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Arab Uprising, A Glimmer Of Hope For A New Beginning In

Middle East


The Arab uprising is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab
world. Since 18 December 2010 there have been revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and civil war
in Libya resulting in the fall of its regime, civil uprisings in Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen, major
protests in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman, and minor protests in Kuwait, Lebanon,
Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Western Sahara.
The series of protests and demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa has become
known as the "Arab Spring and sometimes as the "Arab Spring and Winter "Arab Awakening" or
"Arab Uprisings" even though not all participants in protests identify as Arab. It was sparked by
the first protests that occurred in Tunisia on 18 December 2010 following Mohamed Bouazizi's
self-immolation in protest of municipal corruption and ill treatment by a local lady municipal
officer. With the success of the protests in Tunisia, a wave of unrest struck Algeria, Jordan,
Egypt, and Yemen, and then spread to other countries. The largest, most organized
demonstrations have often occurred on a "day of rage", usually Friday after noon prayers. The
protests have also triggered similar unrest outside the region.
As of September, 2011, demonstrations have resulted in the overthrow of two heads of state:
Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on 14 January following the
Tunisian revolution protests, and in Egypt, PresidentHosni Mubarak resigned on 11 February
2011, after 18 days of massive protests, ending his 30-year presidency. During this period of
regional unrest, several leaders announced their intentions to step down at the end of their current
terms. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced that he would not seek re-election in 2015,
as did Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose term ends in 2014, although there have been
increasingly violent demonstrations demanding his immediate resignation. Protests in Jordan
have also caused the resignation of the government resulting in former Prime Minister and
Ambassador to IsraelMarouf al-Bakhit being appointed prime minister by King Abdullah and
tasked with forming a new government. Another leader, President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen,
announced on 23 April that he would step down within 30 days in exchange for immunity, a deal
the Yemeni opposition informally accepted on 26 April, Saleh then reneged on the deal,
prolonging the Yemeni uprising. Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi has refused to step down,
causing a civil war between pro-Gadaffi loyalists and anti-Gadaffi rebels continued. Rebels have
captured most of the Libyan cities including capital Tripoli with the active military assistance of
NATO especially by UK and France.

Modus operandi

The protests have shared techniques of civil resistance in sustained campaigns involving strikes,
demonstrations, marches and rallies, as well as the use of social media to organize, communicate,
and raise awareness in the face of state attempts at repression and internet censorship.

Numerous factors have led to the protests, including issues such as dictatorship or absolute
monarchy, human rights violations, government corruption (demonstrated by Wiki leaks
diplomatic cables), economic decline, unemployment, extreme poverty, and a number of
demographic structural factors, such as a large percentage of educated but dissatisfied youth
within the population. The catalysts for the revolts in all Northern African and Persian Gulf
countries have been the concentration of wealth in the hands of autocrats in power for decades,
insufficient transparency of its redistribution, corruption, and especially the refusal of the youth
to accept the status quo. Increasing food prices have also been a significant factor, as they
involve threats to food security worldwide and prices that approach levels of the 20072008
world food price crises. Amnesty International singled out Wikileaks release of US diplomatic
cables as a catalyst for the revolts. These events will continue to be magnified and accelerated by
the growing role of social media. Indeed, the Arab Media Influence Report recently released by
the Dubai-based News Group notes a number of significant trends:
There are 65 million Internet users in the Arab world and the number is expected to grow to 80
million by 2012. In percentage terms, 30.8 percent of the population is online, while the global
average is 28.7 percent. In August 2010, Arabic became the fastest growing language on Face
book. There are 17 million Face book users in the region, larger than the number of newspaper

While by no means the only factor, social media will surely play a critical role as the dynamic
change launched by the Tunisian fruit seller continues to play out across the region.
In recent decades rising living standards and literacy rates, as well as the increased availability of
higher education, have resulted in an improved human development index in the affected
countries. The tension between rising aspirations and a lack of government reform may have
been a contributing factor in all of the protests.Many of the internet-savvy youth of these
countries have studied in the West, where autocrats and absolute monarchies are considered
anachronisms. A university professor of Oman, Al-Najma Zidjaly referred to this upheaval as
Tunisia and Egypt, the first to witness major uprisings, differ from other North African and
Middle Eastern nations such as Algeria and Libya in that they lack significant oil revenue, and
were thus unable to make concessions to calm the masses.

