To paraphrase from the Jewish festival of freedom:
Why are Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya different than all other Arab countries?
In other words, while protests have been present in almost every Arab country this year, so far the only ones that have deposed the current incumbent (Egypt, Tunisia) or have taken territory (Benghazi is in control of the Libyan revolutionaries) are these three. While the conspicuous absence of serious change in Morocco, Algeria, and Syria are more than mere exceptions, I believe that this has to have something to do with a look to the future.
In 2008, the Union for the Mediterranean was founded. It was originally the idea of French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and it hasn’t amounted to much. Yet. But it provides a framework for the former Roman lake to integrate economically in a way that makes a terrible amount of sense.
Bahrain is stuck in between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with a giant U.S. military base located on it. Tunisia, on the other hand, is about 100 miles from Sicily. One day, a chunnel between Spain and Morocco might even be possible. Egypt too is positioned to trade with Europe more than the rest of the Middle East.
I don’t know anything about the state of affairs in Morocco or Algeria. I know there have been protests, but they appear to have petered out. Assad in Syria remains (assuming Qaddafi is about done) Arabia’s last asshole. And then there is the PLO and HAMAS in Palestine.
But, honestly. A new Mediterranean future is more than just a dream, the way, say, a free Persian Gulf might be.
It’s unfortunate that Iraq is in such a mess, or the Gulf might be more liable to change.
P.S. I think it’s interesting how the Qaddafi spokespeople have pointedly attacked Qatar and Al-Jazeera… just like the PLO, who sent security officers to sack the office in Ramallah.