Turmoil in the Arab World

May 3, 2011 • Volume 5, Issue 9
Will Democracy Emerge from the “Arab Spring”?
By Roland Flamini


Thousands of angry Yemenis demonstrated in the capital Sanaa (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi)
Thousands of angry Yemenis demonstrated in the capital Sanaa on April 28 to denounce the killing of 12 protesters the day before, when President Ali Abdullah Saleh's forces fired into a group of protesters demanding an end to his autocratic 32-year regime. Protests have continued for three months in Yemen — one of 14 Arab countries roiled by youth-driven pro-democracy movements. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi)

Massive, largely peaceful demonstrations in January and February forced longtime autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt from power, including Hosni Mubarak, who had dominated Egypt for more than 30 years. Subsequently, protests erupted in at least a dozen other countries across the Arab world, several of which continue. Using social media to organize, young demonstrators have called for the removal of long-entrenched corrupt regimes, greater freedom and more jobs. They have been met with violent government crackdowns in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, while in Libya strongman Moammar Gadhafi is battling a ragtag rebel force backed by NATO. As the region reverberates with calls for change, scholars say some key questions must be answered: Will the region become more democratic or will Islamic fundamentalists take control? And will relations with the West and Israel suffer? Then on May 1, al Qaida chief Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan. Once, such news might have triggered anti-U.S. protests across the region. Now, it seemed, those bin Laden had tried to radicalize were more interested in jobs and freedom than in bin Laden's dream of a vast, new Muslin caliphate.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Oct. 08, 2021  Erdoğan's New Turkey
Oct. 20, 2017  Democracy Under Stress
Jul. 17, 2012  Myanmar's New Era
Jan. 17, 2012  Emerging Central Asia
Jun. 21, 2011  Peacebuilding
May 03, 2011  Turmoil in the Arab World
Feb. 15, 2011  Sub-Saharan Democracy
Jun. 2010  Democracy in Southeast Asia
Apr. 01, 2005  Exporting Democracy
Jan. 30, 2004  Democracy in the Arab World
Nov. 03, 2000  Democracy in Latin America
Oct. 08, 1999  Democracy in Eastern Europe
Jul. 24, 1998  Democracy in Asia
Aug. 17, 1990  Initiatives: True Democracy or Bad Lawmaking?
Feb. 02, 1990  Free Markets, Free Politics and Growth
Jun. 14, 1967  Greece: Monarchy Vs. Republicanism
Feb. 04, 1959  Revolutionary Ferment and Democratic Processes
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