On Monday, 17 December, during a mass protest in Bahrain, twenty-five people were arrested, among them prominent human rights activist Yousef al-Muhafedha, who is the acting head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.
17 December is recognized unofficially as Martyrs` Day in Bahrain. On that fateful day, in 1994, two young men, Hani Khamis and Hani Al Wasti, were shot and killed during protests demanding the re-instatement of the 1973 Constitution and the release of political prisoners. Last October, the interior ministry banned all public gatherings in Bahrain, but people have been defying the ban. According to some reports, there have been more than one hundred protests since the declared ban. For an update about the state of the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain, Malihe Razazan spoke with Professor Toby Jones. He is an associate professor of history and director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University.
Earlier this week, Farouq al-Sharaa, the Syrian vice-president, told a Lebanese newspaper that neither the government, nor the rebels seeking the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad could win Syria`s civil war. This comes at a time when Syria`s infrastructure is in ruins after twenty-one months of war, tens of thousands of people have been killed, and over 525,000 Syrians taken refugee in neighboring countries. According to the United Nations, between two and three thousand refugees are crossing into Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq every day, with an additional two million people internally displaced. So what is in store for Syria`s future, and what is the end game of regional and international players involved in Syria`s civil war? Khalil Bendib spoke with Professor Bassam Haddad about the complexities of the Syrian crisis.