome to our live blog of the turmoil in the Middle East. Written by John Aglionby and Tom Burgis on the news desk in London and with contributions from correspondents around the world. All times are GMT.
- Where next for Egypt now that the protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square have rejected the ruling military’s offer of an accelerated handover to civilian rule?
- After three broken promises, Ali Abdullah Saleh, president of Yemen, has finally bowed to mounting pressure and signed a deal to begin the transfer of power
- A major report on human rights in Bahrain has been published – and is analysed here by a Chatham House expert
- Syria remains in crisis
18.52 That brings us to the end of our live coverage of the Middle East today. See FT.com through the night for updates from Tahrir Square and analysis of what Saleh’s promise to depart means for Yemen. We’ll leave you with this exclusive analysis on the political implications of today’s report into abuses by Bahrain’s security forces from Jane Kinninmont, senior research fellow in the Middle East and North Africa programme at the Chatham House think-tank (emphasis ours). Read more
One of the unusual aspects of the Bahrain uprising in February and March this year was the fact that it did not dominate the broadcasts of Qatar’s al Jazeera (the Arabic language channel) and Saudi Arabia’s al-Arabiya.
In the name of Gulf solidarity – and given the dispatch of Saudi and other Gulf troops to bolster the ruling al-Khalifa family – highlighting a youth awakening among Bahrain’s Shia against the Sunni monarchy was out of the question. Read more
The US is down but not out in Bahrain. Back in March, the Obama administration was frustrated by the regime’s crackdown against a Shia uprising and the sudden arrival of Saudi troops in the kingdom in support of the Sunni monarchy. The Saudi message to the Americans at the time was this: stay out of Bahrain, the royal family and Iran’s attempts to exploit the Shia protests are red lines.
The protests were crushed, as had been expected, amid cries of widespread human rights abuses that further embarrassed the US, for whom Bahrain is a close ally and home of the Fifth Fleet. Read more