Sunday, February 20, 2011

Where is Political Change in the Middle East and North Africa taking us?

A week ago, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down and the region's dynamics continue to change. Iranian naval ships are seeking passage through the Suez Canal. Violence has broken out in Bahrain - which is home to the U.S. Navy's presence in the Persian Gulf. Protestors in Yemen are demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in office for the last 32 years. In Jordan, activists are seeking political reforms. In Libya, where Muammar Quaddafi has been in power since a 1969 military coup, protesters are clashing with the government.

MY TAKE: The complexities of the region influence many global dynamics. Drivers of the current unrest include high unemployment, food shortages, corrupt leaders and repressive political systems. While there are many factors for investors to consider, a test of regional economic stability will be the reopening of its banks and the Egyptian Stock Exchange - that remains closed since January 27.

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