President Hosni Mubarak has bowed to a popular uprising and will soon quit. Who’s next? From Jordan’s shaky monarchy to a Yemen regime scarred by WikiLeaks, which Middle East leaders could soon follow suit?
With the Internet down across Egypt, Google and Twitter have come up with a way for Egyptians to tweet using their phones. Now, Dan Lyons reports, a group of hackers is close to delivering software that could turn laptops into low-cost Internet routers—and help protesters organize.
Iran’s Green Revolution had a martyr named Neda, a 26-year-old woman gunned down in the streets of Tehran. Tunisia’s was Mohamed Bouazizi, an unemployed university graduate who set himself ablaze outside a government building. Egypt’s is Khaled Said—because someone has been agitating under the dead man’s name.
Obama administration officials say they are not taking sides between President Hosni Mubarak, America’s key ally in the Arab world, and the street protesters who purportedly represent a path to democracy in authoritarian Egypt. These officials might even believe what they’re saying. But the very assertion of “not taking sides” is itself a tilt away from the all-out support traditionally given by Washington to this Egyptian strongman in recent decades.
If Palestinians had been looking for a reason to join the protests sweeping the Arab world, Al-Jazeera provided one last week with a trove of leaked documents suggesting their leaders had made deep concessions to Israel in peace talks over the past decade. Among other things, negotiators apparently agreed to forgo the repatriation to Israel of most Palestinian refugees, a taboo issue if ever there was one. Yet across the West Bank, Palestinians remained mostly indifferent to the news. Few showed up at protests, and no mainstream figure called for President Mahmoud Abbas’s resignation. The backlash that some analysts had predicted never materialized.
As President Jimmy Carter’s national-security adviser during the 1979 fall of the shah in Iran, Zbigniew Brzezinski has dealt intimately with history-bending revolutions. After mass protests deposed a regime in Tunisia and later spread to the streets of Egypt and Yemen last week, NEWSWEEK’s John Barry talked to the Johns Hopkins professor about the way young people across the Arab world—many of them disaffected and disenchanted—are now connecting on the circuits of a new revolutionary age.
The brooding French may be the world’s biggest pessimists—61 percent anticipated more economic hardship in 2011, more than twice the global average, according to a recent Gallup International poll—but they’re still adding new infants to their healthy broods.
In the category of the world’s sexiest politicians, China’s dour communist apparatchiks would seem to be far behind America’s legendary ladies’-men presidents and Europe’s bunga-bunga leaders. But a survey released in December by the All-China Women’s Federation found that a Middle Kingdom mandarin is the top pick for an ideal partner among Chinese women.
Whether the unrest from Tunisia to Egypt will result in democracy is unclear, but the Arab media are celebrating nonetheless—and taking away a few key lessons about entrenched regimes across the region.
One afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I walked into the British Foreign Office for a meeting with Middle East policy planners. “Tunisia is melting down and the Lebanese government has just fallen,” my host said as he welcomed me. “Interesting times.”
Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei is headed back to Egypt despite direct threats against his life. On the eve of his return, the former U.N. official who is the Mubarak regime's most high-profile opponent shares his thoughts about the young people who’ve taken to the streets, political Islam, and the role of the United States.