Arab Spring

Arab Spring
Clockwise from top left: Protesters in Bayda.
Date 18 December 2010 (2010-12-18) – present
(1 year, 11 months and 2 weeks)
Location Arab World
Goals
Characteristics
Status Ongoing

  • Tunisian President Ben Ali ousted, and government overthrown.
  • Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ousted, and government overthrown.
  • Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi killed after a civil war with foreign military intervention, and government overthrown.
  • Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh ousted, and hands power to a national unity government.
  • Syria experiences a full-scale civil war between the government and opposition forces.
  • Civil uprising against the government of Bahrain, despite government changes.
  • Kuwait, Lebanon and Oman implementing government changes in response to protests.
  • Morocco, Jordan implementing constitutional reforms in response to protests.
  • Ongoing protests in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Mauritania and some other countries.
Casualties
Death(s) 60,000–70,000 (International estimate; see table below)

The Arab Spring, a term given to the Arab Revolution[1] (Arabic: الثورات العربية‎, al-Thawrāt al-ʻArabiyyah), is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations, protests, and wars occurring in the Arab world that began on 18 December 2010.

To date, rulers have been forced from power in [19] The major oil rich nations (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman) have been able to keep their ruling families in power.

There were social protests by Palestinians demanded lower consumer prices and resignation of the Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad.

The protests have shared techniques of mostly [27]

Many Arab Spring demonstrations have met violent responses from authorities,[34]

Some observers have drawn comparisons between the Arab Spring movements and the pro-[40]

Contents

[edit] Etymology

The term Arab Spring as used to denote these events may have started with the American political journal [45]

[edit] Background

[edit] Causes

The Arab spring was caused by economic and political dissatisfaction over the rule of governments[[55]

In recent decades rising [51]

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.[51]

The relative success of the democratic Republic of Turkey, with its substantially free and vigorously contested but peaceful elections, fast-growing but liberal economy, secular constitution but Islamist government, created a model (the Turkish model) if not a motivation for protestors in neighbouring states.[58]

[edit] Recent history

A commemorative logo for the Arab Spring which began on 18 December 2010 (12-18-10).

The current wave of protests is not an entirely new phenomenon, resulting in part from the activities of dissident activists as well as members of a variety of social and union organizations that have been active for years in Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and other countries in the area, as well as in the territory of Western Sahara.[59]

Revolts have been occurring in the Arab area since the 1800s but only recently have these revolts been redirected from foreign rulers to the Arab states themselves. The revolution in the summer of 2011 mark the end of the old phase national liberation from colonial rule, rather they are inwardly directed at the problems of Arab society.[60]

Tunisia experienced a series of conflicts over the past three years, the most notable occurring in the mining area of [62]

In Algeria, discontent had been building for years over a number of issues. In February 2008, United States Ambassador Robert Ford wrote in a leaked diplomatic cable that Algeria is ‘unhappy’ with long-standing political alienation; that social discontent persisted throughout the country, with food strikes occurring almost every week; that there were demonstrations every day somewhere in the country; and that the Algerian government was corrupt and fragile.[65]

In Western Sahara, the [67]

The catalyst for the current escalation of protests was the self-immolation of Tunisian [59]

[edit] Major US policy shift in August 2010

In 2010 US President Barack Obama made a major, but unannounced foreign policy shift regarding the relations to the states of the Arab world. Instead of supporting stability Barack Obama vowed to support change and democratisation in the Arab world. David Ignatius reported that Obama placed a big bet that democratic governments will be more stable and secure, and thereby enhance U.S. interests in the region. In August 2010 US President Barack Obama issued the secret Presidential Study Directive 11, asking agencies to prepare for change. The directive cited “evidence of growing citizen discontent with the region’s regimes,” warned that “the region is entering a critical period of transition” and asked the advisers of the US President to “manage these risks by demonstrating to the people of the Middle East and North Africa the gradual but real prospect of greater political openness and improved governance.”[69]

[edit] Overview

The series of protests and demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa has become known as the “Arab Spring”,outside the region.

