The fast-paced events in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere in northern Africa and the Middle East during the past month or so can be confusing and hard to follow. Below is a basic outline of what has happened.
- EGYPT -- President Hosni Mubarak has "decided to step down as president of Egypt, and has assigned the higher council of the armed forces to run the affairs of the country. May Allah be our guide," Vice President Suleiman said to crowds erupting in cheers.
- EGYPT -- Despite early reports indicating that President Hosni Mubarak would step down today with Vice President Omar Suleiman taking over as president, Mubarak announced on state television that he was going to transfer power to Suleiman, but stay on as president.
- EGYPT -- As many parts of Cairo began to return to normal, thousands of workers in the city joined protesters, threatening the start of a large, general strike.
- EGYPT -- Google executive Wael Ghonim, who helped spark the nation's protest movement, was freed by Egyptian security forces after several days of detention.
- KUWAIT -- In a possible attempt to preempt demonstrations Tuesday, Kuwait's emir accepted the resignation of the country's interior minister, Sheikh Jaber al-Kaled al-Sabah. Some critics of the government, however, said the resignation of one minister isn't enough. Resolving "the country's political crisis requires the resignation of the government," said opposition member of the parliament Jamaan al-Harbash.
- EGYPT -- After talks between opposition groups and government officials, Muslim Brotherhood representatives said there were no substantive concessions.
- EGYPT -- The leadership of the country's ruling National Democratic Party resgined.
- JORDAN -- Although hundreds of people staged an anti-government protest against newly installed Prime Minister Marouf al-Bahkit, the country's main Islamic opposition group said it wants to give him some time to carry out reforms.
- SYRIA -- No protesters showed up for a planned demonstration in the capital, Damascus. Who did show up were plainclothes police deployed in key areas of the Syrian capital.
- EGYPT -- Newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman told Egyptians in a nationwide television address that the protesters' demands are "legitimate" and that he has set up a "road map" to implement those demands.
The New York Times reported that the White House is discussing a plan with Egyptian authorities by which President Hosni Mubarak would step down immediately and new Vice President Omar Suleiman would lead a transitional government.
- YEMEN -- A "Day of Rage" with more than 20,000 protesters in the nation's capital ended peacefully today, though the protest's organizers promised to return each Thursday until President Ali Abdullah Saleh steps down.
- ALGERIA -- President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced today that he would soon lift the nation's almost 20-year-old state of emergency, a key demand of protesters who march on the nation's capital.
- EGYPT -- A least one person was killed and 403 people were injured today during clashes between pro- and anti-government crowds in Ciaro and Alexandria, according to Egypt's Health minister, Ahmed Hosni.
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today at a press conference that the violence in Egypt must stop and that President Hosni Mubarak must begin his transition out of power now.
- YEMEN -- President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced that he wouldn't seek reelection or seek to transfer power to his son when Saleh's term ends in 2013. Despite his announcement, protesters still planned for a "Day of Rage" protest Thursday.
- JORDAN -- Despite the appointment this week of Maruf Bakhit as prime minister with a mandate to introduce "true" political reforms, the Islamic Action Front, the country's largest political group, is organizing a mass protest Friday to mark Bakhit's appointment.
- SYRIA -- About 11,000 peole joined The Syrian Revolution 2011's Facebook page, on which is a call for a day of protest Friday.
- EGYPT -- On Egyptian national television, President Hosni Mubarak announced that he will not seek another term as president, but will stay on until elections are held.
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians poured into the streets of Cairo demanding an end to Murbarak's presidency.
- JORDAN -- King Abdullah II fired his government and charged his new prime minister, Marouf al-Bakhit, to pursue political reforms to "correct the mistakes of the past."
- EGYPT -- The State Department is demanding the release of six detained Al-Jazeera journalists who were arrested today by Egyptian authorities. “We are concerned by the shutdown of Al-Jazeera in Egypt and arrest of its correspondents. Egypt must be open and the reporters released,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley tweeted this morning.
The State Department also announced plans to evacuate at least 900 Americans from Egypt today and additional Americans tomorrow. About 500 were evacuated by mid-afternoon eastern time, and at least 1,200 Americans were evacuated by the end of the day.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood declared its "total rejection of the new cabinet" that was sworn in today.
New Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman said on state television late Monday that he had been authorized to start talking with the opposition to work out constitutional and political reforms, according to The New York Times, which reported that "it was not immediately clear who Mr. Suleiman was addressing his offer to, or whether the opposition would accept."
Also, the Egyptian military announced that it will not use force during the called for February 1 "march of millions" in Cairo.
- ALGERIA -- More than 10,000 protesters dispersed peacefully in the northern town of Bejaia after shouting "Tunisia-inspired slogans," according to the AFP news organization.
Elsewhere in Algeria, a pro-democracy group announced plans to march on Algiers on February 12.
