41 captures
03 Feb 2011 - 25 Jan 2021
About this capture
2 February 2011 Last updated at 00:08 ET
Egypt protests: an Arab spring as old order crumbles?
By Roger Hardy
Middle East analyst, Woodrow Wilson Center
Protesters in Cairo have made it clear they want President Mubarak to leave
Egypt Unrest
Egypt unrest
Mubarak speech excerpts
Q&A: Egypt protests
Protest timeline
The Arab order is crumbling. But whether it will collapse or somehow re-invent itself is far from certain.
Arab rulers, from North Africa to the Gulf, in rich countries and poor, find themselves in essentially the same boat.
Virtually without exception, they preside over corrupt autocracies with little or no legitimacy in the eyes of their people.
All of them now watch Egypt's "days of rage" with mounting trepidation. In the fate of the ailing Egyptian ruler, 82-year-old Hosni Mubarak, they see their own.
Western commentators are right to say the protests are about "them" rather than "us".
The anger of the protesters is largely directed inwards - at a bankrupt Arab order - rather than outwards at Israel, the United States or the West.
Largely, but not entirely. The West is complicit in Arab autocracy.
For decades, American and European leaders chose stability over democracy. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.
Jordan has announced political reforms following rallies in the capital, Amman
President George W Bush tried, briefly, to pursue a "freedom agenda" in the Middle East but it failed, and ageing autocrats could once again breathe freely.
Now, Western leaders including Barack Obama find themselves essentially onlookers as events move with dizzying speed towards an outcome none can foresee.
Others are spectators, too, even if they pretend otherwise.
Iran is acting as if the Arab masses are belatedly following the example of the Khomeini revolution.
In fact, if the young demonstrators have a role model - and some actively disavow one - it is democratic Turkey rather than theocratic Iran.
Also a bystander is al-Qaeda, whose pretensions to being the voice of Arab and Muslim discontent have been punctured.
Who owns the future?
Analysts would do well to exercise a little humility.
My own guess, for what it is worth, is that this is not the beginning of an Arab spring, but of something more messy and drawn-out.
The old order still has plenty of fight in it.
The battle for the Arab future is under way. Since the stakes are high, the struggle will be fierce.
Roger Hardy is a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC.
More on This Story
Egypt Unrest
Features and Analysis
Egypt unrest
Mubarak speech excerpts
Q&A: Egypt protests
Protest timeline
Military Council statement
Military at heart of Egyptian state
Interactive timeline
Muslims and Christians united
Mark Mardell: Shifting sands
Egypt unrest: Protests map
Hosni Mubarak
Omar Suleiman
Wael Ghonim
Mohamed ElBaradei
Muslim Brotherhood
Opposition groups
Share this page
More Middle East stories
Egypt's Mubarak refuses to quit
Egypt's President Mubarak defies protesters by insisting he will stay in office and transfer all power only after September's presidential election.
Iran 'house arrest' for Karroubi
Egypt markets 'working normally'
Top Stories
Egypt's Mubarak refuses to quit
'Schoolboy' bomber hits Pakistan
Microsoft's IE9 browser goes live
Conservatives meet amid Palin row
New battle opens on US emissions
Features & Analysis
Gentlemen prefer cricket
The LA cricket club helping to tame city's mean streets
First person
Capturing Mexico's many faces on film WORLD NEWS AMERICA
Day in pictures
A selection of most striking images from around the world
Hijack threat
Your computer could be used in cyber attack if unprotected
Most Popular
Egypt's Mubarak refuses to quit
LIVE: Egypt unrest
Microsoft's IE9 browser goes live
President Mubarak's announcement: Your reaction
'Lucy' story put on firm footing
Conservatives meet amid Palin row
Ford sues Ferrari over car name
Day in pictures: 10 February 2011
'Schoolboy' bomber hits Pakistan
Knightley 'wins theatrical spurs'
Elsewhere on the BBC
Stop the presses!
News and media are ripe for the social revolution, says Facebook CTO Bret Taylor
'Tiger Mother' and writer Amy Chua talks about why children need a strict upbringing
News feeds
E-mail news
About BBC News
Editors' blog
BBC College of Journalism
News sources
World Service Trust
About the BBC
BBC Help
Contact Us
Accessibility Help
Terms of Use
Privacy & Cookies
Advertise With Us
BBC © MMXI The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.
HomeUS & CanadaLatin AmericaUKAfricaAsia-PacEuropeMid-EastSouth AsiaBusinessHealthSci/EnvironmentTechEntertainmentVideo