As of September 2012, governments have been overthrown in four countries. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on 14 January 2011 following the Tunisian revolution protests. In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak resigned on 11 February 2011 after 18 days of massive protests, ending his 30-year presidency. The Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown on 23 August 2011, after the National Transitional Council (NTC) took control of Bab al-Azizia. He was killed on 20 October 2011, in his hometown of Sirte after the NTC took control of the city. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed the GCC power-transfer deal in which a presidential election was held, resulting in his successor Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi formally replacing him as the president of Yemen on 27 February 2012, in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

During this period of regional unrest, several leaders announced their intentions to step down at the end of their current terms. [91]

The geopolitical implications of the protests have drawn global attention,[95]

      Government overthrown       Civil war       Sustained civil disorder and governmental changes       Protests and governmental changes
      Major protests       Minor protests       Related crises outside the Arab world


[edit] Summary of conflicts by country

Country Date started Status of protests Outcome Death toll Situation
 Tunisia 02010-12-1818 December 2010 Government overthrown on 14 January 2011

Overthrow of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali; Ben Ali flees into exile in Saudi Arabia

  • Resignation of Prime Minister Ghannouchi[96]
  • Dissolution of the political police[97]
  • Dissolution of the RCD, the former ruling party of Tunisia and liquidation of its assets[98]
  • Release of political prisoners[99]
  • Elections to a Constituent Assembly on 23 October 2011[100]
7002338000000000000338[101] Government overthrown
 Algeria 02010-12-2929 December 2010 Ended in January 2012
  • Lifting of the 19-year-old state of emergency[103]
70008000000000000008[104] Major protests
 Jordan 02011-01-1414 January 2011 Ongoing
  • On February 2011, King Abdullah II dismisses Prime Minister Rifai and his cabinet[105]
  • On October 2011, Abdullah dismisses Prime Minister Bakhit and his cabinet after complaints of slow progress on promised reforms[106]
  • On April 2012, as the protests continues, Al-Khasawneh resigned, and the King appoints Fayez al-Tarawneh as the new Prime Minister of Jordan[107]
  • On October 2012, King Abdullah dissolves the parliament for new early elections, and appoints Abdullah Ensour as the new Prime Minister of Jordan[108]
70001000000000000001 Protests and governmental changes
 Oman 02011-01-1717 January 2011 Ended in May 2011
  • Economic concessions by Sultan [110]
  • Dismissal of ministers[112]
  • Granting of lawmaking powers to Oman’s elected legislature[113]
7000400000000000000 2–6[116] Protests and governmental changes
 Egypt 02011-01-2525 January 2011 Government overthrown on 11 February 2011

Overthrow of Hosni Mubarak; Mubarak sentenced to life in prison for ordering the killing of protesters

7002846000000000000846[62] Government overthrown
 Yemen 02011-01-2727 January 2011 Government overthrown on 27 February 2012

Overthrow of Ali Abdullah Saleh; Saleh granted immunity from prosecution

70032000000000000002,000[129] Government overthrown
 Djibouti 02011-01-2828 January 2011 Ended in March 2011 70002000000000000002[130] Minor protests
 Sudan 02011-01-3030 January 2011 Ongoing
  • President Bashir announces he will not seek another term in 2015[131]
700114000000000000014[134] Minor protests
 Iraq 02011-02-1010 February 2011 Ended in December 2011
  • Prime Minister Maliki announces that he will not run for a 3rd term;[135]
  • Resignation of provincial governors and local authorities[136]
700135000000000000035[137] Major protests
 Bahrain 02011-02-1414 February 2011 Ongoing 7002110000000000000110[143] Sustained civil disorder and government changes
 Libya 02011-02-1717 February 2011 Government overthrown on 23 August 2011

Overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi; Gaddafi killed by rebel forces