- YEMEN -- Thousands of protesters gathered in two rural areas of the country to voice opposition to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ruling party. Opposition groups announced country-wide demonstrations on Thursday.
- EGYPT -- Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei arrived at the center of the political unrest in Cairo as protesters engaged in a standoff with the military. ElBaradei said on American television news shows that President Obama should hasten calls for President Hosni Mubarak to step down, saying the 30-year Egyptian leader possesses no credibility as a democratic reformer.
In Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton insisted American interests jibe with the protesters calling for new leadership and further decoupled the Obama administration from Mubarak. Clinton stopped short of advocating that Mubarak relinquish power but did call for “an orderly transition to meet the democratic and economic needs of the people.”
Also in Washington, Sen. John McCain called for the Obama administration to step up its level of engagement, saying Egypt’s political unrest represents a dangerous fuse that could detonate into radicalism.
- EGYPT -- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak named intelligence chief Omar Suleiman vice president of Egypt. Suleiman is the first person appointed to the position since Mubarak took office in 1981. Suleiman has long been considered a likely successor to Mubarak, according to profiles in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy and The Los Angeles Times.
In Washington, D.C., protesters gathered outside the Egyptian embassy, waving Egyptian flags and calling for the Mubarak's resignation.
- YEMEN -- A small anti-government protest turned violent as protesters, who were marching to the Egyptian embassy in the capital San'a, clashed with security forces.
- EGYPT -- ElBaradei, who is later placed under house arrest, and his supporters were attacked by security forces after Friday prayers. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged both the Egyptian government and protesters to show restraint. The protesters ignored a government-imposed curfew. The government cut Internet connections in the country. Late in the day, Mubarak announced he would fire his government and bring on a new Cabinet to try to meet the nation's cry for change. Following Mubarak's announcement, President Obama spoke with Mubarak on the phone and delivered his own statement, calling for protesters and the government to refrain from violence and on Mubarak to keep his promises of reform.
- EGYPT -- ElBaradei returned to Egypt from his home in Vienna calling on Mubarak to quit.
- YEMEN -- Tens of thousands of protesters marched on the capital against President Saleh.
- TUNISIA -- Tunisia asked Interpol to help arrest Ben Ali and his family so they can be tried for theft and currency offences, the justice minister said.
- TUNISIA -- Politicians began negotiations on the creation of a council to oversee the interim government. Its task would be to protect the "Jasmine" revolution that toppled Ben Ali.
- YEMEN -- Hundreds of students and activists gathered at Yemen’s Sanaa University, most of whom were calling for Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. The smaller group of protesters called for the president to stay.
- EGYPT -- Younger members of Egypt’s opposition Muslim Brotherhood indicated that they would participate in the January 25 protests.
- TUNISIA -- Protesters again demand that Ghannouchi and other Ben Ali protégés go. Policemen, once the bulwark of Ben Ali's rule, demonstrate in Tunis, saying they too were victims.
- ALGERIA -- At least 42 people were injured during clashes between protesters, who were defying a government ban, and Algerian police, who blocked a march on the country’s parliament building.
- EGYPT -- An Egyptian Facebook group called for street protests on January 25. Additional self-immolations take place.
- TUNISIA -- After a day of protests against the old guard's presence in the new cabinet, Ghannouchi promises to retire as soon as elections are held.
- TUNISIA -- After the first cabinet meeting, the government offers amnesty to all political groups.
- TUNISIA -- Some opposition figures quit the cabinet, demanding the removal of former Ben Ali loyalists. Protesters denounce the "sham."
- EGYPT -- Egyptian former United Nations nuclear weapons chief Mohamed ElBaradei warns in an interview with the Guardian newspaper of a “Tunisia-style explosion” in Egypt.
- TUNISIA -- Ghannouchi appoints opposition figures to a new national unity coalition and says he will free political prisoners.
- EGYPT -- At least two men set themselves on fire, echoing Bouazizi’s December 17 protest in Tunisia.
- REGIONAL -- Speculation increases that, inspired by what happened in Tunisia, other countries in the region—including Algeria, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt—will face similar opposition protests.
- EGYPT -- Thousands of protesters streamed into the streets of Cairo chanting “Ben Ali, tell Mubarak a plane is waiting for him too,” referring to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
- TUNISIA -- After days of clashes in which dozens are killed and having made empty promises of reforms and elections, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi stays, with the ruling party’s parliamentary speaker as interim president.
January 4, 2011
- TUNISIA -- Bouazizi died of his burns, after which his funeral added momentum to protests against unemployment and repression. The protests spread to other parts of the country.
December 17, 2010
- TUNISIA -- Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself in the central Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid to protest police confiscation of his vegetable cart. His act led to local demonstrations in support.
Sources: Reuters, Los Angeles Times, BBC, The Guardian, CNN International, New York Times, AFP, WSJ.com