Interest in Topic Choice
Ever since the Arab Spring kicked off in December 2010, major dictatorial regimes in the Arab world have fallen into the hands of people who have been at the center of the uprisings in their popular quest for freedom and improved standards of living. President Ben Ali of Tunisia was the first culprit of the Arab Spring, preferring to flee to Saudi Arabia than to be held accountable for his political sins of commissions and omissions in his two decades rule. Another strongman, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, was decapitated in the hands of the National Transition Council, while Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is now “cooperating” with state prosecutors in his trial on corruption and abuse of office charges. Across the Red Sea into the Middle East, dictator Bashar al-Assad of Syria is virtually been held prisoner in his palace as his Special Forces attempt to avoid an imminent defeat by killing innocent people in the streets (Taheri 273).
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Many scholars and political analysts argue that the above-mentioned occurrences will assist to strengthen political and democratic structures and institutions in the Arab World (Dadush & Dunne 132). Indeed, according to the extant literature, some scholars are already using the Arab Spring to demonstrate that the desire for democracy is a universal appeal which need not be triggered by military coups but rather by the disenfranchised masses (Miriam 100). Most Western countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, are now engaged in supporting the democratic transitions in these countries by enhancing “trade agreements that not only promote market access, but even more importantly maximize competitiveness-enhancing and job-promoting reforms” (Dadush & Dunne 132). In Syria, western countries are proactively engaged in providing arms to the rebels fighting pro-government forces.
The interest in topic choice stems from the fact many of these uprisings, in my view, have failed to achieve the intended purpose. While it is clear that these uprisings intended to bring democracy, economic growth, and social development in Arab countries after decades of misrule by despots (Taheri 275), there still exists no evidence to demonstrate that this is indeed happening. With the exception of Tunisia, all the other countries are leaning toward extremist orientations that seem eager to destroy the political and economic landscape of countries affected by the Arab Spring. Libya, for example, is fast becoming a fertile breeding ground for Muslim fundamentalists and terrorists, whereas Egypt has become more unstable politically and economically under President Morsi. The tourism industry in Egypt, the country’s main foreign exchange earner, plummeted drastically immediately after the Arab Spring and is yet to recover. Syria has already become a failed state if benchmarks used to evaluate the differences between functional states and dysfunctional ones are applied.
Following the above exploration of facts, it can be argued without fear of contradiction that the Arab Spring has failed to sustain the rule of law, democratic practices, mass electoral participation, economic development, and party competition in the affected countries. Consequently, the proposed study aims to critically evaluate if mass rebellions are indeed the right forum for overturning despotic governments. More specifically, the proposed study aims to evaluate why all the people-centered efforts that led to the Arab Spring are yet to translate into tangible political, democratic, and economic benefits for people in the affected countries.
The proposed study will be guided by the following research question: “Why has the Arab Spring failed to translate into tangible political and economic outcomes for citizens in the Arab world?”
Dadush, Uri, and Michele Dunne. “American and European Responses to the Arab Spring: What’s the Big Idea?” Washington Quarterly. 34.4 (2011): 131-145. MasterFILE Premier. Web.
Miriam, Fendius Elman. “The Arab Spring and the Future of Democracy in the Middle East: Rethinking Middle Eastern Studies.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture. 18.1 (2012): 98-105. Academic Search Premier. Web.
Taheri, Amir. “The Arab Spring has toppled some Despots and Enriched the Arab Political Vocabulary. But what are its Limits and what Should Western Democracies do to help it achieve its Objectives? American Foreign Policy Interests. 33.6 (2011): 273-277. Academic Search Premier. Web.