While crowds from around the globe have been celebrating the end to Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule as leader of Egypt, questions have arisen about Egypt's uncertain future, its relationship to the U.S. and the political stability of the Middle East.
A new dawn in Cairo brought a small army of volunteers into Tahrir Square this morning to clean the trash and debris, a simple symbol of the people taking ownership of their country as a new chapter opened in Egypt's 7000 year history.
"In an instant ... all the years of anger, frustration and disappointment disappear into a moment of joy," said Mohammed Ghabn, who at 30-years-old has never lived in an Egypt not controlled by Mubarak.
Speaking early yesterday, President Obama praised the protesters and Mubarak's response to their calls for change.
"The people of Egypt have spoken. Their voices have been heard and Egypt will never be the same," the president said. "By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people's hunger for change, but this is not the end of Egypt's transition. It's the beginning."
Obama called on Egypt's new leadership to lift the controversial emergency law that has been in place almost continuously since 1967, which gives the government far-reaching powers at the expense of judicial review and civil liberties. He also urged for a peaceful and constructive transition to free and fair elections.
The major issue: U.S. National security and whether Egypt's role in counter-terrorism has been compromised..
"Whether it's our security here, their security, Saudi Arabia's security, Gulf Oil production -- all of these things are at potentially greater risk if Al Qaeda can now start infiltrating into Egypt," Michael O'Hanlon of the nonprofit public policy organization the Brookings Institution said.
The second major concern is the future of the Arab world, now that movements of the people -- so well-connected and organized in relatively peaceful protests -- in Tunisia and Egypt have led to historical regime change.
Egypt, with 80 million citizens, is the largest Arab nation, and is viewed globally as the gateway to the Arab world. If notions of revolution spread east to the oil producing nations -- or to Jordan, Syria, or Yemen -- the new Egypt could define a new Middle East.
"If we have good relations with Egypt, we change the dynamic of how the Arab world and the United States interact," Joel Rubin of the National Security Network told ABC News.
A third concern is the long peace that Egypt has had with Israel. Today the Jewish state is more isolated and vulnerable, feeling that if the peace is broken, the stakes could be very high if war returns to the Middle East region.
While viewers in many parts of the world watched in awe over the past few weeks as the people of Egypt took to Tahrir Square to claim the country, several authoritarian regimes attempted to censor images of the widespread dissent.
News reports in China downplayed the large-scale, pro-democracy protests. The country's Communist ruling party instead filtered in short reports on the Egypt's descent into violence, disorder and lawlessness, according to The Associated Press.