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Spring in its Step?

Spring in its Step?

Dr. William Gueraiche, assistant professor at the American University of Dubai, talks to Atique Naqvi about the impact the Arab Spring has had in the region.


August 3, 2011 2:01 by

What in your opinion led to the so-called Arab Spring?

A combination of factors. I don’t believe in monocausal explanations such as corruption or the nature of the regimes. Some analysts were tempted to compare the Arab Spring, which actually began in winter, with the previous revolutions, ie the Spring of the Nations in 1848 or the Iranian revolution. What happened here has a different pattern. Let’s face it, we just do not know what led to the situation.

Do you think Arab economies will  benefit from democratic governments?

It remains to be seen whether the new governments will be more democratic. Based on the Tunisian and Egyptian case studies, I doubt it. Second, there have been conflicts of interests between the international organizations (WTO, IMF, etc), transnational corporations and basic needs of the populations. One of the problems in the Middle East, as in other parts of the world, is the share of wealth. Economic liberalism is not necessarily good for the poor. Is the world better off since the Doha Round?

What changes do you expect as a result of the Arab Spring?

The Arab world will change. My hope is for more justice and more dignity as per the first article of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, 1948.

What do you foresee as being the important change in society?

After revolutions or intense political crises, populations feel more concerned about politics for a year or so. Afterwards, this enthusiasm fades.

With great opportunities come big risks. What are the risks?

It’s not religion. The greater risk is the entrenched elites, which control the countries and will continue to run them, in a different way,

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