TEL AVIV – A column in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat argued that the Arab Spring failed because opposition parties were just as undemocratic and dictatorial as the tyrannical regimes they were fighting to replace.
Columnist Uthman Al-Mirghani wrote that Arab opposition parties across the political spectrum – liberal, rightist, and Islamic – had distanced themselves so much from the people that Arab populations are now yearning for a return to previous regimes.
Maintaining that the Arab Spring failed to realize a single one of the goals professed by protesters, Al-Mirghani said the “chaos, crises, and wars” that have swept the Middle East are due to the failure of opposition groups to provide viable alternative governments.
The writer slammed opposition groups as weak and internally divided, and for having an “intense preoccupation with their own interests and dreams of power,” thus distancing themselves from the people.
“Many of the opposition parties accusing the existing regimes of tyranny are in themselves undemocratic,” wrote Al-Mirghani, adding that the parties’ political ideologies don’t change matters.
“The leftist parties have, in the eyes of the people, become a model of the elitism that is sunk in developing theories, while the Islamic parties have become a model of egocentrism and opportunism.”
He gave Egypt and Sudan as examples of countries in which the ruling parties were replaced by Islamists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which “turned to tyranny and absolute rule.”
Even countries like Morocco and Tunisia, the latter of which sparked the wave of protests across the Arab world, have yet to fully realize a peaceful and democratic transfer of power.
Al-Mirghani asserted that the disillusioned masses have abandoned hope in opposition parties, and are instead turning to the Internet – what he calls the “online party” – to voice their distress.
“The Arab Spring … was not a message just to the regimes, as some people think. Its outcomes are an indictment of the Arab oppositions, which seem, to this day, not to have gotten the message,” he concludes.