Firstly, insist that your country is not “X” (“X” experienced a revolution just before yours). Blame everything on al-Jazeera then close their office in your country. Say that you “support youth” (while your security forces are killing the same young people). Condemn Islamists; start at the bottom rung (Muslim Brotherhood) then work your way straight up to the evil al-Qa’ida. At the beginning (of social unrest), pretend that nothing is going on, and, when you learn of the seriousness of the crisis too late, address your nation at midnight. Warn against sectarianism, tribalism and other ‘isms’ that get people frightened. Blow up a church and blame Islamists. Announce that your remaining in power is synonymous with stability. Get the point? This is picture-perfect stuff, TS Eliot-like in its specificity, photographic in its image of every, repeat every Middle East dictator. But there is more: announce a new government, and then another one. Burn down police stations and blame it on protesters. Insist that all is going fine. Once the situation gets worse, cut all telephone lines and block access to social media. When things get really bad block the internet. Insist that protesters represent only a very small minority of the people. Remind everyone of the last election results. Declare that change is indeed necessary, and promise many cheerful things if young people will just stay at home. Order the Interior Minister to kill the lot, and then fire him for excessive use of force.
Robert Fisk | The Arab Tyrant Manual