Op-eds

Redefining Change for the Arab World

Business Standard

Those who succeed President Mubarak will need to stabilise Egypt through imaginative policies which will once again earn for it a leadership role

Three decades ago angry young men changed the rules of the game in the Middle East. They deposed the Shah of Iran, attacked and took over Islam’s holiest shrine in Mecca and then hordes turned into jihadis to fight the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.

The world has paid a high price for what happened in 1979, as it has battled a befuddling but toxic compact of Islamic extremism, terrorism and a widening chasm between the western and Muslim countries.

What’s happening on Egypt’s street today will change the global contours again. That, for many in the Arab world and elsewhere, is the big challenge — a test that could either compound the misery of the rulers or the people. At stake is the long-term stability of a region that matters a huge lot to the world, not only because parts of it feeds its need for oil but also because it is the cradle of an ancient civilisation which today stands at the doorstep of a revolution. How do we deal with it...?

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