The extent of foreign intervention in Arab uprising varies across the different countries that experienced or are currently undergoing the upheavals. Before investigating the various foreign interventions, it is important to investigate the underlying social, economic and political factors in various Arab countries in North Africa and Middle East. …
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Foreign intervention has played significant role in accelerating the uprising and influencing their outcome. This paper examines the impact of foreign intervention on the Arab awakening. Origin of Arab uprising The extent of foreign intervention in Arab uprising varies across the different countries that experienced or are currently undergoing the upheavals. Before investigating the various foreign interventions, it is important to investigate the underlying social, economic and political factors in various Arab countries in North Africa and Middle East. According to Timo and Mika, protests in Tunisia and Egypt were driven by similar social, economic and political motives. Uprisings in both countries took an identical course of events that ultimately resulted to the fall of the existing governments. The dissatisfaction with the economic situation played a critical role in causing the uprising in Egypt and Tunisia. For several decades, both countries had initiated economic reforms to stimulate and enhance trade in the region in response to globalization. However, the reforms adversely affected the living standards of the majority middle and low-income groups creating resentment. Prior to the uprising in Tunisia and Egypt, majority of the citizens experienced decline in real wages, high inflation, and increasing levels of unemployment. The situation was worse among the youth, especially graduates, who experienced high levels of unemployment (Kitchen, 14). The “Jasmine Revolution” that was precursor to Arab spring in Tunisian was started by unemployed graduate Mohamed Bouazizi who set himself ablaze after he was denied authority to sell groceries in the streets of a Tunisian city(Kumaraswamy, 6) Although the economic reforms generated significant job opportunities, in these regions, most jobs were low skilled and of dismal wages. Moreover, the high population growth in these countries has not been accompanied by proportionate economic growth to absorb the citizens into the labor market. A combination of these factors left many unemployed and middle class youth disillusioned with countries’ political systems (Kumaraswamy, 6). The political structure in Egypt and Tunisia also played a critical role in causing the uprising. According to Timo and Mika, the political governance in these countries is dictatorial, where cronyism and nepotism reigned supreme. The poor, “unconnected” and educated individuals lacked access to employment opportunities while the crony capitalism amassed wealth and power in the country at the expense of meritocracy (5-6). The disenchanted but educated youth formed the core of the uprising in the affected countries. Political oppression is another major defining characteristic of the countries affected by the uprising. For long period, leadership in the affected Arabic countries has been autocratic, suppressing fundamental human rights and freedoms. In Egypt, the leadership of President Hosni Mubarak was characterized by ruthless crackdown on public protests and other forms of expression. In addition, the government manipulated elections in favor of the incumbent, who had remained in power for over three decades. The government utilized state security agencies to
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The ‘Arab spring’ was meant to bring peace,
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