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An Arab Spring Or Lost Revolutions. Nyayapati Gautam. Revolutions. If poverty is the cause of revolutions, there would be revolutions all the time. What is needed to turn a million people's grumbling discontent into a crowd on the streets is a spark to electrify them . Leon Trotsky.

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an arab spring or lost revolutions

An Arab Spring Or Lost Revolutions


Triumphant Institute of

Management Education P Ltd


If poverty is the cause of revolutions, there would be revolutions all the time. What is needed to turn a million people's grumbling discontent into a crowd on the streets is a spark to electrify them.

Leon Trotsky

revolutions past
Revolutions past

Iran: Achieved (Jan 1978 - Apr 1979)

Days: 448

Deaths: 3,000+

Goal: To overthrow the Shah. Democrats started the popular uprising, but the clergy took over.

Tiananmen : Not Achieved (April 1989)

Days: 51

Deaths: ~3,000

Goal: To establish democracy, abolish one-party rule and put an end to corruption.

revolutions past1
Revolutions past

Indonesia: Goal Achieved (12-21 May 1998)

Days: 10

Deaths: ~1,000

Goal: To overthrow the oppressive regime of Suharto and abolish political cronyism.

Ukraine: Goal partially achieved (Nov-Dec 2004)

Days: 37

Deaths: 0

Goal: To annul a falsified election, ensure a new vote, and put an end to corruption and censorship.

progress of revolutions
Progress of Revolutions
  • Violent death serves as a powerful catalyst.
  • When insiders turn outsiders – The regime collapses.
  • External pressure sometimes plays a role in completing regime-change.
  • Longevity of a regime and especially the old age of a ruler can result in a fatal incapacity to react to events quickly.
  • Revolutions are 24/7 events.
  • Inflexibility of the incumbent also contributes to the crisis.
the first hours of egypt s revolution by adel abdel ghafar
The First Hours of Egypt's RevolutionBy ADEL ABDEL GHAFAR

I was reminded of something RyszardKapuscinski wrote in "The Shah of Shahs," about the Iranian revolution: "The policeman shouts, but the man doesn't run. He just stands there; looking at the policeman.... He doesn't budge. He glances around and sees the same look on other faces.... Nobody runs though the policeman has gone on shouting. At last he stops. There is a moment of silence. We don't know whether the policeman and the man on the edge of the crowd already realizes what has happened. The man has stopped being afraid -- and this is precisely the beginning of the revolution.“

As the riot police neared us with their batons raised high, they noticed that we were not moving. They started to slow down until they abruptly stopped in front of us. For a moment, both crowds stared at each other, polar opposites on an urban battlefield. That moment will be etched in my memory forever; time almost stood still.

Then, incredibly, the riot police turned back, and started running for their lives, psychologically broken.

