The Arab Spring’s uneven progression will likely generate varying outcomes, analysts suggest, but it nevertheless represents “a transformative first step in a long-term process of change.”
The crux of the issue is whether it is “shaping up to be a true revolutionary moment or merely a change of elites that simply reproduces the inherited structures of power,” according to Kristian Coates Ulrichsen and David Held of the London School of Economics:
Beyond the removal of the person of the dictator and his immediately family (most notably his sons), can the broader regime of ‘crony capitalists’ and networks of patronage be removed? …How will the successor regimes cope with the massive socio-economic challenges, such as unemployment and economic exclusion, and with the inevitable disillusionment when people’s material situation fails to improve overnight? And will the international community support all countries in transition, rather than cherry-picking support where it is in their interests (such as Libya) and condoning state-repression where it is not (such as Bahrain)?
“The broad swathes of Arab societies that came out in support for the ending of authoritarian rule will need to maintain their commitment to reform in the face of lingering political violence by regime and non-state actors alike,” they contend.