This commentary was published in The Gulf News on 03/06/2011
Despite what appears to be a genuine democratic movement in the Arab world, western analysts remain largely sceptical about whether this will lead to a full-fledge democratic transformation. In an article published in the current issue of the prestigious magazine Foreign Affairs, Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and Director of Stanford University's Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, cast doubts on the future of the so-called Arab Spring. Under the title A Fourth Wave or False Start?, he questioned the possibility that the march towards democratic change in the Arab world might end up producing any sort of political system but not democracy. Similarly, George Friedman of Stratfor presented more or less the same argument. "The Middle East has seen many demonstrations of late, but that does not make them revolutions". Furthermore, all demonstrations are not revolutions. All revolutions are not democratic revolutions. All democratic revolutions do not lead to constitutional democracy. That might very well be the case in the Arab world, Friedman argued.