7004325000000000000 25,000[147] Government overthrown
 Kuwait 02011-02-1919 February 2011 Ongoing 50000000000000000000[150] Protests and governmental changes
 Morocco 02011-02-2020 February 2011 Ongoing 70006000000000000006[153] Protests and governmental changes
 Mauritania 02011-02-2525 February 2011 Ongoing 70003000000000000003[154] Minor protests
 Lebanon 02011-02-2727 February 2011 Ended in December 2011 50000000000000000000 Protests and governmental changes
 Saudi Arabia 02011-03-1111 March 2011 women’s rights campaigns ongoing 700122000000000000022[160] Minor protests
 Syria 02011-03-1515 March 2011 Ongoing
  • Release of some political prisoners[162]
  • End of Emergency Law
  • Dismissal of Provincial Governors[164]
  • Battles between the Syrian government’s army and the Free Syrian Army in many governorates.
  • Resignations from Parliament[165]
  • Resignation of the Government[166]
  • Large defections from the Syrian army and clashes between soldiers and defectors[167]
  • Formation of the Free Syrian Army
  • The Free Syrian Army Takes controls of large swathes of land across of Syria.
  • Formation of the Syrian National Council[168]
  • Syria suspended from the Arab League
  • Recognition by 9 countries of government in exile
7004112410000000000 40,000+[169] Ongoing civil war
Iranian Khuzestan 02011-04-1515 April 2011 Ended on 18 April 2011 700112000000000000012 Major protests
Israeli border areas 02011-05-1515 May 2011 Ended on 5 June 2011 7001350000000000000 30–40[171] Major protests
 Palestine 02012-09-044 September 2012 Ongoing
  • Salam Fayyad states that he is “‘willing to resign”[172]
50000000000000000000 Minor protests
Total death toll: 63,429–68,443+ (International estimate, ongoing)

[edit] Major events

[edit] Tunisia

Protesters in downtown Tunis on 14 January 2011

Following the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Sidi Bouzid, a series of increasingly violent street demonstrations through December 2010 ultimately led to the ouster of longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on 14 January 2011. The demonstrations were preceded by high unemployment, food inflation, corruption,[173] lack of freedom of speech and other forms of political freedom,[174] and poor living conditions. The protests constituted the most dramatic wave of social and political unrest in Tunisia in three decades,[175][176] and have resulted in scores of deaths and injuries, most of which were the result of action by police and security forces against demonstrators. Ben Ali fled into exile in Saudi Arabia, ending his 23 years in power.[177][178]

A Beji Caid el Sebsi became Prime Minister.

On 23 October, citizens voted in the first post-revolution election to elect representatives to a 217-member [184]

[edit] Egypt

Celebrations in Tahrir Square after Omar Suleiman‘s statement concerning Hosni Mubarak‘s resignation

Inspired by the uprising in Tunisia and prior to his entry as a central figure in Egyptian politics, potential presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei warned of a “Tunisia-style explosion” in Egypt.[185]

Protests in Egypt began on 25 January 2011 and ran for 18 days. Beginning around midnight on 28 January, the Egyptian government attempted, somewhat successfully, to eliminate the nation’s Internet access,[27] in order to inhibit the protesters’ ability to organize through social media.[186] Later that day, as tens of thousands protested on the streets of Egypt’s major cities, President Hosni Mubarak dismissed his government, later appointing a new cabinet. Mubarak also appointed the first Vice President in almost 30 years.

On 10 February, Mubarak ceded all presidential power to Vice President [190]

Hosni Mubarak and his former interior minister [192]

[edit] Libya

Thousands of demonstrators gather in Bayda

Anti-government protests began in Libya on 15 February 2011. By 18 February the opposition controlled most of Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city. The government dispatched elite troops and militia in an attempt to recapture it, but they were repelled. By 20 February, protests had spread to the capital Tripoli, leading to a television address by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who warned the protestors that their country could descend into civil war. The rising death toll, numbering in the thousands, drew international condemnation and resulted in the resignation of several Libyan diplomats, along with calls for the government’s dismantlement.[193]

Amidst ongoing efforts by demonstrators and rebel forces to wrest control of Tripoli from the Jamahiriya, the opposition set up an interim government in Benghazi to oppose Colonel Muammar Gaddafi‘s rule.[194][195] However, despite initial opposition success, government forces subsequently took back much of the Mediterranean coast.

On 17 March, [197]

In late August, anti-Gaddafi fighters captured Tripoli, scattering Gaddafi’s government and marking the end of his 42 years of power. Many institutions of the government, including Gaddafi and several top government officials, regrouped in Sirte, which Gaddafi declared to be Libya’s new capital.[198] Others fled to Sabha, Bani Walid, and remote reaches of the Libyan Desert, or to surrounding countries.[199][200] However, Sabha fell in late September,[201] Bani Walid was captured after a grueling siege weeks later,[202] and on 20 October, fighters under the aegis of the National Transitional Council seized Sirte, killing Gaddafi in the process.[203]

[edit] Yemen

Protests in Sana’a

Protests occurred in many towns in both the north and south of Yemen starting in mid-January 2011. Demonstrators initially protested against governmental proposals to modify the constitution of Yemen, unemployment and economic conditions,[204] and corruption,[205] but their demands soon included a call for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh,[205][206][207] who had been facing internal opposition from his closest advisors since 2009.[208]

