The revolutions across the Arab world have been political blood sport. And we, the spectators, are consumed by the contest. But as the fight staggers into interminable rounds is our eye on the right fight?
The politics, and the military campaign in the case of Libya, appear to be grinding to a desert stalemate. In Egypt and Tunisia, interim governments are slowing the pace of democratic transition. In Syria and Yemen, internal conflicts swell, as brave civilians take to the streets, but there is little outsiders can do, it seems, to influence the outcome. We impotently watch Syrian protesters being attacked. In Bahrain the government seems to be back on top. But there is a further dimension – arguably a crucial variable in this – which is dryer stuff and so less noticed: economics.