Welcome to the Middle East Today

The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Jan 17, 2011

The Recent Tunisian Uprising

The Tunisian popular uprising that let to the expelling of a corrupt and authoritarian head of state has set a new trend in the Arab world.

Mohamed Bouazizi, an unemployed college graduate, initiated this historical event. He set himself on fire due to government’s confiscation of his fruits and vegetables that he was peddling to earn a living.

This event was a powerful signal to the Tunisian people all over the country. It sparked a popular and national protest that lasted for several weeks and caused the killing of more that sixty protestors by the police.

The determination of the Tunisian people to continue their protest led to the fleeing of president Zain al Abdeen of the country.

In earlier posts I had referred to the high unemployment rate all over the Arab world, especially among college graduates. The unemployment rate among young people in Arab states has been estimated between 15-20 million. Such rate of unemployment has added to the prevailing poverty where nearly 50% of the total population in large states is classified as poverty stricken. This continuous increase of the cost of living, especially of the basic food, added fuel to the fire.

What happened in Tunisia had ramifications in other Arab countries. Immediately following the collapse of the Tunisian regime, the Egyptian, Jordanian, Yemini, Algerian, Syrian and Moroccan governments announced their lowering of food prices and in some countries the tax rate to allow the public to cope with their basic needs.

There were public demonstrations in almost all Arab countries in support of the Tunisian uprising and some demanded the resignation of high public officials. In Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Egypt young men set themselves on fire to sacrifice themselves in protest of the political suppression and poor economic conditions in their countries.

The Arab world is sitting on a very explosive volcano that may erupt any time unless authoritarian regimes implement democracy.

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