In Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and Syria leaders are no longer caught by surprise; their defeat no longer seems inevitable
By Patrick Cockburn
Friday, 22 April 2011
"Is a counter-revolutionary tide beginning to favour the "strongmen" of the Arab world, whose regimes appeared a couple of months ago to be faltering under the impact of the Arab Awakening?
From Libya to Bahrain and Syria to Yemen, leaders are clinging on to power despite intense pressure from pro-democracy protesters. And the counter-revolution has so far had one undoubted success: the Bahraini monarchy, backed by troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, has brutally but effectively crushed the protesters in the island kingdom. Pro-democracy leaders are in jail or have fled abroad. The majority Shia population is being terrorised by arbitrary arrests, torture, killings, disappearances, sackings, and the destruction of its mosques and religious places.....
The counter-revolution is showing that it has more going for it than seemed likely two months ago. This only appears surprising because well-established authoritarian regimes went down so swiftly in Tunisia and Egypt. Police states have had time to rally their formidable forces of repression, but even this may not be enough to quell newly politicised populations which believe they can end autocratic rule."