In Libya, more than 40 people have been killed and Muammar Gaddafi is accused of bringing in soldiers from Chad to crack down on protests. This afternoon, there was also been a savage government crackdown on demonstrators in Bahrain.
The fact that unrest has broken out in a country like Libya, that had not been really anticipated because Colonel Gaddafi has instituted a very repressive system of his own, that clearly shows that people would like to take advantage of uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia in order bring about important changes in their own societies. But whether they are really going to succeed in the case of, for example, Libya, that remains to be seen.
Violence has also erupted in Bahrain in the past two days. Reports have emerged that police fired indiscriminately and without warning onto a crowd of pro-democracy supporters camped out in the city square.
It puts the United States and Saudi Arabian administrations in an uncomfortable position with their apparent ally, the monarch of Bahrain. If the regime in Bahrain goes down, then that will have serious implications for Saudia Arabia, given the relationship or the close relationship between Saudia Arabia and Bahrain.
There is no sign that the monarchy will be overthrown in Bahrain but there is a serious problem in the country, something which could be immediate source of concern for a number of countries in the region and also for the United States.
violence has intensified across the whole region to Algeria, the Palestinian Territories, Yemen, Jordan and Sudan.
Almost from coast to coast, if we could use that phraseology, the Middle East seems to be an area in a period of considerable if not change certainly volatility. Why? The rising levels of poverty are part of the reason people are protesting.
The increasing levels of impoverishment, especially amongst the youth. The Middle East has the youngest population of any region in the world. A country like Yemen, for example, half the population are under the age of 25, most of those have some level of education, many of them are unemployed, disenfranchised, feel disconnected from the rest of the world as well.
All those factors are feeding into the discontent. That is, I think in any political system, a recipe for disaster. The region faces a fairly bleak future, unless the regimes decided to engage in massive political, social and economic reforms in order to close the gap between the rulers and the ruled.
However, the US seem to be more concern of what's taking place in Bahrain.
the Bahraini regime's fall will be tantamount to 'disaster' for the United States. The oil-rich kingdom is home to US' Navy's Fifth Fleet. Also because of its strategic location in the Persian Gulf, it is very important for the US strategy in the area.
If the Bahraini regime falls, it will be a disaster to the American policy in the Middle East and its long-term strategy. The Fifth Fleet is a shield for American forces against many countries, especially Iran. The Fleet is there to spy on Iran and control the Strait of Hormoz.
Just like how Israel was alarmed with Hosni Mubarak's resignation earlier this week, the US would take changes to Bahrain's foreign policy as a disaster to its presence in the region. Israel, which signed the Camp David peace accord with Egypt 1979, is also hoping for the Egyptian new e leadership to respect the accord.
If my arrangement for trips to Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen and Sudan goes on well, I will be there soon...