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Middle East unrest can subside US focus on Pak, Afghanistan: Expert

March 24, 2011 - Islamabad

Pakistan cannot replicate the ongoing wave of unrest in the Middle East, however it will have to suffer the implications of the Arab turmoil, such as diversion of the US focus from the Af-Pak region, STRATFOR Middle East and South Asia Regional Director Kamran Bukhari has said.

"The recent spate of public unrest in the Arab world cannot replicate itself in Pakistan because the situation here is much different. People in Pakistan are much exhausted and fragmented and are less likely to unite for some revolution or regime change," The Daily Times quoted Bukhari, as saying while delivering his lecture on "Middle East Unrest" at the Pak Institute for Peace Studies.

"But the unrest in Arabian Peninsula has some implications for Pakistan," he added.

Bukhari said that the American focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan might subside with the increasing unrest in Middle East, where the balance of power is shifting in the favour of Iran.

He asserted that the armies in the Arab world seek to rule the countries by keeping the civilian set-ups on the front, adding that this role was likely to sustain, as any revolution in Arab countries like that of the Iranian revolution could not be seen.

Even 'democracy' and 'changes of regimes' are not the visible outcomes in all cases, he said, adding that the power brokers- including armies- in these countries are trying to readjust their positions to cool down the public agitations, and people are being offered some political and economic incentives for that.

However, space for western democracy and multiparty politics has started to emerge, and that is where the regimes in Arab world find themselves at odds, said Bukhari.

Responding to a question about regional and global political implications of the Middle East unrest, he said that the worsening situation in Yemen and Bahrain is a dilemma for Saudi Arabia and the United States because Iran can benefit from it.


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