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The Historical Causes of the Arab Spring

The Arab Spring was a revolutionary wave of protest and demonstration that affected may nations of North Africa and the Middle East. This revolutionary wave stirred many nations to defy their authoritarian regimes. It employed both violent and non-violent tactics to advance their political agenda. Some of the tactics employed to advance the political agenda of the nations affected by the Arab spring according to Hamze Abbas Jammoul include protest, riots demonstrations, civil wars, and coups. The common slogan for many of the events of the Arab Spring, according to Hamze Abbas Jammoul, stated that “the people demand an end the dictatorial regime”. This paper will analyse the historical reasons that lead to the Arab Spring as advocated by Hamze Jammoul in his article, The Arab Spring: The Root Causes, which was published in 2012.

Jammoul’s Argument

According to Jammoul, the Arab Spring began in Tunisia in December 2010 and later spread to other nations of the Arab League and its surroundings like North Africa (Jammoul, 2012). To Jammoul’s mind, the historical reasons that lead to the spring cannot be restricted to internal historical grievances. International historical issues, such as the failure of the fight against terrorist groups, the Iraqi war was well as vested political and economic interest of powerful nations like the United States of America and the European Union, should also be taken into account. He argues that the Arab Spring, which started towards the end of 2010 in Tunisia and gained momentum in many nations of the Middle East and North America in 2011, was caused by historical problems which had remained unresolved until they reached the explosion level.

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Jammoul argued that the Tunisian revolution was instigated by the police corruption as well as ill-treatment from the authoritarian regime (Jammoul, 2012). According to Jammoul, poverty, inflation, human rights violation, rising cost of living, and high unemployment rate among the youth played an integral role leading to the democratic spring. However, issues like violation of human right and poverty have a historical basis, which Jammoul articulated so well. Jammoul gives the example of Arab spring in Egypt that was mainly instigated by violation of human rights by the Morsi administration. I absolutely support a  root cause of Arab spring in Egypt. There is  documentation which argues that even if the democratic spring was led by the youth majority of the university graduates who was unemployed, inhumane treatment of the authoritarian regime was the core reason for the violent protest and demonstrations of Egyptian youth (Bayat, 2013).

Jammoul provides another set of evidence that Arab spring was primarily caused by the suppression of human rights. He states that the struggle for political power continued to be the sole response to the revolutionary wave. With the advent of the spring, political leadership changed hand and regimes became more accountable, however, the having political power became popular in many Nations in the Middle East and North America because of the historical perception that having political power is the easiest way to amass wealth (Bayat, 2013). This argument by Jammoul is valid because research indicates that in countries where there are no political reforms, the political leaders and their inner cycle elites control economic activities. The Islamic republic of Iran is a good example, whereby the elite class close to the supreme leader controls over 50% of the economy of Iran (Bayat, 2013). Therefore, according to Jammoul in his article The Arab Spring: The Root Causes, constant struggle for political power as a mean of amassing wealth and the long history of violation of human rights were some of the internal root causes of the Arab Spring.

On the international front, Jammoul argues that western nations have played a major role in causing the Arab spring. Western countries like the United States of America are on record of supporting terrorist element as well as the opposition leaders of countries with valuable natural resources, such as oil and natural gas (Jammoul, 2012). This was aimed at causing political instability in countries where the United States of America and various powerful nations from Europe had an economic interest. Some countries where the Arab spring took place borrowed the Turkish model to advocate the political reforms. Some Arab countries with Islamic law wanted their political system to adopt the Turkish model because although Turkey had an Islamist government like many other Arab countries, political positions were peacefully contested which led to the fast-growing liberal economy (Bayat, 2013).

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Why I support the Argument of Jammoul

Jammoul proposes valid historical causes that of the Arab Spring. Political intolerance, economic inequalities as well as international interference has been widely cited by political historians to be some of the historical reasons that led to the democratic spring. Some historical observers referred to the Arab spring as “Arab awakening” implying that these nations were in a deep slump for a long period of time (Bayat, 2013). I support this assertion by Jammoul because authoritarian states like Iran had a long history of political leaders using their positions to amass wealth and at the same time used state machinery to torture and humiliate those people who agitate for political reforms. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, revolutionary courts are mandated with the humiliation, and torture those who oppose the ruling regimes (Bayat, 2013). I totally agree with Jammoul’s assertion because recent economic integration and globalization, sharing of information became easy, and taking into consideration that almost all the nations affected by the Arab Spring had an Islamist government, the idea of Turkish model is convincing.


The Arab spring was caused by both internal and international historically unsolved reasons. Even if the democratic spring was led by unemployed youth in many nations, the core reason for the violent protest and demonstrations was inhumane treatment that existed in the authoritarian regimes. Therefore, according to Jammoul, the internal causes that led to Arab Spring, include inhumane treatment of people in the authoritarian regimes as well as the greed of political leaders who used their position to amass wealth while leaving the masses to languish in poverty. The international reasons for the democratic spring include the desire of many Arab countries to adopt Turkish model, which was successful in Turkey as well as vested political and economic interest of foreign countries. Therefore, I agree with Jammoul and his article The Arab Spring: The Root Causes, where he describes the historical reasons that led to the Arab Spring.

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