Questions: Internet down <- Revolution?

When governments cut off the Internet. The Middle East Uprisings.

April 6, 2011.

The situation in Libya is still very critical, as well as in Yemen and Syria. Though in Libya and Yemen there seem to be political negotiations going on between the parties involved. Saleh indicated his willingness to leave power, but at the same time many people and countries around Yemen, are wary of the political chaos that might erupt when he would leave office immediately. A civil war between the north and the south is one of great fears. In Libya, on the other hand, many ministers defected (with Moussa Koussa, the minister of foreign affairs, as the most prominent one), but if Gaddafi is willing to surrender or leave the country is not at all clear.

Meanwhile, I am refreshing and improving my Arabic, working on my speech to music project and looking for a job.

Internet Issues:

The Internet in Libya, as expected, is still down. Even Google found itself with the need to differentiate more closely between degrees of taking down the Internet. Questions such as did a specific government just cut off Youtube, Google Video or all of the Internet all together seem quite revealing.

Internet in Libya still down

The summery:

Mar 3, 2011 Libya All Google services inaccessible.
Mar 1, 2011 Turkey Blogger partially accessible. [Source: TurkishPress]
Feb 19, 2011 Libya All Google services inaccessible.
Feb 17, 2011 Libya YouTube inaccessible.
Feb 8, 2011 Syria YouTube accessible.
Jan 30, 2011 Iran Google Videos inaccessible.
Jan 27, 2011 Egypt All Google services inaccessible for 5 days during protests. [Source: Renesys]
Jan 27, 2011 Sudan YouTube partially accessible for 3 days.
Jun 4, 2010 Turkey Adwords, Analytics and Docs inaccesible for a week during attempt to block YouTube. [Source: ONI]
May 20, 2010 Pakistan YouTube inaccessible for 6 days due to concerns around the “Everyone Draw Mohammad Day” competition organized by a Facebook user. [Source: CNN]
Jun 13, 2009 Iran YouTube inaccessible following disputed Presidential election. [Source: ONI]
Mar 23, 2009 China YouTube inaccessible.
Mar 6, 2009 Bangladesh YouTube inaccessible for 4 days due to controversial content. [Source: BBC]

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March 30, 2011.

Unrest in Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Libya, Bahrain continues. I have heard of several bloggers and human rights activists in Bahrain and Syria being arrested. The last case I heard of yesterday was Mahmood Al-Youssif from Bahrain. Incredible. He doesn’t appear to be a radicalist nor whatsoever. His language on the Internet is peaceful and nuanced and he thinks of himself as a Bahraini, not as a Shi’a, Sunni,… but as a Bahraini. With this act, the government only seems to reconsolidate its status of enemy of the Internet.

Also in Libya the Internet war continues. The country is still cut off the Internet. Some people do have access, but I suppose that are either Gaddafi loyalists or people using dial-up. Don’t these loyalists see that this is the perfect proof, that shows how frightened their ruler actually is? Why else would they take down the Internet? Why would a group of people restrict access to specific social websites, or take down the Internet all together? They would only do that if they have something to hide I suppose. Well you could try to think that the rest of the world is actually sending out wrong information and that the government needs to protect their civilians of these words. But why take down the Internet? Why not allow their people to convince the rest of the world that we are wrong? I suppose they just know that this is not an option, because the people know better.

Libya continues without Internet

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March 22, 2011.

Yemen: I wonder how many ambassadors and officials supporting Saleh are left in Yemen. It seems that most have either resigned, or at least pronounced their support to the protesters. Furthermore the military yesterday put itself in the side of the supporters. The world thought that President Saleh would have resigned yesterday, but it seems that he preferred to celebrate his birthday first. Let’s see what happens today. I doubt that he can stay in power for much longer.

Libya: Col. Gaddafi doesn’t have many options left, but he it seems that he is determined to stay. Heavy fights in Misrata were reported yesterday. Meanwhile, international coalition forces reportedly struck radar installations at two air defense bases belonging to Gaddafi’s forces in Benghazi in eastern Libya.

Internet Issues:
As since too many days already, the Internet in Libya is still down. Hence Gaddafi continues to feel threatened, apparently.

Libya March 22, Gaddafi continues to feel threatened.

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March 21, 2011.

Libya:
Fights continue. Amr Moussa (the secretary general of the Arab League), yesterday criticized the intervention in Libya. But critics argue that he might have a second agenda, which is support in Egypt, as he wants to run for President.

