Even as Western forces intervene in Libya, violence is also escalating in Syria and Yemen. Syrian security forces have killed at least 61 people last week. Defecting generals and tribal leaders in Yemen raise a real possibility of civil war in a country long divided between north and south and lately troubled by al-Qaida. Meanwhile, repression on a less dramatic scale continues in Bahrain, with the regime backed by the intervention of Saudi troops. Even Saudi Arabia itself now faces protests, for good or ill. After the largely peaceful overthrow of dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, the pro-democratic tide in the Arab world seems to be crashing up against breakwaters made of stone.
Has the pro-democratic trend peaked in the Arab world? Has it entered a new, more violent phase because protests have now spread to countries with harsher governments? Or is it too early for pessimism? And with the Libyan and Qatari crises in particular drawing in foreign intervention, how will the successes and failures in each country ripple across the region?