EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Mounting anger and discontent is simmering across the Arab world much as it did in the run-up to the 2011 popular revolts that toppled four autocratic leaders. But this time around, the anger does not always explode in mass street protests, as it recently did in Jordan. In Morocco, it is manifesting in the form of widespread boycotts.
In Jordan recently, fury at tax hikes followed the classic pattern of sustained public protest. Protesters, in contrast to the calls for regime change that dominated the 2011 revolts, targeted the government’s austerity measures and efforts to broaden its revenue base.
The protesters forced the resignation of Prime Minister Hani Mulki and the repeal of proposals for tax hikes that were being imposed to comply with conditions of a $723 million International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan to Jordan.
Austerity measures in Egypt linked to a $12 billion IMF loan also sparked protests in a country in which dissent is brutally repressed. Rare protests erupted last month after the government hiked Cairo’s metro fares by up to 250%.