Middle East Uprisings - True Quest for Democracy or Tribal Civil Wars?

I was just reading a very informative opinion piece from an op-ed editor of the NYT called "Tribes With Flags". I don't always agree with Mr. Friedman's views, but quite often, he demonstrates that he has put considerable thought into his comments, and he offers sound advice to those who may be listening to -- or reading -- his perspective. This particular piece poses some very interesting questions regarding current uprisings in the Middle East. For example, it asks whether they are truly fueled by a desire to achieve democracy, or simply motivated by the desire of one tribe or sect to overpower another. Are they in fact just tribal civil wars being disguised as democratic uprisings?
He also offers one possible explanation concerning why so many Middle Eastern and North African nations have been ruled by military dictators, or other authoritarian heads of state over the decades. This is in fact one of the topics that I likewise covered in one of my articles concerning Saddam Hussein a number of years ago. Contrary to those people who believe that democracy is theĀ  best form of government, is it possible that due to their ethnic constitution, some countries of the Middle East in fact need strong dictators just to hold them together? As I've asked before, as brutal as he was, did Saddam Hussein know and understand something about his own people that the American government did not, and which has taken them eight long years to figure out? Read the op-ed and form your own opinion.

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