The Arab uprisings represent a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests that swept the Arab world.1 The Uprisings were sparked by the first protests that occurred in Tunisia on December 18, 2010 following Mohammed Bouazizi's self-immolation in protest of police corruption and ill-treatment. Within a year, this wave left major changes in its wake: revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt that culminated in the downfall of these two regimes; a civil war in Libya resulting in the fall of its regime; civil uprisings in Syria and Yemen; major protests in Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Oman, Iraq, and minor protests in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan. In all of these Arab countries, the protests have taken the form of sustained campaigns involving thousands of ordinary citizens using the same techniques of civil resistance: strikes, demonstrations, marches and rallies. Particularly pivotal to the protest process as well has been the use of social media to organize, communicate, raise awareness, and issue danger alerts among the thousands of protestors in the face of state attempts at repression, internet censorship, crowd control, and even physical attack to the point of protestors being beaten or shot point blank.2 Many of the demonstrations in the Arab Spring have met violent responses from authorities, as well as from pro-government militias and counter-demonstrators.3

Salih, Osman, Kamal Eldin. "THE ROOTS AND CAUSES OF THE 2011 ARAB UPRISINGS." Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ) 2(2013):184. eLibrary. Web. 17 Oct. 2013

Shater believes that sharia must be the new law of the land in Egypt, and he has purged younger, more pragmatic dissidents. He has described his group's aims as fixed and unyielding. And, recently, in a move that frightens many secularists, Shater anointed himself presidential candidate for the Freedom and Justice Party, the brotherhood's new political arm. (On April 14, Shater was disqualified on technical grounds by Egypt's election commission.) Because the FJP is by far the best-organized party in Egypt — it won 47 percent of parliamentary seats in January — many experts think that even if Shater can't run himself, one of his underlings has a good chance in next month's elections to succeed America's former ally, Hosni Mubarak, as president of what is probably still the most influential country in the Arab world.

For U.S. interests in the region, this sounds like a nightmarish turn of events in the so-called Arab Spring, now more than a year old. But there is another side to Shater. He is also a wealthy and successful business executive and engineer who is privately telling U.S. acquaintances that his main agenda is to modernize Egypt and make it wealthy. It is an agenda that will require a lot of other adjustments: Making Egypt richer and more successful means opening up and aligning its fate with the global economy, leaving behind "Islamic" banking and other backward practices.

Hirsh, Michael. "Life After al-Qaida." National Journal. 19 Apr. 2012: n/a. eLibrary. Web. 17 Oct. 2013.

Egypt's cabinet yesterday warned that all necessary measures would be taken to end Muslim Brotherhood protests in Nasr City and Cairo against the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.

Interim information minister Dorreya Sharaf El-Din said the interior ministry had been authorised to "confront" threats to national security.

Last week interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim revealed that the police and army would choose a suitable day for dispersing the two- month-old encampments which have disrupted traffic and normal life in both cities and prompted clashes between protesters and residents as well as security personnel.

However, any move on these sites could lead to battles in the streets of the capital and elsewhere.

Since Mr Morsi was toppled at least 200 people have been killed, most of them Brotherhood supporters.

Despite the tough line being pursued by the transitional authorities, an African Union delegation, headed by former Malian president, Alpha Oumar Konare, met Mr Morsi, becoming his second visitors since his ouster on July 3rd.



EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton ended his isolation on Monday during her mission to press for an end to violence in the wake of the killing of 80 mostly pro-Morsi demonstrators at the weekend.

She failed to find common ground between the two camps. They remain far apart with the Brotherhood demanding Mr Morsi's reinstatement and the rival camp insisting that his supporters end their protests, reconcile and accept the roadmap for revising the constitution and holding parliamentary and presidential elections.

"Egyptian regime orders move against Brotherhood protests." Irish Times. 01 Aug. 2013: 11. eLibrary. Web. 17 Oct. 2013.

