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For several years, Syria and Egypt had positioned themselves as a sanctuary of tranquillity in a frequently tumultuous Middle East. Compared to several of their neighbours, even the habitual style had not been substituted by the uprisings and, until some few weeks, it had appeared as if Syrians had acknowledged life under the Baath regime.
The population appreciated some developments in livelihood values that had appeared initially under President Hafez alAsad and afterward his youngster Bashar, who seized power 11 years ago. The son of the former head of state soldiered on with the customs of despotism in Syria while coming up with indistinguishable pledges of change.
This paper aims at comparing the protests in Egypt and Syria. The paper places the protests in the two countries under a theoretical setting. It is established that liberalism and Marxist theories can be utilized in analyzing the protests in the two states.
The Middle East Turbulence
Each minute, the media gives information on the unfolding story in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. In several instances, the political proceedings are comparatively nonviolent, for example in Tunisia and Egypt. For Libya, we witness inclined clashes being battled out between the followers of the government and its adversaries. Currently, the global society is also implicated.
We are engrossed by advances and often do not hold back to reflect on the causes at the back of the confusion, and of the penalties that may perhaps follow. In spite of the developments in machinery and communication, the data available pertaining to the Middle East is abhorrently insufficient. The media has been severely proscribed through suppression or “legislative counsel”, with infrequent ridiculous circumstances.
On January 26 for instance, following sadistic fight between the law enforcement and demonstrators in Tahrir Square, Al-Ahram’s lead front-page narrative was concerning flora being handed to the police force on their state day. In the majority of the MENA states, the governments have not respected the insinuations of the progress in communication and expertise.
They have not recognized that cross-border information streams through the medium and through express means, which expertise now presents. It has been an extremely vital font of constructing consciousness. No longer will citizens be contented merely with the data they access from inside their state. This increases doubts for the management of public affairs.
One of the major causes of the political turn down in the Middle East pertains to leadership. Normally, when a person in charge acquires governmental power in a MENA state, it is with extensive well-liked shore up. In the nonexistence of standard or tolerable means of relocating authority, the privileged go on for decades at the wheel. Several scholars have depicted such individuals as autocrats who shortly lose contacts with the ordinary citizens and associate with rich individuals.
When they desire to surrender power, they select their youngsters or preferred persons. In the precedent years, there have been some victories. Jordan’s King Abdullah II received governmental power from his father Hussein in 1999 (Hoffman 11). Morocco’s King Mohammed VI captured governmental authority from the former head of state Hassan in the same year. Syria was not any exceptional since Hafez al-Assad was clever enough to relocate power to Bashar, his son in 2000.
Since then, not even one despot has been victorious in handing over power to his favorite (Gholz 456). Accusations of fraud related to such long-serving presidents are not rare, and leads to anger among the disadvantaged in the country. This was one of the reasons why the Syrian and Egyptian underprivileged stormed the streets to demand for change and social restructuring.
Furthermore, economic reforms undertaken by the Syrian government is partly to blame for the uprisings unlike the uprisings in Egypt, which were triggered by the societal tribulations. To facilitate rapidity with the development of globalization, the Syrian and Egyptian governments had to accept the financial restructuring (Milner 834).
This upset the established societal and financial organization. Concurrently, it generated a middle-to-rich superior category, rising revenue and capital disparity, which positioned the basis for turbulence. It is fascinating to examine that conflict regularly does not happen until the state realizes middle-income category. In Iran for instance, the revolt took place in 1979, as the state was attaining the middle-income position. The monarch was not liberal enough to guarantee equity and justice.
The youth unemployment largely contributed to the materialization of the uprisings in Syria. In the majority of emerging economies, the citizens who are 25 years and above are always the major stakeholders in the political arena. Youthful males and females emerging from the higher groups, whether financially or politically privileged, are frequently the excellent, learned and are gifted to race for, or if not get the top posts present.
