continue for another term by Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. The protests were relativelyless serious in Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, Bahrain, Morocco, Ethiopia, WesternSahara and Mauritania. The widespread of protests throughout the Muslim-majority countries inthe two regions have taken the world aback and the prospect of regime changes in somecountries have led to recalculations and rethinking on foreign policies towards these countriesespecially due to the uncertainties regarding their future. The victories of the so-called Islamist parties in Tunisia and Egypt in their respective elections have been widely reported as a concernfor the West. However, the recent Libyan elections have seen a victory for the reported secularist party, the National Forces Alliance, led by ex-interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril (BBC News Africa, 2012). News reports indicate that the biggest concern for the global powers is theelement of religion amongst the rebels. The main motivations behind the uprisings in onecountry and between them vary. Some protesters simply want to end dictatorships, some wantdemocracy, while some are motivated by religion. It is a phenomenon that cannot be sufficientlyexplained by one factor but certainly this historic event has projected the rising fundamentalistelements in the region after decades of suppression by the former authoritarian regimes.Although the extent of this sentiment is still a matter of contention, a less regimentedenvironment definitely helps the dissemination of fundamentalist ideas.
Image 1: Map illustrating the Arab Spring by country. Source:http://tripline.net/trip/Map_of_the_Arab_Spring_Protests-2173004375451003A9ECA90105EA623D
Amongst the countries which have seen revolts against ruling regimes, the Syrian uprising isarguably the bloodiest. The uprising has developed into a full-scale civil war between themajority Sunni populations against the ruling
regime. The escalating violence has resultedin
‗staggering‘ death toll and ‗catastrophic‘ destruction, as described by UN
-Arab League envoyLakhdar Brahimi
(AFP, 2012). Fears of further bloodshed has caused more than 200 000Syrians seeking refuge in neighbouring countries (Associated Press, 2012). The death toll has been estimated at more than 60 000 by the UN by January 2013, only nearly two years since theviolence broke out in March 2011 (Sterling J.
and Salma Abdelaziz, 2013). By comparison, the
Lakhdar Brahimi replaced Koffi Annan as the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria