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.
Basem Fathi, an organizer of Monday's protests in Cairo, was scrambling around the capital, trying to buy towels and tents. On a day in which tens of thousands of people thronged the streets in the type of large-scale protests that authoritarian Egypt hasn't seen in decades, demonstrators had occupied the central Tahrir Square.
If Hizbullah weren’t so smart, it wouldn’t be so dangerous. This Shiite militia, created by Iran and backed by Syria, has never had a problem using force, naturally. But now that it is in a position to govern—a position it got to through constitutional maneuvering—it’s not acting like the overbearing Party of God so much as an éminence grise.
For nearly two weeks, pundits have speculated whether the ousting of Tunisian dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali would lead to further unrest in the region. The answer came today as thousands of protesters poured into the streets of Cairo and smaller Egyptian cities to chant slogans against President Hosni Mubarak and demand more rights.
Over the past year, emerging markets such as China, India, and Brazil have continued to drive economic growth, while the developed world, namely the United States and parts of Europe, have remained mired in debt and unemployment. In the lead-up to the World Economic Forum in Davos, NEWSWEEK's R. M. Schneiderman interviewed World Bank president Robert B. Zoellick about the future of the global economy.