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Te Arab Spring and WorldFood Prices
Andrew HollandNovember 2012
One o the most important events over the past decadehas been the Arab Spring o 2011 that brought downdictators in unisia, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt, andcontinues to reverberate through the region. Although the proximate cause o the unrest was thesel-immolation o Mohamed Bouazizi, a ruit vendorin unisia, empirical evidence indicates that a spike inlocal ood prices across the Arab world was responsibleor setting the stage.
Over the last two decades, there is a strong evidencethat ood price increases have led to increased politicalunrest.
By late 2010, global ood prices had increased by 40%over the year, largely due to drought and wildre ingrain exporting regions o Russia and Eastern Europe,as well as by unprecedented foods in grain-importing Pakistan. Although ew o the protesters in ahrir Square orghting in Benghazi would have said that they wereghting because o ood prices, the empirical evidenceshows that high prices made riots much more likely.Syria is the most extreme example o how drought andood prices combined to oment unrest.Te ve years preceding the beginning o the unrestin the Spring o 2011 (2006-2010) saw a droughtunparalleled in both length and severity in recentSyrian history.