Thanks, excellent and comprehensive.
It seems to be politically incorrect to make Malthusian points in the Arab world but it seems to me the Arab spring is essentially a Malthusian crisis. Egypt only produces roughly 60% of the food it consumes. This while the population is growing and with it the area available for agriculture is decreasing ever further. Egypt’s effective (excluding desert terrain) population density is 2.5 times that of the Netherlands, close to densely packed island-states like Malta.
Such a density only is sustainable as long as sufficient food can be imported and this creates a deadly dependency on the outside world: Egypt needs sufficient foreign currency reserves, and sufficiently low world market prices. While the Egyptian 2012 harvest has been excellent, global crop failures elsewhere and inflation in Egypt (6.3% annual and 1.7% last january) do create a bleak outlook.
Egypt needs to modernize its society, like in Morocco, contraceptives need to become widely available and women need to become emancipated enough to make their own choices. And it is not like Morocco is any less male chauvinist that Egypt, but it does have a government capable and intelligent enough to make these decisions. While it may not be democratic it isn’t going to trade in women’s rights for a couple of votes either.