middle east
Middle East
  • The Middle East is full of autocrats of various kinds:
    • Monarchies
    • Dictatorships
    • Religious republicsMost have been supported by outside powers.
  • A potent combination of issues have helped ignite the masses:
    • The global financial crisis
    • Rising food prices
    • Increasing unemployment
    • Leaks of official documents (Wikileaks)
middle east1
Middle East…
  • For many decades, some of these regimes were able to placate the vast majority of their populations via massive fossil fuel based revenues. Now, it seems, that is not enough.
  • Some of the Arab countries are also artificial; boundaries created by colonial powers to divide and conquer the Arab people also pitting clashing sub-cultures
middle east2
Middle East…
  • During the Cold War, the West (and Soviet Union) actively tolerated, even encouraged, authoritarian regimes for various geopolitical reasons
  • Iran’s brutal dictatorial regime governed by the Shah was friendly to the West. It was overthrown by a religiously extreme and anti-US regime and so the US supported Iraq’s Saddam Hussein
middle east3
Middle East…
  • Another interest the West has in the region is military: not just geopolitically as alluded to above, but also selling vast amounts of arms and/or military training.
current scenario tunisia
Current Scenario - Tunisia
  • The suicide of a young, unemployed man, Mohamed Bouazizi, who immolated himself on 17 December 2010 after officials had blocked his attempts to make a living selling vegetables triggered off protests that led to the downfall of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. He was in power for 23 years.
  • Around 300 people died during the unrest.
  • He went into exile in Saudi Arabia.
  • Ben Ali and his wife were sentenced in absentia to 35 years in jail by a court in Tunis.
  • Political police & state security apparatus disbanded.
current scenario tunisia1
Current Scenario - Tunisia
  • In October, the moderate Islamist Ennahda party won the country's first democratic elections.
  • Ennahda, which was banned under the former regime, says it has modelled itself on the governing AK party in Turkey, another Muslim-majority country which has remained a secular state.
  • Congress for the Republic (CPR) - the country's biggest secularist party - was the runner-up with nearly 14%, winning 30 seats in parliament.
current scenario egypt
Current Scenario - Egypt
  • President Hosni Mubarak resigned on 11 February 2011. He left office after 18 days of protests in the capital, Cairo, and other cities.
  • He was in power for 30 years.
  • At least 846 people were killed during the uprising that toppled Mr Mubarak and more than 6,400 people were injured, according to an Egyptian government fact-finding panel.
  • Hosni Mubarak has been put on trial, accused of ordering the killings of protesters during the uprising against him in January and February - a charge he denies.
current scenario egypt1
Current Scenario - Egypt
  • Mubarak's sons and several former ministers and officials are also facing charges.
  • The army is in charge of overseeing Egypt's transition to democracy.
  • Parliamentary elections held in November-December.
  • The new assembly met for the first time on 23 January. It is dominated by Islamists, who won 73% of seats.
  • There is dissatisfaction against the military too as they did not give a firm date for presidential elections.
current scenario egypt2
Current Scenario - Egypt
  • There was anger about a draft document produced by the military, containing the principles for a new constitution, under which the armed forces would be exempt from civilian oversight.
  • Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi promised presidential elections by the end of June 2012 after a fresh wave of violence.
  • The cabinet has resigned to be replaced by a "national salvation government“.
  • Many activists say this is not enough and want to see the immediate resignation of Field Marshal Tantawi.
current scenario libya
Current Scenario - Libya
  • Libya's uprising began in mid-February when, inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, hundreds came out onto the streets of several towns and cities demanding the end of Col Gaddafi's rule.
  • The authorities responded with violence, opening fire on protesters, as the rallies grew and spread across the country.
  • The revolt soon evolved into an armed conflict pitting forces loyal to Col Gaddafi - based in Tripoli in the west - against rebel forces based in the eastern port city of Benghazi.
current scenario libya1
Current Scenario - libya
  • In March, the UN Security Council passed a resolution which authorised "all necessary measures" - except troops on the ground - to protect civilians.
  • Coalition operations were largely confined to air attacks, initially aimed at imposing a no-fly zone and later widened to include government targets.
  • Following six months of fighting, rebel forces took Tripoli in late August, after gaining pockets of territory in the west.
  • On 31 October Col Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed on the outskirts of Sirte.
current scenario libya2
Current Scenario - Libya
  • That brought to an end 42 years of rule by the “Mad Dog”.
  • Three weeks later, his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Libya's intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Sanussi, were captured trying to flee the country and now face trial in Libya.
  • The National Transitional Council (NTC) which led the revolt is now recognised by the UN as Libya's legitimate ruling body.
