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Typhoon of Protest in The Arab World: Democracy’s new crucible

The whirlwind of popular protests that overthrew Tunisian president Zine el-Abedin Ben Ali and Egypt’s long-standing ruler Hosni Mubarak shows no sign of abating. The entire Arab world is in revolt, from Yemen and Bahrain in the Persian Gulf to Morocco and Algeria in the Maghreb, and to Sudan and Djibouti in the South. Even the Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti regimes are beginning to look vulnerable.

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Twilight of tyranny in Libya?

Col Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s ruthless ruler since 1969, faces an unprecedented popular revolt and could soon join Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abedin Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak in the rogues’ gallery of the Arab world’s deposed rulers. Gaddafi has had strong South Asia connections. A famous stadium in Lahore is named after him—thanks to a big donation. During the Janata regime in India, George Fernandes fervently advocated that India should transfer nuclear technology to Libya. That didn’t happen.

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Unprecedented Upsurge In West Asia: Change is in the air

Fragrance from the Jasmine Revolution, which overthrew Tunisia’s hated President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, is spreading, especially to Egypt, Yemen and Jordan, and triggering profound political changes in the West Asia-North Africa region. By the time these lines appear, it’s possible that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s oppressive 30-year-long reign would have ended and far-reaching changes would be under way in the neighbourhood.

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A new era in West Asia?

The people of tiny Tunisia (pop. 11 million) could scarcely have imagined that their fight against the despotic rule of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali would trigger off the Arab world’s first real revolution, based on a mass upsurge—unlike palace coups or top-down regime changes elsewhere. Even less could they have expected it to spark the much greater flame that’s engulfing the Arab world now, especially its largest country, Egypt (pop. 84 million), where millions of people, young and old, men and women, intellectuals and municipal workers, are pouring out into the streets.

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