Throughout the course of last few months, the attention of world’s Medias has been focused on political events that have not only rocked the Arabic world, but also affected Western perspective onto the essence of Mideastern geopolitics. These events are now being commonly referred to as ‘Arab revolutions of 2011’. In this paper, we will aim to explore Arab revolutions’ developmental subtleties and to provide readers with our own interpretation of what had happened.
Even the brief analysis of how seemingly stable political regimes in Tunis, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Syria had been shaken by the mass-rallies of protesters on the street, invokes the so-called ‘domino effect’, as the making of Arab revolutions proceeded in clearly defined consequential manner.
It all started in Tunis. Despite the fact that former Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has been maintaining a firm grip on Presidential office since 1987, and despite the fact that, during the course of country’s latest Presidential elections in 2009, he became reelected for the new term, after public protests against his continuous rule started to take place, it did not take him too long to realize that he would be so much better off escaping the country, along with millions of dollars in cash and jewelry.
And, what appears to be particularly odd about Ben Ali’s dictatorship collapsing like a stack of cards, is that it happened in utterly spontaneous and unexpected manner – all of the sudden, Ali realized that country’s riot police was simply in no position to effectively deal with millions and millions of protesters, out on the street.
Moreover, as it has been revealed later, the bulk of these protesters consisted of previously politically unengaged country’s youth. In her article, Eltahawy (2011) states: “It was neither Islamists nor invasion-in-the-name-of-democracy that sent the waters rushing onto Ben Ali’s ship but, rather, the youth of his country” (The Washington Post). There can be little doubt as to the fact that the consequential ‘Egyptian revolution’ has been triggered by Tunisian events.
Just as it used to be the case in Tunis, on January 25, 2001, at least one hundred thousand protestors took to the streets in Cairo, while demanding the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has been remaining in country’s Presidential office since 1981.
Initially, Mubarak tried to crush down peaceful demonstrators, while subjecting them to the brutality of a riot police. According to Abed (2011): “Egyptian police used water cannons… [then] riot police used tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters” (Newsweek). This, however, only added oil to the flame of people’s uprising.
After having realized that, due to his unwillingness to resign, Egyptian society was rapidly descending into the state of social chaos, and after more and more police units started to refuse executing his orders, Mubarak dissolved the government and appointed Omar Suleiman as country’s Vice-President.
And, within the matter of a week, Suleiman had announced that Mubarak was willing to resign. As of today, former Egyptian President faces a number of criminal charges, as someone who is believed to have given orders to police to treat protestors in particularly brutal matter.
On February 15, 2011, world’s Medias started to report on the beginning of people’s uprising in Lybia. In the manner, similar with that of Egyptians, thousands and thousands of Lybians began to organize themselves in mass rallies, while demanding from country’s ‘leader for life’ Muammar Gaddafi to step down.
Yet, while being well aware of what happened in Tunis and Egypt, Gaddafi nevertheless decided to hold on to the political power with all his might, while not being afraid to show the strength of his resolution to crack down on protesters. Lybian police has been given orders to shoot at demonstrators at point blank range. When this did not help, Gaddafi resorted to utilization of country’s military forces, while desperately trying to restore ‘restore peace and stability’.
Lybian dictator has gone as far as sending military planes to bomb protesting citizens’ mass rally in Bengasi. As it was reported by Worthington (2011): “As the unrest in Libya spreads to the capital, Tripoli, the Gaddafi regime continues to respond with brute force, using planes to fire on protestors” (Revista Amauta). It goes without saying, of course, that it was only the matter of time, before such Gaddafi’s bloodthirsty tactics would enrage international community.
On March 17, 2011, UN passed resolution, according to which, a number of Western countries were put in charge of enforcing a ‘no-fly zone’ over Lybia. As of today, it is still much too early to conclude whether Western countries’ involvement in Libyan civil war will help country’s opposition to depose Gaddafi.
Even though that it was namely the political turmoil in earlier mentioned countries, which seemed to attract the attention of world’s Medias the most, there has been simultaneous reports of essentially similar events taking place in such Arab countries as Bahrain, Iran, Oman, Yemen and Syria. Just as it used to be initially the case in Tunis, the protestors were demanding the resignation of their countries’ corrupt governments.
And, despite the fact that, as of yet, in Bahrain, Iran, Oman, Yemen and Syria protesting citizens had failed to reach their political objectives, there are good reasons to believe that eventually, they will succeed with it. After all, as history indicates, spraying protesting people with water and shooting at them with rubber bullets had never proven a truly effective method of preserving ‘peace and stability’.
In order for us to be able to assess the actual significance of Arab revolutions, we will need to define what accounted for the sheer extent of former Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan rulers’ unpopularity with ordinary citizens. And, one does not have to hold PhD in political science to be able to do this – it was namely the fact that, while proclaiming their adherence to the ideals of democracy and progress, Ali, Mubarak and Gaddafi never ceased acting as nothing short of medieval despots.
And, the only reason they were able to do this for a continuous period of time, is because, while positioning themselves as ‘secular’ rulers, they enjoyed the support of Western countries, with Western politicians often turning a blind eye onto the actual state of internal affairs in earlier mentioned Arab countries.
According to the political declaration, issued by Socialist Renewal Current in Egypt (2011): “They [corrupted Arabian rulers] struggle to work under the umbrella of the US, the dominant world power. In return, they are left free-handed to accumulate astounding fortunes and take whatever oppressive measures against their people, who suffer from poverty, unemployment and deteriorating living conditions” (Counter Fire).
