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The Arab Spring

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

The Arab Spring was an uprising of protests in the MENA region in the early 2010s. These protests were opposing dictatorships, regimes, and authoritarianism. The Arab Spring spread across Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, and even Saudi Arabia. The major goal of these protests was to increase cultural & religious freedom, democracy, etc.

Where was the Arab Spring Successful?

Tunisia was the only country where the Arab Spring succeeded. Tunisia’s protests began when an activist set himself on fire and prompted nationwide protests against widespread poverty. The dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was replaced after a month of the protests. Tunisia’s transition to democracy was an overall success.

Where was the Arab Spring Unsuccessful?


The Arab spring in Syria triggered an ongoing civil war between Bashar Al-Assad and pro-democracy insurgents. Bashar Al-Assad responded to the protests in Dara’a by dropping chemical weapons on civilians and massacring a large number of them. He sees the protests as a threat to his power and values his authority more than the civilians. He’s been able to win 4 of the elections because of the aid from Iran and Russia.


The Arab Spring was unsuccessful in Egypt. Security forces would brutalize and torture the protesters. Egyptians were determined to hold protests all throughout the country. Eventually, Mubarak resigned. However, he was replaced by Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. Sissi placed regulations that would ban journalists from spreading footage of protests and he spread propaganda on television.


The Arab Spring was unsuccessful in Bahrain. Protestors were massacred at large rates and no reforms were made. The protestors' main concern was the wealth inequality between the Sunni and Shias. Bahrain has a Shia majority, but is ruled by a Sunni monarchy. Shias in Bahrain have been protesting ever since 2011, however, no reforms have been made.

Saudi Arabia:

Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring was unsuccessful. The Shia minority in Qatif were inspired by the Arab Spring’s uprising and success in Tunisia. They took to the streets to protest hoping there would be reform that would increase their religious freedom. However, this only decreased their religious freedom.


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