Overview of the Arab Spring
May 09, 2012
Topics: Arab Spring;
The Arab Spring began with a mostly bloodless and quick revolution in Tunisia in late 2010 and early 2011. The revolution removed former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and replaced him with a temporary unity government. In October, 2011, the Enhahda Party, an Islamic organization, won a plurality in an election to form a Constituent Assembly, which is working on drafting a new national constitution.
Rebels in Egypt grew significantly more powerful shortly after the revolution in Tunisia. The Egyptian revolution was more violent than the Tunisian Revolution, but it successfully ousted former President Hosni Mubarak after several weeks. Since Mubarak's removal, the nation has moved toward a new constitution, and is currently ruled by a military government. A presidential election is expected to occur in late summer, 2012, with several Islamist candidates expected to do well.
The Libyan civil war began immediately on the heels of the Egyptian Revolution, and considerably more violent. Rebels in Libya began a civil war against President Muammar Gaddafi, and received support from Europe and the U.S. Gaddafi was an enemy of Europe and the U.S. for several decades, and had committed acts of terrorism during the 1980s, most famously, the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 shortly before Christmas, 1988, which killed 270 people. The rebels in Libya eventually defeated Gaddafi's forces and killed him. Libya is still undergoing its government transformation, but appears to be aiming at a more Islamic government than Gaddafi had led.
Additionally, Yemen has also replaced its government after months of violence and protests. Yemen's revolution took place alongside the Egyptian Revolution, but was not nearly so dramatic. In Yemen, the protesters succeeded in removing President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but then replaced him with his Vice-President, Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi.
The Syrian Revolution is ongoing, and has been about as bloody as the Libyan Revolution, but with no end in sight, and very littlie foreign involvement. President Assad has used his military on an almost daily basis to kill rebels and protesters there, and is unwilling to negotiate with them. At the moment it appears that the fighting in Syria could go on for a very long time.
What is your opinion? Do you think the Arab Spring will mark an improvement in the lives of the people in each country? What effects will it have on U.S. relations?