Manual Bahrain from the Twentieth Century to the Arab Spring (Middle East Today)

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The democratic and anti-communist revolutionary wave that swept across Eastern Europe in had the opposite effect of the Cold War-era Marxist-Leninist revolutions, leading to alliances with Washington. The color revolution in Kyrgyzstan , though, did not lead to a similar reorientation, and Ukraine reversed itself in with the election of the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovich, whose fraudulent election in sparked revolution that year.

What is immediately noteworthy about the four successful Arab Spring revolutions is that there has so far been more continuity than change in their alliance patterns. Before its January revolution, Tunisia was not formally part of a military alliance with a Western state, but was generally aligned with America, Europe and the Arab states friendly toward them. Although it sometimes had uncomfortable relations with Algeria and Libya its larger neighbors , pre Tunisia had generally cooperative relations with other states.

This same general pattern has continued. Despite occasional misgivings about the lack of cooperation among Tunisian political groupings, America and Europe have been supportive of Tunisia's democratic transition. Tunisia has also continued to have decent relations with Russia, China and most other Arab states. The new Tunisian government, like most Arab governments, supported opposition forces seeking Qadhafi's ouster in Libya and has been sympathetic toward the opposition to the Assad regime in Syria. Ties with Algeria were tense for a time, when the authoritarian government there feared that what happened in Tunisia and other Arab Spring countries might spark opposition in Algeria, too, but their bilateral ties have been calmer as this prospect has receded.

In short, there has been far more continuity than change in Tunisia's international relations. During the long period of his rule, first in North Yemen and then in the reunified country , Ali Abdallah Saleh could be said, at various times, to have been an ally of Saudi Arabia, the Soviet Union, America and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. For the last decade of his presidency, though, his government was allied primarily with the United States and Saudi Arabia.

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Arab Spring demonstrations arose against Saleh in January , and he finally ceded his office to the vice president, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, in February Since then, Hadi's government has also been allied primarily with Washington and Riyadh. Yemen's "revolution" has not led to any appreciable change in its international alignment so far. Further, both Saleh and Hadi have pursued similar foreign-policy strategies regarding Sanaa's regional opponents.

Both have claimed that Iran is supporting the Houthi rebellion in Yemen's far north. It is not clear, however, whether these claims are justified or whether they are intended to induce the Americans, Saudis and others to back the Yemeni government's campaign against them. Both Saleh and Hadi, then, have sought to enlist foreign support for or, at minimum, to forestall foreign opposition to their efforts to suppress regionally based opposition to the Yemeni government by claiming that these movements are linked to others hostile to the West and its Arab allies.

In this regard also, Hadi's foreign-policy approach is similar to that of Saleh before him. But since the Libyan-American rapprochement of the mids, Qadhafi had been cooperating with the United States and with several West European states even longer.

There was some change, though, in Libya's international relations at the regional level. While Qadhafi had had poor relationships with several Arab governments especially Saudi Arabia , Libya's post-Qadhafi government has had better relations with most of them — except with the Assad regime in Syria, where Tripoli has been sympathetic toward the opposition. The revolution also marked an important change in Libya's ties with Russia. While Qadhafi had relatively good if not excellent relations with Russia, 17 the post-Qadhafi government does not; it canceled several Russian-Libyan contracts that had been agreed to during the Qadhafi era.

Moscow, though, could have avoided this if it had been more neutral during the revolution instead of vociferously expressing support for Qadhafi until the bitter end.

Open issues

Ironically, Moscow's earlier difficulties in dealing with the Qadhafi regime may have actually limited the damage to Russian interests caused by his downfall. As Vladislav Senkovich of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry observed, it was the "protracted and tedious negotiations of previous years with the Libyan side that saved several Russian companies from making broader investments in the Libyan economy," 18 which they would have lost after Qadhafi's fall. Even the damage that Russian interests did experience may prove temporary if ongoing talks about the resumption of various forms of Russian-Libyan cooperation are successful.

The case of Egypt is more complicated; it has experienced not one, but three changes in government since its Arab Spring revolution. During Mubarak's long rule, Egypt was principally allied to the United States and continued to uphold the U. Mubarak also had reasonably good relations with Saudi Arabia and most other Arab states, Europe, Russia, China and others — but not Iran.

