Category Archives: Libyan Conflict

New Perspectives on the Sociology of the Arab Spring – mark II

This is a follow-up article (mark II) to “The Sociology of the Arab Spring: A Revolt or a Revolution?”, which took a sociological approach in explaining the Arab uprisings, that spread throughout the Middle East since the end of the last year, and reached a conclusion on whether the Arab Spring consists of revolts or revolutions. Although at the time the first article was published many uprisings in different countries were still in progress, as they are right now, in retrospect, it seems that our analysis and conclusions did not fall far from reality. Thus, given the importance of these developments for the region and the world as well as the great interest shown for the first article, we considered the analysis of the currently unfolding events in the Middle East to be expedient. Hence, the purpose of this article is twofold: 1) the analysis of the new developments in Libya, Syria and Egypt, based on the theoretical framework that was set in the first article; and 2) the comparison of the conclusions of the two articles, thus evaluating our initial findings regarding the nature of the Arab Spring.

For the sake of coherence a few basic elements of the theoretical framework are repeated. Firstly, this article accepts that a “revolution” is a social movement that: a) is massive, b) leads to fundamental and systemic changes or reforms, and c) requires the use of violence.[i] Furthermore, revolutions are of larger scale, they last longer and have more extensive outcomes than revolts.

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The New Iraq? Libya After Gaddafi

Gaddafi is dead and the Libyan people are outside in the streets, celebrating their victory against the 42 year dictatorial regime. Yet while the dictator is gone, difficult choices lie ahead for the Libyan people.

Libya has not become a “new Iraq” in the sense of western forces undertaking the same role they did in that country. Rather the West preferred to conduct a proxy war against the regime through the rebels. So, the rebels took the victory, killed the dictator and now they are expected to re-build their own state. This is no bad thing! After all, the coalition forces did an extremely poor job in Iraq and no one would expect them or want them to treat Libya as Iraq – mark II.

Yet, it would be naïve of us to think that the West will now leave Libya alone to stand on its own feet, and, most importantly, rely on its own resources! Therefore, despite the fact that the toppling of the Libyan regime took place under different circumstances and was undertaken by different actors than those involved in the downfall of the Iraqi one, the presence and influence of the West or at the very least of western interests – will be very obvious.

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