As Bob Dylan sang, he times, they are a-changing, and no place more than in the Middle East.
Michael Scott Doran writes in Foreign Affairs Magazine that, suddenly, the people are part of the equation in the Arab world.
“In Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Iran and Libya, protesters are demanding either comprehensive reform or total revolution,” he writes. “Only once before in modern history has a populist wave of this magnitude swept the region.”
That was when, a half-a-century ago, a series of Arab nationalist movements challenged the rulers of the Arab world. The catalyst for that, Doran says, was then-Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to nationalize the Suez Canal in 1956. Attempts by Israel and European powers to toppled Nasser failed sparking, Dolan says, a pan-Arab revolution that placed imperialistic regimes on notice that their time in power was short.
Dolan compares that to the ouster of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali from Tunisia, which has sparked challenges to regimes in other nations in the region.
“Today’s turmoil,” he argues, “then, is not unique; rather, it represents the second Arab revolution.