Historically, January has been the month of social unrest: from the infamous bread riots in January 1984, to the revolution in January 2011 and the protests over high unemployment in January 2016. Although all of them were violently suppressed, most resulted in major regime change, whether it be ousters, resignations, or in one case, exile. What it will be this time around only time will tell.
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Indeed, the Trump factor is giving hardliners an ideal platform to enforce the anti-American views they have championed for four decades. Even if the current tensions between the two countries do not result in military confrontation, the shifting political dynamics and social attitudes brought about by Trump are likely to have consequences for years to come.
The gas discoveries, notably Zohr, are changing the country’s economic prospects. Egypt started to limit its orders for LNG shipments in 2017 and those planned for 2018. By early 2019, it hopes to break even, and in the years after it plans to become a net gas exporter again. However, The gas discoveries may solve Egypt’s immediate cash crisis, but it will take more to build a resilient economy.
The United Nations (UN) estimates that in the short term, rebuilding will cost at least $1 billion. Lisa Grande, the United Nations Development Programme’s resident representative in Iraq, said it will take about $470 million to restore basic infrastructure including the power, water and sewer systems and to rehabilitate hospitals, schools and houses in the neighbourhoods with the most severe damage in western Mosul. At least another $237 million is needed for the more lightly damaged districts in western Mosul and a further $370 for rebuilding in eastern Mosul.
Chahed’s war on corruption is ongoing and he has made him popular among Tunisians. Once considered weak and ineffective, he is now seen by many as paving the way for the next big electoral meeting, the presidential election of 2019. If he is able to improve the country’s economy and maintain national security, he will be well placed to succeed.