The despots who have ruled the Arab world for half a century are not giving up without a fight.
In Syria and Yemen, state-sponsored violence has proved counter-effective. Protesters were enraged rather than intimidated.
A remarkable aspect of the Arab uprisings is that ruler after ruler is making the same mistakes that brought down Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.
Local tyrants, from Muammar Gaddafi in Libya to Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, behave as if they had joined a collective political suicide pact whereby they alternate mindless violence and inadequate concessions in just the right quantities to discredit themselves and undermine their regimes.
Recipes for staying in power that have served them so well since the early 1970s suddenly don't work any more. This affects almost all the Arab states, monarchies as well as republics, since they hav
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