Not a new story - I just happened to read it in an old paper copy of the WSJ.
Insightful to say the least - eye-opening.
Fouad Ajami: Autocracy and the Decline of the Arabs
"The Arabs, by their own testimony, have become spectators to their history."
"... an Arab Rip Abu Winkle awakening from a slumber into which he had fallen in the early 1980s to marvel at how little has changed. He would find Hosni Mubarak still at the helm in Cairo, the policeman Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, and Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. He would miss Hafez Assad in Damascus, but he would be reassured that his son Bashar had inherited his father’s dominion. He would of course find the same dynasties in Jordan and in the Arab states of the Peninsula and the Gulf."
"The simple truth is that the Arab world has terrible rulers and worse oppositionists. There are autocrats on one side and theocrats on the other. A timid and fragile middle class is caught in the middle between regimes it abhors and Islamists it fears."
"There is no mistaking the animating drive of the new American policy in that Greater Middle East: realism and benign neglect, the safety of the status quo rather than the risks of liberty."