As the world’s attention turns toward Japan it’s natural to forget that several revolutions, civil wars, and incidents of civil unrest continue to persist across the Middle East. In Libya the uprising against dictator Moammar Gadhafi, which started with peaceful demonstrations and quickly turned into a civil war, looks to be in full retreat as forces loyal to Gadhafi beat back the rebels. What looked to be the end of days for Gadhafi’s long and ruinous rule in Libya might have been just wishful thinking. In Bahrain, where a Sunni royal family has been holding onto power in the face of large protests by the Shiite majority, tanks and soldiers from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries rolled into the capital today—the purpose of the foreign troops in Bahrain remains unclear, but again this might mean the end of the uprising. And in Egypt, where people were celebrating the ouster of Hosni Mubarak three weeks ago, the future remains very uncertain as elements of the old regime hang onto power. We take a quick tour through a very unsettled Middle East.
Joshua Keating, associate editor of Foreign Policy & author of their “Passport” blog at ForeignPolicy.com