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Arab Spring in some states in the Middle East, but why not IRAQ - Essay Example

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Describe causes, events and consequences. Describe any international interventions in an "Arab Spring" uprising in your assigned country (IRAQ). If an uprising did not occur, attempt to explain why, or if there has…
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Arab Spring in some states in the Middle East, but why not IRAQ
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1) Did the "Arab Spring" affect your assigned country (IRAQ)? Describe causes, events and consequences. Describe any international interventions in an "Arab Spring" uprising in your assigned country (IRAQ). If an uprising did not occur, attempt to explain why, or if there has been another form of resistance.
THE Arab Spring began with Tunisia and Egypt and continued to spread in many Arab nations. The discontent of the people was unleashed as they expressed their anger over their respective regimes on the streets of many countries. It has led to toppling of authoritative regimes such as those in Libya and Egypt. Other countries such as Syria are also experiencing huge turmoil which could result in the end of its government. But amidst of all of this Iraq has remained relatively quiet.
There are various reasons attributed to the absence of mass protests in Iraq. Some experts believe that Iraq is too diverse. It comprises of many minorities and small groups which find it hard to come together and fight against the present government. Cain highlights the problem on the background of Iraqi demographics, “DEMOGRAPHICALLY, IRAQ IS UNIQUE AMONG MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES AND THE PROFOUND DIFFERENCES WOULD SEEMINGLY MAKE IT EVEN MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO A POPULAR UPRISING. IRAQ ALSO CONTAINS A VAST SEMI-AUTONOMOUS REGION IN THE NORTH THAT IS COMPLETELY CONTROLLED BY THE ETHNIC KURDS AND THE KURDISTAN REGIONAL GOVERNMENT.”
At the same time there are others who believe that Arab Spring has touched Iraqi people. The magnitude of demonstrations may have been unthreatening to the U.S. backed Iraqi regime but there were demonstrations none the less. As IslamoPedia, an online platform for exchange of Islamic thought puts it, “THROUGHOUT 2011, THOUSANDS OF IRAQIS JOINED TOGETHER IN RARE DISPLAYS OF CROSS-SECTARIAN HARMONY ACROSS THE COUNTRY, WITH SHI’ITES, SUNNIS, AND KURDISH CITIZENS DEMANDING IMPROVED LIVING CONDITIONS AND PUBLIC SERVICES, AN END TO CORRUPTION, UNEMPLOYMENT AND INFLATED SALARIES FOR POLITICIANS, ALONG WITH AN END TO FOREIGN OCCUPATION.”
The efficacy of such protests is doubted by Iraq Revolt, an independent blog site by Iraqi nationals, which says that “IT IS DEBATABLE WHETHER OR NOT IRAQ IS EXPERIENCING ITS OWN ‘ARAB SPRING’. IT IS CLEAR THAT MANY OF THE IDEALS ADVOCATED IN THE ARAB SPRING ARE BEING PROTESTED FOR IN IRAQ, IT IS QUESTIONABLE AS TO WHETHER IT WILL RESULT IN A REVOLUTION LIKE IN THE OTHER MENA STATES.”
The question that arises is that why the protests haven’t been so threatening. One of the major reasons is the U.S. invasion which left Iraq economically very weak. It is also very difficult for Iraqi people to protest against U.S. backed Iraqi government. There is lack of transparency in the government and this has created mistrust in the people. But Iraqi people, as mentioned above, are too disunited to stand up against the government. They also lack a strong leadership which will steer them away from present confusion and lead them towards some order. Iraq has also almost no previous experience with democracy and so it shall take time for people to get accustomed to the amount of freedom that is offered by democracy. The latest revolutions find it hard to break the inertia of Iraq and make it more responsive to the events in the Arab Spring.
But the complete fault doesn’t lie with foreign interference. One feature of Iraqi politics coincides with the Lebanese ‘Confessional Politics’ representation. As Dawood highlights the internal divisions with the Iraqi society, “THE POLITICAL LIFE IS HEAVILY BASED ON RELIGION, ETHNICITY, REGIONALISM AND TRADITION. PARTIES HAVE A PARTICULAR, ALMOST NARROW FOCUS. IF EVERY PARTY IS FIGHTING FOR THEIR OWN GOAL, IT IS MORE LIKE THAT SPLITS OCCUR, WHICH ARE HINDERING PROGRESS. FURTHER, THE ALLOCATION OF SEATS IN THE PARLIAMENT IS REGULATED WITH QUOTAS. MANDATES ARE DISTRIBUTED ACCORDING TO RELIGION AND ETHNICITY. HENCE, THERE IS MUCH SUBDIVISION IN THE PARLIAMENT, GIVING RISE TO HATRED AND DISCRIMINATION.”
The lack of mass participation in Iraq can be attributed to various reasons. But there are some people who believe that Iraq doesn’t need Arab Spring as it was the root of Arab Spring itself. As former American Vice President Dick Cheney puts it, “I THINK THAT WHAT HAPPENED IN IRAQ IN TERMS OF DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM HAS HAD A RIPPLE EFFECT ON SOME OF THOSE (ARAB SPRING) COUNTRIES (Seitz-Wald 2011).”
The abovementioned claims can be contradicted by saying that Iraq underwent occupation and hence it is improbable that it led to the events of Arab Spring. Arab Spring was sparked by people’s desire to change oppressive regimes and have more control over their lives. If Iraq was the source of Arab Spring, then Iraqi people would show more activity than they are doing in the current times.
References

Cain, Jason. “Would Saddam Hussein Have Survived the Arab Spring?” 2011.
http://www.policymic.com/articles/2523/would-saddam-hussein-have-survived-the-arab-spring/ Accessed November 2011

Iraq Revolt, New School University student blog. “U.S. War in Iraq inspires Arab Spring.” 2011.
http://iraqrevolt.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/the-debate-as-to-whether-or-not-iraq-is-experiencing- an-arab-spring/ Accessed November 2011
Iraq and the Arab Spring: “The Spirit of Sacrifice and Jihad.’’ 2011.
http://www.islamopediaonline.org/country-profile/iraq/transnational-influence/iraq-and-arab-spring/ Accessed November 2011
Dawood, Salem. “The Arab Spring in Iraq.” 2011. http://www.democracy-international.org/arab-spring-iraq.html/ Accessed November 2011

Seitz-Wald, Alex. “Cheney Credits Iraq War for Starting Arab Spring.” 2011.
http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/31/308769/cheney-arab-spring-iraq/
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