Arab Spring Dictators: Where Are They Now?
News of Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi’s death today is perhaps the most dramatic moment thus far of the Arab Spring, but he is not the first dictator to be deposed this year. Others, however, are holding on and cracking down.
Here’s a quick check in on how other Arab dictators all doing after this year of uprisings:
MUAMMAR GADHAFI, LIBYA
Libya’s new government announced today that Gadhafi was killed outside of his hometown of Sirte. The longtime Libyan strongman, in power since 1969, had been on the run since rebels captured the capital of Tripoli in August.
He’s the only Arab Spring dictator to have been killed so far.
ALI ABUDLLAH SALEH, YEMEN
Status: severely wounded, but still in power
The Yemeni president, in power since 1980, was wounded in an attack on his mosque in early June. He sought treatment for severe burns in Saudi Arabia, but returned in to Yemen in September.
Saleh has repeatedly pledged to sign on to a deal brokered by Yemen’s neighbors that would remove him from power, but has backed out every time.
HOSNI MUBARAK, EGYPT
Status: on trial
Mubarak was overthrown in February in just 18 days after holding the reins of power since 1981. He fled to the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh where he was eventually put under house arrest and charged with killing protestors.
He’s currently on trial and is said to be suffering from serious health problems.
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SYRIA
Status: cracking down and holding on
Assad remains in power after launching a brutal crackdown on largely peaceful protests throughout the country. He has sent the military in to crush uprisings in the restive cities of Hama, Deir al-Zour, and elsewhere.
The United Nations estimates about 3,000 people have been killed in Syria this year.
ZINE EL ABIDENE BEN ALI, TUNISIA
The first Arab dictator to fall sparked the promise of the Arab Spring when he fled the country in January. He’s now in exile in Saudi Arabia. Tunisia has moved on and will hold elections for the first time this weekend.
HAMID BIN ISA AL KHALIFA, BAHRAIN
Status: still in power
Bahraini security cracked down hard on protestors that occupied Pearl Square in the capital of Manama and called in troops from neighboring Saudi Arabia to help put down the uprising. The Sunni royal family felt threatened by the largely Shiite population’s uprising, saying they were stirred up by regional rival Iran.
Bahrain has continued to threaten and prosecute those associated with the protests, including doctors who treated the wounded.