Rulers scramble to freeze popular dissent


Michael Peel, Abigail Fielding-Smith and Tobias Buck
Financial Times
February 20, 2011

The wave of popular uprisings across the Middle East has triggered a fresh round of government handouts and offers of greater political participation, as rich and poor countries alike try to quell or pre-empt unrest.

The United Arab Emirates, seen as one of the most politically stable countries in the region, has unveiled limited electoral reforms, while administrations from Syria to Morocco have announced extra subsidies.

The action highlights how Middle Eastern regimes see a common need to assert their legitimacy as the spirit of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions spreads ever wider.

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