Hosni Mubarak has resigned.
The best explanation of the long term trends that led up to this is Rany Jazayerli’s piece on the impact of satellite television on the Arab world. Here’s a snippet:
For the last 15 years, then, the Arab world has had the access that was denied them for so long. They’ve seen the truth about how oppressive and hypocritical their own governments are, and they’ve seen the truth about how messy and imperfect and yet ultimately how ennobling and empowering Western democracies are. (In the words of Winston Churchill, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried.”) And having already opened the barn door to letting the masses own satellite dishes, the governments of the region were mostly helpless to do anything about it. Baywatch, it turns out, was a Trojan horse.