Since the December 2010 uprising in Tunisia and the January 25th Revolution in Egypt nearly a month later that led to the fall of both regimes, the political impact has continued. However, since then the vast majority of the Arab states have experienced people protesting against their own governments demanding political reforms and an end to the corruption. In some states, the people have demanded the resignation of their governments, to be replaced by freely elected ones. The two Arab states that have experienced the most violent response from their governments are Yemen and Libya.
In Yemen, the protestors’ movement is in its 11th week of continuous protests by millions of people in all cities in Yemen. The government’s violent response against the protestors led to the killings of hundreds of people in addition to the many injuries. The Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has offered to mediate the Yemeni conflict and to end the violence. The council suggested that the Yemeni president Ali Saleh resign and turn over his authority to his deputy and allow the opposition group to form their cabinet and call for an election. Also, GCC suggested that President Saleh leave office without holding him for trial. The opposition group rejected the GCC suggestion and insisted on trying the president for the crimes he committed and the corruption that took place during the past three decades of his rule.
As of 4/15/2011, the protestors’ uprising is continuing and the GCC mediation outcome has been put on hold. The next few days will show what the outcome will be.
In Libya, the conflict is getting worse and the war between the rebels and the Gadhafi troops is still going on. The rebels are facing an army with heavy military equipment, who are shelling and firing missiles at the unarmed civilian population.
IN the meantime, African states started mediation to stop the fighting and for an immediate ceasefire between the two sides. It was announced that Gadhafi has accepted the African proposal, but the rebels have insisted on the removal of Gadhafi from office before they accept the African proposal. The war in Libya continues.
There is a third type of political uprising in some Arab states, which has been less violent than the ones that have been taking place as mentioned. In Algeria and Morocco, the protestors’ movements have been less violent and the number of people who are involved in the public uprising has been smaller than in other Arab states. For example, in Algeria it has been reported that when a call for protest when issued, the number of government security was larger than the number of the protestors. This is attributed to a number of factors. First, the Algerian public has been watching the ugly turn of protestors’ movements in Libya and Yemen, which is producing many undesired consequences in both countries. Second, Algeria experienced an uprising nearly 25 years ago (1988) between the government forces and Islamic forces, which led to the deaths of more than 150,000 people during nearly a decade of conflict. Third, there is more freedom of expression, especially in the press, than in most Arab states that are experiencing uprising. Fourth, the government lifted the emergency law that has been in use for more than 19 years. Fifth, the government increased the financial rewards to their employees and offered young people the equivalent of 2 ½ hectares of land for free to use for agricultural cultivation. Also, the government encouraged young people to open small businesses without experiencing any difficulties from the government. It is of interest also that the few protests that took place in Algeria did call for reforms and an end to corruption, but not the removal of the government of President Abed al-Aziz biri-Tafleegah.
In Morocco, the situation has been less violent than in other Arab states. The protestors have been larger in number than in Algeria. Their demands are for more freedom and political reform. In some cases, some of the protestors demanded a constitutional reform and an elected government to limit the authority of the king. The king responded by initiating political reforms but I doubt that he will go further and surrender his own authority. The situation in Morocco is still unsettled and what the outcome will be in terms of political reform and an end to the corruption is to be seen.