Will A New Generation Get The Arab World Moving?

At a party on a sizzling June night in Riyadh, a group of young businessmen sipped drinks and chatted about their companies. In the background, a TV newscast about preparations for the funeral of Syria's President Hafez al-Assad, who died on June 10, droned on--and occasionally caught their attention. "Now, there are only four left," said one guest, referring to the ailing rulers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Abu Dhabi, and to Egypt's 72-year-old President Hosni Mubarak. To these executives, Assad's replacement by his 34-year-old son, Bashar, a doctor by training, is a good thing. "[Hafez al-Assad] has been very rigid," says one. "His son will do things in a different way."

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