Why Tunisia Isn't Going to Change the Arab World

Going from the Wikipedia entry alone, Tunisia's history doesn't align nicely with that of other Arabian countries. (To be clear, 'Arab' refers to a specific nationality. It's not the same as Persian, it's not the same as all the little tribes--most famous, probably the Bedouin--in the Middle East. I assumed they all had a common origin, but it seems they're pretty distinct.)

Anyway, Tunisia seems to have stopped being an Islamic state quite some time before the majority--Norman invasions, Roman influences, all the good stuff from Africa...considering how rapidly all the Arab nation-states centralized (though, admittedly, borders fluctuated often due to dynastic variation and the simple failure of individuals...however, once the cities were established and population centers built around them, any act of shifting either necessitates heavy foreign or natural interference).

Using a country that only gained independence in 1956, and has what seem to be modest oil reserves (though I'm no expert), and is on the Mediterranean as opposed to the Arabian Sea....

I don't know, I'm having major doubts about the capacity of the New York Times to conduct any sort of intelligent analysis of world politics. I could see some of the dictatorial leaders being more careful to not allow protests, but what the fuck does this have to do with being an Arab state, specifically, anyway?

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