  • The UN believes at least 335,000 people have fled Libya since the beginning of the conflict, including at least 200,000 foreign nationals.
current scenario syria
Current Scenario - Syria
  • Since the first protests in March 2011 in the city of Deraa, at least 5,000 Syrians have been killed, according to the UN.
  • Demonstrators are calling for political freedom, an end to corruption, action on poverty and the lifting of an emergency law imposed in 1963.
  • The government in Damascus says it is fighting "terrorists and armed gangs" and that some 2,000 members of the security forces have been killed.
  • It also says it is facing an international conspiracy seeking to destabilise the country.
current scenario syria1
Current Scenario - Syria
  • It has deployed the military in protest hotspots around the country.
  • Some 250 deaths were reported by human rights campaigners in 3 days alone (19-21 Dec). In some areas protest has given way to armed rebellion led by army deserters.
  • The Arab League suspended Syria from its ranks on 12 November and imposed sanctions.
  • Syria finally agreed to allow an observer mission in.
  • But its monitors have been criticised for failing to stop the violence.
current scenario syria2
Current Scenario - Syria
  • Assad has dismissed the League's plan - modelled on the settlement reached in Yemen, whereby the president relinquished power to a deputy and left the country.
  • Events in Syria, one of Israel's most bitter enemies and a strong ally of Lebanon's Hezbollah militants, could have a major impact on the wider Middle East.
  • Mr Assad has promised reform since 2000, when he inherited power from his father Hafez, but little has changed.
current scenario yemen
Current Scenario - Yemen
  • Beginning in February 2011, hundreds of people were killed in violence between security forces and demonstrators calling for an end to the 33-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
  • In response to the protests he repeatedly held out the promise that he would step down, only to back out of deals paving the way for his departure.
  • On 21 Oct the UNSC called on the president to sign a deal brokered by Gulf states, under which he would step down in return for immunity from prosecution - and his immunity duly approved by parliament in January.
current scenario yemen1
Current Scenario - Yemen
  • But after stalling for months, MrSaleh finally signed an agreement on 23 November to begin the transfer of power to his deputy.
  • The deal should eventually clear the path for elections to take place, but many protesters are angry that MrSaleh will be not face justice for the suppression of the protests.
  • Yemen is the Arab world's most impoverished nation and even before the current protests, it was becoming increasingly chaotic, with both al-Qaeda and separatist challenges to the government's authority.
current scenario yemen2
Current Scenario - Yemen
  • In January 2012, he left the country, travelling to the US where he says he will receive medical treatment.
current scenario iran
Current Scenario - Iran
  • Long-simmering unrest over the disputed 2009 presidential election boiled over again on 14 February 2011.
  • Thousands of people heeded calls by the two main opposition leaders to rally in the capital Tehran in solidarity with pro-democracy protests across the Middle East.
  • Security forces cracked down on the protest. Two people were killed and many more injured.
  • since then, the authorities have succeeded in preventing any more large demonstrations from taking place.
current scenario iran1
Current Scenario - Iran
  • The opposition leaders MehdiKarroubi and Mir HosseinMousavi were placed under house arrest in February and have not been seen in public since. Supporters of the government have been calling for them to be executed.
  • Iran's complex and unusual political system combines elements of a modern Islamic theocracy with democracy. Ahmadinejad has said he will put down any protests.
  • Speculation about the internal dynamics of the regime – an apparent increase in tensions between President and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
tunisia background
Tunisia - Background
  • Home of the ancient city of Carthage, Tunisia has long been an important player in the Mediterranean, placed as it is in the centre of North Africa, close to vital shipping routes.
  • French colonial rule ended in 1956, and Tunisia was led for three decades by HabibBourguiba.
  • He advanced secular ideas:
    • Emancipation for women - women's rights in Tunisia are among the most advanced in the Arab world.
    • The abolition of polygamy
    • Compulsory free education.
ben ali
Ben Ali…
  • Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali became prime minister in 1987, shortly before ousting Tunisia's first post-independence ruler, HabibBourguiba, in a bloodless palace coup.
  • President Bourguiba was declared mentally unfit to rule.
  • Ben Ali promised a gradual transition towards democracy, though in his first two presidential polls - in 1989 and 1994 - he was elected unopposed.
  • Multi-party presidential elections were introduced in 1999. They were one-sided affairs, with Ben Ali winning huge majorities.
  • Self immolation by a young unemployed man (Mohamed Bouazizi) on 17 December.
  • Officials in his town prevented him from selling vegetables on the streets of SidiBouzid without permission.
  • This triggered a much wider series of protests and clashes with the police.
  • Were the protests expected? No, the unrest appears to have taken almost everyone by surprise, including the government.
