It has now been 18 months since the Arab spring began. The uprisings brought the brutal rule of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Ben Ali of Tunisia and Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi’s to an end, whilst Basher al Assad continues to cling to power. Elections have taken place in a number of countries which has seen the Islamic parties gain significantly, whilst the secularists performed miserably. Debate and discussion regarding new constitutions and the role of Islam continue to dominate the Arab spring.
For the Muslim World, 2011 will remain long in the memory when the history books are finally written. What began with a single man in the markets of Tunisia spread to thousands on the streets in Cairo and evolved to hundreds of thousands demanding political change for the entire region. The self immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia created a sweeping wave, which crossed the artificial border to Egypt, then to Libya, Yemen and Bahrain until it engulfed most of the Muslim world. The Arab spring has seen many brave the streets to protest and change the status quo which has dominated the political, economic and social landscape for so long. The reaction of the Muslim rulers was as predictable as it was brutal with violent clampdowns leaving thousands dead and many more injured.
1. On the anniversary of the Arab spring what has changed in the Muslim world?
The Arab spring began in January 2011 and has now reached its first anniversary. The uprisings when they began initially started in Tunisia and then spread to Egypt eventually engulfing most of the Muslim world. After a year, regime change has only taken place in Libya, whilst in Egypt and Tunisia, the rulers may now no longer be in power, but their regimes still remain. The reason why much of the political architecture prior to the uprisings remains is because of the interference from foreign powers – namely the US. The Arab revolt that started in Tunisia and spread to several Arab countries was manipulated by America to move closer to its goal of creating a new Greater Middle East, where old European powers have marginal influence.
The dismissal of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was not a random event. Rather, it was a synthesis of rampant corruption incubated by 23 years of Western patronage and fused with dire economic conditions made worse by the global financial crisis and bloodsucking IMF structural programs. America is eagerly awaiting similar turmoil to manifest itself in Algeria, Jordan, and the Gulf countries, so that she can engineer regimes that pledge greater loyalty to her hegemony at the expense of Britain and France.