When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton abruptly abandoned President Obama's recent overseas trip — the embodiment of the administration's strategic "pivot to Asia" — the irony was lost on no one. Like so many of her predecessors, Clinton had to rush to the Middle East to try to head off calamity — in this case, the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Obama and Clinton were relearning a familiar lesson: American presidents have repeatedly tried to distance themselves from the internecine conflicts of the Middle East, only to have their legacies shaped by those crises. The list includes Jimmy Carter and the Iran hostage crisis; Ronald Reagan and the Beirut barracks bombing and Iran-Contra; George H.W. Bush's war with Iraq; Bill Clinton's unsuccessful Camp David summitry between Israel and the Palestinians; and George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq.

In each case, a combination of strategic interests in the world's energy wellspring, close alliances, implacable foes, and a penchant for fighting among the region's stubborn ethnic and sectarian tribes has exerted an almost irresistible gravitational pull on the White House. And it's happening again.

Today, the center of those forces is Syria's civil war, and Washington is being drawn toward that vortex. For many months leading up to the presidential election, the Obama administration kept the escalating crisis largely at arm's length, even as actors on all sides of the conflict anxiously awaited its next move. The events of just the past few weeks, however, have delivered an unhappy message that the United States cannot altogether escape Syria's flames and may yet find itself embroiled in the conflict, like it or not.

The recent fighting in Gaza revealed that Iran continues to arm extremist proxies such as Hamas and Hezbollah with ever-more sophisticated missiles, a reminder that Tehran is determined to put its anti-Western imprint on a post-Arab Spring region in a state of dynamic flux. Damascus remains a critical link in that strategy, which explains why Iran also continues to send arms and support to President Bashar al-Assad, even as his forces claim the lives of tens of thousands of Syrians. With a confrontation looming this year over Iran's suspected nuclear-weapons program, the fate of its Syrian ally is a critical if unpredictable factor in Tehran's strategic calculus.

Kitfield, James. "Will Washington Be Drawn Into Syria's Vortex?." National Journal. 29 Nov. 2012: n/a. eLibrary. Web. 17 Oct. 2013.

The west's dominance of the Middle East is ending
Byline: Gideon Rachman

Should the west arm the Syrian rebels? That is the issue of the day in Washington, London and at the Group of Eight summit. But behind this debate lies a bigger question. Can western powers continue to shape the future of the Middle East as they have for the past century?

The current, increasingly fragile borders of the Middle East are, to a large extent, the product of some lines on the map drawn by Britain and France in the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916. The era when Britain and France were the dominant outside powers ended definitively with the Suez crisis of 1956 - when the US pulled the plug on the two nations' intervention in Egypt. During the cold war, the US and the USSR were the big players. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, America stood alone as the great power in the Middle East: organising the coalition to defeat Saddam Hussein in 1991, protecting the flow of oil from the Gulf, containing Iran and attempting to broker a peace settlement between Israel and the Arab states.

Those who are urging the US to get more deeply involved in the Syrian conflict now are living in the past. They assume that America can and should continue to dominate the politics of the Middle East. But four fundamental changes make it no longer realistic, or even desirable, for the US to dominate the region in the old way.

These changes are the failures of the Afghan and Iraq wars; the Great Recession, the Arab spring and the prospect of US energy independence.

Over the past decade, the US has learnt that while its military might can topple regimes in the greater Middle East very quickly, America and its allies are very bad at nation-building. A decade of involvement has left both Afghanistan and Iraq deeply unstable and wracked by conflict. Neither country is securely in the "western camp".

The result is that even the advocates of western intervention in Syria, such as Senator John McCain, proclaim that they are opposed to "boots on the ground". Instead, they are pushing to supply weapons to the Syrian rebels - arguing that this is necessary to secure a more desirable political outcome.

President Barack Obama has given some ground to the "arm the rebels" camp. But his reluctance and scepticism are evident - and amply justified. If a full-scale western occupation of both Iraq and Afghanistan was unable to secure a decent outcome, why does anybody believe that supplying a few light weapons to the Syrian rebels will be more effective?

Rachman, Gideon. "The west's dominance of the Middle East is ending." 17 Jun. 2013: n/a. eLibrary. Web. 17 Oct. 2013.