‘Too early to conclude on Arab uprisings’

Kottayam (Kerala), Feb 5: Putting the Arab uprisings into categories such as “democratic revolutions” or “Islamist revolutions” leads “to distorted expectations and understandings” about the issue, according to an expert.

Tim Niblock, professor emeritus, University of Exeter, Britain, made this remark here Tuesday while commenting on the ‘Arab Spring’ that began in 2010 and led to the ouster of rulers of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

He was delivering the valedictory address at the two-day International Conference on “The Arab World: March Towards Democracy and Its Implications”.

The meet was organised by the K.P.S. Menon Chair for Diplomatic Studies, School of International Relations and Politics (SIRP), Mahatma Gandhi University.

Niblock noted that “the new regimes” represent a new approach to resolving the same problems.

“Their success will be measurable over the long-term, not the short-term. It is, at present, too soon to draw negative conclusions about the outcome of the uprisings. A sense of hope remains the correct approach,” said the professor.

Niblock said the situation, as it is, does not indicate what kind of revolutions they were, are or may be. “The crowds who demonstrated on the streets were motivated by many different interests, emotions and beliefs,” he said.

Niblock also pointed out that the central issue for Arab countries, as for most countries with less well-established political institutions, remains what it was before.

“How to create and maintain political systems where those who govern are accountable to the population, where social and economic problems can be effectively be addressed, and where the population feels a sense of common purpose and common identity,” added Niblock.

IANS