- The Christian South of Sudan has voted overwhelmingly to secede from Muslim Arab control
- Tunisian street protesters have brought long time dictator (he took power in 1987) President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali down after 23 years.
- In Egypt, similar street protests appear to be on the verge of bringing down President Mubarak who took power in 1981.
- In Yemen, at the bottom of the Arabian peninsula, and an already volatile country, is subject to street protests
|Protests in Egypt|
Its hard to argue that these regimes could all be swept away without a tear being shed .... but, and there's always one but, theres one problem ... What Comes Next?
In every recent instance of 'popular' revolt in the Muslim world, its been the mullahs, hardlined and autocratic who have assumed control. Iran is arguably worse off than when the Shah was ruling, with very corrupt millionaire Mullahs stealing from the state, while the illiterate poor (who were the backbone of their support, and allowed them to seize power from the Iranians middle classes), just get poorer.
Tellingly, when the educated students and youth tried for democracy in Iran last year ...
|Peaceful protests in Tehran last year|
|Secret Police stop protest in Iran|
There must be every chance that we are about to see the 'Muslim Brotherhood' seize power in Egypt and some similar grouping in Tunisia ... the domino effect would be in full flow, and the world really could be plunged into a 'clash of civilisations' as radical Islam sweeps to power in North Africa and beyond (Pakistan is already flirting with the Taliban).
Publically the West supports 'reform' in the region, but privately they must be worried that we could be seeing a lurch towards hardline Islamic regimes across the Muslim world.