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جمعرات، 27 جنوری، 2011

Arab states facing growing challenges

Arab states are facing serious challenges. Following Tunisia, protest rallies have been staged in Egypt, Algeria, Yemen and Mauritania.
The largest demonstrations are being held in Egypt where tens of thousands of people are rallying against the government in Cairo, Suez and other cities. They are organized by opposition parties and movements. The demonstrators are demanding the resignation of the government, the dissolution of the parliament, pay increases and repealing the state of emergency. Police and security forces have managed to disperse demonstrators using water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas.
"In view of the events in Egypt and other Arab countries, observers have started to talk about the so-called “Tunisian-syndrome”. Social unrest in Tunisia in the middle of January led to the fall of the regime headed by President Zin-al-Abidin ben Ali. Concerning the legitimacy of the outcome," the director of the Institute of Africa Alexei Vasiliev has this to say.
“When unrest spread across Tunisia, many observers raised the question whether this will trigger the domino effect and a similar scenario will be repeated in other Arab countries. The heads of the state of countries from Algeria to Saudi-Arabia have been ruling their countries for over two decades. Like in Tunisia, social grievances of people are almost the same in other Arab countries. Among these are corruption, unemployment and lack of democratic freedom. At the same time, when taking into account the fact that each country has its own identity and has its own specifics, these countries will hardly repeat the version of Tunisia,” Alexei Vasiliev said.
This concerns first and foremost Egypt, the largest Arab state. Social and economic issues are the most complicated problems in the country which have provoked in principle unrest. The former Russian ambassador to Tunisia Vladimir Popov has drawn attention to this fact.
“People have no wish to live under previous laws when they see the elite is becoming rich by illegal means and the gap between the rich and the poor is widening, and they respond violently. This is the problem of the entire Arab world, which is facing a crisis, because only five percent of the population enjoys 80 percent of the wealth. Most likely, the unrest will continue in the Arab world, perhaps, in other countries too,” Vladimir Popov said.
In this case the Tunisian syndrome is just a catalyst, which is capable of speeding up the developments. The situation in Tunisia is far from stable. On Wednesday, police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators at the headquarters of the Prime Minister of the national unity government. The opposition and the trade unions are organizing demonstrations against the presence of the members of the former ruling party in the coalition government.
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