Yemen:
Events are moving so fast today. The end of the Saleh regime seems close now. Army backs protesters. Ambassadors to Yemen keep resigning by the hour. It seems a matter of just a few hours now.

Internet Issues:
Internet in Libya still down. In Syria, as well as in Yemen still up.

Libya second day of Intervention

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March 20, 2011.

Libya: Implementation of no-fly zone has begun. I think it’s a good thing, although I do share with some other people some mixed feelings. Not necessarily because I think that some countries might have other interests in the region, but mainly because I would have preferred to see an Arab intervention. It’s hard to see another EU, US led intervention in a Muslim country. But what is the alternative? The Arabs are too divided and too undecided I feel. And I do feel that the international community has the responsibility to intervene. Although I do wonder if any country is trying to negotiate exile for the Gaddafi family?

However its great to see at least three Muslim countries committed to participation: Turkey, Qatar, United Arab Emirates.

Yemen: President fired all ministers. Meanwhile every hour more ambassadors to Yemen in several countries are resigning. Feels like the end is coming closer.

Syria: Protests continue. Not much news coming out of Syria, but I believe the situation is not all good. I’ll try to get more info today.

March 19, 2011.

@NickKristof As a law student, I traveled to Hama, Syria, after the 1982 massacre of 20,000 people. A new Syrian uprising proves: The world turns.

Bloody Friday in all of the Arabic world, where people went on the street. Especially Yemen was shockingly bloody, more than 40 people were killed and some hundred others were injured. But also from Syria people at least 6 people are reported death and many more injured. In Bahrain the government took down the pearl from the pearl square, for them the sign of the protest movement, which therefore had to be taken away to prevent further memories to these last weeks…

Col. Gaddafi’s foreign minister Moussa Koussa declared a cease fire yesterday, but nothing of that was seen, Misrata is reported to be bombed all day and night and this morning Benghazi is being attacked. When is the UN finally going to implement the no-fly zone. Does it still make any sense at all?

Meanwhile Egypt is voting today.

Internet Issues:

Internet in Syria is still up it seems (contrary to some fears on Twitter), but in Libya obviously not.

Benghazi is being attacked today

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March 18, 2011.

Bahrain:
Heavy violence continues in Bahrain. Hospital appears still unders siege. Al Jazeera reports that a nurse declared that the medical staff were give permission to leave the hospital, while leaving Bahrain State TV filmed them. Then the cameras switched off and they were beaten and women were threatened with being stripped.
Iran threatened Bahrain, that it will intervene (which is obvious, as the majority of the people in Bahrain are Shi’its, like in Iran).

Yemen:
Uprising continues also in Yemen, but the media doesn’t cover the happenings in this country very close. However, yesterday again people are reported to be killed and many wounded. [Update]: Today after the friday prayers security forces in Sana’a opened fire on the protesters and killed at least 30 people.

Saudi Arabia:
King Abdullah is expected to give a speech this afternoon, after midday Muslim prayers on Friday, in which he will announce a government reshuffle, an anti-corruption drive and a promise to increase food subsidies to combat rising prices in an address to the nation.

Libya:

What are you defending you buffoons? [M. al Gaddafi]

The UN voted for a no-fly zone with 10 votes in favor, 0 against and 5 abstinenties (Germany, India, China, Russia and Brazil). The crowd in Benghazi was celebrating and cheering the UN no-fly zone. From one moment to another the situation seems to have changed completely: Gaddafi appeared to be gaining control in the last days, but now a Mussoli end seems rather likely for him. A moment before the decision Gaddafi gave another speech in which he threatened the cititenzens of Benghazi, that they would come that night, zenga zenga, dar dar beit beit, to find all the anti-loyalists and they would show no mercy. That didn’t happen (yet).

Internet Issues:

The Internet in Libya is still down. Sigh

Libya, soon it will be over.

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March 17, 2011.

Bahrain:

They are all around Salmaniya medical complex with their guns and they are shooting anybody [from a doctor from Salmaniya hospital said].

Bahrain, the first Gulf Country to be thrown into turmoil by the wave of protests coming from the Arab countries seems to be falling into chaos. Yesterday the government deployed heavy force to crackdown the anti-government protesters in the center of the capital Manama. BBC reports that at least 3 civilians and 3 police were killed.
The Salmaniya hospital is said to be surrounded by troops, and no-one is being allowed in or out. This means that the wounded now have to be treated in mosques or at home.
Authorities have arrested at least five key opposition figures

Libya:
The situation in Benghazi is said to be getting more tense by the hour, and the calls for the international community to impose a no-fly zone more desperate.

In the coming hours we will see a real genocide if the international community does not act quickly

said Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya’s ambassador to the UN who has defected from the Gaddafi regime (BBC). But it seems that the international community is rather reluctant and possibly fears some of the implications of such an intervention. As apparently no decision can made on the issue. However, France, Britain and the United States have pressed for a UN Security Council vote on today on a no fly zone.
A delegation of Arab tribal leaders is reported [Al Jazeera] to be on their way from Alexandria to meet with Gaddafi & try to put an end to violence Libya.

Guy Verhofstadt is sickened by the attitude in Europe.

Internet Issues:
In Libya the Internet is still down. In Bahrain the internet was reported to be slowed down, but Google traffic data does not show that the Internet has been taken down completely or that Youtube was blocked all together.

Libya still without Internet

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March 16, 2011.

Bahrain:
Yesterday and today again heavy clashes between Saudi army forces and Bahraini Protesters. Yesterday 2 died, today twitter comments report of more people died in the clashes. The images that come out of Bahrain are horrific. I don’t want to share them with you.

Libya:
Fights continue. Col. Gaddafi held a speech on State Tv in which he called the protesters rats and dogs, and moreover he claims that all the protesters are members of Al Qaida. As far as I can tell a ridiculous statement.
Furthermore, the U.N. Security Council circulated a draft resolution on a no-fly zone over Libya. This would authorize “all necessary measures to enforce” a ban on all flights, to protect civilians. Nawaf Salam, Lebanese ambassador and Arab League representative, said a no-fly zone would not qualify as foreign intervention in Libya. [Source: Al Jazeera]

Syria:

@MalathAumran: there are now more then 300 and the police attacking protesters with so much cruelty many has been arrested

Internet Issues:
In Libya the Internet is…..tatadada…still cut off. Tweets from a few minutes ago [time: 11:46 GMT+1] seem to say that in Bahrain the Internet connection is being slowed down, which was also confirmed by the Australian Foreign Ministry Twitter @BahrainRights reports.

@BahrainRights: @smboos: Internet slowed down: no ability to upload pic. and vids. from #Bahrain

And another day without Internet in Libya

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March 15, 2011.

@bencnn #Libya, #Bahrain, #Saudi Arabia, #Algeria, #Yemen, etc. regimes pulling out all stops to counter tide of revolution. It’s getting messy.

Bahrain: Bahrain’s Sunni leaders have asked its members of the Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) for help in protection of the government facilities after weeks of unrest. Saudi Arabia send troops and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sent at least 500 police forces. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister argues “if we want the talks and dialog to succeed, then we need to calm the situation in the streets. This can be achieved by the withdrawal of everybody from the streets.”

Libya: Uprising continues, and media attention is still mainly concentrated on the crisis in Japan. Again, I totally respect this choice, but I also think that Japan is a different type of crisis and that at the moment the situation in the Middle East needs equally much attention if not more. Why? Because in situations like uprisings and foreign wars we are talking about human choices and actions that can be influenced by anything coming in from the outside…And at the moment it seems that the west is sending the message that it doesn’t really care about what happens in the Middle East. Discussing the situation, suggesting ideas, asking questions does not only show the protesters and governments that the world is interested in understanding what is going on, but it also shows that the world is watching them. And knowing that millions of people are watching might make a difference in the decisions of intervention taken by both parties.

Concerning the no-fly zone: I am currently doubting a bit about the legitimacy to deploy such a no-fly zone. I still do think that the west and Arab League should try to do something to stop the violence in Libya, but I am not sure if the West has the legitimacy to actually deploy a no-fly zone. The west has been supporting the regime, selling arm to Libya and applauding him at the UN council, while perfectly being aware of the crimes committed by this regime. It should have taken been more persistent in its measures all these years.
But what is the other option? An Arab League backed intervention? I see that as a possible option. But the problem with this option as well as with the intervention from any other region, is that, because of sovereignty questions, the international law actually does not allow for such a measurement. None of the member countries is being threatened or attacked, so there is no case of self defense. This would be necessary for a legitimate intervention.
But then this would mean that the international laws are failing to actually protect the people, when, for instance, being attacked by their dictator. And this means that the UN and criminal court seems a total failure, how are we going to pursue any person clearly committing war crimes if there is no way of legally doing this? Does this mean we can in fact really only watch how hundreds of people are being killed?
Strange world.

Egypt: Voting for a constitution. A twitter comment:

@mosaaberizing I’ve met people who’re voting against constitution referendum just because they’ve never had the chance to say No in their entire lives.