A major demonstration of over 16,000 protesters took place in Sana’a on 27 January 2011,[209] and soon thereafter human rights activist and politician Tawakel Karman called for a “Day of Rage” on 3 February.[210] According to Xinhua News, organizers were calling for a million protesters.[211] In response to the planned protest, Ali Abdullah Saleh stated that he would not seek another presidential term in 2013.[212] On 3 February, 20,000 protesters demonstrated against the government in Sana’a,[213][214] others participated in a “Day of Rage” in Aden[215] that was called for by Tawakel Karman,[210] while soldiers, armed members of the General People’s Congress, and many protestors held a pro-government rally in Sana’a.[216] Concurrent with the resignation of Egyptian president Mubarak, Yemenis again took to the streets protesting President Saleh on 11 February, in what has been dubbed a “Friday of Rage”.[217] The protests continued in the days following despite clashes with government advocates.[218] In a “Friday of Anger” held on 18 February, tens of thousands of Yemenis took part in anti-government demonstrations in the major cities of Sana’a, Taiz, and Aden. Protests continued over the following months, especially in the three major cities, and briefly intensified in late May into urban warfare between Hashid tribesmen and army defectors allied with the opposition on one side and security forces and militias loyal to Saleh on the other.[219]

After Saleh pretended to accept a Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered plan allowing him to cede power in exchange for immunity only to back away before signing three separate times,[220][221] an assassination attempt on 3 June left him and several other high-ranking Yemeni officials injured by a blast in the presidential compound’s mosque.[222] Saleh was evacuated to Saudi Arabia for treatment, but he handed over power to Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi, who has largely continued his policies[223] and ordered the arrest of several Yemenis in connection with the attack on the presidential compound.[222] While in Saudi Arabia, Saleh kept hinting that he could return any time and continued to be present in the political sphere through television appearances from Riyadh starting with an address to the Yemeni people on 7 July.[224] On Friday 13 August, a demonstration was announced in Yemen as “Mansouron Friday” in which hundreds of thousands of Yemenis called for Ali Abdullah Saleh to go. The protesters joining the “Mansouron Friday” were calling for establishment of “a new Yemen”.[225] On 12 September, Saleh issued a presidential decree while still receiving treatment in Riyadh authorizing Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi to negotiate a deal with the opposition and sign the GCC initiative.[226]

On 23 September, three months since the assassination attempt, Saleh returned to Yemen abruptly, defying all earlier expectations.[231]

[edit] Syria

Anti-government demonstrations in Baniyas

Protests in Syria started on 26 January 2011, when a police officer assaulted a man in public at “Al-Hareeka Street” in old Damascus. The man was arrested right after the assault. As a result, protesters called for the freedom of the arrested man. Soon a “day of rage” was set for 4–5 February, but it was uneventful.[232][233] On 6 March, the Syrian security forces arrested about 15 children in Daraa, in southern Syria, for writing slogans against the government. Soon protests erupted over the arrest and alleged mistreatment of the children. Daraa was to be the first city to protest against the Baathist regime, which has been ruling Syria since 1963.[234]

Thousands of protestors gathered in [240]

On 31 July, Syrian army tanks stormed several cities, including Hama, Deir Ez-Zour, Abu Kamal, and Herak near Daraa. At least 136 people were killed in the most violent and bloody day since the uprising started.[241]

On 5 August 2011, an anti-government demonstration took place in Syria called “God is with us”, during which the Syrian security forces shot the protesters from inside the ambulances, killing 11 people consequently.[242]

By late November – early December, the Baba Amr district of armed Syrian opposition control. By late December, the battles between the government’s security forces and the rebel Free Syrian Army intensified in Idlib Governorate. Cities in Idlib and neighborhoods in Homs and Hama began falling into the control of the opposition, during this time military operations in Homs and Hama ceased and stopped.

