"BEIRUT -- The dramatic developments in Tunisia in the past weeks that have seen street demonstrators send former President Zein el-Abedeen Ben Ali fleeing the country may prove to be the historic turning point that many in the Arab world have been predicting and anticipating for decades: the point at which disgruntled and often humiliated Arab citizens shed their fear and confront their leaders with demands for serious changes in how their countries are governed..."So says Rami G. Khouri, who then gives four reasons why the overthrow of Ali is historically significant. ("What Tunisia means to the Arab world", 14/1/11).
But he doesn't try to predict what might be the outcome of these (allegedly) newly-empowered populations.
That is, who might they vote into power, if they are indeed given free vote. Wise man: Predictions are for chumps.
Longtime self-confessed chump that I am, I'll give it a go, though.
My prediction is that in Tunisia and other Arab states which "go Tunisian", the outcome will be more Islamist governments dominated by Muslim Brotherhood thinking. That is, hard-line Sunni fundamentalism and strict Sharia law. (Tunisia is 98% Sunni Muslim).
The clear wish-hope of observers is that empowered Arab populations will somehow and "naturally" gravitate to democracy. More likely, in my view, is the outcome of Gaza, where, given the choice, the voters elected Hamas, a hard-right and murderously anti-Semitic gang of Islamist thugs.
In short, it will be more of a Muslim Brotherhood outcome, than joining the Brotherhood of Democracies.