Bowing to pressure from hordes of protestors in Cairo on Tuesday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak agreed not to run in his country’s fall elections. Although Mubarak’s concession failed to quell unrest in the country, he’s not the only Middle Eastern leader grasping for ways to placate the revolutionary masses congregating in cities across the region. Here, a quick guide to how the embattled dictators are reacting:
- The King of Jordan installs a new leader
King Abdullah of Jordan dismissed Prime Minister Samir Rifai on Tuesday as protests in the oil-rich desert nation threatened to spiral out of control. Jordanians are angry about rising food prices and the country’s high levels of inflation and unemployment. But some doubt that the king’s new choice for prime minister, an ex-army general considered to be a member of the establishment, will satisfy protesters hungering for real change. “This has created a shock which will backfire more than help the current situation,” a Jordanian analyst told the BBC.
- Syria offers political reform
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is “nervous,” says Kenneth Bandler at Fox News. The 44-year-old dictator, who assumed power from his father in 2000, is offering unprecedented political reforms to the Syrian people, including municipal elections, “more power to non-governmental organizations,” and “a new media law.” Still, mass protests are planned for this weekend, and “Syria is looking more and more like a prime candidate to be the next Arab government to confront its own restless population.”
- Libya and Algeria ban soccer games
Fearful that organized soccer fans played a key role in orchestrating protests in Tunisia and Egypt, authorities in Libya and Algeria have scratched a number of games over the next weeks. Algeria’s game against Tunisia, scheduled for February 5, has been cancelled. Libya has suspended all soccer games indefinitely. “The cancellations are intended to prevent the pitch from becoming a platform for protests,” says James M. Dorsey at Bleacher Report.
More here on how Saudi Arabia is pledging improvements, Sudan is stamping out dissent, and the Yemeni president is backing down.