Rabat, Morocco — A little over a year ago, a young fruit vendor in Tunisia poured gasoline on himself, struck a match, and committed suicide. He was protesting thuggish policemen who had confiscated his goods, but his self-immolation helped ignite a series of uprisings across the Arab world in 2011.
One by one, the people of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya toppled their rulers. In Syria, Pres. Bashar al-Assad is struggling to suppress a growing popular revolt, and has even earned the ire of the normally spineless Arab League. In places where secular rulers prevailed for decades, Islamists are part of coalitions now trying to seize the reins of power. How worried should we be that the new political forces might turn out to be even more repressive and dangerous than the ones they replace?
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