A repeat of the Egyptian scenario is, therefore, very much in the cards in both Algeria and Sudan. As the Egyptians learnt to their great cost the fall of the symbolic ruler does not automatically lead to the transformation of the autocratic system. The real power holders in the system, the military top brass, are far more difficult to dislodge than figurative rulers such as Mubarak, Bashir and Bouteflika. Only sustained pressure over a long period and a well-organized cadre party willing to make substantial sacrifices in life and property can achieve this goal. Both these variables do not seem to be present in Sudan and Algeria.
Mohammed Ayoob is University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Relations, Michigan State University, and a senior fellow for the Center for Global Policy. His books include The Many Faces of Political Islam and, most recently, Will the Middle East Implodeand editor of Assessing the War on Terror.