The Arab Spring: An Assessment Three Years On

By Olivier Guitta

A new Henry Jackson Society Report – The Arab Spring: An Assessment Three Years On – examines the ways in which the Arab Spring has affected the citizens of countries across the Middle East and North Africa, and assesses the impact on countries three years later.

The Arab Spring: An Assessment Three Years On, launched today by The Henry Jackson Society, provides an urgently-needed examination of the impact of the Arab Spring uprisings. Surveying the economic, social, political and security arenas of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, the report finds that despite high hopes for democracy, human rights and long awaited freedoms, the overall situation on the ground is worse off than before the Arab Spring uprisings.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Economy: Libyan oil production has dramatically fallen by 80% as neighbouring Tunisia’s economy is now dependent on international aid. Egypt’s economy, suffering from a substantial decrease in tourism, has hit its lowest point in decades, at the same time Yemen’s rate of poverty is at an all-time high.
  • Democracy: Whereas Tunisia has been progressing towards reform, Libya’s movement towards democracy has failed with militias now effectively controlling the state. Egypt remains politically highly-unstable and polarized, as Yemen’s botched attempts at unifying the government has left many political schisms.
  • Social: Egypt’s human rights, especially those of women and minorities, have deteriorated to the point of regular physical attack; in Libya, arbitrary detention, torture and attacks against religious groups have become common; and Yemen’s social freedoms have been ranked as progressively worse every year since the Arab Spring. Only Tunisia represents hope with a new constitution providing freedom of press and increased rights for women.
  • Security: Extremist and fundamentalist activity is rising in all surveyed states, with a worrying growth in terror activities across the region: Tunisia has suffered from an unheard number of terror attacks from al-Qaeda; Libya‘s southern provinces have been taken over by jihadist groups; Egypt has seen a spread of insurgent activity in the Sinai as well as the state’s capital; and in Yemen, the influence of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the north is expanding, leading to confrontation with government troops.

Olivier Guitta, Research Director at the Henry Jackson Society and co-author of the report, said:

“Contrary to popular perception, there is insufficient analysis of the impact of the Arab Spring revolutions on the lives of those it most directly affected.  This report presents an accurate picture of what is actually happening, providing Western states with a deeper understanding of the security threats coming out of these countries.”

Download the full report here

Access the infographic here.


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