The Compass

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Linkage in the Mideast

egypt.jpg

Elliott Abrams offers some thoughts on what we can learn from recent events in the Middle East:

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not central: Arab affairs reflect the internal crises of Arab countries and regimes and are not built around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What has been happening in Tunisia and Egypt is about Tunisia and Egypt. Same for the crisis in Lebanon, recent rioting in Jordan, and other key issues throughout the Arab world (stasis in Algeria, succession in Saudi Arabia, and so on). What unites these events is their relationship to the democracy deficit and to internal social and economic problems, not to Israel.

I'd second that. What's brought people out into the streets are local grievances. Abrams' conclusion also undermines the assertion that the Iraq war is somehow responsible for these protests.

(AP Photo)