By mid-January the FSA gained control over Zabadani and Madaya. By late January, the Free Syrian Army launched a full-scale attack against the government in Rif Dimashq, where they took over Saqba, Hamoreya, Harasta and other cities in Damascus’s Eastern suburbs. On 29 January, the fourth regiment of the Syrian Army led by the president’s brother Maher al-Assad and the Syrian Army dug in at Damascus, and the fighting continued where the FSA was 8 km away from the Republican palace in Damascus. Fighting broke out near Damascus international airport, but by the next day the Syrian government deployed the Republican Guards. The military gained the upper hand and regained all land the opposition gained in Rif Dimashq by early February. On 4 February, the Syrian Army launched a massive bombardment on Homs and committed a huge massacre, killing 500 civilians in one night in Homs. By mid-February, the Syrian army regained control over Zabadani and Madaya. In late February, Army forces entered Baba Amro after a big military operation and heavy fighting. Following this, the opposition forces began losing neighborhoods in Homs to the Syrian Army including al-Inshaat, Jobr, Karm el-Zaytoon and only Homs’s old neighborhood’s, including al-Khalidiya, remained in opposition hands.

By March 2012, the government began military operations against the opposition in Deir ez-Zor Governorates.

By late April 2012, despite a cease-fire being declared in the whole country, sporadic fighting continued, with heavy clashes specifically in Al-Qusayr, where rebel forces controlled the northern part of the city, while the military held the southern part. FSA forces were holding onto Al-Qusayr, due to it being the last major transit point toward the Lebanese border. A rebel commander from the Farouq Brigade in the town reported that 2,000 Farouq fighters had been killed in Homs province since August 2011. At this point, there were talks among the rebels in Al-Qusayr, where many of the retreating rebels from Homs city’s Baba Amr district had gone, of Homs being abandoned completely. On 12 June 2012, the UN peacekeeping chief in Syria stated that, in his view, Syria has entered a period of civil war.[243]

[edit] Bahrain

Over 100,000 of Bahrainis taking part in the “March of Loyalty to Martyrs“, honoring political dissidents killed by security forces

The protests in Bahrain started on [248]

[257]

The police response has been described as a “brutal” crackdown on peaceful and unarmed protestors, including doctors and bloggers.[269]

[edit] Concurrent incidents

Concurrent with the events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain, protests flared up in other parts of the region, some becoming violent, some facing strong suppression efforts, and some resulting in political changes.

[edit] Algeria

8 January 2011 protests in Algeria.

On 29 December, protests began in [272]

In an apparent bid to stave off unrest, President [276]

In January 2012, protests flared up again in the southern city of [278]

Algeria’s major Islamist parties announced a coalition ahead of parliamentary elections. A leader of the Movement of Society for Peace called for more opposition parties to join the alliance “to give the best possible chance for the Arab Spring to happen in Algeria as well”.[279]

[edit] Iraq

In an effort to prevent unrest, [284]

Israel’s Haaretz reported that a 31-year-old man in Mosul died from self-immolation, while protesting high unemployment. Haaretz also reported a planned ‘Revolution of Iraqi Rage’ to be held on 25 February near the Green Zone.[285]

On 16 February, up to 2,000 protesters took over a provincial council building in the city of Kut. The protesters demanded that the provincial governor resign because of the lack of basic services such as electricity and water. As many as three people were killed and 30 injured.[287]

[edit] Israeli border areas

Free Palestine rally in Cairo

Palestinians used Facebook to call for mass protests throughout the region on 15 May 2011, the 63rd annual commemoration of the Palestinian exodus, locally known as [292]

On 5 June, 23 Syrian demonstrators were killed and over a hundred injured by Israeli troops after attempting to enter the Israeli-held part of the [302]

[edit] Iranian Khuzestan

In [55]

[edit] Jordan

Mass protest in Amman over price hikes

On 14 January, protests commenced in the capital Amman, as well as at Ma’an, Al Karak, Salt, Irbid, and others. The protests, led by trade unionists and leftist parties, occurred after Friday prayers, and called for the government of Prime Minister Samir Rifai to step down.[305] The Muslim Brotherhood and 14 trade unions said that they would hold a sit-down protest outside parliament the next day to “denounce government economic policies”.[306] Following the protest, the government reversed a rise in fuel prices,[307] but 5,000 protested on 21 January in Amman despite this effort to alleviate Jordan’s economic misery.[308]

On 1 February, the Royal Palace announced that King Abdullah had dismissed the government on account of the street protests, and had asked [314]

Under pressure from street demonstrations, Parliament called for the ouster of the Bakhit government. King Abdullah duly sacked Bakhit and his cabinet and named Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh to head the new government on 17 October.[89] As the protests continues in 2012, Al-Khasawneh resigned, and the King named Fayez al-Tarawneh.