Syria: 15/3 Beginning of the Syrian Revolution?

@mosaaberizing Haven’t seen it mentioned around but I’m quite excited at the prospect of a Syrian revolution. It’s supposedly starting tomorrow. (15/3)

@mosaaberizing do u think it would work in syria !!!!!!

@luluderaven Why not? I think the Syrians are more than capable of toppling their tyrant. I’d love it.

@mosaaberizing i’d love to see all dictators toppled. but in syria! and saudi arabia! is a dream like ta7reer flasten !!! some day.. dream

@mosaaberizing Let’s remember that we thought it was impossible in Egypt few months ago :) It’s tough but definitely an achievable dream.

Not only in Iran Youtube seems accesible again after months/years of being blocked, but also in Syria!

Youtube is Up in Syria

Yemen: Deports foreign journalists. Seven demonstrators and three soldiers have died in clashes since Saturday. The total death toll from the unrest is now more than 30. raising the death toll from unrest to more than 30. Source: Al Jazeera.


And of course, In Libya, another day without the web.

Libya, another day without Internet

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March 14, 2011.

Iran: I think I just realized something interesting concerning the Internet accessibility in Iran. Since June 13, 2009, Iran has been blocking Youtube. But look at these graphs, it seems that with the beginning of the uprisings in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Youtube is suddenly available again. The data shows that traffic is still not as much as before the beginning of the protests, yet it, at least, does seem like a significant increase. Could that be true??? Or are some people suddenly very eager to know what is happening around them….?

In Iran Youtube has been blocked since june 13, 2009

Is Youtube unblocked in Iran?

Libya, Bahrain, Yemen:

@AlanFisher Critics claim by time international community responds to #Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi‘s response to the revolt, it could all be over

Again heavy fighting in eastern Libya. It seems like media attention is shifting away and I have the feeling that it is not only because of the tsunami in Japan, which caused the death of thousands of people. I don’t know why, but I think it is really wrong and dangerous furthermore. The fact that the protesters in Tunisia, Egypt and initially Libya and other countries were being heard by the world, seemed to have helped them a lot. So now that the world looses interest, I am afraid of what is going to happen not only in Libya, but also in Bahrain, Yemen, Syria,…

Because what did we see this weekend: Heavy police interventions in Bahrain and Yemen with teargas and rubber bullets. Hundreds were injured and at least one protester in Yemen was killed. In Libya the situation is getting worse and worse and at the same time the west, but also the Arab League seems (again) too divided and undecided about which action to take. Should we deploy a no-fly zone or not? Foreign intervention or not? I understand the difficulty of the situation, yet at the same time  I also really wonder: how is it possible that the world can only watch how thousands of people are being killed by a dictator without being able to do anything? Seems like something is wrong here.

Twitter comments seem to indicate that in Bahrain the situation also seems to deteriorate rapidly:

@MazenMahdi I am so ashamed to be a Bahraini today we lost our humanity all of us #bahrain #feb14

@NickKristof #Bahrain is sliding in the wrong direction. FT reports it has asked Gulf countries for help: http://on.ft.com/ibS3JJ

and March 14 in the afternoon:

@NickKristof Troops from other Gulf countries reportedly entering #Bahrain to crush protests. Opposition group suggests that this is war.

And of course, needless to say, but Libya is still cut off the Internet.

Libya March 14 2011, still no Internet

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March 13, 2011.

Bahrain: Continued anti government protests. BBC reports about riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets at anti-government protesters blocking the main road into the capital’s business district, and thereby encircling the protesters’ main camp.

Egypt:

@shadihamid Maybe the new #Egypt will be a sort of democratic, more hip version of Nasser 1950s. Or maybe not… #ajforum

Yemen: Protests continue, government of Ali Abdullah Saleh seems more determined to use military force. Today at least one person was killed in Sanaa, several other were injured.

Libya:

@shadihamid It’s difficult to listen to Libyan speaker at #ajforum & know that world has waited so long to take decisive action #Libya

Some advancements, the Arab League requested the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone (#NFZ), after some initial objections from some countries (Yemen, Saudi Arabia). However, hopefully it’s not too late yet. The situation for the revolutionaries seems to deteriorate rapidly, as pro-Gaddafi forces are gaining more and more battles. Tony Birtley (Al Jazeera) reports:

We have to remember that this is not an organized army, this is a group of teachers, engineers, street cleaners, people who have had no association with weapons, whatsoever.

And now they are coming up against very strong, well-equipped forces. And we are seeing a lot of casualties, basically if it is not sorted out soon then those casualty figures are going to go up and up and up.

