Arab unrest has become a permanent feature of the global landscape, unfinished business wherever it is happening
The Guardian, Friday 17 June 2011
".....But if the politics of the Arab spring are local, many factors are common across: young people angry and frustrated at the lack of freedoms, opportunities and jobs, unaccountable and corrupt governments, cronyism and, in a few places, grinding poverty.
Rich and poor alike lived in fear of the secret police. But Tunisia, one of the most repressive regimes, fell quickly. The decision by the army to dump the president and not crush the protests was a vital lesson for the Egyptian generals. The alternative is the cruelty of the dictators' fightbacks in Tripoli and Damascus. Regional differences were ignored in the chain reaction that followed. Yemen's protests were galvanised by the drama in Cairo's Tahrir Square but they also involved tribalism, elite rivalry and a small but alarming al-Qaida presence against a background of resource depletion and fear of state failure. Sectarian tensions were the key to the trouble in Bahrain, where a Sunni monarchy rules over a restive Shia majority.
Islamists, the bogeymen of the west and the enemies of all autocratic Arab regimes, have not – yet – played a significant role....
Elsewhere in the region, Israel is nervous about the demise of Mubarak. Turkey fears instability in Syria. The Palestinians, eclipsed by drama elsewhere, are trying to learn lessons. Iran's support for the Arab uprisings is sheer hypocrisy given its crushing of democratic protests since 2009...."