I am supposed to say this but, actually, I don't want to republish merely to link to an interesting analysis of what is going on in the Middle East and North Africa:
Revolution and the Muslim World is republished with permission of STRATFOR.
It has its rambling aspects but the tenuous parallels with the European revolutions of 1848 (unsuccessful but sowed seeds of later events, not all of them particularly good) and the non-events of 1968 are interesting. In fact, the only sequence of events of this kind that has been successful was the geographically and politically limited activity of 1989. What the article only hints at is that the outcome of the 1989 turbulence - the collapse of the Soviet Union - was, inevitably, going to lead to a prolonged upheaval in the world that would eventually result in the collapse of the order created in the years after World War II. We are witnessing another aspect of it now. Nor is there any mention of the possibility of a domino effect: the coalition invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan has, undoubtedly weakened those kleptocratic, oppressive and rather bloodthirsty regimes.
Of course, we cannot tell what will happen. There will be extremist groups waiting to take advantage of the upheaval as, indeed, one should expect groups like that to do. Will they succeed? Who knows at this stage? Even real experts are doubtful about the outcome. In fact, that is one of the signs of a real expert at this point.
Without being an expert I can predict one thing: the idea of all these countries uniting into some kind of an Arab or Muslim empire is piffle. While the national feeling in some of these countries is weaker than in others the notion of an Arab brotherhood or a Muslim Khalifate is weaker still.