The Arab Spring was a series of revolutions and mass protests against governments that took place in 2010-2012; it started at the end of 2010 in Tunisia, and then spread to the rest of the countries of the Arab world. The Arab Spring has played, and is still playing, an important role in the history of the region; the events started by the revolutions are still taking place.
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It might be difficult to name the “major players” of this uprising due to the fact that it took place not between countries but inside countries. However, players can be grouped. Thus, the main sides which participated in the revolts were: the populations of the countries, consisting mostly of young people who were dissatisfied with their governments (although it is clear that “populations” participating in protests also were heterogeneous and had their own divisions) (Lesch and Haas n. pag.); the authoritarian governments; militias that supported the authorities; and counter-demonstrators.
It is important to point out that technologies played a crucial role in the revolution; the access to the Internet, mobile phones, and other similar devices provided the protesters with the possibility to communicate with each other by using such means as the social media, to plan and organize events and protests, and to respond to the actions of their governments. This is why the authorities of the affected countries made a significant effort to shut down the Internet and mobile communications during the revolutions (Howard and Hussain 10-14).
In spite of the fact that the revolutions were begotten by the indignant populations, the Arab Spring, unfortunately, caused conflicts for power between Shia and Sunni Muslims, civil wars, a large degree of instability, and great amounts of violence in the region. It is also stated that the protests were hijacked by the Islamists and turned into religious conflicts in many cases (Bradley 2). The conflicts had a number of consequences connected to the nation-state boundaries in the region; for instance, the war in Syria allowed for the emergence of Rojava (also called Syrian Kurdistan), an anarchic-like political formation created by the Kurdish people and based on the principles of environmental sustainability, egalitarianism, and direct democracy, gender equality, etc. (“The Constitution” n. pag.).
As for the revolutions’ effect on the international relations of the region, it is stated that the revolts which took place in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen did not have a disruptive effect on the international relations of these countries with other states (Katz 1). On the other hand, such countries as Syria and Bahrain suffered a serious setback in the field of international relationships due to the revolutions (Katz 3).
It is also noteworthy that the region had been considered one of the least democratic ones in the world before the Arab Spring started (Lesch and Haas n. pag.), so the revolutions were met with international support. On the other hand, due to the political unrest, international investments in the region became less popular. Also, there have been interventions aimed at changing the course of events in the region in order to obtain political and economic advantage conducted by the U.S. (AbuKhalil n. pag.); however, virtually no direct international military interventions took place.
To sum up, it is worth stressing that the Arab Spring was an important series of revolutions that had a significant influence on the political, economic and social situation in the region. It has raised a number of issues and problems inside both the affected countries and outside of them, internationally, it was met mainly with the support for the protesters.
AbuKhalil, Asad. US Intervention in the “Arab Spring.”. 2012. Web.
Bradley, John R. After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked The Middle East Revolts. New York, NY: Macmillan, 2012. Google Books. Web.
Howard, Philip N., and Muzammil M. Hussain. Democracy’s Fourth Wave? Digital Media and the Arab Spring. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2013. Google Books. Web.
Katz, Mark N. The International Relations of the Arab Spring. 2014. Web.
Lesch, David, and Mark Haas, eds. The Arab Spring: Change and Resistance in the Middle East. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2013. Google Books. Web.
The Constitution of the Rojava Cantons. n.d. Web.