In a rare televised speech, Saudi Arabia’s king said he was enacting a $67 billion package that included raises and loans for Saudis.
The AP called King Abdullah’s offer, “the Arab world’s most expensive attempt to appease residents inspired by the unrest that has swept two leaders from power.”
Reuters reports on the details of the package:
Amongst a wave of new spending, the decrees outlined a boost in welfare benefits, bonuses for public sector workers, including the army, and a massive drive to build new housing.
In addition, the king ordered the creation of 60,000 security jobs within the Read more…
Russia warns the West against interference: Medvedev suggests that revolts in the Arab world were instigated by outside forces
Moscow is concerned that the turmoil in the Arab world aggravated by western interference may destabilise Russia’s restive North Caucasus and former Soviet Central Asia
-Although Russian leaders have not named any country, experts and politicians have pointed a finger at the United States.
“The Arab revolt may have begun as spontaneous protests, but the West has now moved to take the endgame under its control,” says Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the State Duma. Analysts say the U.S. is using the same techniques in the Arab East it earlier used in staging “coloured revolutions” in the former Soviet Union — in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. They noted the role of CIA-linked foundations such as the Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), in supporting and training civil activists and Twitter and Facebook organisers of the protests in Egypt and Tunisia.
“The events [in the Arab world] bear all the traits of a total ‘network war’ (netwar) as formulated by John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt of the RAND Corporation back in 1996,” says Alexander Knyazev of the Moscow-based Institute of Oriental Read more…
BEIJING – Police and security officials displayed a show of force here and in other Chinese cities Sunday, trying to snuff out any hint of protests modeled on the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. In Shanghai, several hundred people trying to gather were dispersed with a water truck.
Premier Wen Jiabao, meanwhile, used a morning Internet chat to promise to purge senior officials who are corrupt and to rein in inflation and rising home prices, directly addressing some of the most common grievances of ordinary Chinese.
Since a January uprising in Tunisia spurred similar anti-government protests across the Arab world, threatening long-entrenched authoritarian regimes, China’s Communist rulers have reacted nervously, with both defensive and aggressive tactics.
Officials have used state-run media outlets to dismiss any comparisons of those regimes with China. At the same time, they have stepped up public comments on the need to address “social conflict” and to tackle problems such as the growing income disparity between the rich and poor. They also have Read more…
TUNIS (AFP) – Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi resigned Sunday, as security forces clashed with protesters in Tunis demanding the removal of some ministers of his interim government.
“I have decided to quit as prime minister,” Ghannouchi told a news conference, saying that he thought carefully before taking the decision which was supported by his family.
“I am not running away from responsibility. This is to open the way for a new prime minister,” he said.
“I am not ready to be the person who Read more…
Paying $200 for a government-sponsored taxi ride to the Tunisian border sounded like a bad deal. But Tunisian laborer Amr Soltan had no idea just how bad until he and his friends were driven instead to a prison, locked up for five days, robbed of their cellphones by police and beaten by guards.
“It’s a miracle that I am alive,” he said after arriving in his own country as one of the thousands who have been brutalized by Libyan security forces during the uprising against Moammar Kadafi‘s 41-year rule. “They accused us of being traitors because our people revolted against dictators.”
Unlike Arab leaders facing challenges in Morocco, Bahrain, Jordan, Algeria and Yemen, Kadafi and son Seif Islam have responded to their enemies not with substantive concessions and appeals to calm but with blood-curdling rhetoric.
Bahrain, which saw deadly protest this month, is eager to control the price of food according to Wikileaks
According to the Wikileak revelations, Bahrain increased government subsidies in an effort to off-set rising prices for lower-income families in 2008 and has promised more generous subsidies recently. Even so, this hasn’t stopped political turmoil as the tiny Gulf state has been rocked by explosive protests this month that left seven dead and hundreds injured when troops opened fire on protesters.
Bahrain, which has a population of just over 1 million, has struggled with rising Read more…