Arab Spring

Arab Spring
Tunisia Unrest - VOA - Tunis 14 Jan 2011 (2).jpg
Protesters in Tunisia (January 2011)
Date17 December 2010 – 2012
Caused by
Resulted inArab Spring concurrent incidents,
Arab Winter,
Impact of the Arab Spring,
and New Arab Spring (2018–19)
  • Tunisia: President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali ousted, charged, exiled and government overthrown.
  • Egypt: President Hosni Mubarak ousted, arrested, charged, and government overthrown.
  • Libya: Leader Muammar Gaddafi killed following a civil war that saw a foreign military intervention, and government overthrown.
  • Yemen: President Ali Abdullah Saleh ousted, and power handed to a national unity government.
  • Syria: President Bashar al-Assad faced civil uprising against his rule that deteriorated into armed rebellion and eventual full-scale civil war.
  • Bahrain: Civil uprising against the government crushed by authorities and Saudi-led intervention.
  • Kuwait, Lebanon and Oman: Government changes implemented in response to protests.
  • Morocco, Jordan and Palestine: Constitutional reforms implemented in response to protests.
  • Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Sudan and other Arab countries: Protests.
Death(s)61,080+ (International estimate; see table below)

The Arab Spring (Arabic: الربيع العربي) was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across North Africa and the Middle East in the early 2010s. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low standard of living, starting with protests in Tunisia (Noueihed, 2011; Maleki, 2011).[1][2] In the news, social media has been heralded as the driving force behind the swift spread of revolution throughout the world, as new protests appear in response to success stories shared from those taking place in other countries (see Howard, 2011).[3] In many countries, the governments have also recognized the importance of social media for organizing and have shut down certain sites or blocked Internet service entirely, especially in the times preceding a major rally (see The Telegraph, 2011).[4] Governments have also scrutinized or suppressed discussion in those forums through accusing content creators of unrelated crimes or shutting down communication on specific sites or groups, such as through Facebook (Solomon, 2011; Seyid, 2011).[5]

The effects of the Tunisian Revolution spread strongly to five other countries: Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain, where either the regime was toppled or major uprisings and social violence occurred, including riots, civil wars or insurgencies. Sustained street demonstrations took place in Morocco, Iraq, Algeria, Iranian Khuzestan,[citation needed] Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Sudan. Minor protests occurred in Djibouti, Mauritania, the Palestinian National Authority, Saudi Arabia, and the Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.[6] A major slogan of the demonstrators in the Arab world is ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ an-niẓām ("the people want to bring down the regime").[7]

The wave of initial revolutions and protests faded by mid-2012, as many Arab Spring demonstrations were met with violent responses from authorities,[8][9][10] as well as from pro-government militias, counter-demonstrators and militaries. These attacks were answered with violence from protestors in some cases.[11][12][13]Large-scale conflicts resulted: the Syrian Civil War;[14][15] the Iraqi insurgency and the following civil war;[16] the Egyptian Crisis, coup, and subsequent unrest and insurgency;[17] the Libyan Civil War; and the Yemeni Crisis and following civil war.[18]

A power struggle continued after the immediate response to the Arab Spring. While leadership changed and regimes were held accountable, power vacuums opened across the Arab world. Ultimately it resulted in a contentious battle between a consolidation of power by religious elites and the growing support for democracy in many Muslim-majority states.[19] The early hopes that these popular movements would end corruption, increase political participation, and bring about greater economic equity quickly collapsed in the wake of the counter-revolutionary moves by foreign state actors in Yemen and of the Saudi–UAE-linked military deep state in Egypt,[20] the regional and international military interventions in Bahrain and Yemen, and the destructive civil wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.[21]

Some have referred to the succeeding and still ongoing conflicts as the Arab Winter.[14][15][16][17][18] As of May 2018, only the uprising in Tunisia has resulted in a transition to constitutional democratic governance.[6] Recent uprisings in Sudan and Algeria show that the conditions that started the Arab Spring are not going away and political movements against authoritarianism and exploitation are still occurring.[22]


The term "Arab Spring" is an allusion to the Revolutions of 1848, which are sometimes referred to as the "Springtime of Nations", and the Prague Spring in 1968. In the aftermath of the Iraq War, it was used by various commentators and bloggers who anticipated a major Arab movement towards democratization.[23] The first specific use of the term Arab Spring as used to denote these events may have started with the American political journal Foreign Policy.[24] Political scientist Marc Lynch described "Arab Spring" as "a term I may have unintentionally coined in a 6 January 2011 article" for Foreign Policy magazine.[25][26] Joseph Massad on Al Jazeera said the term was "part of a US strategy of controlling [the movement's] aims and goals" and directing it towards western-style liberal democracy.[24] When Arab Spring protests in some countries were followed by electoral success for Islamist parties, some American pundits coined the terms "Islamist Spring"[27] and "Islamist Winter".[28]

Some observers have also drawn comparisons between the Arab Spring movements and the Revolutions of 1989 (also known as the "Autumn of Nations") that swept through Eastern Europe and the Second World, in terms of their scale and significance.[29][30][31] Others, however, have pointed out that there are several key differences between the movements, such as the desired outcomes, the effectiveness of civil resistance, and the organizational role of Internet-based technologies in the Arab revolutions.[32][33][34][35]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Arabiese Lente
asturianu: Primavera Árabe
azərbaycanca: Ərəb baharı
বাংলা: আরব বসন্ত
башҡортса: Ғәрәп яҙы
беларуская: Арабская вясна
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Арабская вясна
čeština: Arabské jaro
Ελληνικά: Αραβική Άνοιξη
Esperanto: Araba printempo
فارسی: بهار عربی
føroyskt: Arabiska várið
français: Printemps arabe
한국어: 아랍의 봄
Արեւմտահայերէն: Արաբական Գարուն
Bahasa Indonesia: Kebangkitan dunia Arab
íslenska: Arabíska vorið
italiano: Primavera araba
Latina: Ver Arabicum
latviešu: Arābu pavasaris
Lëtzebuergesch: Arabescht Fréijoer
lietuvių: Arabų pavasaris
magyar: Arab tavasz
македонски: Арапска пролет
مازِرونی: عربی بهار
Bahasa Melayu: Kebangkitan dunia Arab
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အာရပ်နွေဦး
Nederlands: Arabische Lente
日本語: アラブの春
occitan: Prima Aràbia
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Arab bahori
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਅਰਬ ਬਹਾਰ
پنجابی: عرب بسنت
português: Primavera Árabe
Scots: Arab Ware
Simple English: Arab Spring
slovenčina: Arabská jar
српски / srpski: Арапско пролеће
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Arapsko proljeće
Taqbaylit: Tafsut taɛrabt
Türkçe: Arap Baharı
українська: Арабська весна
اردو: عرب بہار
Tiếng Việt: Mùa xuân Ả Rập