Sunday, April 24, 2011

Arabia on the Move

The rebellion in Libya has overshadowed the uprisings in a number of other Arab countries. The latest protests and crackdown has been seen in Syria, where a anti-Western regime is trying to hold on to power. However, the Arab revolts are neither anti nor pro Western. They are all pro-freedom.

When a fruit seller's protest grew in to a mammoth peoples' uprising in Tunisia, some Western nations, especially France attempted to prop up the falling despot, Ben Ali. The West may have suspected that the fall of one despot may trigger a domino effect in Arabia. Whether they anticipated it or not, they could not keep Ben Ali in power and could not stop the people from rising up against other dictators.

Egypt, a key to Arabia and home to a widely unpopular darling of the West was next to overthrow her dictator. The protests did not stop at ousting Mubarak. He was later detained, his party dissolved and investigations have started on the 'shady deals' of Mubarak era. Mubarak has been held responsible for the deaths of hundreds of protesters during the last days of his reign. In a recent move, Egypt's prosecutor ordered the country's ex-energy ministers detained for questioning over a controversial gas deal with Israel under the rule of ousted President Mubarak.

In Yemen, a staunch ally of the West, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has agreed to step down within 30 days after the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) came to an agreement with him to end the ongoing popular revolt. His allies have deserted him, some of them forming a new anti-Saleh faction, the Justice and Development Bloc.

Meanwhile the GCC is embattled in Bahrain, where they have helped the Al-Khalifa clan to cling on to power by sending in troops. The Al-Saud family has led the way in protecting a fellow Sunni monarch, may be in fear of unrest in their own realm, Saudi Arabia. While the regime in the small island state has secured power, in doing so, it has self inflicted a crushing blow on its legitimacy.

Events in Syria are also moving to a head-on collision. Intense crackdown has been reported. Syria was one of the last places to see a significant protest movement emerging. This has led to speculations whether an outside power was behind in instigating the protests.

In other countries throughout Arabia, things are more or less calm. Leaders all over Arabia were forced to enact political reforms. In some places, such as Yemen, Syria and even in Egypt, the future remains uncertain. In Libya, full scale war remains the order of the day.

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