Arab States Weekly Review 8th – 14th Jan 2011

Protests against unemployment and high-level corruption erupted across at least a dozen towns in Tunisia. At least 20 Tunisians, mainly young civilian men, were killed. President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, whom the protesters wish to have ousted, sacked his interior minister, closed schools and universities and enforced a curfew in Tunis.

Lebanon’s coalition government collapsed after Hizbullah withdrew its support, allegedly because the Prime Minister Saad Hariri refused to convene an emergency session to take a stance on the UN tribunal investigating the assissination of his father Rafik Hariri in 2005. Hizbullah is likely to be blamed for the killing.

Tensions rose in East Jerusalem as bulldozers began demolishing parts of a hotel in a district inhabited mainly by Arabs, to make way for buildings for Jews. The Palestinians regard East Jerusalem as their future capital.

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