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Arab spring and the interest of major and regional powers Introduction The Arab spring came as a shock

to the whole world because it emerged spontaneously. The Arab spring was mainly caused by socio economic conditions. The people of the country was largely dissatisfied with the performance of their leaders. People were increasingly frustrated by inflation corruption and high unemployment.4 The Arab spring clearly showed the true colours of the world powers and their real intention of showing democracy and in the name of humanity. It is important to look into the issues of how the major and regional powers interacted and to see whether their claims are accurate.. The policy of liberalisation has been a recent trend which is highly promoted along with democracy. But economists like Stiglitz have strongly criticised the policy. Some social scientists consider it as a tool of the west in order to hegemonies the other countries. It is considered to be part of Neo colonisation. Neo colonisation is considered the new form of imperialism where the Weaker countries resources are subject to control of the big powers without invading it. When the Arab spring begain in Tunisia, the French minister offered to send aid to the country to help Ben Ali. With overwhelming protests the Tunisian government fell This was the starting point of the Arab revolution. The interim government has been held by three key figures. The election was won by the islamist side. The country has been gripped with political turmoil with islamists and secularists. The political turmoil has affected the economy of Tunisia where it has started to plummet. And with imports remaining same it is going towards a financial crisis. The Tunisian government to prevent further collapse turned

towards IMF for assistance. The IMF has agreed $1.75billion aid package for two years has been granted the conditions of this has not been disclosed. They have claimed that the reasons for this to improve macro economic stability and to have fiscal space for capital investment and social programs and for greater exchange rate flexibility But given the IMF track record and the lack of transparency it would seem more like the continuing trend of neo colonisation. As it is also reported by IMF director that this package is most likely to be approved by the executive committee. The executive committee consists of top rich countries who provide financial aid. These counties has always worked for their interests and also led to the ruining many economies in the world. Tunisia is very much dependent on tourism. And Tunisia is seen as destination for middle class tourist. With the Arab spring brought instability which damaged the tourism sector in Tunisia, it further aggravated the economic crisis. It has been affected by the euro zone crisis which has occurred. Perhaps what clearly see the true side was on Libya. The rule of Muammar Gaddafi was sanctioned for a long time over the allegations of Lockerbie bombing. The western countries agreed to improve relations with Muammar Gaddafi and agreed to lift sanctions after the leader destroyed weapons of mass destruction and the compensation amount was paid to the country .After the sanctions was lifted the western countries started to invest in Libya. When the arab spring occurred in Libya, and the moment seem to show that the population had widespread popularity alliances shifted. It is normal in revolutions that the opposition would often take the side of the alliances of the dictator as enemy if they come into power. The western countries at a point considered the opposition council as the legitimate and sovereign authority of Libya. This highlights the fragility the countries in the international scenario. This shows the weakness of the sovereign in power and at any given moment if the big powers decide that you are not the legitimate authority, the western country can recognise anybody which they deemed fit. Many of these polices also go in contrast to what the united

nations say about the non interference in internal matters. To prevent that the western backed the Libyan opposition. This brought them lucrative oil deals when they were in power. Some said the contracts was up to 50 years which was largely undervalued. There was another major victory towards the western powers, the newly formed government allowed investment in the oil sector for those who had helped in the revolution and those who didnt help the revolution would be left out. There by Russia and China was left out Bahrain is a small country with a pre dominant Shia population which is ruled by a sunni dominated monarch. The double standards in the Bahrain issue shows how the thinking of the west shaped. They knew they have a high chance of squashing the rebellion in the country so they have aided to stop the democratic movements. The opposition in Bahrain is most likely to be an ally of Iran which means the new government of Bahrain would be anti-USA. The western media also played a part in degree censoring the crimes committed by the Bahrain government.5 Syrian government has been known for their anti USA stance. The USA was quick to support the opposition. Even though sanctions are put in place, the USA and the western countries started providing aid for the rebels. The western countries not only provided humanitarian aid but they also provided military aid as well. The USA has also been subjective when dealing with the rebels. Initially when the USA thought the rebels would win, they decided not to aid them even though they knew it would result in fewer casualties in the war. There is no denying that USA try to push forward a bill in the UN security council resolutions to impose sanctions.2 The point here to be made is that they have made not much effort as what they have done in Bosnia to stop the conflict. The USA and its allies have continued to give aid despite knowing that some of the combatants are linked to Al Qaeda. Further more it allows USA muslim, civilians or volunteers to participate in the war Even when they were fully aware they are involved in militant activity. While at the same time Russia is doing

everything it can to protect the Syrian government from collapsing. The Russian countries have several interests in the country. One of the most important reason is that they have a Mediterranean base in the country. Apart from that Russia and Syria have several investments in energy as well as in tourism. Syria is also a buyer of Russian arms. In the media and in the whole world, both powers claim that they are both concerned about the people of the Syria and to bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict. They main emphasis in the media is stressing on peace but what is clearly seen is that all the countries have a realist approach in dealing with the international; situation there interest would always come first. The Syrian situation continue to become complete as the Syrian government is aided by the Hezbullah fighters. This in future could have a spill effect. The conflict could spill into Lebanon. Another complexity is the threatening use of weapons of mass destruction by Syrian government if the foreign governments should intervene in the crisis. The arab spring also generates a war economy which countries like USA could prosper. The USA continues to be the biggest exporter of arms in the world. The western countries have recognised the Syrian opposition as the legitimate authority like that in Libya. In Algeria the protests was entirely ignored. During the early 1990s the country was a democracy. After the elections the country was overthrown by a coup and a military dictatorship was established. The western countries have not played any role to pressure the Algerian government. And at the same time they have been silent over the issue.3 Algeria was also hit by major protests during the arab spring. But due to their track record of terror the arab country didnt work. In response the Algerian government lifting the 19 year old emergency rule which was placed. The country of Egypt continued to be one of the strongest allies of the USA. After the 1973 peace treaty, Egypt became the second country after Israel to receive the largest aid by USA. Aid by nature is good but it is controversial, often the dependent country becomes addicted

