Prognosis of Arab Spring Tooba Khurshid No thieves, no traitors, No interventionists! This time The Revolution is for Real!

i Introduction: We have seen the momentous demonstrations that swept across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). These demonstrations were generally termed as “Arab Spring” and make obvious that the demonstrations could be turned into desirable changes. The autocrats in MENA had been very clever in the manipulating the public opinion to give the impression of liberalization. Fundamentally, the motives of the demonstrators were the same but local causes of the demonstrations varied from country to country with differing outcomes. After more than a year of the protests, the political setting of the region is more multifaceted than it has ever been in the past. Tunisia turned into new political system, in Egypt after the fall of Mubarak, the military was seen as the key player to lead it to a more democratic regime but within a short span of time the military showed explicit efforts to grab the power and the anger boiled over again on the eve of the parliamentary elections. Egypt would hold elections but the military establishment resists the political change and attempts to obstruct the democratic process. Libya and Yemen are struggling, to re-establish the order after the fall of long-standing dictators and civil war like situation. The monarchies of other Arab States like Morocco, Jordan and Oman board the reforms to stable the rule. In Bahrain the violation of human rights is still there and needs a legacy to overcome the human rights violation. The protests have been renewed for the call of reforms. The case of Syria has multiple tensions and it has entered the prolonged period of strife.

The Arab Spring has now entered the politics of fear, the nature of the leadership after the Arab Spring would not be crucial if it were all to be democratically elected. It is not important for the people of MENA, as to who would end up running the country, but, of course the one who would lead the country to a democratic paradigm with explicit reforms. With the perception of frozen region for decades, people were inspired by the uprising in Tunisia to discover that they are, in fact, those who are “Powerful”. To set the motion the study first explains the revolution and its phases and would testify the term “Arab Spring” with the explained terminology and phases with causes and examples. It then discuss in detail, the impacts of the Arab Spring on the region with the brief analysis of the moment through the region and regional impacts. Reflection of Arab Spring through Phases of Revolution: The term revolution is often referred to the changes in socio-political institutions. Narrowing down to the definition of the political revolution, it is defined as: “An effort to transform the
political institutions an the justification for political authority in society, accompanied by formal or informal mass mobilization and non-institutionalized actions that undermine authorities.”ii

Revolution is a fundamental change in the power structure. Revolutions have been there since the human history but just vary in terms of the motivating philosophy. The revolutions mainly arise from the inequalities and idea of the enlightment that how a government should be organized with the theme of equality and freedom. There have been number of political revolutions in the history that include Republic revolutions (American in 1776 and French in 1789 etc), Marxist (Russia 1917 and China 1949), Iranian (in 1979 against the dictatorship) and communism (in 1989). Each of them has diverse causes like; causes of American and French Revolution were the unjust political system, cruel economy, debt and taxation. The Communist revolution was based on the idea of Marxism to replace the capitalism with communism and the

causes of Iranian revolution are the subject of historical debate, in short, it was a backlash against westernizing effort of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and the revolution replaced the monarch. So, the mapping up of the revolution is quite complex because the revolutions are multidimensional; there are sometimes number of revolutions within the same span of time but the clear picture we could only get in the hindsight. Thinking about the Arab Spring, there are clear cut cases of revolutions which bear a likeness to it, these include: American, French and Russian Revolution. The revolution creates the prospect for the charismatic leaders who redefines the realm of the possible and institutes which have different views. There are four main phases of a revolutionary movementiii.  First phase, in this phase there are limited demands and extensive alliances of the disaffected groups and it could be easily define that what one is against (Monarchy, dictatorship or absolutist).  In Second phase, there are different scenarios:    government meets the demands and the revolution is averted the government succeeds in the subjugation and the revolution is suspended the government falls or overthrown, authority is challenged and the violence incidents occur  Then comes the Third Phase in which, reign of terror spreads, there is use of secret police and there are foreign threats to the revolution, there is class struggle and extreme nationalism.  Finally the Forth Phase commences which is a recovery stage and in this phase the things revert to the normal, the government is either restored to the pre revolutionary phase or

revolution turns external as the radicals turn on each other and the revolution burns itself out. Now patching up with the theme of the paper the question here arises that where the “Arab Spring” does fits in? The term “Arab Spring” is used to describe the social and national movement unfolded in 2010 to present. It is a revolution because it is multi-dimensional and there is large group mobilization that has challenged the existing political hierarchy and the aim is to overthrow the regime and transform the society. The causes of a revolution could be some external context and pressures, in the form of economic pressures and international wars, or the exiting internal structural tensions which could be economic division or lack of political voice. so in case of the Arab Spring, there were different causes and the domino effect for this Arab Spring including corruption, freedom of expression, cost of the life and need for the democracy etc. Briefly, touching upon the causes of the Arab Spring there was economic retardation, internal dissatisfaction (in corruption) and there was lack of the democratic input, that spread throughout the MENA regions. The key factor of Arab spring lies in the interrelationship of the globalization and other economic and sociological factors as can be seen from the blow tables. Table.1: Rank in Unemployment rate by CIA Countries Egypt Tunisia Libya Ranking 101 136 176

Yemen 181

Gaza 183

Central Intelligence Agency, The World Fact book: 2010, retrieved on December 20, 2011 <>

Table.2: Rank in Inflation rate by CIA Countries Algeria Tunisia Syria Ranking 128 128 129

S. Arabia 155

Gaza 163

WestBank Egypt 168

21, 2011

Central Intelligence Agency, The World Fact book: 2010, retrieved on <>

Table.3: Corruption Ranking by Transparency International Countries Tunisia Morocco Algeria Egypt Ranking 73 80 112 112

Yemen 164

Libya 168

“Transparency International,” Annual Report for Corruption Perception Index 2011, retrieved on December 23, 2011<>

With the globalization (Al-Jazeera, Twitter and Facebook etc) there emerged the conflict of modernity which has been dominated by the authoritarian cliques for decades in the Arab world. The evident injustice, rising expectations of the young that were literate and tech-savvy who dreamed for the flowering society, this rising gap between the expectations and the outcomes boost up the unrest, so in one way or other, the term “spring” is the idea of awakening after the winter’s slumber.


Fidel Castro, <> Jack Goldstone, “Theories of Revolution; the third generation,” World Politics, No,32, April 1980, pp.425-53 iii Matthew R. Beland, Anatomy of a Classic: Crane Brinton’s “The Anatomy of Revolution” (UK: ProQuest, 2008), 223

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