Tunisia May Be Turning Point in Arab World

Nation gets its third president in 24 hours
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2011 12:58 PM CST
Fouad Mebazaa takes an oath as interim president of Tunisia Saturday.   (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
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(Newser) – Tunisia got a new interim president today—parliamentary leader Fouad Mebazaa—who is technically the third leader in 24 hours, notes the Los Angeles Times. He takes over from the previous interim president, who briefly held power when longtime leader El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country in the face of mass protests over rising prices, joblessness, corruption, repression, you name it. The storyline continues to shape up as one that could set a historical precedent—an Arab populace rising up against its leader.

  • Anthony Shadid, New York Times: "The most enthusiastic suggested it was the Arab world’s Gdansk, the birthplace of Solidarity in Poland, which heralded the end to Communist rule in Eastern Europe. That seemed premature, particularly because the contours of the government emerging in Tunisia were still unclear."
  • Shadi Hamid, Huffington Post: "No one should underestimate what happened yesterday in Tunisia. If the revolution succeeds, it may very well prove to be one of the most important moments in recent Arab history. It will alter the calculus not only for Arab regimes—who are watching very, very nervously—but for Western powers that have long oriented their Middle East policy around seemingly stable, autocratic governments."
Click for the latest as chaos continues on the streets. (Read more Tunisia stories.)

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