Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Tunisian Threat

Ian Black, Middle East editor for the Guardian, has an interesting report on the threat that the Tunisian riots can be to other regimes in the Arab world. Tunisia unrest a wake-up call for the region: Bloody street clashes in Tunis trigger fears of a domino effect that could shake other authoritarian states

Even so, I wonder. The demonstrations, so widespread, could easily turn into looting and rioting that other repressive states can use to justify their repressive measures. We certainly hope that these developments will induce social changes in the Middle East that will allow open debate and popular suffrage.

But repressive regimes have persisted for generations for a reason, and that reason has not changed: These are regimes that, if truly threatened, are willing to take extreme measures, including torture and illegal searches and seizures of persons and property.

In fact, it is significant that the Tunisian dictator in the end backed off. Will the others do so also?

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