In Kuwait, women have been granted the right to vote and hold public office for the first time. To borrow a brilliant phrase, democratization is a process, not an event, but this is an excellent first start for a more democratic and open Kuwait.
Meanwhile, in Egypt, judges are threatening a boycott of the upcoming elections unless their independence is assured. Egypt has an increasingly active pro-democracy movement led by the recently-released Ayman Nour that is challenging the autocratic rule of Hosni Mubarak and demanding truly competitive multiparty elections.
The Middle East is looking increasingly like Eastern Europe in the late 1980s – as much as regimes like the House of Saud would love to keep the democracy genie stuffed in the bottle, it’s not going back.
I once heard a speech in which former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu postulated that freedom invariably flows from places that are more free to those that are less. History tends to prove that thesis correct, and it appears that events in the Middle East are only confirming that democratization is contagious.