The Arab spring in the Middle East and North Africa devoured a series of nations. The disputes over the revolutionary or rebellious nature of these uprisings linger on one decade after the start of these movements.
The second decade of the twentieth century marked a series of revolutions that overhauled the Arab world. Generally known as the Arab Spring, the movement transformed the political and societal infrastructures in multiple countries.
Arab Spring exploded throughout some parts of the MENA region in 2011. As it went on to devour more nations, the revolutions attracted more attention from other Arab countries in a cycle.
Arab Spring; Tunisia and Libya
Tunisia was the heart of the series of democratic protests may have been the only shining example out of a bloody story. Freedom House described it the sole “free” Arab nation in a study in 2020.
Tunisia condition appears precarious as the country has been mired in political turmoil since Kais Saied took over the power. Saied ousted Prime Minister Hichem Mechici and dissolved parliament. Observers charge him of launching a “coup against the constitution.”
In Libya, deposing of Muammar Gaddafi provided a similar popular sense that the downfall of Saddam Hussein led to. US invasion shattered the prosperous nation into an era of civil war only to reach a peace accord last year. Libya’s capacity to retain clean and secure elections next months, besides the risk of further conflict, is under question.
Lost Aspirations in Egypt
Egypt contained all the ingredients of an achievement in finalizing revolution in the Arab Spring. It was clearly a democratic social revolution that drove Hosni Mubarak out after multiple decades. The developments cleared the way for Mohamed Morsi, as Egypt’s leader elected by people in an election.
It didn’t take long, however, before the revolution lost the route to the aspirations of the younger generations. The result was a military clung to authority and a counter-revolutionary attempt, under the provision and perpetration of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The move guaranteed Cairo’s inclination to the pro-Western position.
Morsi’s contentious measures to enhance executive authority did not go down well with the people. Besides, his historic journey to Tehran aroused fears of a diplomacy pivot and reconciliation with Iran. Iran had broken ties with the Egypt over its official ties with Tel Aviv. The developments could lead to strategic hazards for Israel and, thus, led to its allies’ intervention.
Syria; The Rise of Terror
Syria was the revolt that drew the greatest attention from the world society and split the UNSC perspectives. The rebellion was described to as a “revolution” in initial stages, reminiscing hopeful days of the Arab Spring. This was not, however, the case, because Syria was a considerably more complicated nation-state than the other Arab nations.
Syria uprising started with a series of uprisings calling for reform in the administrative system of the country. It was smoothly and peacefully taking more force until intervention by western countries to topple Assad deflected the movement.
The terrorism and emergence of ISIS that ensued was the result of the same course of events. The popular uprising faced suppression to the benefit of more suppression, violence, and terrorism.
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia; Riyadh Suppressive Machine
Bahrain revolutionary attempts are usually subject to negligence by critics and observers. It is, indeed, the uprising that deserves respect as a revolution that never came to fruition. The silent, popular protests by the predominantly native Shiite inhabitant expected a sweet outcome. Al-Khalifa dynasty’s only chance of survival was through the invasion of neighboring Saudi Arabia, which suppressed the rebellion rigorously. However, revolutionary passion among the masses endures, and it is far harder to eliminate.
As with Saudi Arabia, the suppression occurred a step earlier. The kingdom suffocated all the voices from the beginning by executing some leading protesters. Besides, it enforced harsh security measures to stay safe from the offshoots of the Arab Spring. Riyadh left no air to breath for any opposing force in the past decade.
As with Yemen, the condition was even more complex. In the second part of this series, we will focus on Yemen as a successful revolution that is still on the process of being.