The Biggest Victims of Unrest in the Middle East: Dictators’ Sons

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Ahmed Saleh. Photo: Khaled Fazaa/AFP/Getty Images

Up until a few weeks ago, life as a dictator's son in the Middle East was pretty fantastic. In addition to the unlimited power and wealth, you knew that you would never once need to fill out a résumé or grab networking drinks with your friend's cousin — your next job was the presidency, whenever your aging father decided he had finally tired of ruling the country for decades. You had all sorts of grand plans for how you'd take everything you learned at that elite British university you attended and finally modernize your ancient society (in ways that did not threaten your reign). But now, with the commoners causing a ruckus across the region, that unique job security, and those dreams, have vanished.

In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak's son, Gamal, who had been groomed as his father's successor, has fled to London, and it's safe to say that a seamless transfer of power shan't be occurring anymore.

A similar fate has befallen Ahmed Saleh, the son of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president of Yemen since 1978. The elder Saleh had long planned for his son, the head of the nation's Republican Guard, to take over for him. But today, with a wary eye on Egypt and hoping to quell unrest in his own country, President Saleh announced that he wouldn't run for president again in 2013, and neither would Ahmed.

Gamal Mubarak and Ahmed Saleh won't be on Monster.com anytime soon, sighing as they examine the application requirements of another nonpaying internship, but they won't get to run an entire country anymore, and that kind of sucks for them.

Yemen’s Leader Pledges Not to Seek Re-election [NYT]