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Practice Question – The ‘Arab World’ today is in a complete state of disarray. Do you agree? Give reasons. – 250 words.
What was the impact of the “Arab Spring” on the Arab world?
The Arab Spring was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Islamic world in the early 2010s. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low standard of living, starting with protests in Tunisia.
When protests broke out in Tunisia in late 2010 and spread to other countries, there were hopes that the Arab world was in for massive changes. The expectation was that in countries where people rose, such as Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain and Syria, the old autocracies would be replaced with new democracies. But except Tunisia, the country-specific stories of the Arab uprising were tragic.
The “Arab spring” was a ray of hope for the Arab world wherein several of the dictators were toppled. However, the “Arab spring” failed to become a catalyst for solidarity of “al-Ummah al-Arabiya” (the entire Arab nation). On the contrary, the contradictions have only increased, both between some Arab countries and within the countries themselves against the existing authorities (Bahrain, Iraq, Sudan, etc.).
Country specific examples of disturbances in the Arab world –
- Syria – The predominance of ISIS; continued rocket attacks by the Western coalition; use of chemical weapons; and the instability of the rule of President Assad. In Syria, with foreign intervention, the protests first turned into an armed civil war and then the country itself became a theatre of wars for global players.
- In Yemen, protests turned into a sectarian civil conflict, with foreign powers taking different sides. In Bahrain, Saudi Arabia made a direct military intervention, on behalf of its rulers, to violently end the protests in Manama’s Pearl Square.
- The cold war and closed borders between Algeria and Morocco
- The conflict between Fattah and Hamas (Palestinian Civil War).
- Even within the Gulf Cooperation Council, there are serious contradictions when one of them – Qatar – is boycotted by the rest, with diplomatic relations being severed.
- Anti-government demonstrations erupted in Sudan and Algeria in recent months. Both Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who had ruled Algeria for 20 years, and Omar al-Bashir, who had been at the helm in Sudan for three decades, quit amid public anger, reviving memories of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings earlier.
- In Libya, the foreign intervention removed Muammar Qaddafi, but the war destroyed the Libyan state and institutions, leaving the country in the hands of competing militias.
- Spontaneous protests in Lebanon and Iraq.
Way ahead –
- Taking control of a worsening economic situation in most Arab countries.
- Reducing influence of the outside countries.
- Strengthening the Arab league.
- Enhanced dialogue between the Arab nations and increased diplomatic outreach.
- Reducing the influence of the Army in the internal politics of the country.
Must read article for a brief historical perspective – https://en.trend.az/other/commentary/3004797.html
Detailed article on the crisis in Yemen – https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/mayhem-yemen-crisis-meaning-arab-world-180724121333300.html