The above phrase is used over and over again in many stories about the popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. But how important were these so-called allies?
The U.S. and other countries aligned themselves with dictators in the fight against Communism. For many people in these countries the result was often worse than a Communist takeover. "When will they ever learn" is still a valid question in the "fight against terrorism". Instead of squelching terrorism, the fight increases terrorism, often state terrorism against the people of the countries who are "important allies in the fight against terrorism."
See "It's Arab and it's personal", Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera English, 2011-04-12.