A Forecast for the Middle East The Reemergence of an Islamic Caliphate in the Midst of the Arab Spring

Jennifer Basselgia


ARAB SPRING 4
The Reemergence of an Islamic Caliphate in the Midst of the Arab Spring
Beginning of the Arab Spring
The Arab Spring was ignited in Tunisia in late 2010 after a local street vendor set
himself on fire in protest against his government, an act that led to a wave of protests and
revolutions across Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan (Arab
Spring; Op-Ed). In 2011, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled from Tunisia to Saudi
Arabia in January, and in February President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt resigned, thus
ending his 30-year rule. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya was deposed in August 2011 and
killed in October of that same year. Provincial governmental bodies have assumed
control in the wake of these revolutions, promising the electorate democratic elections
and reforms. Regional unrest erupted in the surrounding countries as the people became
inspired by their neighbors to revolt against the status quo.
The Arab Spring began, for much of the news media, as an optimistic, enlightened
turn of events in the midst of totalitarian regimes. The New York Times romanticized the
Arab Spring, describing it as the dawn of a period of new hope for the nations that had
erupted into revolution over the past year. Many hoped expectantly that economies would
improve in the region, thus opening opportunities for foreign investment. As time
progressed, however, it became clear that tensions continued to increase and these
countries in the midst of revolution would remain unstable. The Financial Times reported
that "between the beginning of the year and the height of Arab spring tensions, spreads
on Egypt's credit default swaps rose 85 per cent … they have widened by a further 40 per
cent" (para. 2). The Financial Times is one of many sources advising investors to "give
the Arab spring more time" (para. 2), noting that the expectations of the revolutionary
nations are far too high, both politically and economically, for peace to reign anytime in
ARAB SPRING 5
the near future (Arab spring, 2011). However, the financial instability produced by the
Arab Spring should not be at the forefront of the world's concerns.


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