The regimes are dropping like flies in the Middle East

First, it was the end of President Ben Ali in Tunisia. Next, it was . . seemingly everybody . .

Have the people of Tunisia changed the face of the Middle East?
Xavier Zapata | BBC | Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Last month an unemployed young man set himself on fire in Tunisia, and the flames appear to have engulfed a region. Officials wouldn’t let Mohamed Bouazizi sell vegetables without a licence, and his desperate act triggered an upsising that toppled the government of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Since then we’ve seen a dramatic chain reaction, as people across the Arab World have protested against what they see as authoritarian and oppressive rule. Events have been moving at breathtaking speed . .


In Egypt:

Mubarak Says He Will Not Run for Presidency Again
Reuters and AP with CNBC.com | Tuesday, 1 Feb 2011

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Tuesday he would not leave Egypt although he would step down from the presidency at the end of his term, due to end when the country holds a presidential election in September . .

He also said pledged to implement a series of reforms, including calling on the judiciary to combat corruption, one of the complaints of protesters who have pushed him to announce an end to his presidency later this year.

In Jordan:

Jordan’s King Dismisses Government Amid Protests
By HASSAN HAFIDH and FARNAZ FASSIHI | Associated Press | Feb 2 2011

AMMAN—Jordan’s King Abdullah II fired his government and named a new prime minister who he said would be responsible for enacting “true” political reforms, the latest in a handful of moves announced Tuesday across the region that appeared aimed at tamping down growing popular anger at political and economic malaise.

On a day that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak faced hundreds of thousands of angry protesters with a pledge that he wouldn’t seek re-election, leaders around the region took steps to hold on to their own power.


In Yemen:

Yemeni president vows to step down after term, as protests spark changes across Arab world
Haretz | 2 2 2011

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key U.S. ally against Al-Qaida, said on Wednesday he will not seek to extend his presidency in a move that would end his three-decade rule when his current term expires in 2013.

Eyeing protests that swept Tunisia’s leader from power and threaten to topple Egypt’s president, Saleh also vowed not to pass on the reins of government to his son. He also appealed to the opposition to call off protests as a large rally loomed.


The unrest grows in Syria:

Syrians called to join in anti-government protests
Peter Cave | ABC.net | Mon Jan 31, 2011

Syria looks set to join the growing list of Middle East regimes facing mass, anti-government demonstrations . .

Organisers have begun circulating leaflets and messages on the internet demanding freedom of speech, human rights and economic reforms and they are asking demonstrators to rally outside parliament house in Damascus, the Syrian capital.

The strict authoritarian government of Syrian president Bashar Assad has already broken up attempts to rally outside the Egyptian embassy and has begun deploying troops in the northern city of Aleppo ahead of planned protest rallies there.


. . and in Algeria:

The Revolution Continues – Unrest in Algeria, Jordan
Erin | Africana Online | January 31, 2011

Algeria, another northern African nation, has also been inspired by neighboring Tunisia and is seeing massive protests. More than 10,000 protesters marched against authorities in Algeria’s northeastern city of Bejaia on Saturday in the country’s largest rally yet. Demonstrators marched peacefully in the city, chanting slogans such as: “For a radical change of the regime!” RCD leader Said Sadi, whose group organized the rally, said, “The protest gathered more than 10,000 people.” The police were out but the protesters dispersed peacefully. In Algeria, as in Egypt and Tunisia, residents are growing frustrated with rising costs and unemployment. Three-fourths of Algerians are under 30. Most of them do not have jobs or apartments, despite the fact that the state assets are full with money from oil and gas exports . .

After riots broke out earlier in the month that left five people dead and over 800 injured, Algiers responded swiftly by reducing the prices of oil, sugar and other basic necessities which had risen sharply. The government also assured citizens that subsidies on essential goods like flour would continue. But, longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is supported by a corrupt circle of military officers and secret police and his assurances did little to calm the unrest in the country. Similar to Tunisia and Egypt, more residents are using public suicide in an effort to protest the government. Within the past two weeks, eight people have set themselves on fire, most jobless and desperate.

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