As Egyptian protestors call for a change of leadership, significant questions remain about the role of the army in brokering an agreement, what a new government might look like, and who would lead it.
Protests in Tunisia that pushed President Ben Ali to flee the country have sparked mass protests in the region, spreading to Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen. The protests in Egypt are growing and unlike anything seen in decades. Will Tunisia remain an isolated case or the beginning of a wave of change?
While Washington's reaction to the growing unrest in the Middle East will have almost no impact on what actually happens in the Arab world, it will affect the United States’ standing in the region.
Although the wave of protests in Tunisia was set off by economic complaints, the true threat to stability in the Arab world is poor governance.
Recent events in Tunisia and Egypt have shown that protests driven by a range of socio-economic and political demands have a greater chance of achieving change than uprisings that are motivated by religious and political ideologies.
Free and fair elections would provide the best opportunity for a peaceful transfer of power to a government recognized as legitimate by the Egyptian people.
The Middle East is changing in fundamental ways and U.S. foreign policy must evolve to reflect these changes.
Egypt’s continuing unrest has furthered speculation about whether President Mubarak’s government will fall, who might act as a leader for the opposition, and what effect the upheaval will have on U.S.-Egyptian relations.
The uprising that started in Tunisia in late 2010 was not a completely new development, but rather a more dramatic example of the unrest common across the region, particularly in Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Jordan.
As a new national unity government in Tunisia struggles to gain support, political parties, civil society, and the military will play a critical role in determining whether the country can transition to a more democratic state or will fall back into its old political structure.