Impacts Of Arab Uprising

Political impact

Arab uprising will have deep rooted impact in Middle East and North Africa both politically and
economically. As we know that in most of the countries of Middle East monarch and autocrats
have the rule. The uprisings mark a watershed event, with the Arab world irrevocably changed.
Essentially, the social contract governing the relationship between Arab ruling regimes and their
populations is in tatters. The contracts fundamental precept demanded popular acquiescence to
regime control the suppression of their aspirations and muzzling of their voice in exchange for
government guarantees of decent living conditions the provision of jobs, housing, affordable
food prices, education and health care. Over the past decade, if not longer, the social contracts
foundations began to crack. Deteriorating socioeconomic conditions and a yearning for freedom
across the Arab world underscored the core flaws of this arrangement. The uprisings in Egypt
and Tunisia as well as popular protests across the region are the most dramatic evidence of this
new Arab awakening.
No one not even the protest organizers themselves predicted that the demonstrations would lead
to the downfall of such deeply-entrenched regimes. Western governments often believed Arab
regime arguments that their governments represented stability and a bulwark against either chaos
or Islamist extremism. Meanwhile, many Western analysts perhaps overestimated the strength of
autocratic regimes and failed to give enough credence to the popular side of the Arab social
contract. Riddled by pervasive corruption and unable to provide even the most basic popular
needs, regimes in Tunis and Cairo were ultimately brought down by their inability to fulfill their
end of the bargain. Going forward, it is essential to understand that the Arab grassroots have been
empowered. They are now a key factor in the regions power equations and can no longer be
ignored. Power no longer emanates solely from the top, but also resides at the popular level.

The Us-Saudi Axis

The ongoing uprisings in the Arab world today, as is clear to all observers, do not distinguish
between republics and monarchies. Indeed, in addition to the republics, demonstrations have
been ongoing in Morocco, Jordan, Oman, and Saudi Arabia (and more modestly in Kuwait and
the United Arab Emirates), despite the brutal suppression of the major Bahraini uprising by a
combined mercenary force dispatched by the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council led
by Saudi Arabia.
The situation in Arab countries today is characterized as much by the counter-revolution
sponsored by the Saudi regime and the United States as it is by the uprisings of the Arab peoples
against US-sponsored dictatorial regimes.
While the US-Saudi axis was caught unprepared for the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, they
quickly made contingency plans to counter the uprisings elsewhere, especially in Bahrain and
Oman, but also in Jordan and Yemen, as well as take control of the uprisings in Libya (at first)
and later in Syria. Attempts to take control of the Yemeni uprising have had mixed results so far.
Part of the US-Saudi strategy has been to strengthen religious sectarianism, especially hostility to
shiism, in the hope of stemming the tide of the uprisings. The situation today is one of a struggle
between the formidable US-Saudi axis, which is the main anti-democratic force in the region,
and the pro-democracy uprisings.
The US-Saudi strategy is two-fold: massive repression of those Arab uprisings that can be
defeated, and co-optation of those that could not be. How successful the second part will be
depends on how co-optable the pro-democracy forces prove to be.

