What Happened to the Arab Spring?

(BBC News) Roger Hardy - Back in January and February, it seemed that Arab dictators were falling like dominos, compared with the bloody stalemate that characterizes the region today. In Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and Libya, the dictators are hanging on through the violent suppression of protest. Three lessons stand out. One, all politics is local. The expression of grievances plays out differently in each country and in no two cases is the balance of forces identical. Two, Islam is part of the picture. In origin, the Arab uprisings were nationalistic, but religion has not suddenly disappeared. The Islamists realize they have a unique opportunity to enter the political arena. Three, the Western powers, not least the Obama administration in Washington, are reacting to events, not driving them. But in city after city, the barrier of fear has been breached and there can be no going back. The writer is a visiting fellow at the Centre for International Studies at the London School of Economics.

2011-04-22 00:00:00

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