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NU Prof: Unrest In Egypt May Soon Spread

Egyptian Protests

Egyptian anti-government protesters shout slogans as they gather in Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square on February 11, 2011, after the military threw its weight behind President Mubarak’s attempt to cling on to power despite massive nationwide protests over the past 18 days. (Credit: PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 02/11/10 10:13 a.m.

EVANSTON, Ill. (WBBM/CBS) – A Northwestern University professor is monitoring Facebook posts, as protesters in Egypt decide what’s next, and many in other Middle Eastern and North African countries decide if they should be next.

Egyptian Preisdent Hosni Mubarak resigned Friday, as his vice president, Omar Suleiman, announced.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports, professor Brian Edwards says Facebook posts he monitors show Iranians telling each other they need no longer be fearful after watching the demonstrations in Egypt.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports

“The places that one wants to watch are certainly Jordan, Algeria, possibly Morocco,” Edwards said. “Will Iran find this inspiring enough to get the nerve up to go back to the streets again as they did in 2009? That’s a good question as well.”

Edwards, the chairman of the Middle Eastern Studies Group at Northwestern, says social media helped coalesce the demonstrators in Egypt.

But he says much of the credit for airing and spreading word of civil grievances goes to satellite TV, particularly al-Jazeera, which is still being watched in most cafés and homes in the region.

On Thursday, there were rumors that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would step down, but he later announced he would do no such thing. But he said he would be handing over some of his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman.

On Friday, the tides changed as he decided to resign.