We are witnessing unusual scenes in the Middle East. Mass demonstrations in Lebanon, joint protest rallies of Egyptian Islamists and liberals against the Mubarak regime in Egypt, and municipal elections in Saudi Arabia are just as much features of the current situation as are cease-fire declarations by Palestinian resistance movements and multiparty negotiations for forming a coalition government in Iraq.

About the Author
Amr Hamzawy is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, and a noted Egyptian political scientist who previously taught at Cairo University and the Free University of Berlin. His research interests include the changing dynamics of political participation and the prospects of democratic transformation in the Arab world, with special attention both to Egypt and the Gulf countries.