Friday, February 11, 2011

Will protests have domino effect in Arab World?

The Arab world has been transfixed by the recent dramatic events in Egypt and Tunisia. Popular street protests have swept across Egypt just days after similar protests saw Tunisia's President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali flee his country. Could a domino effect sweep more leaders from power as it did around Eastern Europe in 1989?

After the Jasmin Revolution in Tunis, Egypt may face with a revolution against the governance of President Hosni Mubarak. The head of state, President Hosni Mubarak has been in power since 1981. 

Having difficulty in coping with corruption, increasing living expenses, and effects of global financial crisis are main elements of economic variables. Authoritarianism, nepotism, bad relations between government and opposition and shifting elites are the political variables. Hegemony of dominant powers on politically and economicly weak but geopolitically important countries in the region is international variable. All of these variables and elements form the dynamics of regime change.  

`As in Tunisia, Egyptians face tough economic conditions, official corruption and little opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with the political system ` (BBC, 2011). As a result of this, huge protests continue in Cairo's Tahrir Square, but President Mubarak stands resolute.

Mubarak says to transfer power but not resigning on last night. He says that he was delegating his powers to his Vice President Omar Suleiman.
Suleiman, a 74-year-old former intelligence chief who was promoted just last month, is not widely popular with protesters who are seeking a complete break with the military-dominated system that has governed Egypt for the past six decades` (Reuters, 2011)

Why Egypt is important for the Middle East? 


Egyptian stability is important for Mideast peace. The Camp David Accords were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on September 17, 1978, following thirteen days of secret negotiations at Camp David. This Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel, led directly to the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. In addition to this, Egypt is a key partner in the search for peace in the Middle East and resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 


Moreover, Egypt played an important role in the negotiations leading to the Madrid Conference of 1991, which, under United States and Russian sponsorship, brought together all parties in the region, including for the first time a Palestinian delegation, to discuss Middle East peace. 


This support has continued to the present, with President Hosni Mubarak often intervening personally to promote peace negotiations. In 1996, he hosted the Sharm El-Sheikh "Summit of the Peacemakers" attended by President Bill Clinton and other world leaders. 


In 2000, he hosted two summits at Sharm El-Sheikh and one at Taba in an effort to resume the Camp David negotiations suspended in July 2000, and in June 2003, Mubarak hosted President George W. Bush for another summit on Middle East peace process. Another summit was convened in Sharm El Sheik in early 2005, which was attended by Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. The Egyptian Chief of Intelligence, General Omar Suleiman, has played a substantial role in negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian sides and is highly respected on both sides.  


Consequently, if Egypt fails to suppy stability within the country, this make a domino effect as it did around Eastern Europe in 1989. 


From Jasmine to the Nile Revolution: Who is Next?

Yemen, Algeria, Syria, Libya, Jordan, Morocco, and Kuwait may face with a revolution or unrest  after resign or transfering power of Tunisian President Ben Ali and Egyptian President Mubarak. 

Yemen, the head of state is President Ali Abdullah Saleh, 64. He has been in power since 1978. President anounces he will quit in 2013. 

Algeria, the head of state is Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 73. He has been in power since 1999. There are protests on the streets, but President Bouteflika presides over coalition.  

Syria, the head of state is Bashar al-Assad, 45. He has been in power since 2000. He is son of former president of Syria, Hafea al-Assad. Protests are suppressed. 

Libya, the head of state is Muammar Gaddaffi, 68. He has been in power since 1969. No opposition to Gaddafi due to traditional divisions in population. 

Jordan, the head of state is King Abdullah II, 49. He has been in power since 1999. King sacks his government on 1 February and ordered new Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit to carry out political reforms.

Morocco, the head of state is King Mohammed VI, 47. He has been in power since 1999. 

Kuwait, the head of state is Sheikh Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah since 2006. Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy. Hereditary monarchy, Kuwait could see unrest.