WYSO

Eric Westervelt

For the Egyptian youth who spearheaded the protests that led to the ouster of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in February, the revolution was an exhilarating, crowning moment.

But for young Egyptian laborers caught in the violent backwash of the region's revolts, the Arab spring has proved financially and psychologically crippling.

Protesters in Yemen, along with key tribal and religious leaders, have spent months in the streets calling for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and for new elections.

The Obama administration and Pentagon officials are expressing fears that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula may take advantage of the current power vacuum to increase its influence. But some Yemen watchers say that while Saleh recovers in a Saudi hospital from wounds suffered during an attack on his palace, the U.S. is missing an opportunity to foster a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Many of the middle-class Egyptian youth who spearheaded the efforts to oust dictator Hosni Mubarak say one of the biggest threats to the revolution today is the ruling junta's use of secret military trials. It's estimated that at least 7,000 people — including protesters, bloggers and dissidents — have been jailed by the army since Mubarak stepped down.

Youth activists are now pressing the Egyptian military to transfer those cases to civilian courts and investigate allegations of abuse and torture by military police.

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