The countries of the “Arab Spring”… Hopes for recovery and settlement collide with a pandemic and war

International preoccupation with Libya and Yemen… Egypt and Tunisia face economic obstacles

(news analysis)

Perhaps if the Tunisian citizen Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire 13 years ago, was destined to look into the future, he would hesitate a lot before making his decision that led to what became known as the ” Arab Spring.” The economic conditions that Bouazizi suffered at the time appear Today, for large segments of Tunisians, “a dream that many long to regain.”

The case is not only limited to Tunisia, but extends to several countries that were devastated by the first wave of the “Arab Spring”. In addition to Tunisia, there are Egypt, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and despite the varying outcomes of the popular uprisings between these countries, they still share the ongoing repercussions since 2011. Observers who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat believe that Egypt and Tunisia “survives” through some political and security stability. Despite the economic crises that are still “haunting”, they are “better off” than the rest of the “spring countries” that are still “stagnant” in terms of the deterioration of the security and political situation, and external interference in the shaping their destinies, as well as “international preoccupation” with them, hotter crises.

And a poll conducted by the “Arab Barometer Network” for research (based at Princeton University in the United States) for the “BBC News Arabic” channel was announced last July and included the opinions and views of 23 000 people included from: “Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and Mauritania.” And Morocco, Sudan, Iraq, Libya and the Palestinian Territories,” that “60 percent of respondents across the nine countries do not object to the form of government if government policy is effective.”

Those responsible for the same survey went to other results – based on the survey – including that “there is a growing realization in the region that democracy is not the ideal system of government and that it is not able to do everything not reform.”

The previous results and others that come in the light of the clear repercussions of the global economic crises on the countries of the region, indicate the strengthening of the idea of ​​continued “losses of bloom” that were linked to the outbreak of the “Arab Spring” -insurgencies, which the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) estimates have caused losses of 614 billion dollars in the region since 2011 to 2015. This is the first estimate of the economic losses due to the ” Arab Spring” provided by a major international institution.

While the estimates of the economic losses in the “Arab Spring” countries appear severe, the human and humanitarian losses are no better, and the Syrian case stands out here, as the United Nations “Syria Response Coordinators” team says in a report, published on March 14, 2022, that The number of internally displaced Syrians has reached 6.9 million, and 6.6 million Syrians have sought refuge abroad, either to “neighboring countries” or European countries, and the number of displaced persons in camps and shelters reached 1.9 million, and the number of children who dropped out of school reached 2.65 million.

The report highlighted that “the percentage of Syrians at risk of poverty is 91 percent, and the number of Syrians who have reached the stage of starvation has reached 3.3 million, and military operations have injured more than 1.8 million civilians and left over 232,000 people. with special needs. This is in addition to the tens of thousands of missing and forcibly disappeared civilians. While other international reports monitor another aspect of the continuous deterioration of the situation in some of the “Arab Spring” countries, as some of those countries (such as Syria, Yemen and Libya) rank late according to the “Corruption Perceptions Index” for the year 2021 issued by the “Transparency International Organization.” The three countries are in order (178, 174, 172) out of 180 countries, and all these countries “do not enjoy a stable security and political situation, as most of the characteristics of the state have disappeared and security and political chaos ruled,” according to the report. Dr. Tariq Fahmy, a professor of political science at Cairo University, believes that countries that had what are known as “institutions of power” in the state, such as Egypt and Tunisia, could escaping the “dark fate” that threatened them after the outbreak of what became known as the “Arab Spring.” Despite its continued economic suffering, especially due to the repercussions of international crises.

Fahmy adds to Asharq Al-Awsat that another group of “Arab Spring” turned countries like Yemen, Syria and Libya into “remnants of countries” after the force of arms drew the fate of the conflicting parties in them, and the different initiatives have not been able to find solutions capable of extricating these countries from their crises, pointing out that these countries are “strong candidates for the continuation of crises in them.”

The political science professor went on to say that the presence of “regional and international actors” had a negative impact on many countries in the region during the “Arab Spring” phase and its aftermath, pointing out in this regard the roles played by regional countries. such as Iran and Turkey, as well as Israel and major powers. Like the United States and Russia, which exacerbated the crises of several countries such as Syria, Libya and Yemen, as well as countries that were not part of the first wave of the “Arab Spring” such as Iraq and Lebanon, but they are aggravated by external interference touched.

On the other hand, Khalil Al-Raqeq, a Tunisian writer and political analyst, says that the talk about “the Arab Spring cannot be separated from that international prescription that passed a misleading political alternative under titles not devoid of democratic gloss not, but it soon became clear in Tunisia and Egypt that the case is related to the empowerment of the Brotherhood.” .

He added to Asharq Al-Awsat that “the unprecedented economic collapse was the inevitable price for the culture of systematic destruction of the state’s resources and the intense greed they showed to transfer public profits to the private account.”

Al-Raqiq went on to say that it is not surprising that the matter ultimately required “major corrective paths in Egypt in 2013 and in Tunisia in 2021”, with the continued suffering of those countries economically due to the dominance of Islamic organizations and their alliance with what he describes as “parasitic capitalism” that feeds on random imports. And corrupt deals, in addition to what has reaped a climate of insecurity and terrorism on key strategic sectors, halting energy and industrial production, and shrinking foreign investment intentions. , and collapse the tourism sector.

The Tunisian political analyst adds, “Despite the will and determination in Tunisia and Egypt to overcome this heavy legacy, the pressure of the international situation on the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war has added to the number of challenges that the two countries face suffered great difficulties in securing the economy and responding to the growing social demands.”

And he continues: “However, this situation is not compared to what countries such as Libya and Yemen suffer from, since the matter there seems (more difficult and complicated) because the Arab Spring has passed from there through the force of arms and civil wars, in addition to the fact that both countries serve as (a field laboratory for regional and international conflicts).” .

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