Arab governments are taking preventative steps against unrest as protests inspired by Tunisia and Egypt are breaking out all over the Middle East. Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered in Cairo's main square, calling for the immediate and unconditional resignation of Egypt's President.
Jordan's King Abdullah II preemptively sacked his government Tuesday in the face of light protests in Jordanian cities, and reappointed a former prime minister to conduct an "immediate revision" of laws governing political freedoms. King Abdullah instructed the new Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit to "undertake quick and tangible steps for real political reforms, which reflect our vision for comprehensive modernization and development in Jordan." The moves were part of a "comprehensive assessment ... to correct the mistakes of the past."
Syria is also experiencing the beginning of its own revolt, where food subsidies have been slashed and political activists are routinely imprisoned. But without the mass protests organized on social networking sites like Facebook, which are banned in the Arab republic, Syrian opposition efforts are relatively weak. Regardless, the democratic Islamic movement in Syria is trying to organize a 'massive gathering' outside parliament in Damascus, with a matching protest in the strongly Islamist city of Homs. The government has taken steps to cripple the move, with Religious Endowments Minister Abd Al-Satar Al-Sayyed ordering clerics to reject Muslim Brotherhood attempts to recruit members.
Other Arab governments are also taking heed. Sudan recently killed a student protestor demonstrating as part of a small movement in the twin cities of Omdurman and Khartoum. Mauritanian Islamists have expressed support for "the revolt of Egyptian youths committed to freedom in a bid to end the repression and hegemony of the Mubarak regime." The same is true for Algerian youth, who "dream of democracy but live in dystopia" but last Saturday organized the country's largest rally yet against authorities in Algeria's northeastern city of Bejaia. While the numbers were small at roughly 10,000 protestors, young protestors were pushing back against secret police and government corruption.
Even Morocco, whose monarch is perceived as a part of the national cultural fabric, is likely to experience some disorder. "Morocco has not yet been reached, but make no mistake: nearly all the authoritarian systems will be affected by the protest wave," Moulay Hicham, a cousin of the king told the Spanish daily El Pais.