Democracy in the Arab World: Not yet, thanks is an interesting article the Economist about the prospects of democracy in the Middle East and in Africa.
Similar signs of a return to realpolitik have been noted with relief by Arab governments. Concerns over Iran's nuclear plans have restrained Western criticism of democracy-shy but pro-Western neighbours like Azerbaijan and the countries of Central Asia. America restored ties with Libya, rewarding its government for scrapping weapons programmes while for the most part overlooking its appalling treatment of its own people. Even Syria, forced out of Lebanon and diplomatically isolated, has escaped severe punishment for defying a long list of Western demands.
The more I watch and learn, the more I am inclined to agree with the theory that prosperity leads to democracy and not democracy to prosperity. When people have become stakeholders in society they will begin to demand democratic reforms. When democracy is imposed and few people are stakeholders, they will simply vote for the least objectionable thug or the most charismatic candidates. True reform never happens.