  • The reason: Tunisia has seen fairly good economic growth and has been a safe place for foreign investors.
response to crisis
Response to crisis
  • Ben Ali promised:
    • to tackle rising food prices
    • allow freedom of the press and internet
    • to "deepen democracy and to revitalise pluralism".
    • he would not amend the constitution to enable him to stand for office again in 2014.
end game
End game
  • The following day, Ben Ali announced that he had dismissed his government and called for new parliamentary elections within six months, before declaring a state of emergency.
  • A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed across the whole country
  • Public gatherings of more than three people were banned
  • The security forces given powers to shoot anyone who disobeys their orders.
  • Ben Ali finally announced on 14 January he was stepping down "temporarily".
  • He then fled to Saudi Arabia with his family.
  • It is widely believed that the Tunisian army's chief of staff played a key role in undermining Mr Ben Ali in the days before he fled Tunisia.
  • Internet access.
political sphere
Political Sphere
  • Under President Ben Ali, Tunisia was effectively under one-party rule.
  • But several other parties exist. They include:
    • The Movement of Socialist Democrats
    • Party of People's Unity
    • Unionist Democratic Union
    • Renewal Movement (Ettajdid)
    • Democratic Initiative Movement
    • Social Liberal Party
    • Green Party for Progress.
    • Al-Nahda (a banned Islamist party)
    • The Congress for the Republic (a banned secular party)
egypt a chronology
Egypt – A chronology
  • 25 January: Protests begin in Egypt
  • 28 January: Unrest spreads. The protests in Egypt continue and gather momentum. President Mubarak declares a curfew in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez and the army is deployed
  • 29 January: Suleiman appointed vice-president
  • 31 January: Army rules out force
  • 1 February: 'March of a million‘
  • 2 February: Army calls for protests to end. Brutal clashes break out between pro- and anti-Mubarak groups
egypt a chronology1
Egypt – A chronology
  • 3 February: Cairo clashes continue
  • 4 February: 'Day of departure'
  • 5 February: Ruling party resignations
  • 10 February: Mubarak 'may step down'
  • 11 February: Mubarak resigns
  • Egypt has long been known as a centre of stability in a volatile region, but that masked malignant problems which erupted in popular demonstrations against the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak on 25 and 28 January.
  • The National Democratic Party (NDP) monopolised political power through a mixture of:
    • Constitutional manipulation
    • Repression and rigged elections
    • Cronyism
    • The backing of powerful foreign allies.
  • The main drivers of the unrest have been:
    • Poverty
    • Rising prices
    • Social exclusion
    • Anger over corruption and personal enrichment among the political elite
    • A demographic bulge of young people unable to find work. They have been at the forefront.
    • It also helped that they were all extremely net savvy.
    • Tunisia as a catalyst.
so what
So what?
  • Egypt is most populous Arab country and events there will impact the Middle East.
  • Peace treaty with Israel.
  • Economic implications:
    • The tourism sector has been paralysed
    • Oil prices have risen amid fears of unrest affecting traffic through the Suez Canal
  • The poorest Arab country.
  • Yemen suffers from:
    • High unemployment
    • Overpopulation,
    • Dwindling oil reserves,
    • Dwindling water tables,
    • A Shia rebellion in the north,
    • A separatist movement in the south,
    • A resurgent al-Qaeda in the east,
    • A wasteful national preoccupation with the narcotic qat leaf
  • Sizeable protests continue on and off against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in power now for 33 years.
  • The protesters want:
    • More job opportunities
    • An end to corruption
    • More even distribution of wealth
    • An end to the president's rule.
  • He has agreed not to stand again when his term expires in 2013
  • The clashes that erupted on 14 February quickly turned violent.
  • Police fired on protesters, seven people were killed.
  • Outsiders have been quick to point to a sectarian split, the so-called "Sunni-Shia divide", focusing on the fact that the ruling al-Khalifa family come from the Sunni minority while 70% of Bahrainis are Shia.
  • The protestors want:
    • The 2002 constitution abolished in favour of free elections for a parliament with genuine lawmaking powers.
    • They want political prisoners released
    • An end to corruption and cronyism,
    • The removal of PM Sheikh Khalifa al-Khalifa, who has been in the post for 40 years.
    • Some have gone further to call for the ousting of King Hamad
    • Some want an end to the two-century rule of the al-Khalifa dynasty altogether.
  • Oman does not have a huge oil industry and many of the population work in agriculture and fishing.
  • Oman has been a peaceful country since the popular ruler, Sultan Qaboos, overthrew his backward father in 1970.
  • He then defeated a communist insurgency in the south.
  • The recent unrest was sparked by a government measure that led to several workers getting laid off.
  • An over-reaction by the security forces led to an escalation in which two people died.
any losers
Any Losers?
  • The autocrats.
  • Israel.
    • It supported Mubarak who was anti Hamas.
    • Camp David peace agreement in the late 1970s consolidated Israel's superiority in the region
  • The US.

Q & A