Asan Plenum

The Arab uprising movement has achieved regime change in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya but not, so far, in Bahrain or Syria. Even Yemen, despite Ali Abdullah Saleh`s stepping down from the presidency, he and his ˝military family˝ are still very much in the game. Why? Sustained, deeply rooted protest continues in these places, indicating the anemic legitimacy of the incumbent regimes, but they are still essentially in place. Two factors (among several) stand out: (1) the external environment provides sufficient protection for the incumbents (either through direct support, e.g. Saudi Arabia and the US in Bahrain and Yemen) or through ˝blocking˝ influence, e.g. Russia, China, Iran, and Iraq in Syria; and (2) the organizational diffuseness of the opposition owing to weak leadership, and sectarian, ethnic, family and ideological cleavages.