Experts have long been predicting that the paucity of freedom and good governance in the Arab world would lead to an explosive situation. The question, therefore,was not if, but when and where this situation would provoke a major popular reaction or violent revolt.
It should be remembered that “revolutions” in the Middle East in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s turned into military, authoritarian or dictatorial regimes in Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, Syria, Sudan. The revolutionary Islamic Party in Iran has assassinated and imprisoned its moderates. Free elections in the Palestinian territories brought Hamas to power.
Paradoxically, the first “revolution” happened in Tunisia, an Arab state with a sizable and educated middle class, a large industrial sector,with the highest level of per capita income among non-oil producing Arab states, and explicit promotion and advancement of women. In fact, it was closer to a palace coup than a full-scale revolution.
Tunisia’s Jasmine revolution triggered a domino effect with huge consequences in the Arab world, first and foremost for Egypt, the most populated and important country, as well as the leader of the Arab moderate camp.