Has the Arab Spring Reached a Stalemate?
To determine whether progress has actually been made is an action both arbitrary and bordering on impossible; for as every man has his own idea of the qualifications of progression and advancement, no one person has the right or the capability to accurately portray the growth of a civilization. As a result of mankind's overall disunity on the historical subject of progress, events such as the French Revolution of 1789 have long been the subject of debate; while many suggest that the revolt eventually led to the implementation of democratic ideals and the end to feudal aristocracy, others point to the lack of immediate results and the consistent presence of bloodshed and terror as evidence for its failure. When discussing the Arab Spring revolts of 2011, the fact that a momentous event has occurred cannot be debated; however, whether progress will result is a completely different issue.
Beginning in December of 2010, the Arab revolts initially carried the promise of democracy, civil liberties, and freedom from a binding oppression that had existed in the Middle East for decades; furthermore, the successful revolutions (in that they succeeded in removing the existing leadership) in Tunisia and Egypt gave the impression to the rest of the world that the wave of revolutionary fervor was an unstoppable force that would continue throughout the region. And after protests in which tens of thousands in Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, and Syria defied their authoritarian government's orders and demanded freedoms, the region appeared poised towards democratic change, and dare I say it, progress.
It is March of 2011. American, British, and French aircraft and naval vessels began bombing targets belonging to Muhammar Gadhafi's army such as communications relays and air force bases; few hold out hope that Gadhafi will be able to withstand such an onslaught by perhaps the strongest coalition of nations in the history of the world. NATO's air support provides both physical and psychological benefits and assistance to the rebels; not only are Gadhafi's aircraft no longer an issue in combat, but suddenly this ragtag group gained an all-powerful, invincible ally that essentially guaranteed a victory against Gadhafi's forces.
In Syria, built-up popular tension against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, observation of the events in other Middle Eastern states, namely Egypt, and a growing number of international calls for the Syrian people to rise up in revolution against the government results in massive protests occurring through Syria in early March. While nonviolent in nature, the protests draw officers of al-Assad's police force, who use deadly weapons to murder hundreds of protesters; rather than scaring the dissidents into submission, the deaths of protesters only strengthen the resolve of the populace, who demand al-Assad's ouster as well as civil liberties and freedoms. With every death, international pressure increases as world leaders demand that al-Assad either end the bloodshed or abdicate his position. Dramatic change appears to be on the horizon.Continued on the next page