n.37 July 2011

According to French academic Stéphane Lacroix, Saudi Arabia is unlikely to become embroiled in the kind of protest that has swept the Arab world, in part because of government vigilance, but also because Saudi royalty knows when to yield.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced major urban overhauls for Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Diyarbakir. In Istanbul, he wants to build a kind of ‘second Bosporus,’ a canal intended to alleviate port congestion.

The revolts sweeping North Africa and the Middle East have labeled as what they’re not, namely unprecedented. Instead, the so-called “Arab Spring” is rooted in the countless “color” revolutions that first hit post-Communist states in waves and then moved into Central Asia and China.

Rebiya Kadeer hardly looks like a terrorist. She’s 63, smallish, and speaks in measured tones. But she’s emerged as the key figure in the fight for Uyghur autonomy. The Uyhgurs are the dominant ethnic group of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, run sternly by Beijing. Kadeer, once in the Chinese establishment, rebelled against Beijing’s repressive tactics and was jailed.