The Arab uprisings tried to change the political domains in the Middle east. But the democratic system is not suitable for those Monarchic states because the leaders have tried to calm the protestors’ anger and continue with their rule. Protestors are being suppressed by them. A secondary research methodology is being used. The trends emerged in post Arab Spring period vary from one state to another. It was not success through out the region. Consequences are observed in different states.
On December 2010, a Tunisian vendor Muhammad Bouazizi set himself on fire. Bouazizi was the sole earner of the family and one day he went with his vegetable stand. When the police officer asked him to show the permit, he didn’t have it. The officials took away his vegetable stand and slapped him. The young boy was angry and went in front of a government institution and set himself on fire.
This was the initiative of Arab Spring. Protests began in Tunisia. Tunisian Revolution effected the neighbouring states from the very next day. States involves Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain.
Arab Spring involves a set of anti-government protests across the region. People want to topple down the monarchic rulers. Social media had been a great power in the protests. So in many states, the governments has banned the internet and social sites.
What changes have been seen in Egypt and how protests are prevailing throughout the region?
Unpredicted outcomes of Arab Spring:
1. End of unaccountable governments:
Arab Spring’s basic aim is to get rid from the Monarchic rule, which has been there since decades. As most of the Middle eastern states have authoritarian rule. After the uprisings of Arab Spring, some rulers tried to tag their regimes as democratic through elections but this was not the reality. They just wanted to continue their rules.
Tunisia is proud to initiate the Arab Spring, they are successful in achieving their goals. Tunisia adopted a modern constitution and had parliamentary elections in 2014. But the situation is not same throughout the region.
Due to the abrupt changes, Middle east get rid of those autocrats but things fell apart quickly. After seven years, the hope of faded away as some of the states went into civil wars and some collapsed.
The Arab uprisings resulted in regional relations moulded into a new shape. Proxy warfare is seen in the region as well.
2. Sunni-Shia conflict:
The conflict between Shia and Sunni sects of Muslims was present before the Arab Spring as well. But the issue remains there after the uprisings of Arab Spring. Sunni state Saudi Arabia and Shia state Iran are having a proxy war in Syria.
As the Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey are strengthening, the sectarian proxy fight is increasing. This fight has seized Iraq and Syria apart and continue to disassemble Yemen, Bahrain and Lebanon.
3. Economic Conditions after Arab Spring:
One of the major causes of Arab Spring includes to eradicate corruption and unemployment from the states. The economic growth remains unenthusiastic though political stability was observed in Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco. The factor is that due to the unrest and uprisings in the region, foreign investors and tourists scared from investing. Which resulted in the decrease in the annual GDP rate. The economy of the states were good before Arab Spring but there was unemployment.
4. Interest of USA:
Some of the Middle eastern states didn’t want to change their regimes but Arab uprisings resulted in their regime change as well. The purpose behind this was that those were anti-USA governments and USA took advantage of the uprisings and removed the go. For Example: Iraq’s government. Saddam’s was not America’s favourable regime so US government toppled down him in the name of Arab Spring.
5. Refugees Issue:
People from Syria are going to other states are causing many issues and changed the human ecology of different states like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq etc.
Conflicts in Libya and Iraq resulted in refugees sending to neighbouring states. Similarly, in the events if Yemen proceeds to unwind, an outpouring of refugees from there might affect Saudi Arabia. With proceeding conflict the challenges will be faced regarding migrants.
Egypt after the uprisings of Arab Spring:
18 days protests started on 25th January, 2011 against Hosni Mubarak called for democracy and prosperity of the state through equality but it ended up with the brutality of the forces.
After the protests against the authoritarian government, Hosni Mubarak’s government was toppled down and Muhammad Mursi gained the powers. A crackdown by security forces killed hundreds of people and a state of emergency was declared. Egypt’s political crisis has reduced when the field marshal Al-Sissi expelled Muhammad Mursi. Muslim Brotherhood was banned to take part in political activities.
.The military restricted its political dominance. The constitution Government issued a new law banning unauthorized gatherings of more than 10 people.
Judiciary charges Muhammad Mursi for his “aggressive acts”
In 2015, ISIS started a series of attacks in the Sinai against the military. The military launched major attacks against ISIS, but the military failed.
In 2016-2017, militant groups grew bolder in their attacks.
In 2017, Sisi passed a controversial law and government-imposed new restrictions regulating non-government organizations and charities.
The regime blocked 64 news websites that are not related to state’s media.
In 2018, Egypt closed their routes towards Tahrir square. Al-Sisk was re-elected with 97% of votes.
State-wise changes due to Arab Spring:
Tunisia is the state from where the Arab Spring emerged. There are more than 90 political parties, so after toppling of Zine el Abiding, elections were held on 23rd October by the administration to constitute an assembly to draft a constitution.
Zine el Abidine ben Ali along with his wife are put on trial because of protestors’ deaths.
Many people have been killed since protests started. President Ali Abdullah Sale stepped down. Student’s protests converted into huge tribal fighting which continues to get worse.
Gulf Cooperation Council tries that Mr Saleh resign but with the provision of immunity with the help of allies (transfer of power agreement). He verbally agreed to sign.
Mr Saleh got injured in tribal attacks and was in Saudi Arabia for treatment
The economy of Yemen gets worse day by day.
