On the 17th of December 2010 a young street vendor from Tunisia, frustrated, set himself on fire, and died a few weeks later as an infliction of this self-immolation. Mohamed Bouazizi became a symbol of freedom, and his later death was dubbed as part of a group of "heroic martyrs of a new Middle Eastern revolution."1 These young men and women, whose pictures and names became national icons, were from all over the Arab world. They were all after the same thing; an end to the suppressive evil that they have witnessed throughout most of their lives and to many their entire lives.
A few weeks later, inspired and encouraged by the events in Tunisia and the successful ousting of the Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, a similar uprising took place in Egypt. Hundreds of young men and women, collaborated through social media networks, took to the streets of Cairo in non-violent demonstrations. Frustrated from lack of basic human rights, political freedom, high unemployment, harsh living conditions and an endless stream of police brutality, they came out to say; “we have had enough and this time we mean it.”
In the center of Cairo at its largest square Tahir Square, which ironically in Arabic means freedom, protestors from a variety of socioeconomic and religious backgrounds multiplied for 18 consecutive days. Their demands were clear; an end to Mubarak’s 30-year old tyrant regime. Despite being predominantly peaceful in nature, the revolution was not without violent clashes between security forces and protesters, with at least 846 people killed and 6,000 injured.2
On 11 February Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak would be stepping down as president and handed power over to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).3 On 24 May, Mubarak was ordered to stand trial on charges of premeditated murder of peaceful protestors and, if convicted, could face the death penalty.4
Today almost nine months after Mubarak was ousted the situation remains virtually unchanged the SCAF, which survives on 1.8 billion annual aid from the United States, has taken power but much remains the same.
The revolution in Egypt was swift unlike in neighboring Libya or sister-state Syria. In both these countries the dictators having, witnessed the downfall of their Tunisian and Egyptian counterparts responded with unrestrained military force, murdering masses with little remorse or mercy. NATO forces after much loss in lives respond in Libya crippling Ghaddafi’s tight grip and allowing room for rebel forces to flush him out.
Considerable trivial skepticism has mounted over how and who were behind the uprisings, the outcome remains more significant. In a region where policies have been set forth for decades according overall U.S. foreign policy objectives,5 6 the Middle East has long been a region with strong authoritarian regimes and a weak, perhaps even intentionally, incapacitated civil society.7 Although with a...