A Season of Revolution

Middle East and North African Map

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We have yet to see the final result for the revolutions that are occurring in the Middle East and North Africa, but with the fall of dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, and now populist uprising in Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Iran may also lead to more nations toppling their dictatorships. Countries to keep an eye on are Algeria and Morocco.

The following breakdown shows the longevity of dictatorial leadership in these countries.

Bahrain

Middle East and North African Map
The Present Day Middle East and North Africa Image courtesy of David Poell

Constitutional Monarchy – King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa as ruled since 1999 when he took over for his father who had ruled for 38 years.

Yemen

Presidential Democracy – President Ali Abdullah Saleh has ruled with one title or another since 1978. He only has an elementary education and rose to power through the military.

Libya

A “People’s Republic” – Muammar al-Gaddafi has been leading the country for 42 years since the military coup he lead in 1969. He no longer holds official office, letting his friends hold the official positions. He is honored with a title meaning essentially, “Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution” and still wields much power as the de facto leader of the country.

Algeria

Democratic Republic – Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been President since 1999 when he was elected with 74% of the vote amid accusations of fraud. He rose to prominence through the support of the military. He won election again in 2004. In 2008 he successfully amended the constitution to allow himself a third term as President, which he won in 2009 with 90% of the vote, once again amid accusations of massive fraud.  The disenfranchisement of the young educated populace is driving each country to experience a revolution demanding more equality among the masses.

Morocco

Constitutional Monarchy – King Mohammed VI of Morocco took the throne in 1999, receiving it from his father who had ruled for the previous 38 years. King Mohammed has attempted to liberalize certain aspects of government, but has been opposed by Muslim fundamentalists and there are still accusations of human rights abuses.

Iran

Islamic Republic – Supreme leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Hoseyni Khamenei was involved in the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 and was elected president in 1981. His strong fundamentalist views of Islam lead him to deride American liberalism. He fights freedom of the press, and works to pit various factions against each other in order to retain control of Iran. He holds the power to decide who is “worthy” to stand for election, eliminating all those who may disagree with his views.

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