Arab World: After Tunisia, Who's Next?

This post is part of our special coverage of Tunisia Revolution 2011 and Algeria Protests 2011.

Following the events in Tunisia that forced former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country, netizens across the Arab world are asking: “are we next?”

Egyptian journalist and blogger Mona Eltahawy, who has kept close watch on the Twittersphere throughout the Tunisian uprising, penned a widely-read column this morning entitled “More Tunisias, Please” in which she noted that the Arab world is watching with bated breath to see if “another Tunisia” will occur:

Image by Andrew Ford Lyons @drew3000

Ben Ali imprisoned or chased into exile viable alternatives to his rule, so what comes next politically is not clear. But the world is watching this small Arab country and wondering if this is the first step in ridding the region of its granddaddies.

Analyst Juan Cole also suggested the potential for Tunisia to be the start of something bigger:

…But since Tunisia is Sunni and Arab, it would not be embarrassing for Egyptians, Algerians, Syrians and Jordanians to borrow its techniques and rhetoric for their own domestic purposes, which makes it potentially influential. Certainly an alliance of frustrated BA holders, professionals, workers, farmers, progressives and Muslim activists that results in a parliamentary democracy would likely have more resonances in the Arab world than Iran’s authoritarian rule by ayatollah (Sunnis don’t have ayatollahs). It remains to be seen if little Tunisia is the start of something, or one more false dawn.

All day, similar sentiment has echoed across Twitter and the Arab blogosphere.  Saudi journalist Ebtihal Mubarak (@EbtihalMubaraktweets:

If the unexpected kept on happening next to Tunisian revolution is not Egypt but SYRIA. Now that will be a New Arab world#Sidibouzid #Syria

“Majnoon Habibi” (@majnoon4) writes, along the same lines:

Tunisia today, fascist Syria tomorrow. The revolution is coming. Bring democracy to the Arab Middle East.

Created by Egyptian @ZeinabSamir

Syrian Arwa Abdulaziz (@arwa_abdulaziz) also predicts that Syria will be the next to fall:

اليوم العالم ينشد “حماة الحمى يا حماة الحمى _ هلمو هلمو لمجد الزمن” وغداً بإذن الله سينشد العالم “حماة الديار عليكم سلام ” #Tunisia #syria
Today the world sings [the Tunisian National Anthem] and tomorrow God willing they will sing [the Syrian National Anthem] #Tunisia #Syria

Syrian Yassine Essouaiha (@syriangavroche) feels similarly:

فليتعلم الطغاة و لتنتبه الشعوب: الجوع هو شرارة الغضب, لا الدين و لا الطائفة و لا “الفتنة” و لا نزاعات زعماء الأحزاب #sidibouzid #tunisia
May tyrants learn and peoples pay attention: Hunger is the spark for anger; not religion, sect, “fitna”, nor the conflicts of leaders of different parties

Despite the hopes, however, Nader Haddad (@NaderHaddadnotes that the Syrian state news agency has not made mention of the popular revolt in Tunisia:

No mention whatsoever of the popular revolution in #Tunisia by the Official news agency of #Syria

What will happen next remains to be seen, but it is undeniable that the Tunisian uprising has sparked hope for tides of change across the Arab world.

This post is part of our special coverage of Tunisia Revolution 2011 and Algeria Protests 2011.


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