The youth from the inferior parts of the society do not have entrance to the excellent training and are incapable of vying for top positions in the society. This is according to the Marxist scholars. Consequently, the joblessness among the youths from inferior parts is very high, a developed pool from which to provoke an upheaval. Those who are 25 to 35 years are usually perturbed by awful domination, such as fraud, and perceive no opportunity of an improved life for themselves if the existing governments continue clinging on power.
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Unlike in Egypt, clannish, cultural or pious dissection interfered with local politics in Syria before the uprisings. In Iraq for instance, Shias consisted of above 60% of the populace. Saddam was in fact ferociously material, and did not permit dissections to emerge. Following his death on the other hand, dissections were supported, and have currently turned out to be a hydra-headed ogre. Furthermore, in Bahrain, the Shias comprise approximately 70% of the populace.
However, the ruling regime is Sunni. The Bahraini Shias have always wished openly to cut links with the Iranian Shias. Saudi Arabia, as regards to media intelligence, is sanctuary to a restless Shia marginal. Information furthermore point out that, in Yemen, the populace is 52% Sunni and about 46% Shia.
Nevertheless, it is not apparent how this dissection may perhaps have chipped in to the current mayhem against Saleh. In Syria, the head of state Bashar is from a marginal Shia ethnic group, and the preponderance Sunnis seems to be demoralized. It can therefore be concluded from the analysis that the instability in Syria is partly influenced by the socio-cultural currents.
Conversely, in Jordan, the clannish devotion is still very sturdy, whereas Palestinians constitute around two-thirds of the populace. In Libya, factions that believed to have been exploited by Gaddafi’s marginal clan guide the present instability. This shows that formerly, political elites could have used the differences to rule but presently, they face the repercussion.
The influence of spiritual factions was most famous during the Iranian revolt of 1979, which was the same case in the Egyptian uprising (Barston 56). The Syrian government did not permit political hostility but did not agitate spiritual factions either.
This promotes antagonism factions or even material ones to amalgamate under the similar umbrella and utilize the mosques and madras for articulating their political outlooks. The Muslim Brotherhood is an exemplar of such faction. With limitations on political lexis being detached in Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood restructured its functions, which later on became significant in the adjustment of the Syrian politics.
Increasing foodstuff costs have occasionally been the most important contributor to the uprisings in both states. States that rely on importation of energy and foodstuff are mainly susceptible when escalating world products cost injures to the low-income citizens. Such states such as Syria, which relies on other countries for foodstuffs, have financial statement shortages, which do not permit an additional funding at times of economic crisis.
The oil/gas rich states, alternatively, can prevent such prospective bullying by subsidizing groceries costs or by transfer funding, such as Egypt. The Syrian citizens expected the government to behave in the same way but unfortunately, it did not, prompting to street riots.
Civil disobedience in the Syrian state is attributable to the role of expertise. Machinery, the internet, the satellite TV and handsets have permitted citizens to witness what is occurring past their boundaries. Liberalism and globalization can be utilized to explain this situation. This has produced gesticulate of intensifying hope, equally for political liberty, as well as financial prospects.
Handsets, SMS, electronic mail, Face book, blogs and even micro-blogs have been utilized successfully for domestic harmonization among the activists. Prior to such knowledge being accessible, radicals employed their own techniques of data distribution as we could glimpse in the 1986 Philippines uprising. Even though the governments of Syria enforced controls on the use of emails, the demonstrators would certainly congregate in familiar gathering places, for instance in open areas and participate in mass protests.
In the majority of oil-exporting MENA states Syria and Egypt included, the political class manages the country’s oil riches. In other states, the political class has cartels or oligopolistic influence to the economy. In oil-rich states such as Egypt, the expertise and ventures are usually wealth-concentrated, and neither spreads the financial base nor offers appropriate services to the domestic population. Overall, the lease-seeking actions of the privileged class estrange the citizens, as they do not have the chance to carve up in the remuneration.
Oil-rich states have from time to time responded to such positions by currency relocation to the inferior sections. For example, The Economist postulated that, upon coming back from Saudi Arabia during the Egyptian predicament, the Saudi King declared a $36 billion allotment for youthful citizens to get married, own houses and to establish companies.
