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mattbrowne's avatar

Yay - We are witnessing a historic moment in Egypt and the Arab world - Which country is next?

Asked by mattbrowne (31588points) February 11th, 2011

Cairo protesters erupt in celebration!

“Demonstrations that began with quiet determination on the Internet more than three weeks ago erupted into riotous jubilation Friday evening, moments after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced he would step aside. Protesters swarmed army tanks that had been deployed to keep order, banged drums, blew whistles and frantically waved the Egyptian flag in celebration. They danced in circles and chanted.”

To me that’s almost like the people dancing on the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 !

I think this revolution will continue to spread. So who is next?

Here’s my prediction

1. Tunisia
2. Egypt
3. Jordan
4. Morocco
5. Algeria
6. Yemen
7. UAE
8. Libya

Saudi Arabia? Probably not.

What are your thoughts?

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44 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Libya? Really? And Jordan? But the rest of your list seems plausible to me. Although I am not sure about the UAE, either.

Cruiser's avatar

Wow! Did not expect THAT! I predict the USA is next!!

mattbrowne's avatar

@wundayatta – The young people in Jordan and Libya are watching Al Jazeera. They are watching what is happening in Egypt right now. And they are also using the Internet.

Who would have thought that Romania would follow the example of Poland, Hungary and East Germany?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m surprised he went that quickly. I just hope he and the family can make ends meet. $70 billion or whatever isn’t what it used to be. Why did the army chose to sit on the sidelines? I don’t think the armies of some of the other countries you mentioned would do the same. I’d probably agree with your list without including Libya. Not enough freedoms to get it started.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe – The Egyptian army did not sit on the sidelines. They sided with the demonstrators and protected them against the police, the secret service forces and the goons hired by the NDP (Mubarak’s party).

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@mattbrowne I meant that more along the lines of why didn’t Mubarak order the army to disperse the demonstrators?

mattbrowne's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe – He tried. The army didn’t follow his order. Of course there was also some power struggle within the Egyptian army. But the vast majority of army officers agreed with the demands of the demonstrators.

ragingloli's avatar

I read the military took over the leadership.
The protester’s jubilation may be shortlived.

Qingu's avatar

@mattbrowne, didn’t Tunisia already happen?

If I had to put my money on something, based on what I know about these countries, I would guess Libya. But I don’t know much at all.

Also, while I’m still hopeful about Egypt, this still could turn out really bad. It looks like the army basically forced Mubarak out. So, technically, this was a coup.

So far, the army has acted very professionally, patiently, and with what seems to be genuine respect for the protesters and their demands… but the country is still moving towards de facto military rule. Maybe I’m still jaded from the failure of the Green Revolution, but I’ll hold my breath until the military takes concrete steps towards putting democracy in place.

tedd's avatar

They were preceded by Tunisia weren’t they?

If I remember reading correctly there have already been protests in Yemen and Jordan (though to a smaller scale). We’ll see what happens.

Still very interested/nervous/excited to see how Egypt pans out. Lord knows we don’t need another Iran, but hopefully they can just have some form of Democracy.

Qingu's avatar

I’m very curious about exactly what sort of influence America has. We pour a lot of money into Egypt, much of which goes into its military. Their military also routinely cross-trains with ours.

I’d like to think that the military’s professionalism and restraint has something to do with American influence, and that we can keep on wielding this influence to help them transform into democracy.

Then again, maybe I have too much faith in our government’s desire to see democracy spread, rather than to prop up pro-Israel anti-Islamist strongmen autocrats.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I can only hope the “indefinite transition” isn’t the Egyptian military’s way of trying to become a dictatorship.

Other than that, I’m glad Mubarek’s taken a hike.

Rarebear's avatar

Maybe yay. As repressive as it was, Egypt was a stabilizing force for many years. It would be worrysome for the West if it turned into, say, an Iran style Islamic government.

CaptainHarley's avatar

My money’s on Jordan.

bkcunningham's avatar

The POTUS is speaking now.

Qingu's avatar

@Rarebear, I agree it would be worrying for the West… it would also be worrying because the West should have learned its lesson from Iran, i.e. that supporting a dictator (the Shah, Mubarak) in defiance of the will of the people can lead to extremism, revolution, and people in that country generally not liking the people behind their former puppet despots.

zenvelo's avatar

Jordan is a possibility, but a lot of the people love the King. I am hoping this revives the opposition in Iran.

The leader in Yemen pre-emptively said he would not run for re-election, which quelled the enthusiasm.

