If the regimes in Yemen and Egypt do not survive then we can expect a period of turmoil and instability just as is the case in Tunisia. All three states suffer from at least two similar deficiencies which will make a major political transition difficult. First, none of them have credible leaders in place ready to assume power. The long established monopolistic systems have prevented the emergence of an alternative group of leaders.
That monopoly on political participation has a second result. Arab cultures in general, and these three states in particular, lack a tradition of and experience in the dynamics of democratic politics. The leaders who might step forward have never had an opportunity to exercise tolerance nor have they been called on to compromise their agendas. Both of these attributes – tolerance and the ability to compromise – are necessary if a more open political environment is to develop.
The opposition may fail in achieving its objectives. Watch closely the reaction of the military leadership in both countries, especially Egypt where the officer corps has been the bulwark of the regime since the Revolution of 1952. Until the military takes a position the outcome remains in doubt.
If the uprisings do topple these long established governments, then we can expect a long and difficult transition period with no certainty as to what will follow. Removing the current leadership is but the first step in a long journey towards lasting political change.
Donn M. Kurtz II, Ph. D., taught political science at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette from 1969 until his retirement in 2007. He lives in Grand Coteau, Louisiana.
"[DNC Chair Tom Perez] has gotten instructions from Bill Clinton not to let the party go to the Bernie Sanders folks." - Jonathan Allen, co-author of Shattered, revealing new material in the upcoming paperback release pic.twitter.com/dLEnwl7kIc— HootHootBerns 🌹🐦 (@HootHootBerns) May 3, 2018