When future generations look back, they will remember 2011 as the year of end of dictators in the Middle East and the Maghreb. Libya’s Muammar Khaddafi has now joined the Middle East parade of fallen despots. Practically nine months after Tunisia’s President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted after 23 years of authoritarian rule and the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was thrown out of power by a few weeks of protests in Tahrir Square, Khaddafi is at the end of his reign after 42 years of dictatorship. The year 2011 could indeed be considered the starting point of a paradigm shift in the Middle East that will bring the downfall of the remaining despots in the region while restructuring the way energy resources are priced and supplied around the globe. However positive regime change may be in the longer term, the short-term social and political consequences are likely to be quite challenging. It goes without saying that the overthrow of dictatorial regimes in the Maghreb and the Middle East will have proved easy compared to the difficult and uncertain establishment of secular and democratic governments.
more from Ramin Jahanbegloo at NPQ here.