The trouble spreads

After the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, the ferment in the Arab world has spread. Libya, once accounted one of the most stable and strongest Arab regimes, is now under pressure, with the security forces killing dozens of protesters in Benghazi, the centre of the revolt. The revolt against dictators, which has been fuelled by food inflation and the unemployment of educated youth, started in Tunisia and spread to Egypt. With Libya falling between the two, it was perhaps inevitable that the people there would revolt, and only the uncompromising reputation of its ruler, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who took power in a military coup in 1969, was expected to prevent an outburst there. Already, there have been demonstrations all around the Arab world. Algeria and Morocco, the remaining two countries of Arab North Africa, also known as the Maghrib, and forming the southern littoral of the Mediterranean, as well as Bahrain and Yemen have also witnessed protests.Libya is significant as the first oil-rich Arab country to face such large casualties. Gaddafi, once an icon of the entire Muslim world and much appreciated from his anti-Western stance, has mellowed with time, and is no longer the angry young man he was once seen as. He wants to be succeeded by his son, something which is no certainty, not since Egypt rejected Hosni Mubarak, what to speak of his wish to be succeeded by his son. However, as Syria saw a successful father-son transfer when President Hafez Al-Asad died, it cannot be said that the example does not exist. The protests in Libya have not yet got to the capital of Tripoli, though the protests in Benghazi have only escalated, and have invited the heaviest repression displayed so far. If the protests there were to spread to the capital, there would be difficulties for the regime indeed. The oil wealth of Libya is significant, because, apart from Bahrain, the unrest has not reached the oil-rich states of the peninsula except in the form of imitation of Egypt or Tunisia – Nation