Are you worried about the next Libya? About another failed state where we will feel a moral obligation to intervene militarily? The popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt were relatively peaceful. They didn’t produce grave and serious injustices on a scale that warranted intervention. Libya did. The fates of Yemen and Bahrain are still to be determined.
One hopes that Tunisia and Egypt are the peaceful rule and Libya is the violent exception. If not, we may face more Libyas. Where? There are plenty of candidates. Back in February, The Economist tried its hand at divination, assessing the likelihood that various Arab nations might experience a popular revolt. The accuracy of their predictions is uncanny. Yemen topped the Economist list as most unstable, followed by Libya and Egypt in the second and third spots. Also ranked high were Syria, Iraq, Oman, Mauritania, and Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Jordan. Tunisia was in the middle of the rankings, so it wasn’t predicted to be the first mover it was. Bahrain might be the biggest surprise. It was ranked relatively low among the 17 nations listed.
The rankings factored in years a current regime was in power, percent population under 25, GDP per person, adult literacy, percent Internet users and relative levels of democracy, corruption and press freedom. (Here’s a link to their interactive ranking system, where you can try your hand at prediction by assigning different weights to the factors.)
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Revolution continues to spread in the Middle East. What’s next?
(Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)