It’s not a very good situation at the moment, it is not looking very positive, quite the reverse.

Yesterday Al Jazeera and Twitter also aired reports of the killing of Ali Hassan Al Jaber  yesterday afternoon, in Benghazi (eastern Libya), which is first instance of a journalist killed in the line of duty in Libya.

The country is still cut off the internet, although something did happen yesterday afternoon:

Libya March 13, the internet appears still cut off.

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March 12, 2011.

@blakehoushell Everyone’s talking here as if the Arab revolutions have already succeeded. So far, Tunisia maybe, Egypt less so, others not so much #AJForum

Libya: The African Union announced late on Friday, that the leaders of South Africa, Uganda, Mauritania, Congo and Mali will form a panel that will travel to Libya shortly to help end the violence there.Also, the African Union announced late on Friday, that the leaders of South Africa, Uganda, Mauritania, Congo and Mali will form a panel that will travel to Libya shortly to help end the violence there.

Needless to say, the internet is still down.

The internet is still down in Libya

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March 11, 2011.

Bahrain:

@NickKristof Another 700 injured in #Bahrain in today’s protests. It’s nice that the govt promises “dialogue.” But how abt firing the prime minister

Yemen:

Libya:L’Etat c’est moi!” and another day without internet. The No-Fly zone is still not imposed, nor any other concrete measurments.

France recognized the Libyan National Transitional Council. UK recognized the #TNC sort of.

Libyan Revolution 11 March 2011

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March 10, 2011.

Libya:

I’m chilled by a conversation I just had by phone with a Libyan friend with military connections who has been candid in the past. In our latest conversation, he sounded as if our conversation was being closely monitored, and he praised Colonel Qaddafi to the skies. I can’t tell whether he believed that or had a gun pointed to his head. Either way, his new tone is an indication that the government has the upper hand now in Tripoli.

Nick Kristof in New York Times.

Internet appears to be still down.

Internet in Libya still down

With some exceptions, though…somebody, with an internet connection, has been watching youtube in the last couple of days…Gaddafi??

Somebody has been watching Youtube in Libya.

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March 9, 2011.

Egypt: Demonstrations continue. Difference: clashes are of sectarian nature – Muslims vs Copts. At least 11 people died. The Internet in Egypt is still up.

Libya: “We needed the no-fly zone yesterday!” (a Libyan protester on the BBC). Heavy fights continue, in specific in Ras Lanuf, Az Zawiya. The latter appears to be completely shut off since at least two days. A no-Fly zone still under discussion by UN, EU, NATO. Meanwhile a Libyan mission off to Brussels for meetings with the EU and NATO. Words from the Twitter world:

@Tripolitania Out of water, out of fuel – what’s pushing them? Determination. Yallah #Libya!

Internet is, of course, still down.

Libya: We needed the no-Fly zone yesterday!

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March 8, 2011.

Yemen: At least one protester got killed when the army entered a university campus at Sanaa. (Source: Al Jazeera). However, the Internet in Yemen is still up.

Libya: Revolutionaries seem in favor of a No Fly Zone, but still do not want any foreign intervention on the ground. Twitter comment:

@Tripolitania I apologize for the outburst, but I think Libyans are ready to accept limited foreign aid – they’ve paid a heavy price so far. #Libya

The No Fly Zone is in consideration by the UN, but Russia still opposes any military intervention. Moreover the west seems to hesitate, as it doesn’t want to be accused of another western intervention of the Middle East.
However, heavy fights in Ras Lanuf and other cities continue. Revolutionaries seem to get nervous, but are still confident. And the Internet appears to be still down.

Libyan Uprisings, Government shuts down internet

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Libya: March 7, 2011. Fights continue in Ras Lanuf, approaching Sirte. The Internet is still down.

Government Shuts Down Internet in Libya

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Libya: March 6 2011.

The Internet is still down. Revolts and protests in Tripoli, Az Zawiya and Bengazi continue.

Libya Revolts: Internet shut down.

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Libya: March 4-5, 2011.

Libya Uprising Google Traffic

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Libya: Mar 2, 2011.

Twitter comment:

@bencnn #Libya much different from #Tunisia, #Egypt revolutions. This is becoming a war.

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Egypt: Uprising started January 25 2011. Feb 11, 2011, Mubarak resigns.
hosni mubarak resigned

Google Traffic Viewer

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One Response to Questions: Internet down <- Revolution?

  1. Pingback: Which way is the tide going in the Middle East? | ikners.com

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