to it. Once the country is dependent to it, if it is not received it would facing economically hard conditions. As a result the host country would have to do lot of conditions which the donor country told to do so. The western alliances have not called for the democratisation of the country at any point. But however they have hailed the liberation of Iraq as victory. Egyptian government led to an economic crisis during the 1990s. To solve the crisis aid was given by the western countries in exchange for promises that they would start liberalisation in the country. Even with the economic measures real solutions have not been materialised. And with worsening economic conditions it led to the arab spring. Even with the departure of Mubarak political turmoil continues. The economy hasnt been improved as expected by the people. And with incurring political costs, the country is faced a critical economic crisis. Egypt has already got loans from Qatar and Libya. And is now appealing loans from Russia. And is currently in talks with IMF of receiving an aid package. Russia is considered to approve the loan for strategic purposes. The country is in strategic location. Loan is a way of influencing the country as a country is in desperate need of money the host country would most likely to agree on any conditions which the other country say including what materials to buy and also to a degree the foreign policy. Egypt by nature is big country and it is vital interest for foreign countries to get a hold of the market. Egypt has a border which shares a sea and at the same time the strategic suez canal is located in Egypt. Saudi Arabia was effected only to small degree. And being a strong ally of USA the government responded quickly by announcing incentives for the citizens of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia offered incentives up to $100billion. The Saudi government also introduce elections in the municipal area as well giving women the right to vote. The same time Saudi Arabia has announced tough measures for anybody willing to gather in open spaces. The crackdown of democratic uprising has been ignored by the western countries. But at the same time countries like Iran where they have protests have taken place, the USA was quick to

criticise that. Saudi Arabia is also a significant player in the middle east. They have played a strong rule to crush the uprisings. They are also want to check the growing power of Shia in the region. The Saudis have sold oil price slightly below the market rate in order to maintain the USA dependence towards their market. They believe that if it is at the same price as at the market the USA would try to find alternatives. And it is also in possible way in keeping a check against Israel if the policies of it goes too far. There is advantage for the country as a result of the Arab crisis the oil of the country has increased. The developed countries has praised the people of the Arab countries for their effort in the revolution but they have made every bit difficult for them to prosper. They use various excuses from preventing technology transfer. Some of them is when investing they structure the company in such a way that the technology is not transferred. Others include patent rights and even when they sell certain equipment they would exclude things of high technology. The spill over effect has also been seen with the Arab crisis. After the overthrow of Libya, the militant groups who got greater weapons started to spread elsewhere. They have captured parts of Mali and created an international crisis. The Mali crises was responded by African countries and countries like France have intervened with military troops on the ground. Most of the countries who were hit by Arab spring mostly sell agricultural products. The main revenue happens to be oil but this distribution is not achieved equally. And with conditions attached to loans and higher tariffs the developing countries are prevented from being developed. The Arab countries need to realise whatever the conflict or dissatisfaction that is in the country, the major powers are nothing but a wolf in sheeps clothing. They should not be chosen as allies anyhow. Many in the revolution consider the rulers are corrupt and the powers of the world as allies in the world working for their benefit. The real reason for

underdevelopment is the policy of discrimination and unethical policies of the west towards the countries. Corrupt leaders are a part of the problem but not the entire problem. The countries need to understand that its sometimes better to do nothing than do something worse at all. And history has proven this. The best policy currently for these countries is to considers only they can help themselves and nobody will be willing to help them. On the whole, there are number of interests at stake for the western countries and huge advantages able to gain in the middle eastern region. By ensuring proper measures they can establish permanent allies in the region. And they could also prevent strong allies like Saudi Arabia from becoming a democratic country. Democracy comes with huge costs such as election and for a country which is under developed it is too much to handle. And by giving them loans they could maintain their domaince over them. The proper and establishing of international relations would allow for a middle east which is of no threat to Israel. And proper dominance in economic measures leave them vulnerable for them to implement the polices of the west as they deemed fit. Such as opening of markets for them. Apart from that they could also influence those countries to deny them access for the use of Suez canal. The establishment of a middle east as they deemed fit would allow the USA to have their bases in their region. Conclusion The battle for Arab spring has seen not only one side but there wide range of alternative sides seen it is not only the battle between the topple for corrupt governments. But it has seen a front for Sunni vs Shia, as well as secularists versus islamists, a new platform for world power to battle for new dimensions. Others see it as a platform for neo colonisation where the project of democracy is actually heightened for their own interests. And the final concluding statement is that the crisis shows that the calls for humanitarian and the calls for

liberals is nothing more than a myth and what it is seen and evident is the prevalent is the achieving of nations self interest more than anything. The dreams of Arab spring have not been realised for better prosperity.


http://www.newrepublic.com/article/world/100565/syria-symposium-assad-arab-leagueintervention# http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18914578 3 http://www.nytimes.com/1992/07/24/opinion/democracy-denied-in-algeria.html

4 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/tunisia/8258077/Tunisiariots-Reform-or-be-overthrown-US-tells-Arab-states-amid-fresh-riots.html

5 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/04/cnn-international-documentary-bahrain-arabspring-repression http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/45f1ba68-a9c7-11e2-9cca-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2RocwiNM0


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