Following the ousting of Egypt’s President Mubarak and Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, unrest has been spreading throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Violent protests against Colonel Gaddafi’s reign in Libya have reportedly left hundreds of people dead, while Shia protesters in Bahrain have occupied the capital’s main square.
As sporadic protests break out in other areas in the region such as Syria, Morocco and Tunisia, we contacted one of the world’s leading experts in international affairs for his considered opinion on what might happen next in the Middle East.
“Who the hell knows?” was his response.
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Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has finally bowed to the will of his people and relinquished control of the country – but only after accepting an offer to join the judging panel on the next series of television talent show The X-Factor.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians had been demonstrating against the thirty year reign of Mubarak as he refused to stand down before September’s election.
Just as it looked like Mr. Mubarak would cling onto power through the latest series of protests in Tahrir Square, the offer to become a judge on the next series of X-Factor came through to Cairo, allowing both Mubarak and the Egyptian people to get what they wanted in the end.
It is thought that as rumours continue to thrive that Simon Cowell may not be a part of the next series of the UK edition, ITV executives were keen to hire a high-profile figure who would compliment the loathsome nature of people involved with the show.
“Hosni Mubarak is exactly the type of publically reviled person who suits the X-Factor brand. He will fit right in on the judging panel beside the likes of Louis Walsh and Cheryl Cole,” commented an ITV source. “We look for strongly opinionated people who aren’t afraid of what the public might think, and that’s precisely what Mubarak will bring to the next series of The X-Factor.”
It is believed that contestants in the 2011 series will be banned from singing the Bangles’ 1986 hit “Walk Like an Egyptian”.
Embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has taken what many observers perceive to be his last throw of the dice in a desperate attempt to fend off protests and cling on to power – by restoring access to internet sites such as Facebook and Twitter for millions of Egypt’s citizens.
President Mubarak has seen his Presidency come under intense pressure in recent weeks as disgruntled Egyptians take to the streets to demonstrate against the 30-year rule of Mr Mubarak, with anger intensifying following the death of dozens of citizens at the hands of state security forces.
Internet access was heavily restricted in the aftermath of the first wave of protests last week as the government attempted to quell the flow of information leaving the country through social media platforms. However, sources close to President Mubarak suggest that the leader has performed a u-turn and now believes that granting the public access to sites such as Facebook and Twitter will be the most effective way of getting them off the streets.
“It is well-known that the more access people have to Facebook and Twitter the less time they tend to spend protesting and fighting on the streets,” said the government source.
“People generally find that updating their Facebook status is more important than over-throwing a megalomaniacal government.”