A Bahrain government spokeswoman said prominent opposition leader Hassan Meshaima will not be arrested if he returns to the country. A return by Meshaima from months of voluntary exile in London could mark a new phase for the protest movement as the monarchy tries to open talks to end the most severe political crisis in decades. The Persian Gulf island is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is in the kingdom for meetings with ruling officials.
Authorities arrested the country's former Information Minister Anas al-Fiqqi and the chairman of state TV and radio, Osama el-Sheikh, on corruption charges, the latest moves by the ruling military against senior officials of Hosni Mubarak's ousted regime. Meanwhile, Egypt's foreign minister confirmed that an attempt was made to assassinate former Vice President Omar Suleiman during the recent democracy uprising. Assailants fired from an ambulance, riddling his car with bullets, killing a bodyguard and seriously wounding his driver.
The U.S. Embassy issued a warning message to Americans to avoid potentially large antigovernment protests. Jordan is bracing for nationwide demonstrations today to protest against attacks by so-called "thugs." Jordan has seen street protests in the last eight weeks, but with much smaller crowds than in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
Influential intellectuals asked Saudi Arabia's monarch to adopt far-reaching political and social reforms. In a statement, the group said Arab rulers should learn a lesson from the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and listen to the voice of disenchanted young people. The group includes renowned Islamic scholars, a female academic, a poet and a former diplomat.
Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Thursday ordered the formation of a committee to open a dialogue with protesters who have been demonstrating for weeks, demanding Saleh step down, state media reported. The directive appeared to mark a significant concession in the standoff with the opposition.
Algeria officially lifted a state of emergency in place for the past 19 years. The Cabinet decided in a meeting this week to take the step with the approval of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned Iraqis to boycott an antigovernment protest planned for today, saying it was being organized by supporters of the ousted Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida.