Are the revolts across the Arab world linked?

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 27, 2011
Riot police clashing with anti-Mubarak protesters in Cairo this week

Riot police clashing with anti-Mubarak protesters in Cairo this week

It is tempting to lump the unrest sweeping the Arab world this week into one tidal wave, but the scenario in each country is unique.

Tunisians joined together using social media to oust President Bin Ali in an ad-hoc movement that was sparked by the translation to Arabic of the WikiLeaks that chronicled the corruption of the president's family. The protests this week in Egypt were inspired by the Tunisians and organised in a similar fashion, but this is where the similarity ends. Tunisia is young and secular, and the moment a nationwide protest began, the regime proved to be particularly weak.

The Egyptian anger is also motivated by years of repression and poverty but the Mubarak regime is much more sophisticated, based on large powerful security forces and a stable hierarchy of power. It will take a lot more than this to topple it.

The dynamic in Lebanon is totally different. The Land of the Cedars has been riven for generations by the religious groups that make it up and further torn apart by foreign powers.

And, in the Palestinian territories, the media has not only channelled frustrations, it has become a player: Al Jazeera has used the Palestine Papers to portray Mr Abbas as a traitor.

Last updated: 2:31pm, February 1 2011