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» وظائف بالكويت مسابقة 2011 2012 للعمل بوزارة التربيه فى جميع التخصصات
Egyptian protests explained EmptySun Feb 19, 2012 2:15 pm by محمد السعيد الجيوشي

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 Egyptian protests explained

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PostSubject: Egyptian protests explained   Egyptian protests explained EmptyWed Feb 02, 2011 11:19 pm

Since January 25, Egypt has faced massive anti-government demonstrations daily. But what are they all about?

What's going on in Egypt?

Tens of thousands of activists have taken to the streets of Egypt's capital, Cairo, and other cities each day since January 25, protesting against poverty, unemployment, corruption and calling for an end to the rule of president Hosni Mubarak.

The protests, staged by student and opposition groups, were at least partly inspired by the recent uprising in Tunisia, which led to the ousting of long-time Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The protests in Egypt kicked off on January 25, a national holiday to commemorate the police forces, with Egyptians take to the streets in large numbers, calling it a "day of rage".

What are the protests about?

The protesters are calling for greater freedom.

Poverty, unemployment and anger at a government viewed as corrupt and resistant to change are seen as key reasons for the popular uprising.

Many protesters have also cited the death of 28-year-old Khaled Said in June 2010 as a key motivator; he was allegedly beaten to death by police.

Who are the key figures?

Hosni Mubarak has been president of Egypt since 1981 and protesters are calling for him to step aside. He is rumoured to be holed up in the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Mr Mubarak has responded to the protests by sacking the government and promising to bring in democratic and economic reforms.

The uprising in Egypt emerged without a clear leader but former diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei has since emerged as a key opposition figure.

Mr ElBaradei was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for his work with the International Atomic Energy Agency. After recently returning to Egypt, he said he had a mandate from opposition groups, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood, to negotiate with Mr Mubarak's regime.

He has called for Mr Mubarak to stand aside and hailed "a new Egypt in which every Egyptian lives in freedom and dignity".

What's the international significance?

Coming shortly after the toppling of the Tunisian regime, the Egyptian protests raise the prospect of unrest spreading through the Arab world.

Fawaz Gerges, a professor of Middle Eastern politics at the London School of Economics, likens the current situation to what happened in eastern Europe in 1989.

"This is the Arab world's Berlin moment. The authoritarian wall has fallen - and that's regardless of whether Mubarak survives or not. It goes beyond Mubarak," he said.

"The barrier of fear has been removed. It is really the beginning of the end of the status quo in the region."

Middle East analyst Yoram Meital sees "people power" movements looming large across the Middle East.

"There is currently a sort of earthquake, nothing less. It started in Tunisia, it is continuing in Egypt; the political situation in Lebanon is, in any case, very complicated; in Yemen there are already two straight days of protests which have their own local peculiarities," he said.

"It cannot be said that these are just isolated incidents. There is something broader which can be termed the Tunisia or Al Jazeera effect."

Kishore Mahbubani from the Lee Kuwan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore says other governments should be careful what they wish for in Egypt, as they may get something worse.

"The biggest geopolitical nightmare for Israel is to have the most populous Arab country at your doorstep with political instability. Believe me, it changes the whole balance of the Middle East, it makes everything else look very simple because suddenly we go back 30 years," he said.
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