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Opinion: Has the Arab Spring nose-dived? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Libyan protester burns a portrait of Libyan leader Mummer Gaddafi in front of the Libyan embassy in Kuala Lumpur. (AFP)

It wasn’t only the Economist or many Western analysts who asked this question. It’s a question asked by millions of Arabs who witnessed the historical changes that began two and a half years ago.

The overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and the revolt against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad are enough to justify calling these changes an Arab Spring. These two serious events represented a real change carried out by the people.
One should also not underestimate Egypt’s spring, in which Hosni Mubarak’s regime was toppled and in which the Brotherhood’s government was also ousted. Before that, Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in Tunisia and Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted in Yemen.

Without Libya’s revolution, Qaddafi may have lived 10 more years, and someone just like him would have inherited governance, leading to the survival of one of the strangest and the worst regimes in modern history. In Syria, the persistence of the majority of Syrians in seeking to topple Bashar Al-Assad shows the brutality of the regime that ruled the country for four decades and spread terror in the region.

Toppling Mursi represents the second chapter of the Egyptian spring. It shows that the Egyptians demand real change. They granted the Brotherhood a precious opportunity to run the country but the Brotherhood seized this opportunity to repeat the governing mistakes of Mubarak, ruling with the same mentality of dominance and monopoly of power.

It’s natural for the collapse of violent and deep-rooted regimes to leave behind chaos and disappointment, like what we see in Libya. The fall of the Gaddafi regime left behind a vacuum filled by groups with a Gaddafi mentality and a belief in the power of arms. After their failure in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia and Algeria, and after their defeat in Mali, terrorist groups which sneaked into the country to take over it joined the former groups in Libya. They are attempting to get involved in Arab Spring countries that are still in a phase of transition, like Egypt and Tunisia.

The spring isn’t rosy. The long and bloody duration of the uprising in Syria has proved this. But the permanence of the war there and the life and material losses the people have suffered mean that they will keep going until Assad’s end. Their determination and will have proved to be steadfast.

This itself is a confirmation that Damascus’ spring is real and not just a mere attempt. The same goes for Yemen, which remains the most successful Arab Spring country. The Yemeni, have made it half-way now, and they are the most capable at confronting crises among Arab Spring countries.