From the Sunday NY Times - a must read:
What's up are three big shocks hammering the Arab system. First, with oil revenues flat, there isn't enough money anymore to buy off, or provide jobs to, the exploding Arab populations. Hence the growing need for wives with work. The second is the Iraq war shock. Even with all the problems in Baghdad now, virtually every autocratic Arab regime is starting to prepare for the uncomfortable possibility that by 2005 Iraq will hold a free election, which will shame all those who never have.Friedman also notes on Saudi Arabia elections (for municipal positions only): "Most people thought it would snow in Saudi Arabia before there would be elections." As Sam Cooke once sang: "A change is gonna come."