It looks like Mubarak is getting increasingly desperate to hang on to power in Egypt. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/ ... UW20110127 It looks like they have trapped elBarradei in a mosque and are launching tear gas into that mosque to clear him and his supporters out. Inspired by events in Tunisia, pro-democracy protests are spreading throughout the region. Ben Ali fled Tunisia. I expect Rashid al-Ghannoushi to return as a viable opposition as head of the Hizb al-Nahda. In Yemen, the Saleh government is in real trouble. He has been identifying his political and economic rivals to power as al-Qaeda sympathizers. We have been happily taking them out in our 'war on terrorism' while in actuality we have been actively supporting his dictatorship, like in Tunisia. It is difficult to see who can emerge to bring about democratic reform, because we have been taking them out as terrorists for nine years now. But expect any new government to be rabidly anti-American for its support of this dictator. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-E ... revolution In Jordan protests have begun in opposition to the prime minister. Like in other countries, specifically Syria, the cult of personality has created a situation where folks worship the leader, and think the people surrounding him are the corrupt ones. But we have supported his reign, and fortunately he has allowed a limited amount of democratic reform. So I do not expect the protests to be as bad there. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middl ... 09196.html It will be interesting to see if any protests erupt in Syria. They are certainly not backed by the US government but, similarly they have been ruled by an autocrat that limits public discourse. I would expect if there is a revolution there, it will be less anti-American because we aren't seen as a player in their oppression such as in Yemen and Egypt. In fact it appears they have been a player in creating some of the chaos in the recent Lebanese protests lately against Hizb Allah. Last year pro-democracy protests after the ruling elite arranged to have Ahmadinejad to win reelection in Iran. This was one of the failures of this trend, but expect new protests as word gets out about Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen. In fact they are also players in the chaos in Lebanon. We also know that they were using Red Crescent ambulances to smuggle in guns and explosives. But don't think for a moment Moussavi is going to make the situation better, he was an approved candidate by the ruling elite. The thing we have to keep in mind going forward is that we need to appear to be for democratic and human rights, or the governments that emerge will be distinctly anti-American. In each country there is an element of radical Islam that will have to be engaged. It should also be kept in mind that much of their radicalization stems from living under years of oppression. Their targets are their own oppressive governments and those who sponsor them, namely us. If some of these governments survive this, and the United States is seen to be supporting these governments, you can count on a new wave of terrorism here at home. Second thing we need to do, is look at the situation in each of these countries as one that needs an individual response. We need to get away from dealing with the Middle East as one entity. These pro-democracy protests have similar aims, to rid themselves of oppressive governments, but we will need to be able to deal with a variety of different governments that emerge. We also need to stop this policy of supporting stable dictators over democratic reforms, that is what is generating much of the terrorist activities of late. And until we get that in our heads, the terrorism aimed at us will continue. Israel also needs to be very wary. If the Palestinians get wind that they can successfully protest against oppression, Gaza and the West Bank will erupt. Inevitably, Israel will move in to suppress it. If America is seen to support that oppression, America will not be seen as brokers of peace and democracy, but as agents of their oppression. You can imagine what will happen as a result. I am sure some of the kool-aid drinkers out there will attribute all of this to religion, and it does play a part, but at the heart of this is people taking responsibility for their own governments and demanding democratic reforms.