While the early uprisings were manipulated by religious or ethnic forces, the more recent movements of the last two or three years are unarmed, non-Islamist and above all non-sectarian.
Leaders who assert their authority by claiming a monopoly on the representation of their community need to keep their herd together. It is their only option to preserve their share of the national pie, irrespective of the formal dressing which varies from one country to another. Each leader enjoys a blocking power so as to prevent any actual change, and all agree that nothing should change. They negotiate among themselves the control of certain ministries or sectors of the economy, a port, an airport, a mineral - all of which become heavily guarded areas and guaranteed annuities.