An 'Arab Spring' in the Making?

An 'Arab Spring' in the Making?

Yesterday I noted the spread of seemingly unrelated protests and clashes through a diverse array of Arab states -- Tunisia, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt. Last night, protests spread to Algeria, partly in response to rising prices on basic food items but more deeply by the same combination of economic desperation, fury over perceived corruption, and a blocked political order. There's some evidence that Algerians have been carefully watching what is happening in Tunisia, on al-Jazeera and on the internet. Are we seeing the beginnings of the Obama administration equivalent of the 2005 "Arab Spring", when the protests in Beirut captured popular attention and driven in part by newly powerful satellite television images inspired popular mobilization across the region that some hoped might finally break through the stagnation of Arab autocracy? Will social media play the role of al-Jazeera this time? Will the outcome be any different?

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