The region of Middle East has been marred by decades old dictatorial and authoritative rules and rulers. The people have been kept away from transparent and true government and in most of the cases democracy is either absent or sham. Syria and Egypt are two countries that exhibited nearly same outlook and had their rulers distant from the masses.
Most of the states in the region were single party states. With little or no place for the opposition forces in political spectrum, the country is a single party state. Syria was the front runner in this regard and it was a one party state with no place for opposition parties. The lone party in act is that of AlaWati family (Billingsley, 2009, 151).
The other major reason of the uprising has been the lack of freedom. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression is absolutely curbed. Little could be said against the ruling elite. Social media has played a role in uniting the youth (Althani, 2012, 37). Strict media curbs were in place and there was no place for free, private and independent media. There was only one media in place and that was the state run and state administered media. Social media in form of face book, Orkut and other similar social networking websites were banned and there was little place for free expression.
Thesis Statement/ Problem statement:
A twist in tale took place in 2010 when the act of self immolation of an individual Mohammad Bau Azizi in Tunisia (Beinin & Vairel, 2011, 237) resulted in uprising of a revolt and rebellion against the status quo. No one had imagined that the fire and flare of the act in individual capacity would lead to a regional uprising.
Spring or an Autumn?
The entire events are being termed as an autumn on account of the massive bloodshed, turbulence in the social sphere, disruption of economy and investment in the economic sphere, and toppling of governments in the political sphere. This had made the people and experts question the overall nature and output of the so called revolution. This paper looks into the overall insight of the war, the reasons associated, the present state and the possible future outlook of the war, and finally an evaluation of the events with regard to it being an autumn or a spring.
Scope and limitation of research:
The scope of the research is to study the background of the both countries, the political environments, social circumstances, the military role and influences and various other factors. The limitation comes in form of the reliance on the theoretical work only as no practical or physical on the spot survey or interviews can be conducted.
In the entire region, a uniform sequence can be exhibited from the form of rules and the status of people living as the common man. The first of these is the absence of democracy. Egypt has had a military ruler in form of Hossoni MUbarik who had been in rule for over two decades (Sullivan & Jones, 2008, 157). He came to power through an outsider way and since then has established himself as the uniformed leader of the country. The case of Syria is no different. The president is not a military ruler, yet the country is depictive of a family led government and politics. Bashar Al Asad came into power as a predecessor to his father Hafiz Al Asad (Tucker, 2010, 161) who in 1964 remained the Defense minister and he later on overthrew the power and became the dictator. Exhausted with the overall situation people took to streets and stood against the ruling junta guided by both internal and foreign elements.
Bulk of the states in the region including Syria, Libya, and Egypt exhibited an outlook of a military and police states. There were secret police forces that would work for the purpose of government’s interests even if it fell in the line of human rights violation. Little could be said against the policies of the government and the leaders and there were secret torture cells in the country all over. The economic aspect also contributed to the overall uprising. The states exhibited a dismal state of affairs with regard to the foreign reserves and the overall economic welfare of the masses. There were little opportunities for the youth in terms of empowerment and job opportunities, the inflation rates were soaring at an ever faster pace, and there was little confidence shown by the foreign investors with regard to developmental projects.
In view of all these events, the people took motivation from the individual act of Tunisian individual and decided to take upon the incumbent governments. Libya, Yemen, Syria, Egypt all engulfed into the heat of the fire and one after another the governments were toppled. Qatar and Bahrain are two new additions to the overall scenario of geo strategic and political change taking place in the region. Tahrir Square became the emblem of freedom and revolution where over a million people gathered in demands and protests against the Hossani Mobarik government demanding installment of newly elected president and government (El-Bendary, 2013, 8). Despite the efforts and use of force against the citizens, Hossani Mubarik had to surrender in front of the people’s wishes and ultimately the two and a half decades long government was toppled which was given the name of Arab Spring and Tehrir Square revolution. In case of Syria the events have been relatively uneven. This would be better understood if a brief outline and history of rule and cultural context is understood in terms of Syrian population and political history. Syria is a Sunni dominated population that comprises for over 85 percent of the population (Ehteshami, 2013, 22). The remaining percentage constitutes the Shiite and Christians in very small traces. Contrary to the rule of power and ruling, the minority population is in power for last five decades. The Al Wati family has been enthroned as a result of the ousted of the elected government in 1964, and since then the country is in form of a dynastic and single party state. The President Bashar Al Asad is the supreme leader of the state and he holds authority over every discipline ranging from military command to civilian authority and control.
Starting in March 2011, the efforts and attempts towards ousted of Bashar Al Asad have taken a bloody turn. The country has been dragged towards a civil war (Maltzahn, 2013, 1). With over two years of war within the streets and cities, the country is in the literal state of civil war. Visible groups and divisions are formed as a result of the entire proceedings. Basahr Al Asad’s forces are faced with the rebel forces who derive strength from different sources.
