Stirrings of an Arab revolution

Mass revolts and protests from Tunisia to Egypt once again raise the question of pan-Arab unity, writes Eddie Ford

Much to the alarm of imperialism, the popular uprising that erupted in Tunisia shows no sign of fizzling out. Indeed, instead of a return to business as usual - as no doubt originally expected by the governmental heads in Washington, Paris and London - Tunisia's mass revolt is spreading into neighbouring countries and the region as a whole, threatening the existence of oppressive and corrupt western-sponsored regimes. Far from being an outlandish or quixotic notion, Tunisia could act as the spark that ignites a revolutionary fire. Thus after literally fleeing for his life on January 14, the former longstanding president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali - often described as "Tunisia's Ceausescu" - is now holed up in Saudi Arabia, a common refuge for despots past their sell-by-date. Almost inevitably, the interim or 'unity' government that came into existence after Ben Ali's fall is now on the ropes - meeting nothing but determined hostility from the increasingly confident Tunisian masses, now sensing their own power. The appetite grows with the eating.

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