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October 23, 2011 | By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times
As Mondher Kouki waited to vote in the first free elections since political uprisings began sweeping the Arab world in January, he complained about the cost of electricity, the dubious promises of politicians and the prospect that he wouldn't be able to afford a sheep to slaughter for an upcoming holy festival. Kouki and dozens of his neighbors stood in the sun in a Tunis slum to cast ballots for an assembly to write Tunisia's new constitution. They all remembered the thrilling days 10 months ago when street protests here led to the toppling of President Zine el Abidine ben Ali — and inspired so-called Arab Spring upheavals in Muslim states across North Africa and the Middle East.
October 15, 2011 | By Ruth Sherlock, Los Angeles Times
Forces of Libya's transitional government pounded holdout positions of Moammar Kadafi loyalists in the ousted leader's hometown of Surt on Friday, and fighting flared up in the capital for the first time in nearly two months. In the coastal city of Surt, the attackers said the last remaining pro-Kadafi troops were trapped in a few neighborhoods and that it was just a matter of time before they were overwhelmed. The fight for Surt has dragged on for almost a month after the government that ended Kadafi's reign predicted it would be over in a few days.
October 13, 2011 | By Steve Fraser
The only thing really surprising about the Occupy Wall Street movement is that it didn't happen sooner. The United States has a long history of friction over policies that enable an elite to thrive at the expense of ordinary people. The earliest tensions emerged soon after the Revolutionary War, when Jeffersonian democrats raised alarms about the "moneycrats" and their counter-revolutionary intrigues. They were referring to Alexander Hamilton and his confederates, who favored a British-style system of merchant capitalism that the Jeffersonians feared would undo the democratic and egalitarian promise of the Revolution.
October 8, 2011 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
More than six months after mass protests began spreading through the streets of Syria, activists say they remain committed to a peaceful rebellion against the government of President Bashar Assad, despite a rising death toll, a wave of assassinations and the reported emergence of soldiers switching sides and battling security forces. "Our revolution remains a nonviolent one," Omar Edelbi, spokesman for a grass-roots opposition network, the Local Coordination Committees, said in an interview Saturday in Beirut.
October 5, 2011 | By Ruth Sherlock, Los Angeles Times
Forces loyal to Libya's transitional leaders looted and burned civilian homes Wednesday in the recently captured village of Abu Hadi, near ousted ruler Moammar Kadafi's besieged tribal homeland of Surt. Smoke spires rose into the air as fighters, mostly from the western city of Misurata, threw gasoline bombs and grenades into abandoned homes in the village, a center for Kadafi's tribe, the Kadafa. Whooping and toting guns, fighters from Misurata towed away a Ford Mustang from one garage.
October 3, 2011 | By Ruth Sherlock, Los Angeles Times
As fighters loyal to Libya's revolutionary government gain on the holdout city of Surt, residents are making it clear that the battle for hearts and minds is far from won. The scrublands that surround Moammar Kadafi's hometown have become a confused patchwork of loyalties. As vehicles of the revolutionary forces patrolled the dusty villages in newly seized territory Sunday, many residents peered angrily from their homes. "The rebels are worse than rats. NATO is the same as Osama bin Laden," said a father, his seven children crowding around him. Surt has been a primary target in the seven-month NATO bombing campaign that helped rebel forces gain control of most of Libya.
September 23, 2011 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
Its principal commercial drag, Tripoli Street, could be the Hollywood set for an urban warfare action thriller: Charred tanks and pulverized shipping containers sit in front of blackened buildings pockmarked with rounds from bullets, rockets and sundry other lethal ordnance. But the hellish scene in the western port city of Misurata has nothing to do with fiction. More than a thousand people were killed here and many more injured in a months-long series of street battles that ousted the forces of Moammar Kadafi from the city and eventually, its environs.
September 18, 2011 | By Batsheva Sobelman, Los Angeles Times
Sitting at his computer, security officer Nitsan Brizel pans his remote surveillance cameras out to the main road below the West Bank settlement of Nili, then zooms back in to focus on a Palestinian worker at one of the construction sites in the expanding community. Brizel and other security officials in Israel's West Bank settlements are on high alert these days as Palestinians prepare to launch large demonstrations in support of their bid Friday for United Nations membership. Some fear the effort will trigger another violent Palestinian uprising, particularly if it is rejected.
September 5, 2011 | By Ellen Knickmeyer, Los Angeles Times
Almost half a year into Syria's deadly military campaign against street protesters, the United States and Europe remained locked in a strategy of economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure to respond to the violence and try to push President Bashar Assad from power. Leaders of Syria's protest movement stay locked into their own strategy as well. Each day, they stage sit-ins and unarmed marches that are met by gunfire and, in some cases, tank assaults. Security forces stage house-to-house raids.
September 1, 2011 | By Ramin Mostaghim, Los Angeles Times
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, congratulated the "revolutionaries" behind the so-called Arab Spring rebellions but warned them against allowing the United States to take advantage of the upheaval, reflecting the Iranian leadership's deep unease with the uprisings that have swept the region. "If the Muslim nations stand against those who interfere in their internal affairs, these nations will experience progress," Khamenei said Wednesday. "But if the world of oppression and world Zionism, including the oppressive regime of the United States, take control, the Muslim world will experience major problems for decades.
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