“Leadership Deficit Prolonging the Arab Uprisings”
Yesterday, the director of the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore Michael Hudson wrote of the apparent leadership deficit prolonging the unfinished Arab Spring revolutions. This leadership deficit, says Hudson, began with the ousted dictators, none of whom either had the intelligence or legitimacy to lead. Due to their lack of legitimacy, dictators had nothing more to offer their people than mere survival. However, the failed leadership of the incumbents only tells half the story, according to Hudson. The opposition, forced to operate in a restricted environment, is plagued by their inability to organize and publicize their objectives and to generate greater popular legitimacy, and divisions and inconsistencies hinder the transition process across the region.
In Bahrain, for example, the ruthless repression committed by the al-Khalifa dynasty continues to repress opposition movements and has grouped the opposition parties together as a subversive movement, while divisions in the Syrian opposition have created a ideological rift between Islamists and secular nationalists. Hudson concludes explaining the conundrum of leadership in the Arab uprisings: The power of the regime affords them the luxury of incompetence, while the opposition, while enjoying popular legitimacy, lack power and “cannot afford to be unintelligent for long.”