I think you're correct but you don't go to the more fundamental issue - 50% rate of consanguineous marriages. This preceded the birth of Islam and is woven deep into the regional cultures. Culture is an iterative loop, one cultural practice informs another which in turn influences the first practice. Cousin marriage allows for wealth and power to concentrate within a family over generations rather than being diluted. It protects the clan members like a State and Rule of Law would in a western society. We can't graft Democracy onto such a host, for the host will reject the foreign organ being grafted onto it.Moreover, the aspirations of people are, in part, a function of a society's structure (institutions, economics, culture, etc.) and history. The fundamental Sunni-Shia divide is part of the reason one has witnessed illiberal regimes in the Middle East.
This is something that we CAN fix.There's also a tendency for the U.S. to view others as we view ourselves.
What do you mean "not surprisingly." To you and I, certainly, but I didn't see any foreign policy heavyweights making such predictions as these events unfolded. In fact, I saw Administration officials encouraging and cheering on such uprisings with the full expectation that magic would happen. And not to spare the Republicans, they too were doing the same. There is a dangerous level of intellectual inbreeding that shapes American foreign policy views.Regional uprisings were quickly coined the "Arab Spring" in an analogy to the democratic Prague Spring. Not surprisingly, given the region's structural and historical context, the democratic illusions have proved largely unfounded.
What you describe as American interests are better described as Western interests or Industrialized Nations' interests. If we removed ME oil from the equation, it's really hard to articulate any compelling interest in the region. We don't import much from them, they don't generate much IP, we don't even export much to them. Now with oil back in the picture, America could substitute their oil with oil from Canada. Europe, China, Africa, South America and Japan can't though. They're the principal beneficiaries of what America is stabilizing. Let them carry the cost burden.The U.S. can't dissociate from dealing with such governments when U.S. interests are at stake.