In the Arab world in late 2010, starting in Tunisia and flowering in Egypt, a movement of people depressed by their governments, corrupt leaders and a lack of jobs that at once felt safe to take to the streets. The Arab Spring began when a young Tunisian man set himself on fire to protest government corruption and poor economic conditions. This action inspired a surge of protests across Tunisia, which ultimately resulted in the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power.
The success of the political uprising in Tunisia give rise to similar unrest throughout much of the Arab World and Middle East, remarkably within Libya, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen. To date, the leaders of Egypt, Libya, and Yemen have also been deposed.
In those countries that have not experienced massive protests like the Gulf states, a common result of the Arab Spring has been sustained civil unrest, political instability, and the extension of political and economic concessions by leaders seeking to placate protesters.
Many questions could arise as one contemplated those events. One of these questions would be: Why has the Arab Spring produced different results across the Arab World? This paper is a humble attempt to suggest some answers by analyzing the events of the Arab Spring within these countries: Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
What is the Arab World?
The Arab world consists of twenty-two countries encompassing all of North Africa and much of the Middle East. The Arab people number over 360 million and while they share a common language, there is an astonishing degree of diversity among them, whether in terms of nationality, culture, religion, economics, or politics. (McCaffrey, 3) Most inhabitants of the Arab world are Arabic-speaking Muslims. However, linguistic and ethnic minorities also live in the region. (Gelvin, 2)
Forms of government in the Arab World
Different forms of government are represented in the Arab World: Some of the countries are monarchies: Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The other Arab countries are all republics.
Political, economic, and social conditions in the Arab world on the eve of the Arab Spring
In the Arab world, most Arab government presented themselves as the only bulwark standing between the citizenry and Islamism or chaos. In addition, countries like: Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and Jordan are tightly restricted the formation of political parties; formation of any new party had to be authorized by governments. In Gulf States and Libya the political parties are simply banned. (Gelvin, 6) With the exception of the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon democratic elections throughout the Arab World are generally viewed as compromised, due to definite vote rigging, intimidation of opposition parties, and severe constraints on civil liberties and political dissent.
In general, when it came to...