Armed revolution, international legality, or homegrown constitutionalism? These three options for national change were used this week in the three Arab countries that arguably have had the most impact on the Middle East region in the last century – Syria, Egypt and Palestine. Developments in the three countries offered strikingly different options for moving forward to the condition of national sovereignty and well-being that is the right of all people. These different routes to change and stability capture the wider condition of an Arab world still struggling to make the final transition in the century-long trek from colonialism to indigenous authoritarianism to populist democratic legitimacy. Which option proves most effective will impact widely on other Arab countries that also seek their own change for the better.