Posts tagged ‘Political Transitions’

2011/03/03

Analysis: Revolutions, Regime Change, and State Collapse in the Arab World

[Ed. Note: The commentary below, abridged from the original available at the Carnegie Middle East Center, provides an important overview of events unfolding throughout the Middle East and North Africa and should serve to temper those swept up in the emotional exuberance of the Arab Awakening and its potential to reorder the lives of millions. The link to the full article is available at the end.]

Of Revolutions, Regime Change, and State Collapse in the Arab World by Marina Ottaway and David Ottaway

With breathtaking speed, massive popular protests across the Arab world have swept away two Arab strongmen and shaken half a dozen monarchies and republics to their core. But the Arab world has yet to witness any fundamental change in ruling elites and even less in the nature of governance.

Libya now seems poised to be the first country to see a true change in governance, thanks to Muammar Qaddafi’s megalomania and his amorphous jamahiriya (state of the masses). But such change may not have a happy ending. The damage Gaddafi has inflicted on his country is likely to extend well past his demise because he leaves behind a weak state without functioning institutions.

The uprisings sweeping across the Middle East have similar causes and share certain conditions: authoritarian and ossified regimes, economic hardship, and a growing contrast between great wealth and dire poverty, all worsened by the extraordinarily large number of young people who demand a better future. But the consequences will not be the same everywhere.

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2011/02/26

Obama Seeking New Mideast Approach

President Obama is challenging his administration to formulate a new Middle East policy that emphasizes political and economic reforms to bolster US allies now threatened by the protest movements sweeping the region.

Administration officials say Obama is urging beleaguered governments to enact reforms that would satisfy the popular craving for change while preserving valuable partnerships on crucial US interests, from oil security to counter-terrorism and containing Iran.

With those allied governments under pressure from their citizens, the US is confronting the likelihood of having diminished influence over whatever political order emerges. But a greater risk is that Washington could be seen as trying to prop up crumbling regimes and could alienate the rising pro-democracy leaders.

Diplomats say it would be difficult for the president to openly call for sweeping political change in such key countries as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan, which are run by royal families allied with the West. Direct criticism of longstanding, friendly monarchs could be seen as an abandonment and encourage even more protests.

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2011/02/26

In Egypt, Army Starts To Get Tougher


A rally that brought over 100,000 demonstrators to Egypt’s Tahrir Square was dispersed this morning by Egyptian soldiers firing in the air and using batons and tasers against demonstrators who were demanding that the Hosni Mubarak cabinet be purged by the country’s new military leaders.

Egyptians had gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate the two week mark since Mubarak’s removal and to remind the military rulers now in charge of its commitments to the people at the time of Mubarak’s ouster.

One of the commitments was to install a team of technocrats to replace the Mubarak-appointed cabinet. Activists are using the demonstrations to guard against “counter-revolution” of the people’s power.

But after midnight, demonstrators said the military fired in the air, shut off the light from lamp posts, and moved in on protesters to force them to leave the square, in an unusual use of military force against protesters since Mubarak’s fall.

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2011/02/17

Justice Begins: Egypt Arrests Ex-Ministers

An Egyptian prosecutor on Thursday ordered the detention of three ex-ministers and a prominent businessman pending trial on suspicion of wasting public funds.

The prosecutor dealing with financial crimes said former Interior Minister Habib el-Adli, former Tourism Minister Zuhair Garana, former Housing Minister Ahmed el-Maghrabi and steel magnate Ahmed Ezz must be held for 15 days. All four have denied any wrongdoing.

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2011/02/15

Leaders Are Gone, But Regimes Are Not


The Presidents Left, the Regimes are Still Here
by Marina Ottaway, Carnegie Middle East Center

The removal from power of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak were historic moments for the entire Arab world. But the old regimes—the submerged icebergs of personal connections, institutions, and common interests of which the presidents and their immediate entourage were the visible tips—are still there and they are fighting back to retain as much power and control as they can. These are still only the early days of a long process of transition, but it is clear that the battle to disband the regimes will be difficult. In this battle, street protest remains essential.

Early moves by the members of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces suggest that it intends to preserve as much of the regime as it possibly can. It has announced that the present government, composed entirely of Mubarak appointees, will remain in power until the end of a transition period lasting a maximum of six months. It has dissolved the parliament and abrogated the constitution, measures demanded by the opposition because last year’s parliamentary elections were rigged to the point of absurdity and the constitution was designed to protect the regime from real competition and perpetuate its power.

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2011/02/13

Egypt’s Military Dissolves Parliament

Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced today on state TV that it is dissolving the country’s parliament, suspending the constitution and is calling for called for elections in six months.

“[The military] is looking forward to a peaceful transition for a free democratic system to permit an elected civil authority to be in charge of the country to build a democratic free nation,” said military spokesman General Mohsen el-Fangari on state television.

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