Divided Arab World

About two years ago the suicide of a frustrated man in Tunisia unleashed what has become the “Arab Spring.” It ushered in period in which the people of the Middle East appeared to be on the road toward establishing new governments that represented the will of the people and promised to bring people onto the road of modernity and economic prosperity. Alas, two years later it is clear that Egypt is divided, Tunisia is divided, Syria is divided, Iraq is divided and even Turkey is divided between forces seeking to go back and forces seeking to move forward into the 21st century. At this moment, two camps glare at one another in Egypt: those who are pro-Musi?anti-coup?anti military vs those who are pro-coup/anti Mursi/pro military. It is completely unclear whether the Egyptian military is sincere in its promise to leave the political arena and return to the barracks. The only clarity is presence of opposing forces regarding the role of religion in government and life.

Ironically, Iran is also divided. Newly elected President Rouhani apparently seeks to allow moderation of religious control in order to create a modern economic society and gain allegiance of millions of disaffected young people. If the American government had any sense it would talk with Rouhani and temporarily lessen sanctions.