It is clear that the United States and its Western European allies
were caught completely unprepared for the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Bahrain,
as well as the upheavals throughout the Arab world.
On the other hand,
many of us in the region have been repeatedly and explicitly stating for quite a while now,
in meetings, seminars, and papers
that the center cannot hold and that these pro-Western and corrupt regimes are sliding toward collapse.
See this, for example,
Why is it that most Western analysts have been unable to foresee these events?
why is there such a long history in the United States and parts of Europe
of misreading and misrepresenting the situation in the Middle East ?
Part of the answer lies in a hypocritical approach to the region,
which gives Western policymakers no incentive to understand Middle Eastern realities.
Another important factor is over-reliance on bad sources of information about this part of the world
— sources who are hardly representative of or “in touch” with Middle Eastern societies.