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Daily View: Which country is next to have protests?

Clare Spencer | 08:30 UK time, Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Commentators continue to speculate about which country will be next to revolt and the international ramifications.

Channel 4 News's Jon Snow focuses on what will happen next in Saudi Arabia:

"This Friday, 11 March, Saudi opposition groups have called for a 'day of rage'. The kingdom has responded with what local sources describe as the biggest deployment of armed force seen since the foundation of Saudi state. Eyewitnesses describe truckloads of soldiers moving through key centres of population. The government has banned all demonstrations. The troops have orders to fire on anyone who attempts to gather in a public place... The ingredients are set for a good deal of blood to find its way into the Saudi oil supply.

Lara Pawson in the Guardian says that a new generation is finding its voice in Angola. She adds the relatively small scale of protests there may be misleading:

"[S]tate-sponsored violence, coupled with the fact that the 27-year civil war ended only in 2002, helps explain why opposition parties in Angola have been so reluctant to support this week's demonstration. Unita leader Isaias Samakuva has described the protest as "a trap" set by the government to test the political temperature of the country. He is also suspicious of the fact the organisers are anonymous. Smaller political parties agree it would be foolhardy to participate in a demonstration called for by unknown figures. The Democratic Block, which comprises several respected political figures, said it would be 'extremely naïve' to participate in a protest that could lead to the sort of purges that took place in 1977 and 1992.
"The response from the political class this week may indicate a growing generation gap within Angolan society. Luaty Beirao, a popular Angolan rapper also known as Ikonoklasta, was one of the protesters arrested on Monday morning. He believes the political parties are out of touch with the majority of Angolan people, and are either too lazy or too old-fashioned to take action for their political beliefs."

Najma Al Zidjaly, assistant professor of linguistics at Sultan Qaboos University, writes in the New York Times that he was shocked that Oman found itself part of the "youthquake" sweeping the Middle East and has an explanation:

"Never would I have imagined that demonstrations in our peaceful, media-shy nation would end up on the front pages of newspapers around the world and mentioned in the same breath with the uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya... I finally got it. There is a clear disconnect between Oman's forward-thinking government and the young people who grew up with - and thus take for granted - free education and free health care. My own university is a cutting-edge institution in the Middle East thanks to the foresight of the government.
"Somewhere along the way, the older generations of Omanis forgot how to talk to our young, to instill responsibility and to share our story of the trials and tribulations we went through to make Oman not only one of the most beautiful places in the Arab world, but also a better place to live. In our zeal to protect a generation from the hardships of the past, we failed to impart a sense of appreciation."

Bob Van Der Valk speculates in Seeking Alpha that the contagion may not be limited to the spread of protests. He predicts Libya's crisis may lead to the break up of the organisation which agrees oil prices, OPEC:

"[B]reaking up with OPEC may be pulled off without the Western nations having to fire one shot. That old Neil Sedaka song 'Breaking up is hard to do' comes to mind when you realize our love-hate relationship may finally lead to a divorce that will relieve the U.S. from our dependency on imports from some hostile countries. This leads to the reason for this article on why OPEC's existence may be in its final throes and coming to an end.
"'Ummah' means unity among Muslims - one nation and one people. Many have tried to bring Ummah to the Muslim nations.....and failed, with oil prices spiking tick-by-tick."

Meanwhile Jack Shenker, writing in Monocle, notes China's unique and conflicting role in the protests:

"Egypt's pro-democracy revolt may have been buried on the wrong side of the Great Chinese Firewall - the Beijing authorities filtered out news of the uprising from online searches and censored comments about it on web forums - but that hasn't stopped China's vast manufacturing industry from making a fast buck out of regime change in Cairo. ... Bandanas jostle with car licence plates, martyrs' calendars are on sale next to 'freedom pendants' and t-shirts, and flags - Egyptian, Libyan, and beyond, all made in China - are for sale by the bucket-load on every city corner. The revolution has been well and truly merchandised."

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