The Corner

The Lure and Peril of Arab Presidential Dynasties

The outsize role of the ruler’s families provides a commonality in many of the Middle Eastern countries experiencing upheavals in 2011. In Tunisia, the dictator’s wife and her brood inspired much anger. But in most cases, rulers wanting their sons to succeed them shakes their rule:

  • Egypt: The military men who ruling in Cairo since 1952 took it askance when Hosni Mubarak prepared the way for his banker son, Gamal, to succeed him.

  • Libya: Mu‘ammar al-Qaddafi’s seven sons, some of which hoped to follow him, feuded among themselves and exacerbated hatred for the regime.

  • Yemen: Ali Abdullah Saleh filled the government with relatives and wanted his son Ahmed to succeed him, an aspiration that aroused opposition, especially from the tribes.

  • Syria: Hafez al-Assad did succeed in having his opthamologist son Bashar succeed him, only for Bashar’s ineptitude to prompt the regime’s worst crisis ever.

In addition, Saddam Hussein of Iraq worked assiduously to have his sons succeed him, which contributed to his vanity, misrule, and ultimate demise. 

Most Popular

Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Defaces Its Façade

The facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, designed by Richard Morris Hunt in 1902, contains four large niches that might display sculpture but have traditionally been left empty. This was prudent good taste on the Met's part, since sculpture on buildings is a tricky business that few artists in our age of ... Read More