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Tunisia makes Arab leaders anxious

An interesting aspect to the political developments in Tunisia is the reaction of other autocratic Arab states.  The New York Times is reporting on that angle.  The article specifically mentions Syria, Kuwait, Egypt, and Algeria.  If you follow the news in Egypt there are certainly plenty of developments meriting revolution more than what sparked the Tunisians, yet state control there is stronger.

Fahmy Howeidy, an Egyptian political expert and newspaper columnist, said that while he did not believe conditions were ripe for a similar uprising in Egypt, the government was keenly aware that “what happened in Tunisia has definitely created a different atmosphere. It convinced people that they can revolt in the streets, and that these regimes are not as strong or as mighty as they appear.”

Algeria has reason not to expect last weeks rioting to not develop into a larger movement as well:

But more fundamentally, [said Hugh Roberts, an independent scholar], Algeria is not as repressive as Tunisia was. “It is not an autocracy, it is an oligarchy,” he said, explaining that in addition to the president,Abdelaziz Bouteflika, there are multiple power centers, like the military, the intelligence services and the elite bureaucrats. That, he said, meant that unlike in Tunisia there is no one target of public ire, and no public sense that protests would help to dislodge those at fault.

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