Middle East

Jan 14, 2014

Three years on, has the Arab revolution really sprung?

Three years ago, Tunisia sparked a challenge to authoritarian government that reverberates still. But has the revolution it sparked across the Middle East delivered the democracy so many wanted?

Charles Richardson — Editor of The World is not Enough

Charles Richardson

Editor of The World is not Enough

Arab Spring

Three years ago today, Tunisia’s then-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali resigned and fled to Saudi Arabia, following a month of protests that steadily took on the shape of a popular revolution. It was the first domino in what became known as the Arab Spring. Repercussions were felt across most of the Middle East.

Three years on, the hopes of that period have certainly not all been met. But although the record is mixed, real progress was made. The Arab world will never be the same again, and mostly in a good way.

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6 thoughts on “Three years on, has the Arab revolution really sprung?

  1. klewso

    “Sprung a leak”?

  2. AR

    Dear Dr Pangloss – when the Arab turmoils began, i asked you why you thought thatit would result in democracy & magic ponies for everyone. You replied that the magic ponies were a way of but democracy was sweeping in. (see your astonishing claim above that it has come “(even slightly) to Saudi Arabia” yet then go on to talk about Syria with no acknowledgement that it is Saudi & Qatar fudnig & arming the fundi insurgents for the simple reason of keeping them occupied elsewhere than on home turf.
    Get a grip, lad.

  3. Limited News

    So Libya was a “success”?! The place is in chaos, the islamist fruitloops have run amok. And Syria is a “failure”, because the islamist fruitloops haven’t completely taken the place over?

  4. Kevin Rennie

    Fortunately Arab bloggers in MENA have note given up. They are holding their fourth meeting, the 4th Arab Bloggers Meeting #AB14, sponsored jointly by Global Voices and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, on 20 -23 January 2014.

    The first 3 days are closed-sessions with a public forum on the 23 Jan. It’s being held in Amman, Jordan – relatively peaceful, neutral ground. It wouldn’t be the first time if a blogger is arrested by their security forces on their way to such an event. You’ll be able to follow it here or on the hashtag.

  5. j.oneill

    It is extraordinary that such an asinine article as this gets space on Crikey. What is happening in the Middle East is not by chance, nor is it the messy consequences of the so-called Arab Spring.

    Seymour Hersh set out in the New Yorker several years ago what the US policy in the region was going to be. That involved, inter alia, promoting sectarian divisions, supporting despotic regimes, and deposing secular leaders that didn’t slavishly follow the US line.

    The invasion of Iraq was only a small part of that plan, and we can see on a daily basis how well that turned out.

    As AR points out above, the article completely ignores the role of not only the GCC states, but also France, the UK and the US in funding, arming and supporting different fundamentalist factions.

    To write an article about Middle Eastern politics and not even mention Israel requires a feat of startling wilful blindness. The role of Israel in the current situation in Lebanon, Syria and Iran is worthy of an article in its own right. Just don’t exact to read it here.

  6. Keith Thomas

    the last three years have shown beyond any doubt that the masses of the Arab world are keen for democracy”

    I am no expert in this area, but I am forming a picture of a number of educated/urban elites who want more freedom – but they don’t all want the same sort of freedom and will fight each other for their own ideal. Meanwhile, the rural “masses” are more conservative and just want a quiet life, and survival, preferably with a rising standard of living; we don’t hear much of their calls for democracy – at least for “democracy” as apparently implied by Charles.

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