The UAE is pretty generous with spreading the wealth, so I don’t see that happening.

lloydbird's avatar

‘Stable’, compliant, profitable states; becoming ‘unstable’, ‘threatening’, profitable zones.
Do you hear cheers in certain quarters for future adventures? The sound of bloodthirsty, monetarist hands rubbing together?

incendiary_dan's avatar

It’ll spread wherever the people are fed up enough, which is usually where food shortages hit the hardest. I can’t say I know specifically where that is, but I will research it.

filmfann's avatar

Which African dictator will be overthrown next?
If you watch FOX, you would think it’s Obama

mammal's avatar

@filmfann lmao :D but slightly worried

Hopefully for 24hrs at least, cynicism will be blown away by the elation of jubilant, enfranchised Egyptians.

The obsessive speculation as to the monsters skulking in the dingy recesses of Mosques and Back alleys, reflects Western anxieties rather than reality. The menace of Islamic terror is Western Imperialism’s perennial shadow.

George Orwell and Big brother:

Sometimes mass surveillance is a good thing, technology, something often misused, has been brought to bear on a potentially horrific situation and engendered a positive outcome. Big brother replaced by global public opinion. The Triumph of the Will superseded by the Will of the People for the time being.

Anyway, back to the question, which is rather glib if i may say so, because we should savour the moment, it is very sweet.

Libya is the least likely, Iran too and i doubt Jordon or Lebanon. But the hook nosed monastic tyrants of Saudi Arabia are watching Eagle eyed, and you can rest assured they are feverishly formulating strategies to inhibit media technology and journalistic freedom, they want to blot out the Sun and live in the dark, but they may be fighting a losing battle, America too, which is of course, shamelessly, scrambling to distance itself from it’s hitherto, enthusiastic support of misanthropic despots.

Democracy doesn’t really ever sprout from bombs scattered like seeds, does it? Can you really bomb Afganistan out of the stone age, or Iraq?

Egypt has taught us all a lesson, for the moment anyway.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ragingloli – The military has an informal mandate given by the demonstrators to act as an interim solution until free elections are taking place. So don’t confuse this with a “normal” military coup like in Chile for example.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Qingu and @tedd – I thought my list of countries was obvious. First came Tunisia followed by Egypt. Next might be Jordan. There are demonstrations in Algeria today, but the police is prepared and many Algerians are not willing to demonstrate because they have seen so much violence the last two decades with more than 100,000 people killed.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Rarebear – A theocracy in Egypt is very unlikely, though not impossible. The Brotherhood won’t get the majority of votes.

mattbrowne's avatar

@mammal – “Grassroot” Americans invented Facebook and now it seems to be a far more powerful tool than American fighter jets trying to spread democracy in the Middle East. Truly amazing.

bkcunningham's avatar

From what I’ve been reading, it is hard to guess this one, but it may be Yemen. In light of the the poor job our intelligence sources have demonstrated with Egypt, and the second guessing the Obama administration has done throughout the past 18 days or so, it is hard to trust the new 35-man task force CIA officials say they have formed to guess where the next revolt may take place.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, maybe Yemen succeeds before Jordan. I didn’t put Syria on my list, but maybe change there is more likely than in Libya. Here’s a map with a great overview:

There are few countries “without incidents”.

And a list with the so-called “democracy index”:

This can’t be stopped. Progress is unstoppable.

Qingu's avatar

The more I read about the Muslim Brotherhood, the more they sound like the Islamic version of the American evangelical movement.

I don’t like the American evangelical movement; I think both evangelicals and the Brotherhood are fairly poisonous to the political process in both countries. But they definitely aren’t Iranian mullahs, let alone the Taliban. And as much as I dislike evangelicals, I would dislike it even more if they had no rights to participate in American democracy.

mattbrowne's avatar

I couldn’t agree more with you, @Qingu. We should not tolerate intolerance, whether it’s the intolerant ultra-conservative Christian Right movement in the US or the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world.

“In a 2008 interview Muslim Brotherhood Executive Bureau member Mahmoud Ghozlan emphasized that homosexuality needed to be outlawed.

He also insisted that ‘women and non-Muslims don’t have the right to lead or govern Muslim states,’ echoing the sharia-based gender segregation in all sectors of life called for by Muslim Brotherhood founder al-Banna.”

Non-militant Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood apply intense psychological pressure, while militant Islamists apply physical violence. But the first is the breeding ground for the second. Therefore it isn’t harmless at all. The destructive potential is enormous. But the majority of the young Egyptians demonstrators know this. They want a modern Egypt and not a dark ages Egypt. And many of their leaders are women. They won’t vote for the Islamist movement telling them to shut up and stay at home and be submissive tools giving birth to Muslim boys.