The Seven opposition parties that were banned during the peace prevailing days of Syria have joined heads and have united as one against Bashar Al Asad. The rebel forces enjoy the backing and support of these seven opposition parties. These parties come in form of Syrian National Council (Tabler, 2011, 141). These parties and the Syrian National Council has gained the recognition of the Arab league and other Western powers and have started attending and representing Syria. One of the recent developments in this regard was that of the Arab League Summit in September 2013 where the Syrian National Council represented Syria.
The situation with regard to the Syrian conflict is further worsened by the fact that international powers have participated in the affair making it an international conflict and dispute. Two visible groups have established since the initiation of conflict. One that supports the actions and rebellious movements against Bashar Al Asad include United States of America, France, Israel, Saudia Arabia and other Western states. The Second bloc includes the states that are pro Bashar Al Asad. These include countries like Iran, Russia and China. Security Council session has been summoned for this purpose to establish and determine a way out of the present day fiasco. However completely divided over their opinions, little progress has been made on that front. The First bloc advocates use of foreign force to bring an end to the Al Asad regime while the latter bloc believes that peaceful resolution is needed and it is the people who will determine their future and there must not be any collective or individual action against the Bashar Al Asad government in any given way.
The situation in Syria got further worse earlier this year when alleged use of chemical weapons and other hazardous chemical substances came to forth. While the events of internal fights and battles within the towns and streets is a common phenomena of this war, the events took an ugly turn when on August 21st 2013 in the regions nearby Damascus were reported. Both the sides (rebels and the government party) blame the actions on one another. However the overall severity of the event is the mere fact that hundreds of unarmed civilians lost their lives in a war that at present seems far from being over and each party. The alleged use of Chemical weapons forced the world community to come into action and call for severe actions against the Al Asad regime. U.N inspectors have been sent to the areas and they have established that the chemical material was used during the event stated and complained against (Wintour, 2013).
The revolution and so called Arab spring has seen its deadliest state in the face of usage of chemical weapons by the parties amongst themselves.
The case of Egypt has taken a complicated and backward turn in its own. Following the ousted of Hossoni Mubarik, Muslim Brotherhood came into power. Mohammad Mursi became the first legitimate President of Egypt in modern times and his election was seen as a sign positive. However his rule and government was marred by number of upheavals. His economic decisions bore little positive fruit for the people and overall economic state of the country. The situation was further strangulated by the changes in constitution and vesting further powers in the hand of the President. This gave rise to resentment amongst the opposition forces. As a result of this a military coup took place in Egypt on 3rd July when General Abdul Fateh came into power and has abrogated the constitution and withheld the new elections for an indefinite time.
At present the Egyptians stand where they were prior to the Arab spring with a military dictator in power and complete curb on media and other social activities freedom.
Performing a Critical Analysis:
The present outlook of the events would clearly lead one to evaluate that the events that took place in 2010- 2011 and were called the events of Arab Spring were actually Arab Autumn. However despite the bloodshed, despite the social instability, and present dismal state of affairs, the events cannot be termed as a failure. Revolutions in their own nature, definition and existence are a bloody affair. They do see twists and turns and there are events, accounts and phases where the revolutions appear a complete failure. Millions have migrated, many more have lost jobs others have been target of victimization and those who supported the freedom movements have been targeted and persecuted directly or indirectly, yet this is not the end of it and the future holds promise, security and freedom.
Significance of the study:
In the same manner the Arab Spring will bear its fruits in longer run. What it may demand is more sacrifice and burning yet it is an event and a step in the right direction. To get rid of the usurpers, establishing freedom of right and freedom of speech, along with other civil and social rights makes up for the true meaning and purpose of revolution.
Despite the negative outlook at present, the Arab Spring has given people a hope, has shown the people a ray of light and given them a vision of how a society must exist. Muslim Brotherhood has been barred from participating in any political activity yet not every voice can be silenced and many more would come and take up the place and represent the free will of the people. The countries although in shambles at present for the first time came across the concept of true democracy, free society and civil rights. The people need to stand upright against the tyrants and non democratic forces that have at present overtaken the political pillars of government making and decision establishment. The people might yet be in the throes of suffering yet success and freedom as a state and society is their destiny and all can be attributed to the Arab Spring. Hence it is the dry and rough days of revolution that promises a long lasting spring in form of a people’s society where all the decisions would be made by the people for the people and the countries would stand as developed progressive and democratic states. The overall future and prosperity of the people of Middle East lie in the democracy and free form of government and the decision making powers must be vested amongst the people and not any outside force. The outside forces may help providing them with the platform to establishing democracy but it is the people as the final vote and verdict who have to decide about their representatives and their own future.
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