Arab Anger

TV/Radio Broadcast Al-Jazeera
As Arab populations angered by social injustice take to the streets, their governments are trying to buy their way out of trouble with promises of reform and wage rises.
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The Arab world is undergoing spectacular changes, with the collapse of both the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes after just a few weeks of street protests. On Al-Jazeera’s Inside Story, Carnegie’s Paul Salem analyzed the overall situation in the Arab world and the implications of the recent unrest on the region’s political and socioeconomic conditions.

Unrest is quickly spreading throughout the Arab world, with frustrated citizens protesting from Morocco to Yemen and from Libya to Iraq. Paul Salem described the unrest as a “positive and historic moment” that has changed the psychology of the Arab citizens and the balance of power in Arab countries. As a result of the protests, Arab publics now believe that they can achieve change themselves, he said.  Furthermore, Arab regimes are now realizing that they cannot necessarily survive rampant street protests and rage.

Salem also examined the effect of the unrest on international conceptions of the region. The international community realizes now that popular uprisings do not necessarily emanate from Islamist or radical movements, but can originate with repressed people longing for democracy, freedom, good governance, and economic reform.

Recent events have demonstrated that democracy and human rights claims, along with basic social and economic rights, are more important to people of the region than their religious beliefs, Salem added, which explains why the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions have succeeded whereas Islamists have failed for decades.

However, even though all the Arab countries are undergoing similar changes, Salem insisted that each country has a different situation. In divided countries like Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, or even Bahrain, revolts might have a very different outcome than in strongly united countries like Egypt or Tunisia. In the oil-rich countries of the Gulf, where unemployment, illiteracy, and poverty are much lower than elsewhere in the region, reform is more likely to happen than revolution.

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In Fact



of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.


million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3


now needs urgent assistance.


political parties

contested India’s last national elections.


of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.


years ago

Carnegie began an internship program. Notable alumni include Samantha Power.


of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.


of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.


of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.


of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.


million people killed

in Cold War conflicts.


of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.


billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.


billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.


increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.


billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.


of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.


new airports

are set to be built in China by 2015.



were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.


of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.


million Russian citizens

are considered “ethnic Muslims.”

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