The Arab Spring Protests Essay

1346 words - 6 pages

The Arab Spring was a series of uprisings and protests all around the Middle East in 2011. These uprisings were attempting to eliminate or reform their current government system into one that was modern and democratically advanced (Stock). Yemen is one of the many countries who also decided that they needed this change. In 1978, North Yemen elected their president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh took the position as president so that once and for all there could be unity between the two states, north and south Yemen. In 1999 he was able to successfully achieve that unity by bringing together the two states to form the Republic of Yemen. He seemed very eager to embark his new journey as president, ...view middle of the document...

Regarding all the dangers, Saleh still took on this task to unite north and south Yemen, however, as time went on his desire for absolute rule increased. After the election, Saleh started to open up and show his true colors. He proposed that Yemen’s parliament be changed so that essentially he would be guaranteed president for life (Gelvin). This radical act was seen as a way for him to become a dictator instead of a president who wished to make a change. Although this plan was not carried through, that didn’t stop him from still trying to achieve ultimate power. The next method that Saleh resorted to to maintain his power was nepotism (Gelvin). He started to rule out former allies (military officers and important politicians) and filled those political positions with family to ensure that he would have their loyalty (Gelvin). At this point Yemen was set for a downfall and a number of protests. As Gelvin stated in his book The Arab Uprisings, “corruption held the regime together,” which is reflecting on Saleh’s immoral methods.
Saleh’s strive to become a dictator lead him to use oppressive and brutal tactics. The protests against Saleh’s regime were peaceful and calm at the beginning; however, Saleh still saw this as a threat to his rule. Saleh used harsh methods to try to oppress these protests— killing roughly 2,000 innocent civilians (Aral). Tawakkol Karman, a powerful young woman, mother of three, and a prominent protester leader, demonstrated against Saleh’s regime along with thousands of others (Stock). They camped out in tents for months leaving behind their loved ones hoping that some change would come out of their hard work. On June 4th they received partially what they fought for; Saleh stepped down as president, however, they still didn’t have modern democratic state (Karman). The next few months were followed by peaceful protests and a power vacuum. The people of Yemen wanted a new president that was capable of making Yemen a better country, however, countries like America and Saudi Arabia intervened and were pushing to keep old rulers from old regimes in power. The reasoning behind this because countries like America still wanted allies in the Middle East, and with the 9/11 incident, they were afraid of a new ruler coming in and ruining the relationship they had already built with old rulers who they knew they could count on (Stock). America and the UN were well aware of Saleh’s inhumane and unreasonable tactics, however they didn’t give him any major punishment. Instead they only convicted the government of the shootings and didn’t even bother to punish Saleh directly (Aral). The fear of a revolution in Yemen also is another reason as to why Saudi Arabia didn’t intervene, because they all fear of a full blown out revolution that could influence other Arab states, possibly even leading to a war. The reason they think this will reach other...

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