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The Garden of the Arab Spring: What will it bloom into?

The Arab Spring has been a hot topic in not only the media in the United States, but around the world. This idea of the Arab Spring has permeated throughout the Arab world and has also had great influence on the rest of the world. It has become an emblem that signifies “The people want to topple the regime.” This symbol caught like a wild fire in the lifeless landscape of “terrible rulers, sullen populations, and terrorism”, which spread quickly through facebook, twitter, media and magazines around the world.[1] It became more then just a simple revolt, it developed in to the Arab Spring the world now knows and continues to discuss. The question is what will the flowers of the Arab Spring bloom into? Will they be lovely blossoms with a variety of colors, beauty and fragrances or will it turn into a thorn bush with goat heads that never seem to want to easily detach from your skin without pain and devastation? There is no answer to these questions yet but the world is keeping a close eye on the Arab Spring.

The way these Islamic countries are embracing and cultivating the Arab Spring is vital to what will happen in the future. An important point is how should the rest of the world handle the Arab Spring, but more specifically the United States. In Hamid’s article he writes, “It will be better to develop such ties with opposition groups now, while the United States still has leverage, rather than later, after they are already in power.”[2] This is a valid point the United States needs to start to establish an entirely new relationship with these groups, and not continue to have the same relationship as in the past. The United States needs to recognize and accept these countries and attempt to work together, not against each other. The Arab Spring was a significant political change in the world as well as in these countries. So past relationship cannot longer be relayed on and are only detrimental. Hamid’s writes, “And, for its part, United States—and the rest of the international community—will need to finally come to terms with Islamsits.”[3] The United States can no longer run in fear from Islamists and continue with Islamophobia, we just need to accept Islamists and these countries as influential. While new political relations need to be established by the United States, Islamists have been well aware of their influence and the close eye the world is keeping on them. “Islamists are well aware that getting tied up in controversial foreign policy efforts would cause the international community to withdraw support from the new democracies, thus undermining the prospects for a successful transition.”[4]  This is just as important because if the Arab Spring is to be successful and bloom into lovely flowers then Islamists have to be just as mindful of their political actions and relationships. As mentioned before this is a new beginning and new relations need to be established on both sides.

While the political aspect is essential to how the Arab Spring develops, including how it interacts with the United States. There is still the question of whether or not the Arab Spring will actually establish the democracy and freedom that the people were striving for?  In Ajami article, he expresses that this past year for the Arab Spring has been a dangerous one. [5] This is an important point because it has been very dangerous for the Arab Spring to start and spread, but the over throwing of an already established government does not guarantee that things will improve. There are always vying powers that are trying to assert control and establish their own foot hold during something like the Arab Spring. Boualem Sansai wrote, “Is driving the dictator out the end? From where you are, Mohamed, next to God, you can tell that not all roads lead to Rome; ousting a tyrant doesn’t lead to freedom.” [6]  Sansai raises some key questions about the Arab Spring and what has been done, but that most important part to acknowledge is that freedom is not promised as an outcome of any of this. Ajami writes, “ This third Arab awakening is in the scales of history. It has in it both peril and promise, the possibility of prison but also the possibility of freedom.” [7] This is a very agreeable point that the entire world acknowledges, because the Arab Spring is still young and just sprouting. The question remains what will this Arab Spring turn into, will it be a lovely garden or will it turn into an open Pandora box with hope still stuck at the bottom.

 


[1] Fouad Ajami, “The Arab Spring at One: A Year of Living Dangerously,” Foreign Affairs 91, no. 2): 56.

[2] Shadi Hamid, “The Rise of the Islamists: How Islamists will Change Politics, and vice versa,” Foreign Affairs 90, no. 3): 40.

[3] Shadi Hamid, “The Rise of the Islamists: How Islamists will Change Politics, and vice versa,” Foreign Affairs 90, no. 3): 47.

[4] Shadi Hamid, “The Rise of the Islamists: How Islamists will Change Politics, and vice versa,” Foreign Affairs 90, no. 3): 42-43.

[5] Fouad Ajami, “The Arab Spring at One: A Year of Living Dangerously,” Foreign Affairs 91, no. 2): 56-65.

[6] Fouad Ajami, “The Arab Spring at One: A Year of Living Dangerously,” Foreign Affairs 91, no. 2): 56.

[7] Fouad Ajami, “The Arab Spring at One: A Year of Living Dangerously,” Foreign Affairs 91, no. 2): 56.

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Discussion

One thought on “The Garden of the Arab Spring: What will it bloom into?

  1. Clever title! Very “Spring” appropriate 🙂

    Posted by cassidylp | April 9, 2012, 6:21 pm

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