From: Inside Story

Too little, too late?

We discuss whether forced reforms and state subsidies will counter further unrest in the Arab world.

Rulers in several countries, drawing lessons from events in Tunisia and Egypt, have announced political changes and moved to cut prices of basic foodstuffs and to raise spending on job creation in an effort to pre-empt any further unrest.

Algeria’s government has repealed the 19-year-old state of emergency.  President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has also pledged to reduce the cost of staple foods and injecting some $1.4bn into the public banks.
In Morocco, King Mohammed promised that he would ‘soon’ announce ‘deep’ reforms, while Jordan’s King Abdullah sacked his entire cabinet on February 1, which was a big pre-emptive move. He also decided to pump around $500mn into the economy to help improve living conditions.
And Kuwait announced it would spend $4bn to lower the cost of commodities and offered free staple foods to its citizens until the end of March 2012. 

But is money the answer? Can people in the Arab world be effectively bought, with promises of the simple everyday things they would probably expect from their government?

Inside Story, with presenter Kamahl Santamaria discusses with Mohammad Fahad al-Qahtani, the head of the Saudi Civil Rights Association; Adil Shamoo, a senior analyst with the Institute for Foreign Policy Studies in Washington DC; and Sharif Elmusa, a professor for political science at Georgetown University.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Tuesday, March 1, 2011.