Tehran initially appeared certain that the downfall of Mubarak would mean Egypt would stop being allied to the United States and would move closer to Iran.

Many feared that Egypt's elected president, Mohamed Morsi in office from late June to early July , would radically reorient Egyptian foreign policy, but he did not. Despite qualms about him in Washington and other Western capitals, Morsi continued Egypt's close alliance with America and observance of the Camp David treaty.


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Morsi did work to improve Egyptian relations with Iran, but he and the Iranian leadership were sharply divided on Syria; Tehran backed the Assad regime and Morsi the opposition. Morsi attempted to maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia, but Saudi distrust of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which he had been a leader, undermined this effort. During the latter, the two reportedly agreed that Russia would help Egypt with the construction of a nuclear reactor and the development of its uranium deposits.

After the Egyptian military ousted Morsi in early July and established an interim government pledged to hold new elections, some further changes in Egypt's foreign relations took place. The new Egyptian government's hostility to the ousted Muslim Brotherhood led to a dramatic improvement in Cairo's relations with Saudi Arabia, as well as deterioration in its ties with Qatar.

The Arab Spring: Its Geostrategic Significance

But, as even Russian observers acknowledge, this does not mean that Egypt is going to embrace Russia as its principal ally instead of America. The United States continues to supply significant economic and military support that the Egyptian military is not willing to forgo and Moscow is not willing to replace.

The Middle East post-Arab Spring

In contrast to the four "successful" Arab Spring revolutions, the two unsuccessful but persistent attempts at revolution in Bahrain and Syria have led to hope in some and fear in others about how their success would sharply disrupt the international relations of these two countries. In Bahrain, the Sunni royal family has been unable to crush opposition from the island nation's Shia Arab majority, but the latter has also been unable to persuade or force the government to permit majority rule.

The Saudis, in particular, fear that the downfall of the Sunni monarchy and the rise of a Shia-majority regime in Bahrain would result in Bahrain's ceasing to be a Saudi and U. The United States also fears the loss of an ally that Shia majority rule could bring and so has followed the Saudi lead on Bahrain. While it is not clear how much Iran is actually assisting the Shia opposition there, the downfall of the Sunni monarchy would definitely be seen in Tehran as a gain for Iran and a loss for Saudi Arabia and the United States. The new National Convention drafted a new constitution.

Around 19, people were eventually executed. An estimated , people died in this civil war. On 9 Thermidor of the Year II 27 July almost all members of the Convention conspired against Robespierre, who was executed without trial together with 22 of his closest associates. The new Thermidorian regime and thus phase three re-granted people the freedom of religion.

Bahrain from the Twentieth Century to the Arab Spring | SpringerLink

A third constitution was drawn up and approved in a referendum with After two years of relative stability, the five members of the Directory the executive power started to fight each other. This lead to another coup 18 Fructidor , new purges, and major economic mismanagement. At first glance, it seems impossible to compare the Arab Revolution with the French Revolution, but there are more similarities than many would have expected.

The fourth phase, according to Brinton — the end of the revolution — saw a number of new constitutions and referendums. A new constitution was adopted and the Consulate [6] was established. Napoleon, however, started another coup and appointed himself first consul.

Again, a new constitution was adopted in a referendum with an approval rate of In , another referendum confirmed with The rest of history is also well known.

The survival of the Arab monarchies

France experienced one regime change after another. Republics, kingdoms, and empires replaced one another, which lasted until , when France became a stable democracy under the Third Republic. The constitution of was the 14th constitution since the start of the French Revolution 86 years prior. At first glance it seems impossible to compare the Arab Revolution with the French Revolution.

The most obvious reason is that contrary to France, the Arab Revolution has not been confined to one single country. Each country in the Arab world has witnessed its own history and chronology of events which has shaped it. It is clear that, for example, Tunisia and Syria have seen a very different outcome of their respective revolutions. However, the reason why the overview of the French Revolution has been addressed in a rather detailed way, is precisely because there are more similarities than many would have expected.

First of all, the revolutionary events in the Arab world all started in close secession. On that very same day, people started protesting in Jordan. On 25 January, thousands of Egyptians started to fill Tahrir Square. On February 3 rd , protests started in Yemen.

On February 17th in Libya.