June 11th, 2013
10:28 PM ET

Watson: Erdogan is known as vindictive

Chaos continued in Taksim Square today as demonstrators and government forces clashed in the streets of Istanbul.

CNN's Ivan Watson says demonstrators in Turkey fear Prime Minister Erdogan will punish them for protesting against the government. "A number of tweeters in the port city of Izmir, more than 30, were detained and now starting to face charges for inciting violence over social media, which Erdogan has called a menace to society," Watson tells Anderson Cooper.

Christiane Amanpour speaks to the prime minister's authoritative streak and opposition to criticism. "They put a huge number of journalists in jail. There's very little space for political dissent, and after three terms ... people are becoming sort of angry," she says.

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Filed under: Christiane Amanpour • Ivan Watson • Turkey
May 14th, 2012
11:15 PM ET

Stalemate in Syrian conflict

CNN's Ivan Watson and Prof. Ajami discuss why the fight between the government and the opposition continues in Syria.

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Filed under: Fouad Ajami • Ivan Watson • Syria
May 14th, 2012
11:12 PM ET

Fouad Ajami: Syria is Obama's Rwanda

Fouad Ajami says Pres. Obama may regret not helping people in Syria the way Pres. Clinton did after the Rwanda Genocide.

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Filed under: Fouad Ajami • Ivan Watson • Syria
March 23rd, 2011
05:39 PM ET

The Tunisian fruit seller who kickstarted Arab uprising

Ivan Watson and Jomana Karadsheh

(CNN) - When cousins visit the Bouazizi family's humble cottage, they take turns paying homage to the family's most famous son - the man credited with kick-starting uprisings around North Africa and the Middle East.

"Kiss the martyr Mohammed," a woman says, as she holds her daughter up to a portrait of the young man, which hangs halfway up an otherwise bare wall. The large poster identifies Mohammed Bouazizi as "the spark of the uprising of dignity." It's not only his family that feels this way.

Several blocks away, another huge portrait of the 26-year old man hangs from the top of a golden monument in the center of Sidi Bouzid, alongside banners proclaiming it is now "Martyr Mohammed Bouazizi Square."

Many Tunisians call Bouazizi a hero for setting himself on fire outside a government building. He is credited with galvanizing ill-feeling against governments across the Middle East and North Africa into actions that has seen demonstrations, uprisings and revolution.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Ivan Watson
March 4th, 2011
04:30 PM ET

Tunisia steps up evacuations of people fleeing Libya

Ivan Watson

Djerba, Tunisia (CNN) - The evacuation of the tens of thousands of refugees who have streamed across the Libyan border to Tunisia has stepped up dramatically.

Tunisian authorities have established an air bridge from a provincial airport on the island of Djerba that is now moving out thousands of migrants a day.

"We are expecting 10,000 passengers to leave every day with 66 movements, that's to say 66 planes," said Djerba airport director Zouhaier Badreddine told CNN.

"The majority go to Egypt. But there are also Chinese, Pakistanis, Filipinos, Bangladeshi, Vietnamese, Turks in the beginning but now they all seem to have left. There are many nationalities and many destinations."

As of Thursday, more than 172,000 people had left Libya, most of them migrant workers returning home, the U.N.'s emergency relief coordinator, Valerie Amos, said in a statement issued Friday.

Among them were women and children, she said.

The United Nations' figure was slightly less than that of the International Organization for Migration, which has been working with the U.N. refugee agency and estimated that 200,000 people had fled Libya.

Some of those crossing the border told CNN that government forces in Tripoli had confiscated their mobile phones and cameras.

A majority of those fleeing are Egyptians who had been working in Libya. But the foreign workers also include citizens of other nations including Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Sudan, Ghana and Mali.

A U.S. Agency for International Development official said approximately 90,000 people were in transit camps over the Libyan border in Tunisia. Almost half of them are Egyptian, said the official, who did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Ivan Watson • Nic Robertson
March 1st, 2011
02:30 PM ET

Nearly 150,000 flee Libya; UN reports crisis along borders

Ivan Watson and Moni Basu

Along The Libya-Tunisia Border (CNN) - A green flag fluttering in the wind designated Libyan territory. A short distance away, a red flag flew for Tunisia. In between, a mass of humanity waited in no man's land, desperate to flee escalating rebellion in one nation and cross into another that has already succeeded in toppling a dictator.

Periodically, a ripple flowed through the crowd of thousands of refugees as men took turns passing forward dazed and unconscious travelers, overwhelmed by a treacherous journey to the border and exposure to the elements.

Tunisian emergency workers rushed with fluorescent orange stretchers to evacuate the sick.

Chaos reigned along Libya's western border Tuesday as Tunisian police attempted to hold back a tide of people, mostly foreign workers caught in the storm of change blowing through the region.

There were simply too many people crossing too fast, overwhelming Tunisian authorities, aid agencies and volunteers trying to get a handle on what the United Nations called a humanitarian catastrophe in the making.

The U.N. refugee agency reported that nearly 150,000 people have crossed over from Libya into Tunisia and Egypt.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Ivan Watson
February 9th, 2011
11:16 PM ET
February 9th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Wael Ghonim: Negotiation days with Mubarak are over

Ivan Watson

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) - Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian activist being hailed by many fellow protesters as a hero, had a message Wednesday for his country's leaders: "If you are true Egyptians, if you are heroic Egyptians, it's time to step down."

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Ghonim, who was freed by Egyptian authorities on Monday after 10 days, said it is "no longer the time to negotiate" with the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

"There's a lot of blood now" that has been spilled, he said. It's time for people at the highest levels of the government "to apologize to the families" of those killed, he said.

Human Rights Watch said Tuesday the number of people killed in the Egyptian protests has reached 302 - 232 in Cairo, 52 in Alexandria and 18 in Suez.

Ghonim played a key role in organizing the protests that have convulsed Egypt for more than two weeks. He was the administrator of a Facebook page that is widely credited with calling the first protest January 25. A Google executive who lives in Dubai with his wife and two children, he had returned to Egypt for the protests.

His disappearance January 28 quickly captured international attention.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Ivan Watson • Middle East
February 4th, 2011
03:15 PM ET
February 4th, 2011
11:15 AM ET
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