[edit] Kuwait

Protests by stateless [317]

Thousands protested in September,[322]

Late on 16 November, protesters occupied the [325]

The largest political protest in Kuwaiti history was scheduled for 28 November to pressure the prime minister to resign, but he and his cabinet submitted their resignation to the emir hours ahead of it. Late November, the emir selected Defense Minister Sheik Jaber Al Hamad Al Sabah as the new prime minister, replacing the long-serving Sheik Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah, who had survived several no-confidence votes in parliament and was the target of opposition groups calling for his dismissal.[326]

[edit] Lebanon

“The Laique pride” rally in Beirut Central District, Lebanon

In 2011, hundreds of protesters rallied in [328]

The Syrian uprising has also leaked over the border into Lebanon.[329] The 2012 conflict in Lebanon relates to violent sectarian clashes between pro-Assad who are mostly Alawite militias, and anti-Assad who are largely Sunni Lebanese armed militants throughout Lebanon. In May 2012, the conflict expanded across most of Lebanon, linked to the revolt in neighbouring Syria, escalating from previous sectarian clashes in Tripoli, Northern Lebanon in June 2011 and February 2012. Since May 2012, dozens died in the clashes and hundreds were wounded.

[edit] Morocco

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Casablanca

In early February 2011, protests were held in Rabat, Fez and Tangier in solidarity with the Egyptian revolution. Subsequently, a day of protest in favour of Moroccan constitutional reform and social justice was planned for 20 February and advertised on social networking sites.[330][331] Among the demands of the organisers was that the constitutional role of the king should be “reduced to its natural size”.[332] The interior minister Taib Cherkaoui affirmed the right of the protests to take place. On 20 February, around 37,000 people participated in demonstrations across Morocco, according to government sources. Some protests were marred by violence and damage to property. In Al Hoceima, five people died after protesters set fire to a bank.[333] On 26 February, a further protest was held in Casablanca.[334]

On 9 March, in a live televised address, King Mohammed announced that he would begin a comprehensive constitutional reform aimed at improving democracy and the rule of law. He promised to form a commission to work on constitutional revisions, which would make proposals to him by June, after which a referendum would be held on the draft constitution.[335]

On 20 March, a further protest was held in Casablanca to mark the end of the first month since the original 20 February demonstrations and to maintain pressure for reform. Protesters, numbering 20,000, demanded the resignation of a number of senior politicians, including the prime minister, [337]

In June, a referendum was held on changes to the constitution, which became law on 13 September. Some protesters felt that the reforms did not go far enough. On 18 September, 3,000 people demonstrated in Casablanca and 2,000 in Tangier, demanding an end to the king’s roles as head of the army and of religious affairs.[339]

Elections were held on the basis of the new constitution in November 2011, with electoral lists reserved for young and female candidates and with the post of prime minister, previously an appointment of the king, being decided by the outcome of the vote.[340]

[edit] Oman

Protesters set ablaze Lulu Hypermarket in Sohar, Oman on 28 February 2011

In the Gulf country of Oman, 200 protesters marched on 17 January 2011, demanding salary increases and a lower cost of living. The protest shocked some journalists, who generally view Oman as a ‘politically stable and sleepy country’.[341] Renewed protests occurred on 18 February, with 350 protesters demanding an end to corruption and better distribution of oil revenue.[342] Some protesters also carried signs with slogans of support for the Sultan.[343]

On 26 February, protesters in Sohar called for more jobs.[344] On the following day, tensions escalated with protesters burning shops and cars.[345] The police responded using tear gas to contain and disperse the crowds of protesters.[346] Demonstrations also spread to the region of Salalah, where protesters had reportedly been camping outside the provincial governor’s house since 25 February.[346][347] In Sohar, witnesses claimed that two protesters were killed when police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.[114][115][116][348] Witnesses further reported that protesters burnt a police station as well as the Wali’s house (where the representative of the Sultan to Sohar stays).[349] The Omani protesters insisted that they were not challenging the rule of Sultan Qaboos, who has been in power since 1970, but were merely calling for jobs and reform.[350] The protesters even apologized to the Sultan for allowing violence rattle the city of Sohar on 28 February 2011.[351]

The Sultan continued with his reform campaign by dissolving the Ministry of National Economy, setting up a state audit committee, granting student and unemployment benefits, dismissing scores of ministers, and reshuffling his cabinet three times.[355]

[edit] Saudi Arabia

Poster for the Saudi Arabia’s Carlos Latuff.

