If Egypt falls how will the rest of the Middle East react? 

Egypt is the most populous Arab nation and leads the Arab world in cultural innovation, hosting a thriving pop music scene and popular movie studios. They set the tone politically for many of their neighbors, boasting (relatively) close ties with Israel and the US while still maintaining good relations with the rest of their Arab neighbors. And they are the center of Sunni Islam hosting the heart of Sunni teaching, Al-Azhar University, in Cairo. If you had to pick an Arab nation to spearhead a reform movement, Egypt would be the most logical choice.

Will other nations follow Egypt's lead with people-power revolutions? Perhaps. People talk about Yemen (where  protests are already happening) and Jordan, for example. But what about Syria, a country so repressive that it even bans its citizens from meaningful Internet access? (Many Syrians access social networking sites anyway, using prohibited software.)

Syrians have lived under emergency rule since 1963, giving the government wide latitude when it comes to stripping away its citizens' freedoms. Syria routinely jails and tortures dissidents who speak out against the regime. Syria has close military and financial ties to Iran and is listed by our State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism. They have a firewall in place on their Internet, and have cut off access to social networking sites to prevent criticism of the government. Despite President Obama's ambivalence over the situation in Egypt, the fall of Syria's regime has almost no downside for the U.S.

Despite fears of reprisal, a Facebook group in Syria has formed to organize protests in Damascus and Aleppo. They have also put out a list of demands for the government. At least some Syrians harbor hopes that reform might spread to their own nation.

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