Medvedev Says Arab Unrest Risks Bringing 'Fanatics' to Power

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The unrest in the Middle East risks bringing fanatics to power and triggering the disintegration of Arab states into "little pieces", Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned Tuesday.

Medvedev made the startling comments at a meeting in Russia's conflict-torn Northern Caucasus and warned that the events in the Middle East could have a direct effect on security in Russia itself.

"The situation is tough. We could be talking about the disintegration of large, densely-populated states," he told an anti-terror meeting in the city of Vladikavkaz, warning that Arab countries could break up into "little pieces".

"These are not simple states and it is highly probable that there will be difficult events, including fanatics coming to power," Russian news agencies quoted him as saying.

"This will mean fires for years and the spread of extremism in the future. We need to look this straight in the eyes."

The presence in power of strongmen in the Middle East was long convenient for Russia, creating stability and also allowing Moscow to build up important economic ties especially in the arms industry.

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