Qingu's avatar

@mattbrowne, all that said—and I guess I didn’t make this clear—I still think the MB has the right to participate. Just like evangelicals in America have the right to participate, despite the fact that they largely think homosexuals should be treated like second class citizens, that man is the head of woman like Christ is the head of man, and that America is a Christian nation.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Qingu – I know. And again, I agree with you. It’s up to tolerant people to expose their intolerance, hoping that as many voters as possible give their votes to other parties. We have competing ideas in a democracy. And in my opinion their ideas shouldn’t win this competition. But this is my opinion.

mammal's avatar

@mattbrowne facebook, is a crazy phenomena, from a totally shallow concept something deep and penetrating has emerged, but it is only an internet gimmick, and the pioneers of the internet had no such shallow objectives.

mattbrowne's avatar

@mammal – Online social networks like Facebook or Fluther are not just a gimmick, when part of the users got shallow objectives only.

By the way, who would have thought that protesters in Libya and Bahrain are among the most active ones these days.

mammal's avatar

@mattbrowne well i thought Libya was least likely, but it seems Gaddafi’s on the Brink, and the bravery of the people is astonishing and tragic, but i guess i felt it would be the most bloody, given what a Bastard he can be, the road to ruin is paved with good intentions that just about sums him up.

mattbrowne's avatar

@mammal – Well, it seems Gaddafi is copying Ceauşescu’s approach who also slaughtered hundreds of people in Romania in 1989 before power was taken from him.

Civic_Cat's avatar

I see that he’s addressing the situation, as the Irainian Trained Seals Parliamentarians about their situation. Both are admitting weakness, which likely means that it’s worse for them. Both are also getting emotional—at least in their language.

I figure Libya’s next, though there might be covert support for Libya as a lessar of two evils by the Europeans and maybe the Americans—both need that oil and he at least has been selling it (Libya – United States relations , Libya–Russia relations , and Foreign relations of Libya ).

Qingu's avatar

I am really terrified about what might happen to Libyans.

I’m still not convinced any of these uprisings will be successful. Egypt was a military coup. Tunisia still has yet to form a working government. Neither of those countries are remotely out of the woods yet, and one of them relied on military force to oust the leader.

mattbrowne's avatar

I don’t think Gaddafi will last for more than 3–4 days.

Egypt was not a military coup. It was a revolution started by young, disappointed people who know about the freedom and opportunities of young people in other countries. Over the course of the 18 days more and more older people joined them. Workers organized in unions. But then also lawyers and doctors. The military defended the peaceful protesters against the police, secret service agents and goons hired by Mubarak’s party. The military sided with the protesters. When Mubarak left they decided to run Egypt for up to 6 months so that free elections can be held and the protesters endorsed this temporary solution. This is totally different from what happened in Chile in 1973 for example. This can be called a military coup. We should not belittle what the people in Egypt have achieved.

Of course the future is uncertain. No Muslim country except Turkey has ever implemented a real democracy. It takes many years to learn how a democracy works. How pluralism works. And people must be able to tolerate the co-existence of different opinions and competing ideas. But I think the Egyptians and Tunisians can accomplish this. The Europeans can offer help setting up the logistics.

Qingu's avatar

@mattbrowne, I hope you’re right, but I’m still terrified for the people in that country.

When I said Egypt was a coup, I didn’t mean to denigrate the very real contribution, and courage, displayed by probably millions of people. You are correct: they started it, the regime change would not have happened without them.

But ultimately, it wouldn’t have happened without the military taking their side, either. Beyond making the decision not to use force against protesters, the military also seems to have explicitly taken Mubarak out. And, they have yet to stop the emergency law. They’ve promised a democratic transition, and for the most part their actions seem genuine… but frankly, I’ll believe it when I see it. The military still holds basically all of the cards in Egypt.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Qingu – An even greater challenge than learning how to build a democracy is the economic future for more than 80 million mostly young Egyptians. Currently Western societies own the knowledge economy and many Asian countries own the manufacturing economy. Traditional agriculture cannot offer opportunities for so many young Egyptians. Tourism isn’t big enough either. Same for exporting resources. The only real opportunity I can think of are future projects for sustainable energy supply such as Desertec (solar thermal) or large-scale micro algae farming. If Egypt becomes the first stable democracy in the region Europe should reward them by investing in Desertec there first. The Egyptian desert areas are huge.

Only economic opportunities can sustain democracies long term. So everyone should think of investing in Egypt and Tunisia and perhaps a soon to be free Libya.

filmfann's avatar

I am thrilled that all this freedom seems to be sweeping the middle east, but in the back of my head I worry that I am really hearing chants of “Death to Israel”

mattbrowne's avatar

I’m thrilled too. The people chanting death to Israel are a minority. I think it’s time I updated my list:

1. Tunisia
2. Egypt
3. Libya
4. Bahrain
5. Yemen
6. Jordan
7. Oman
8. Morocco
9. Algeria

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