Mid East rulers watch Tunisia in fear of repeat
AMMAN — Governments across the Middle East anxiously watched developments in Tunisia on Sunday after the ouster of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, fearing the spread to their doorsteps of violence and popular revolt. After 23 years of iron-fisted rule, the Tunisian president caved in to violent popular protests on Friday and fled to Saudi Arabia, becoming the first Arab leader to do so. Administrations in the Middle East were cautious in their response to his toppling, but are increasingly uneasy about the situation as opposition groups seek to take advantage of the upheaval in the north African country. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit warned the West to stay out of Arab affairs, after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called this week on Arab leaders to work with their peoples for reforms. Abul Gheit described as “nonsense” fears that a Tunisian-style popular revolt could spread to other Arab countries. The world’s largest pan-Islamic body, the Saudi-based Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said the strife in Tunisia was an “internal matter” while urging people to “protect public and private properties.” …
Netanyahu: Tunisia turmoil shows instability of entire Mid East
Speaking during weekly cabinet meeting, PM says region-wide unrest and instability highlight Israel’s concerns as to regional powers’ ability to sign and maintain a future peace treaty
The civil unrest which resulted in the ousting of Tunisia’s long-time president displays an instability prevalent in the entire Middle East, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, adding that the situation highlighted the need for security assurances in a future Mideast peace deal. Massive street protests over corruption and unemployment forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country Friday night after 23 years of iron-fisted rule. Saudi King Abdullah’s palace confirmed early Saturday that the ousted president and his family had landed in Saudi Arabia, saying the kingdom welcomed him with a wish for “peace and security to return to the people of Tunisia.” Speaking during the cabinet’s weekly meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said that recent turmoil in Tunisia was an example of “how unstable Israel’s region is.” “There are several centers of instability in our region and we hope that peace and security return to the region,” Netanyahu said. Netanyahu added that the Tunisian unrest also highlights an important issue regarding a possible Middle East peace treaty, saying that there is doubt whether or not such an agreement would be followed by all sides in the long run in view of the pervasive political instability in the region. “We don’t know if a peace agreement would be respected and so any peace deal would have to include on-the-ground security arrangements,” the premier said.
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