Sample Essay On Arab Spring Causes And Effects
Arab Spring refers to the revolutionary wave of protests, violent riots, demonstrations, and civil wars in the Arab world that started on December 2010 (Harrigan, 2014). Those protests and demonstrations also affected the other countries of the Arab League as well as in the neighborhood. Most of the revolutionary wave finished by the mid of 2012, and the aftermath of civil wars and revolutions were shown as the Arab Winter after the mid of 2012. Rulers were forced to move out from power in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya. Civil uprisings were found in Syria and Bahrain. Major protests were found in Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Israel, Morocco, and Sudan, whereas minor protests were seen in Oman, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Saudi Arabia, and Palestine. Many demonstrations found violent responses from authorities and governments. Protestants and demonstrators used latest techniques for a sustained civil resistance involving marches, strikes, and rallies. Social media was also effectively used to manage, communicate, and increase awareness about the campaign. Main saying of the protestants was “to bring down the regime”.
Protests and demonstrations began in Tunisia in December 2010. In Egypt, protests started on 25 January 2011 and remained for about 18 days. At that time, Egyptian government was able to remove the internet access of people by midnight of 28th January. In Syria, protests started on 26th of January 2011 after the assault of a man by police in public at Al-Hareeka Street in old Damascus. As a result of continuously increasing sense of frustration and injustice, anti-government protests also started in Libya on 15 February 2011. Anti-Gaddafi Protestants and fighters captured in Tripoli in late August resulting in the end of his 4 decades of power. On 5th of August 2011, anti-government demonstration started in Syria called as “God is with us”. At that time, security forces of Syria killed about 11 people by shooting from inside the ambulances. Regional unrest moved beyond the Arab world. Initial uprisings in North Africa were caused by the 2009 to 2010 uprisings in the surrounding state of Iran. As a result of unrest in the Middle East as well as in North Africa, which are the main areas of oil production, oil prices were thought to go higher than original forecasts (Darbouche, & Fattouh, 2011).
Causes and effects of Arab Spring on Tunisia
Political unrest and corruption of ruling families
In Tunisia, protests started as a result of economic frustration, indignity, and injustice, and got strength against the corruption found in ruling and elite families. On 17th of December 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, who was a street vendor, set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid in protest against Tunisian officials, who harassed and humiliated him, and confiscated his vegetable cart. He became the symbol of people’s frustrations, and raised the sense of indignity and injustice faced by many people in the area. Those protests resulted in the most significant wave of political and social turmoil in Tunisia in over 30 years. Frustrations in people resulted in demonstrations ultimately leading to the removal of longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on 14th of January 2011. Ben Ali moved to Saudi Arabia and his more than 2 decades of power came to an end (BBC, 2011). After the departure of Ben Ali, country went into the state of emergency. A caretaker alliance government was developed including the member of the part of Ben Ali, the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD), and oppositions from different ministries. Five newly selected non-RCD members resigned immediately, and Mohamed Ghannouchi, Prime Minister at that time, reallocated the government on 27 January as a result of continuous protests. As a result of reshuffling, all previous RCD members were removed except Ghannouchi. After further demonstrations, Ghannouchi resigned on 27th of February, and Prime Minister, Béji Caïd Essebsi, came to the seat. People voted in the first election after revolution on 23rd of October to elect representatives to a constituent assembly composed of 217 members. Ennahda, which was the main Islamist party, won about 37% of the vote, and elected 42 females to the Constituent Assembly (Deeter, 2012).
Use of Police for Political Purposes
Use of political police was also among the important causes of the sustained demonstration. In fact, it was a policewoman, who confiscated the vegetable cart of Mohamed Bouazizi, who became the starting point of protests and demonstrations. Many injuries and deaths were reported as a result of those protests. Most of those deaths and injuries were by the action of police as well as security forces against protests and demonstrations. Those protests and demonstration also resulted in the dissolution of the political police. Moreover, political prisoners were also released as a result of demonstrations.
Poor living conditions
People, mostly students, in Thala also protested on 3rd of January 2011 after having increased level of frustrations caused by inflation (increased cost of living) and unemployment. However, effects of all demonstrations and protests came in the form of food inflation, high levels of unemployment, lack of political as well as speech freedom, corruption, and poor living conditions (Spencer, 2011).
BBC. (2011). Tunisia: President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali forced out. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12195025
Darbouche, H., & Fattouh, B. (2011). The implications of the Arab uprisings for oil and gas markets: Oxford Institute for Energy Studies London.
Deeter, J. (2012). Post-revolution Tunisia attempts painful transition to democracy. Retrieved from http://www.pulitzercenter.org/reporting/tunisia-revolution-democracy-unemployment-civil-womens-rights-parliament-enhada
Harrigan, J. (2014). The Political Economy of Arab Food Sovereignty: Palgrave Macmillan.
Spencer, R. (2011). Tunisia riots: Reform or be overthrown, US tells Arab states amid fresh riots. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/tunisia/8258077/Tunisia-riots-Reform-or-be-overthrown-US-tells-Arab-states-amid-fresh-riots.html