Posted on | March 10, 2011 | No Comments
According to the American secret services, Gaddafi holds in the long run the upper hand in the armed conflict which pits him against the rebel insurrection. While it is always uneasy to foresee the future, we can ask ourselves: what will happen to the so-called Arab Spring if the dictator wins the day?
We can certainly claim that many dictatorships in the Arab world are closely monitoring these events and behaving consequently. For example, after the two candy revolutions which swept Tunisia and Egypt respectively (where the state did not have the same level of control over the army) the rest of the world optimistically expected a swift downfall of the Libyan dictatorship.
Thus, even while Gaddafi had no intention to leave, the UN and Western governments quickly rallied against him. But as he holds on strongly to power, other Arab dictators are seeing him as an inspiration. Thus, the last wave of protest in Yemen ended in bloodshed with 98 wounded. International outrage has not prevented Gaddafi from holding onto power in the past.
Other Arab monarchies will even fork out 20 billion dollars to sustain two crisis-ridden countries, Bahrain and Oman. This sends out a clear message: autocrats in the Middle East have learned that the wave of revolution can be stopped, and will do whatever it takes to do so.
If Gaddafi succeeds, the Arab Spring ends, and the fate of Tunisian and Egyptian revolts may be blown off course. If he leaves, he still made the demonstration that you can massacre the opposition in complete impunity, inspiring other dictators. The paradigm shift will not happen as easily as we thought.