Nightly News   |  January 31, 2011

Arab leaders fear Egypt protest's domino effect

A new slogan—“Today Egypt, tomorrow Yemen”—has given voice to the potential for protests in Egypt to spread across the Arab world, leaving many to wonder whether full-scale revolt will erupt in neighboring countries as well. NBC's Martin Fletcher reports.

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>>> it's been said what's happening here in egypt started with the uprising in tunisia . people have used phrases like " prairie fire " to guess about how it might spread. tunisia was a modern day first in the arab world but it may not be the last, as our own veteran middle eastern correspondent reports for us tonight.

>> reporter: the slogan today egypt , tomorrow yemen. yemen's president has been in power 32 years, even longer than egypt 's mubarak. will a full-scale revolt erupt here too? many countries share egypt 's problems. young populations, poverty, unemployment, suppression of human rights . to egypt 's west look at algeria, worried about rioting islamic power, the government introduced a state of emergency , 19 years ago. the call is for freedom. so, following the revolts in tunisia and egypt , are other regimes in real danger?

>> the conditions in egypt that caused this to come about do exist widely across the region.

>> reporter: jordan, first they called for food and now government change. jordan's muslim government wander unrest will spread to other governments close to the united states . libya, cal gadhafi has ruled unopposed more than 40 years but could his time be up. he's cut taxes on food and basic products to head off trouble but is that just a band-aid.

>> for some of these rulers, they're certainly scrambling to try to placate the people. for some it may be too little too late.

>> reporter: more troubling questions, will islamic fundamentalists , well organized almost everywhere, fill the power vacuum , and is that good or bad? who knows. certainly experts, according -- aulg this an end of an area, it could lead to policy changes and a drop in tension or it could usher in spreading revolutions. it's a nervous time in the middle east . martin