Algeria is included in MENA. Algeria has not accepted this revolutionary change. Algerian government has shown some political concessions, food subsidies and other leverages so to control the temper of the public.
Kuwait has been holding protests against their Prime minister since 2009. Arab Spring has increased the size and number of protests. The emir of the state asked the interior minister to take all the necessary measures and make the country stable. Kuwait’s rulers tried to calm down the protestors and pleased the citizens by giving them oil wealth(1000 Kuwaiti dinars) and food staples.
The Islamist Muhammad Morsi have won the first elections held in Egypt after the topple down of Hosni Mubarak. Hosni Mubarak was a person who don’t consider his state’s interest but give preference to west’s interests. So Hosni was favoured by the west. The economy of Egypt decreased after Hosni because the tourists and foreign investors got scared as there were police forces functioning in the state.
There were different groups in Egypt including Muslim Brotherhood. All the groups tried to gain power through the level of professional politics.
A criminal trial was set for Mr Mubarak.
The government suppresses the uprisings. 1200 Saudi troops entered Bahrain along with 500 police officers from UAE under Golf Cooperation Council mandate. Meanwhile while there were some friendly gestures which includes having a national dialogue and lifting of state’s emergency state.
Protestors included restorative experts and political figures, who were tried in military courts. Detention is prevailing on several. Opposition supporters have been expelled from their jobs. The opposition might be weakened but hostility towards the regimes extends.
Iran’s regime has beaten the Arab Spring. They tried to give an image of it as anti-Western. If Iran set an example, it would be from “Green movement” which was suppressed after Ahmedinejad, but it was believed that it would emerge again.
After 5 months of government (non-functioning), Lebanon has a new cabinet which is pro Syria. The Arab Spring revolt against Asad regime continue to irritate Lebanese. By gaining inspiration from Arab Spring, secular activist try to change Lebanon’s sectarian system of governance that is not easy to change.
Lebanon is a calm state but Arab Spring brought unpredictable changes.
Peaceful protests took place in Jordan but a man died with several people got injured on March 24th in Amman. They want to restrain the king’s power by constitution’s amendment. They want to eradicate corruption and upgrade their living standards. King Abdullah 2 supported a proposed law that would make a government that would provide considerable powers to elected officials. But 19 political parties were n Jordan were weak and fragmented which could not enjoy popular support. Jordanians were waiting for the improvements.
Protests against the government converted into armed revolt and rebels grabbed Benghazi. Colonel Muammar Qaddafi promised to defeat them. Diplomatic recognition is gained by a rebel leadership council in Benghazi from several western and Arab governments. Rebel fighters gained control of Misurata, Nafusah mountains and eastern Libya. NATO imposed a UN-mandated no fly zone.
Colonel Muammar Qaddafi was asked to do ceasefire, though he was not ready to step down.
Israel and Palestine:
The uprising aimed at a democratic region but this divided Israel and Palestine reducing the chances of negotiation. Pressure with the aid of famous Palestinian demonstrations began in March. Israel was angered at their May 4 reconciliation accord, which called Hamas a terrorist organization (along with EU and USA). This let Fatah’s chairman to present a strong case for UN Agreement of Palestinian country in September.
Protests began in December till May. Sultan Qaboos bin Said started using force against protestors. Two protestors were killed, more than 200 arrested. Some were injured and some were on trial. Sultan promised to surrender some legislative powers to partially elected Shura Council. The government offered more jobs and scholarships. Government also dismissed some ministers.
Turkey has a foreign policy of “zero problems with the neighbours” is tested. It has encouraged Arab Spring to accept reforms. Turkey criticized NATO Air strikes but is the only Muslim member State of NATO and has its naval forces involved in NATO. Turkey and Syria are allies, so:
- Turkey has to cope with the effects of Syrian crackdown
- Turkey is dealing with refugees from Syria
- Syria is splitting and Turkey is criticizing the violence
- Turkey mediated in Libya but its diplomacy has failed.
A Facebook page in Qatar supported “the Freedom Revolution” and it has gained more than 30,000 followers. After this, rumours of protests spread in Qatar in March. As the time passed, the page switched to the pro-government stance. It supported their government and blamed other Arab states for initiating protests.
Several petitions to the king signed by Saudis demanding political reforms to create constitutional monarchy and country’s first political party was established and later suppressed.
The government has divided the money ($130 billion) in financial benefits, Shiites prevailed peace in Eastern province while Sunnis maintained peace in Riyadh. Ministry has arrested the protestors.
Basher al Asad was sure that Arab Spring would not arrive in Syria but the reality was opposite to it. When Arab Spring raised in Syria, his security forces moved end them, but failed. Both sides believed that they will prevail. The government said that the opposition are Islamic insurgents who will soon be destroyed by army. Islamic insurgents believed that the government is flattening the state’s economy. This rivalry resulted in bloodshed everywhere.
The citizens of Middle eastern states have been ruled by authoritarian rulers, who are ruling since long time and nobody can change their regimes but the people of the region raised their voices against them. As they were ruling as public representatives but the public was suffering.
There was corruption, and unemployment in the region which is causing difficulties for the people.
Some states succeeded in achieving their goals but some did not.
Arab Spring was a mixture of successes and failures throughout the region. But the basic purpose was for the betterment of the states.