Be careful what you wish for in the Arab world
The unrest in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen – and indeed, the governing turmoil in Iraq – highlight a critical problem in how the west deals with fractured and failing states. To date, there has been too much focus on demonstrations and too little on the fact that changes in regimes that do not deal with the underlying causes of the protests are simply going to substitute one form of failed regime for another.
The very failures that have suddenly unleashed such passion have left much of the Arab world without the kind of political parties and leaders that can work together and bridge sectarian and tribal differences. They have also prompted uprisings whose voices know what they are against but are not so sure what they are for. Egypt’s opposition is fractured and inexperienced. The Muslim Brotherhood is the strongest political alternative, but is weak and more ideological than practical.