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Uprising in Egypt isn't just about freedom and democracy

The discontent boiling to the surface in the Arab world is as much driven by complex demographics as politics. So politics alone won't restore stability. The US must come to terms with its reduced role in the region and reassess strategic partnerships.

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If ever there was a need for cooler heads to prevail amid the crisis in Egypt, it is now. The end of the elderly President Hosni Mubarak’s iron-fisted regime was never a question of “if,” but rather “when.” Middle East hands have long recognized that virtually all Arab countries have been in a pre-revolutionary or revolutionary state for more than a decade. Tunisia and Egypt merely blew first.

No one knows how the chaos on the streets of Cairo will play out, and it is this uncertainty which is most alarming, especially for the Israelis. But one thing is certain. The game in the Middle East is no longer unilateral. Washington can no longer go it alone.

Three things are now vital to understand, as they must shape US policy going forward.

First, we need to recognize that the rather successful peace treaty President Jimmy Carter negotiated between Egypt and Israel in the Camp David Accords of 1978 now looks potentially quite shaky.

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