The Latent Tunisias

Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia all contain political and demographic ingredients at least as perilous as those that combusted in Tunisia.

The Tunisian case is striking less for its origins than for its outcome. It presents a rare triumph of people power in the Arab world. Of importance now is how Tunisia’s revolution is interpreted and implemented, within the country and outside it. Ben Ali’s fall may prove to be an isolated event — each unhappy country is unhappy in its own way. Still, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia all contain political and demographic ingredients at least as perilous as those that combusted in Tunisia: youthful populations, high unemployment, grotesque inequality, abusive police, reviled leaders, and authoritarian systems that stifle free expression.

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