Arab States Weekly Review 19th – 25th Feb 2011

A popular revolt against the regime in Libya turned violent as Muammar Gaddafi deployed tanks and fighter jets in an attempt to put down the protests. Rebels gained large swathes of territory in eastern Libya after taking heavy losses estimated to be at least 1,000. International pressure on Gaddafi to step down has mounted, yet the ruler of four decades refuses to step down.

Open defiance of protesters against authoritarian governments in the Middle-East spread to Morocco and Iraqi Kurdistan. In Bahrain protesters were met with fierce retaliation from the royal family, resulting in several casualties. After heavy criticism it relented and vowed to work towards political reform.

The chief prosecutor in Egypt called for the freezing of assets of deposed President Hosni Mubarak.

Oil prices soared as a result of the political strife in Libya. Brent crude traded at well above US$ 115 a barrel.

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