Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed has warned that the Arab spring “will eventually reach every Arab state,” in a column published by Arabian Business today.
The Kingdom Holding chairman says that “If there is a lesson to be learned from the Arab Spring, it is that the winds of change that are now blowing in the Middle East will eventually reach every Arab state. Now is therefore an opportune time, particularly for the Arab monarchical regimes, which still enjoy a considerable measure of public goodwill and legitimacy, to begin adopting measures that will bring about greater participation of the citizenry in their countries’ political life.”
In a lengthy article, Prince Alwaleed – who has for the past eight years topped the Arabian Business list of the world’s most influential Arabs – also warns that the new leaderships taken shape in countries that have seen their governments overthrown are not certain to succeed. He also suggests that existing military factions may yet intervene.
The prince says in his column: It’s not yet clear if the leadership that will emerge out of the current turmoil will represent a radical departure from the past. Many of the candidates who have thus far come to the fore have links with the previous authoritarian regimes and functioned within institutions that had long been vitiated by cronyism, patronage and arbitrary rule. It remains to be seen, of course, if those same individuals will ultimately hold power and, if so, whether they can break away from the habits of old.”
He adds: “Most worrying, perhaps, is the stance that the military establishments are likely to adopt in a number of Arab countries in which the bickering among various factions and parties threatens stability and keeps matters in a constant state of flux. The temptation for the military to intervene in such a setting to prevent a slide into chaos or public disorder may be hard to resist.”
Prince Alwaleed also calls on surviving Arab governments to begin the process of reform, saying: Now is therefore an opportune time, particularly for the Arab monarchical regimes, which still enjoy a considerable measure of public goodwill and legitimacy, to begin adopting measures that will bring about greater participation of the citizenry in their countries’ political life.”