Economic impact

Political turmoil in the Middle East has powerful economic and financial implications,
particularly as it increases the risk of stagflation, a lethal combination of slowing growth and
sharply rising inflation. Indeed, should stagflation emerge, there is a serious risk of a double-dip
recession for a global economy that has barely emerged from its worst crisis in decades.
Severe unrest in the Middle East has historically been a source of oil-price spikes, which in turn
have triggered three of the last five global recessions. The Yom Kippur War in 1973 caused a
sharp increase in oil prices, leading to the global stagflation of 1974-1975. The Iranian revolution
in 1979 led to a similar stagflationary increase in oil prices, which culminated in the recession of
1980-1981. And Iraqs invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 led to a spike in oil prices at a time
when a US banking crisis was already tipping America into recession.
We dont know yet whether political contagion in the Middle East will spread to other countries.
The turmoil may yet be contained and recede, sending oil prices back to lower levels. But there
is a serious chance that the uprisings will spread, destabilizing Bahrain, Algeria, Oman, Jordan,
Yemen, and eventually even Saudi Arabia.
Even before the recent Middle East political shocks, oil prices had risen above $80-$90 a barrel,
an increase driven not only by energy-thirsty emerging-market economies, but also by non-
fundamental factors: a wall of liquidity chasing assets and commodities in emerging markets,
owing to near-zero interest rates and quantitative easing in advanced economies; momentum and
herding behavior; and limited and inelastic oil supplies. If the threat of supply disruptions
spreads beyond Libya, even the mere risk of lower output may sharply increase the fear
premium via precautionary stockpiling of oil by investors and final users.
The latest increases in oil prices and the related increases in other commodity prices, especially
food imply several unfortunate consequences (even leaving aside the risk of severe civil
First, inflationary pressure will grow in already overheating emerging market economies, where
oil and food prices represent up to two-thirds of the consumption basket. Given weak demand in
slow-growing advanced economies, rising commodity prices may lead only to a small first-round
effect on headline inflation there, with little second-round impact on core inflation. But advanced
countries will not emerge unscathed.
Indeed, the second risk posed by higher oil prices a terms-of-trade and disposable income shock
to all energy and commodity importers will hit advanced economies especially hard, as they have
barely emerged from recession and are still experiencing an anemic recovery.
The third risk is that rising oil prices reduce investor confidence and increase risk aversion,
leading to stock-market corrections that have negative wealth effects on consumption and capital
spending. Business and consumer confidence are also likely to take a hit, further undermining
If oil prices rise much further towards the peaks of 2008, the advanced economies will slow
sharply; many might even slip back into recession. Even if prices remain at current levels for
most of the year, global growth will slow and inflation will rise.

Role of US, France and UK

US have a deep rooted political and economic interest in Middle East and North Africa. He has a
strong military presence in Arabian Peninsula and Indian Ocean to protect its energy interests.
Since World War II, but more diligently since the mid 1950s, the United States has followed two
simultaneous strategies to exercise its control over the Arab peoples across Arab countries. The
first, and the one most relevant to Arabs, was based on the early US recognition and realization
(like Britain, France, and Italy before it) that Arabs, like all other peoples worldwide, wanted
democracy and freedom and would struggle for them in every possible way.
For the United States, this necessitated the establishment of security and repressive apparatuses
in Arab countries, which the US would train, fund, and direct in order to suppress these
democratic desires and efforts in support of dictatorial regimes whose purpose has always been
and continues to be the defense of US security and business interests in the region.
These interests consist principally in securing and maintaining US control of the oil resources of
the region, ensuring profits for American business, and strengthening the Israeli settler-
colony.Much of this was of course propelled by the beginning of the Cold War and the US
strategy to suppress all forms of real and imagined communist-leaning forces around the world,
which included any and all democratic demands for change in the region.
This strategy, which was formalised in the Eisenhower Doctrine issued in 1957, continues
through the present. The Eisenhower Doctrine, issued on 5 January 1957, as a speech by the US
president, declared the Soviet Union, not Israel or Western-supported regional dictatorships, as
the enemy of the people of the Middle East. US will continue playing its role in Middle East for
its economic and political interests in one way or other.
The French and the British have continued to play important neo-colonial roles in the region,
economically, militarily, and in the realm of security "cooperation". They have strengthened their
position by increasing their security and diplomatic "assistance" to their allies among Arab
dictators. Now they have find an opportunity to reestablish their base in Middle East like US to
secure pursue their economic, military and political interests in form of supporting the Rebels
against the Qadafi in Libya.


