"Country X Is Next."
It's too early to tell.
As demonstrations break out in Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Libya, and Yemen, it's easy to imagine popular protests sweeping across the region and expelling autocrats from Rabat to Riyadh. Clearly what happened in Egypt, the beating heart of the Arab world, won't stay in Egypt.
Yet the revolutionaries in Cairo had a few unique advantages. Alongside its massive state media apparatus, among the world's largest, Egypt boasted independent newspapers and a robust, if embattled civil society that had learned much in its years of working against the regime (several key protest organizers, such as Ahmed Maher and Zyad el-Elaimy, were veterans of Kefaya, an early anti-government movement). Egyptian reporters and pundits were often hassled, but they could write what they wanted as long as they didn't cross certain red lines, such as discussing the president's health or delving too deeply into corrupt business deals. The Internet was monitored, but not censored outright. Hundreds of foreign reporters had experience and contacts in Egypt and could get the word out. And given the close ties between the Pentagon and the Egyptian military, the United States had leverage that may have helped prevent a far nastier crackdown. Other protest movements won't be so lucky.
Opposition leaders in other Arab countries will have to find their own, locally rooted paths to victory; simply setting a date and calling for people to go to the streets won't work. And they now face terrified rulers who see clearly that they need to adapt, though none will give up an iota of any real power. Some, like the monarchs in Bahrain and Kuwait, will attempt to defuse any "Tunisia effect" by doling out piles of cash, while others, such as Jordan's King Abdullah II, are sacking their governments and once again vowing political reform. The worst of the bunch, like Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi and Syria's Bashar Assad, will opt for deeper repression.
Change is finally coming to the Arab world. The only question is: How fast and how painful will it be?