World Bulletin / News Desk
The mass-political movement known as the Arab Spring which swept through Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia started on December 17, 2010, when a young Tunisian vegetable stall owner, Mohamed Bouazizi, immolated himself after being publicly humiliated by a female police officer.
Following the incident, mass protests against President Zine Abidine Ben Ali erupted across the North African country, resulting in the Tunisian dictator abandoning his post. This encouraged similar uprisings in other countries, which also saw the resignation of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen. Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed by rebels.
However, three years on, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is still barely holding on to power, and in the ongoing civil war between his regime troops and rebel forces, as many as 120,000 Syrians have been killed. Estimates also suggest that as many as 30,000 to 50,000 were killed in Libya’s revolution.
Thousands were also killed in Egypt’s 2011 revolution, after which clashes temporarily calmed down until they were reignited by the July 3, 2013 military coup which saw the ousting of elected president Mohamed Morsi. In the consequent riots, hundreds of Morsi supported were killed after being fired on by live ammunition by the Egyptian forces. Local sources say as many as 2,000 were killed in August’s Rabia al-Adawiyyah protests alone.
In Libya, the power vacuum created by Gaddafi’s absence has seen the country split into rival clans and militias, with sporadic violence between tribes and cities. The capital Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata have been hotspots for clashes.
Increased tensions between Sunni and Shiite groups resulting from the Syrian civil war has also occasionally spread into Lebanon, after Lebanese army Hezbollah became directly involved in the conflict in support of Bashar al-Assad. These tensions have also spread to Iraq, which has seen tit-for-tat attacks between Sunni and Shiite groups.
A similar situation also exists in Yemen, where battles between Shiite Houthis and Sunni Salafists have claimed the lives of hundreds. According to a report in Indonesia’s Jakarta Post, this takes the total of deaths to around 180,000 so far. As many as 6 million people have also been displaced from their homes.Last Mod: 20 Aralık 2013, 12:45