Protests started with a 65-year-old man’s [367]

Small protests over [389]

Women organised a [399]

[edit] Sudan

On 30 January 2011, protests took place in [404]

In the Kassala.

Anti-austerity protests erupted in 16 June 2012, when the student-led activists from Khartoum University took to the streets to protest against the planned austerity measures and high prices announced by the government on the latter day. The protest movement later expands beyond the core of student activists and spread across the capital Khartoum along with other cities, with some protesters escalate its demand by calling for overthrow of the government.[407]

[edit] Others

 • Djibouti – In Djibouti, protests began on 28 January 2011, when demonstrations began with about three hundred people protesting peacefully against President Ismail Omar Guelleh in Djibouti City, urging him to not run for another term; the protesters further asked for more liberty as well as for political and social reform.[408] Protests soon increased, however, as thousands rallied against the president, many vowing to remain at the site until their demands were met. On 18 February, an estimated 30,000 Dijiboutians protested in central Djibouti City against the president, maintaining that the constitutional change of the previous year, which allowed him a third term, was illegal. The demonstration escalated into clashes with the police, and at least two persons were killed and many injured when police used live ammunition and teargas against the protesters.[409] On 19 and 24 February, protest leaders were arrested and after they failed to turn up on 24 February, opposition leader Bourhan Mohammed Ali stated he feared the protests had lost momentum.[409] The last protest was planned for 11 March, but security forces stopped the protest and detained 4 opposition leaders. No protests or planned protests have occurred since.

 • Mali In Mali, after the end of the Libyan civil war, an influx of weaponry led to the arming of the Tuaregs of Mali in their demand for independence for the Azawad.[410] Many of the returnees from Libya were said to have come back for financial reasons such as losing their savings, as well as due to the alleged racism of the NTC’s fighters and militias.[411] The strength of this uprising and the use of heavy weapons, which were not present in the previous conflicts, were said to have “surprised” Malian officials and observers.[412] Though dominated by Tuaregs, the MNLA claims to represent other ethnic groups as well,[413] and has reportedly been joined by some Arab leaders.[414] In response to the MLNA declaration of independence in Azawad, the FLNA announced its formation on 8 April 2012. It claims to constitute about 500 fighters. The FLNA reportedly is dominated by Arabs from the Timbuktu Region. The group is led by Secretary-General Mohamed Lamine Ould Sidatt, an elected representative of the Timbuktu-Nord constituency in the Malian parliament and its military chief Housseine Khoulam, a defected lieutenant-colonel from the Malian army.

 • Mauritania In Mauritania, Yacoub Ould Dahoud, a protester, burned himself near the Presidential Palace on 17 January, in opposition to the policies of Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz[415] The following week, hundreds of people took to the streets of the capital Nouakchott. The mayor of the city of Aoujeft, Mohamed El Moctar Ould Ehmeyen Amar, resigned from the ruling party to politically support what he called “the just cause of youngsters”.[15] In addition to the capital Noukchott, cities such as Atar, Zouerate, and Aleg also organised sporadic protests.[416] Despite minor economic concessions by the authorities, on 25 April protesters again took to the streets to call for the resignation of the prime-minister, Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf.[417]

 • [421]

 • Palestinian territories In the Palestinian National Authority, the Palestinian government prevented demonstrations in support of protesters in Tunisia and Egypt. On 3 February, Palestinian police dispersed an anti-Mubarak demonstration in downtown Ramallah, detaining four people, confiscating a cameraman’s footage, and reportedly beating protesters. A smaller pro-Mubarak demonstration was permitted to take place in the same area and was guarded by police.[424]

On 1 February 2011, the [427]

On early September 2012, Palestinian Authority was swept by wide-scale social protests, demanding lower prices and the resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

 • Flag of Hamas.svg Hamas Administration in Gaza On 15 October, an anti-Assad protest expressing solidarity with Palestinian refugees in Syria affected by the unrest there took place in the Gaza Strip, and was attended by 150 people. Hamas police forces dispersed the demonstration, claiming that it was held without a permit.[428]

 • [429]

[edit] Analysis

[edit] Ethnic scope

Many analysts, journalists, and involved parties have focused on the protests as being a uniquely [432] However, the international media has also noted the role of minority groups in many of these majority-Arab countries in the revolts.