Due to Western powers’ traditional fear of Islamic fundamentalism, they were willing to do just about what it takes, in order to protect their geopolitical interests in the region. This included providing a political, financial and very often military support to those Arab dictators what did not mind to be referred to as ‘America’s friends’. Yet, whatever the immoral such Western countries’ political stance might have been, it was indeed helping to maintain political stability in the region.
Therefore, it will only be logical, on our part, to suggest that the actual significance of Arabic revolutions should be discussed within the context of how ‘decline of the West’ manifests itself on international arena. And, one of the foremost aspects of such a decline is the fact that, due to having been subjected to the ideological oppression of political correctness since their early years, more and more Western politicians appear to have grown utterly unaware of what represents their own countries’ geopolitical agenda.
While discussing the political implications of Arabic revolutions, Shavit (2011) comes up with perfectly legitimate suggestion: “The message [of these revolutions] is sharp and clear: The West’s word is no word at all; an alliance with the West is not an alliance. The West has lost it. The West has stopped being a leading and stabilizing force around the world” (Haaretz).
There can be little doubt, of course, that Ali, Mubarak and Gaddafi may be the least referred to as political leaders who thought of ensuring their people’s social, political and economic well-being as their foremost priority. Nevertheless, these individuals never ceased being tough on Islamic fundamentalists.
After all, it is so much better to live in politically corrupted Arab ‘secular’ country, while enjoying the limited number of civil freedoms, then to be living in non-corrupted Islamic state, while continuously facing the prospect of being publically executed, on the account of committing of what Shariatic law considers ‘sins’, such as appearing out on the street with cleanly shaven face (if you are a man), or without wearing a black cloak over the head (if you are a woman).
Thus, it will not be much of an exaggeration to say that, the manner in which Arab revolutions broke out, and the manner in which traditionally White countries now tackle the issue, confirms once again that slowly but surely, mainstream Western politicians are being deprived of the remains of their perceptional sanity.
On one hand, while boarding planes in America, passengers are being asked to give away their toothpaste, as the security measure meant to prevent Al-Qaeda members from committing the acts of terror in midair, but on another, American military planes bomb pro-governmental military targets in Lybia – hence, helping Al-Qaeda to reach its objectives in this country.
As it was pointed out by Yousafzai and Moreau (2011): “Exiled Libyans with connections to Al Qaeda are racing to find ways to send people home, in hope of steering the anti-Gaddafi revolt in a radical Islamist direction, according to several senior Afghan Taliban sources in contact with Al-Qaeda”. As popular saying goes – when God wants to punish people, he prevents them from being to utilize their sense of rationale.
Thus, the actual consequences of Arab revolutions are best defined as rather ambivalent. After having overthrown ‘secular’ dictators, the revolting people in the concerned Arab countries will initially be able to attain a number of civil freedoms. Nevertheless, due to the actual realities of Arabian living, it appears very doubtful that the ‘liberated’ citizens will be able to enjoy these freedoms for too long.
The reason for this is simple – given the fact that, with the possible exception of Bahrain, the majority of people in Arab countries where revolutions had taken place, continue to be subjected to poverty, it makes them naturally predisposed towards supporting populist political movement.
And, the strongest populist movements in the region are of clearly Islamist nature. As Narvey (2011) had put it: “When talk turns to the possibilities of revolution through the Arab Middle East, critics will often point out that the cure seems worse than the disease.
Islamist thugs lurk in the shadows, ready to pick up the pieces almost everywhere throughout the region” (The Propagandist). Therefore, only very naive people may genuinely believe that the Arab revolutions of 2011 will indeed result in popularization of democratic values in this part of the world.
The following are paper’s foremost conclusions:
1). The outbreak of Arabic revolutions has been instigated by the fact that, throughout the course of recent decade, the process of designing internal and foreign policies in Western countries had ceased being correlative with the notion of sanity.
2). The main consequence of these revolutions is the fact that, within the matter of very short time, the spread of radical Islamism in the region will attain exponential momentum. This will partially come as the result of region other ‘secular’ rulers’ realization of the fact that, while ordering toilet bowls for their yachts to be made out of pure gold, they can no longer rely on Western countries’ support.
Abed, Mohammed “Egypt Revolution: The Purity Protests”. Newsweek. 2011. 11 Apr. 2011. http://www.newsweek.com/2011/01/28/egypt-revolution-the-purity-protests.html
Egypt: Breaking the Chains of Tyranny, Poverty and Corruption. 25 Feb. 2011.
Counter Fire. 11 Apr. 2011. http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/news/173-news/10557-breaking-the-chains-of-tyranny-poverty-and-corruption
Eltahawy, Mona “Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution”. The Washington Post. 15 Jan. 2011. 11 Apr. 2011. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/14/AR2011011405084.html
Narvey, Jonathon “Thoughts on Revolution in the Arab World”. The Propagandist. 18 Jan. 2011. 11 Apr. 2011. http://propagandistmag.com/2011/01/18/thoughts-revolution-arab-world
Shavit, Ari “The Arab Revolution and Western Decline”. Haaretz.Com. 3 Feb. 2011. 11 Apr. 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/the-arab-revolution-and-western-decline-1.340967
Worthington, Andy “Revolution in Libya: Protesters Face Gaddafi’s Murderous Backlash as US, UK Ooze Hypocrisy”. Revista Amauta. 23 Feb. 2011. 11 Apr. 2011. http://revista-amauta.org/2011/02/revolution-in-libya-protesters-face-gaddafi’s-murderous-backlash-as-us-uk-ooze-hypocrisy/
Yousafzai, Sami & Moreau, Ron “Al-Qaeda Operatives Say They Really Are Trying to Co-Opt the Libyan Revolution”. Business Insider. 16 Mar. 2011. 11 Apr. 2011. http://www.businessinsider.com/al-qaeda-targets-libya-2011-3