On a systemic level, the Arab uprising will create a new political and economic reality in the
Middle East and transform the regional balance of power. While Western influence in the region
will inevitably decline as a result, the Arab revolutions also have an undeniable potential to
enhance regional cooperation, reduce the appeal of terrorism and help break the current deadlock
in the peace process. The great Arab hope is that Tunisia and Egypt will write a new
Revolutionary and Democratic Manifesto for the Arab peoples.


Media has emerged as a powerful tool in awareness of general public and accountability of
governments in their governance.
Center of power lies with the people.
Government needs to solve the issues at the gross root level.
Corruption and accumulation of wealth in few hands can lead to revolution.
Public satisfaction and democratic system of government are integral components to success.


The killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi after being captured alive by the freedom fighters is a
clear violation of international humanitarian law. While the National Transitional Council is set
to formally announce Libyas liberation, NATO has specified that it will end its armed campaign
in Libya by October 31.
NATOs air strikes on Libya have been carried out on the basis of the UN Security Council
Resolution 1973. This is a binding Chapter VII resolution, which under Paragraph 4 authorises
member states to take all necessary protect civilians and civilian populated
areas. Therefore, NATO utilised this resolution, as the legal basis for carrying out systematic air
strikes on Libya for seven months. Many states, including Russia and China, have been
extremely critical of the use of force in Libya, and view it as a mechanism to bring about regime
change and not to protect the civilians - a norm, which as of yet has not reached the status of
customary international law, but is actively promoted by the UN Secretary Generals office.
Thus, presently humanitarian intervention cannot be used as a legal basis to violate the territorial
sovereignty of a State and is prohibited under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. It is, therefore, no
surprise that the Security Councils permanent members, like Russia and China, who are
themselves confronting secessionist movements, have recently vetoed a draft Security Council
resolution on Syria; on the basis of upholding the right to non-interference and in the interest of
peace and security in the Middle East. Russia, China and many other emerging powers, feel that
if the draft resolution had been approved, then NATO could have misused it to conduct armed
operations inside Syria, as it did in Libya, on the pretext of protecting the civilians.
The Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has recently stated: The international
community is alarmed by statements that compliance with [the] Security Council resolutions in
Libya in the NATO interpretation is a model for future actions of NATO in implementing [the]
responsibility to protect.
From a human rights perspective, especially in the light of genocide and crimes against humanity
recently committed in Rwanda, Bosnia and Sudan, the right of humanitarian intervention seems
at first to be the right course of action. However, in practice, such a right is often exercised
unilaterally or by a small group of States, acting with ulterior motives, with little regard for the
interest of civilian populations, who they claim to be protecting. Many states contradictorily hold
the right applicable in certain circumstances and not in other similar situations. Such behaviour is
destabilising and retards international peace and security.
Recently, the principle of State sovereignty has confronted numerous challenges. Religion,
globalisation, human security and international trade have all tested the norm and have facilitated
its evolution in different ways. At times, this transformation has been positive, while, in other
circumstances, a contrary determination can be made. However, if humanitarian intervention is
to be an acceptable norm of international law, numerous safeguards have to be incorporated in
international law before this right can be exercisable. This would most certainly require changes
in the UN Charter and the international law governing the use of force.
Furthermore, the necessary mechanisms must be put in place to more effectively determine facts,
in order to establish State responsibility. This would, in turn, require a State to contract away
other forms of sovereignty that even States, which actively advocate for the right of humanitarian
intervention will find difficult to agree to.
If the right of humanitarian intervention was exercisable immediately at the discretion of any
State, then humanitarian imperialism would, most probably, be the result. Then, the US
conducting drones strikes and armed operations deep inside Pakistan to extirpate alleged
terrorists and militants on the premise that Pakistan has failed in its responsibility to protect its
citizens would become easily justifiable under international law.