In Tunisia, the country’s small [437]

Because the uprisings and revolutions erupted first in North Africa before spreading to Asian Arab countries, and the Berbers of Libya[438] participated massively in the protests and fighting under Berber identity banners, some Berbers in Libya often see the revolutions of North Africa, west of Egypt, as a reincarnated Berber Spring.[439][440][441] In Morocco, through a constitutional reform, passed in a national referendum on 1 July 2011, among other things, Amazigh—a standardized version of the three Berber languages of Morocco—was made official alongside Arabic.[442] During the civil war in Libya, one major theater of combat was the western Nafusa Mountains, where the indigenous Berbers took up arms against the regime while supporting the revolutionary National Transitional Council, which was based in the majority-Arab eastern half of the country.[443][444]

In northern Sudan, hundreds of non-Arab Darfuris joined anti-government protests,[445] while in Iraq and Syria, the ethnic Kurdish minority has been involved in protests against the government,[446][447] including the Kurdistan Regional Government in the former’s Kurdish-majority north, where at least one attempted self-immolation was reported.[448][449][450]

[edit] Impact of the Arab Spring

The regional unrest has not been limited to countries of the Arab world. The early uprisings in North Africa were inspired by the 2009–2010 uprisings in the neighboring state of Iran;[451][452] these are considered by many commentators to be part of a wave of protest that began in Iran, moved to North Africa, and has since gripped the broader Middle Eastern and North African regions, including additional protests in Iran in 2011–2012.[453]

In the countries of the neighboring Maldives led to the resignation of the President.

The bid for statehood by Palestine at the UN on 23 September 2011 is also regarded as drawing inspiration from the Arab Spring after years of failed peace negotiations with Israel. In the West Bank, schools and government offices were shut to allow demonstrations backing the UN membership bid in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus and Hebron; echoing similar peaceful protests from other Arab countries.[465]

The [467]

Also, the Occupy Nigeria protests beginning the day after Goodluck Jonathan announced the scrap of the fuel subsidy in oil-rich Nigeria on 1 January 2012, were motivated by the Arab people.[468]

[edit] International reactions

Protests in many countries affected by the Arab Spring have attracted widespread support from the international community, while harsh government responses have generally met condemnation.[475]

Some critics have accused Western governments, including those of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, of [477]

The [479]

Kenan Engin, a German-Kurdish political scientist, identified the new uprising in Arab and Islamic countries as the “fifth wave of democracy” because of evident features qualitatively similar to the “third wave of democracy” in Latin America that took place in the 1970s and 1980s.[481]

[edit] Effect of social media on the Arab Spring

The importance of the role of social media on the Arab uprisings has been largely debated.[484] Furthermore, 28% of Egyptians and 29% of Tunisians from the same poll said that blocking Facebook greatly hindered and/or disrupted communication.

Further evidence that suggests an important role of social media on the uprisings is that social media use more than doubled in Arab countries during the protests. Some research have shown how [486]

The graph depicting the data collected by the Dubai School of Government illustrates this sharp increase in Internet usage. The only discrepancy in the trend is with the growth rate in Libya.[484] The report proposes a reasonable argument that explains such discrepancy: many Libyans fled the violence, and therefore moved their social media usage elsewhere.

This influx of social media usage indicates the kind of people that were essentially powering the Arab Spring. Young people fueled the revolts of the various Arab countries by using the new generation’s abilities of social networking to release the word of uprising to not only other Arab nations, but nations all over the world. As of 5 April 2011 the amount of Facebook users in the Arabian nations surpassed 27.7 million people,[484] indicating that the constant growth of people connected via social media acted as an asset where communication was concerned.

Different sorts of media such as image and video were also used to portray the information. Images surfaced that showed current events, which illustrated what was going on within the Arabian nations. The visual media that spread throughout the Internet depicted not only singular moments, but showed the Arabian nations history, and the change that was to come.[487] Through social media, the ideals of rebel groups, as well as the current situations in each country received international attention. It is still debated whether or not social media acted as a primary catalyst for the Arab Spring to gain momentum and become an internationally recognized situation. Regardless, it has still played a crucial role in the movement.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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