Monday, February 28, 2011

Of Revolutions, Regime Change & State Collapse in the Arab World

D & M Ottaway at the WWCS:  "... Pro-democracy protesters in Tunisia and Egypt have been quick to use the word “revolution” to describe their astounding achievement in forcing Presidents Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak from power after decades of rule. Tunisia’s “Jasmine revolution” and Egypt’s “January 25 Revolution” have certainly injected the long-silenced voice of the people into the autocratic politics of the region. But they have not brought to the fore a new ruling class, system of governance, or the profound social and economic changes associated with the classical meaning of revolution. And it remains to be seen whether they will succeed in doing so...... In both countries, the same well-developed bureaucratic states and powerful military and security forces that buttressed authoritarian rule remain intact and seemingly determined to curb the pro-democracy momentum generated so far. A change in ruling elites and system of governance is still a distant goal.
The fall of Qaddafi will be a different matter. By necessity it will bring about both a new leadership and entirely different system of government. His downfall will create a vacuum because the political house he built, inspired by his rambling Green Book of philosophical socialist musings, is now being blown away with him. The mercurial Revolutionary Leader really does believe “l’etat, c’est moi,” or perhaps more precisely, l’etat, c’est ma famille.”. ..."

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