Turmoil in Syria and Libya

In the light of Eid Al-Fitr at the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the continuing bloodshed in Syria comes into focus in my latest Middle East Analysis podcast with the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales - as we discuss the current situation and also look at the plight of the country's Christians.

Things seem to have gone crazy in Syria, I find it really mind-numbing. The scenes that we have all seen on our television screens, the reports I am getting from people both within the country and outside it are extremely disturbing.

What has been happening is that the military has decided to use its full force in different towns and cities in the country, the key ones that it considers as troublesome or problematic. The idea behind this strategy is that they think that by sheer force they can crush the popular revolts and re-establish their rule in the country. This is very questionable.

In the podcast I look at the issue of whether supporters of the National Transitional Council (NTC) in Libya might soon be in a position to break the stalemate and oust Colonel Qadhafi from power. According to the BBC, the current situation is that heavy fighting is reported around the Libyan leader's compound, as rebels admit that government forces still control up to a fifth of Tripoli, and other say more.

There is also more on former president Hosni Mubarak's trial in Egypt and, with the spate of church bombings in the country, as well as violence against Christians in Iraq.

The full podcast can be heard at: http://www.catholicchurch.org.uk/mena-10

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© Harry Hagopian is an international lawyer, ecumenist and EU political consultant. He also acts as a Middle East and inter-faith advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales and as Middle East consultant to ACEP (Christians in Politics) in Paris. He is an Ekklesia associate and regular contributor (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/HarryHagopian). Formerly an Executive Secretary of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Committee and Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches, he is consultant to the Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (UK) and author of The Armenian Church in the Holy Land. Dr Hagopian’s own website is www.epektasis.net

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