It is intricate to anticipate a young man with such funding going to the road in support of a rebellion! The Syrian government failed to capitalize on this premise since it had insufficient funds.
The correlation of the MENA states with the Western authorities offers a charming lesson. Partly on the right side in the continuum are states for example Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which were viewed to be stern associates of the West, whilst on the left are states such as Iran and Syria.
When it was appropriate to them, the West even backed tyrannical regimes who steadily misplaced contacts with their own citizens (Kissinger 78). The West later on emerged to be the greatest supporter of the uprisings by recognizing the activities of the radicals and appreciating their efforts. The Western states went to a higher level of funding activists and giving them technical knowledge. Liberalist theory explains this since states cooperate to restore democracy and egalitarianism.
Effects of the Syrian Uprisings
The political turbulence that has flounced through the Middle East has had a depressing outcome to regional currency since the financial systems of the states that have gone through the disorders have begged off stridently. Syria and Egypt are some of the states that have witnessed a turn down in financial activities and consecutively a spiky decline in the worth of its foreign exchange.
‘The unending mayhem may perhaps diminish the coffers of the state’, Reuters accounted. For instance, the Syrian treasury has been declining at a speed of $69 million to $79 million after every five days as the states central reservoir has been introducing overseas exchange into the financial structure to end the turn down of the Syrian pound, according to the intelligence reports.
Political mayhem in the Middle East region have influenced the financial and monetary policies of the world, mainly as it enhances the possibility of stagflation, a deadly combination of sluggish development and sharply increasing prices of commodities worldwide. Certainly, if stagflation emerges, there is a deadly threat of a double-dip downturn for an international financial system that has just surfaced from its nastiest calamity in decades.
Brutal instability in Syria and Egypt has traditionally been a basis of oil-price increases, which consecutively have generated three of the preceding five worldwide downturns. Oil value also played a bigger part in the current finance-driven worldwide downturn.
By 2008, prior to the decline of Lehman Brothers, oil prices had two folded over the 12 months, getting to the climax of $148 a barrel and conveying the takeover de grace to a previously fragile and besieged global market battered by economic distress (Calvocoressi 90). The mayhem may yet be controlled and withdrawn hence reducing the worth of oil. However, there is a severe possibility that the unrests will broaden, weakening Bahrain, Algeria, Oman, Jordan, Yemen, and ultimately even Saudi Arabia.
Prior to the Syrian and Egyptian political distresses, oil values had increased over $79-$89 a barrel, an amplification motivated not only by fuel-dehydration in the emerging economies, but also by non-basic aspects, including a variety of liquidity follow up of resources and merchandise in emerging economies.
The current rise in oil prices and the interrelated rise in other product prices, particularly foodstuff, signify numerous adverse penalties even leading to the possibility of relentless social turbulence. Inflationary anxiety will grow up in the overheating third world states where fuel and foodstuff costs offer up to two-thirds of the expenditure basket.
Given the feeble supply in slow-growing sophisticated markets, increasing product prices could lead just to a minute first-round consequence on caption rise, with modest second-round effect on major price rises (Wolf 12). Nevertheless, developed states will not walk away unhurt.
In the two states, it is true that people were inspired by the Marxist ideas to storm the streets to demand for their political and economic rights. The governments of the two states had established administrations that were indifferent and unresponsive to the demands and wishes of the majority.
Furthermore, the citizens were inspired by what was taking place in other places. In other words, globalization played a major role. Finally, the west influenced citizens to demand for their rights. The conflicts had stern effects as regards to the world economy. The conflicts were expected to increase the prices of commodities globally.
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Gholz, Eugene. Protecting the ‘Prize’: Oil and the U.S. National Interest. Security Studies, 19.3, 2010, 453-485.
Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. Columbia: Columbia University Press, 1999. Print.
Kissinger, Henry. Diplomacy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. Print.
Milner, Helen. Globalization, development, and international institutions: Normative and Positive Perspectives. Review Essay, 3.4, 2005, 833-854.
Wolf, Martin. Why Globalization Works. 1st ed. Sydney: Yale University Press, 2004. Print.