Essay: Intervention and the Civil War

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Intervention and the Civil War:

The end of the Western military intervention in Arab and Islamic countries appeared to have come to an end by early 2010 following the embarrassment of the United States and its Western allies in Iraq and Afghanistan. The embarrassment forced these countries to seek for ways of disengaging from their current commitments in the Arab and Muslim countries immediately while there was strong public opinion against any new intervention. As the United States and its Western allies were seeking for ways to disengage from present commitments, there was an upheaval in the Arab world in late 2010, which was commonly known as the Arab Spring. This turmoil affected the trend and contributed to concerns of the need for external Western military engagement in the region as part of international agenda.

Civil War:

The Arab spring is an issue that has emerged when an uprising against an existing dictatorial regime encounters military force from the present regime in attempts to suppress the protests (Brom, n.d.). As a result, the conflict develops into the next stage where it escalates into a long-lasting civil war between different elements of the population. The probability of the conflict to escalate into this phase is usually a characteristic of societies that are divided across tribal, ethnic, or religious lines as well as some combinations of some of these characteristics.

During this process, the military forces that are loyal to the regime unite with sectors that are supporting the dictatorial regime to fight the opposing forces. This contributes to the emergence of a civil war, which is usually ugly in its nature since the regulations of international law that govern armed combat are not adhered to. Moreover, the civil war is usually ugly because the general public becomes the main target of the warring parties. In some cases, there are fears that the civil war may spread into neighboring countries and hinder the interests of external players. Therefore, intervention by external military forces such as regional or extra-regional forces is a necessary measure in stopping the civil war and its negative impacts. In cases where the conflict is resolved quickly through suppression of the opposing protests or conquering the dictatorial regime, the issue of external military intervention to end the civil war becomes unnecessary.

The Arab Spring:

The rise of forces that oppose current dictatorial regimes have recently occurred in Arab and Muslim countries, which has commonly been referred to as the Arab Spring. This was primarily a series of protests and uprisings in the Middle East region whose origin is attributed to events that took place in Tunisia in late 2010. As these protests spread into other countries in the region, they brought down several regimes in some Arab countries while generating mass violence in others. However, some governments in the Middle East region successfully delayed the trouble through a combination of several measures like repression, state assistance, and promise of reforms (Manfreda, n.d.).

Tunisia is regarded as the birthplace of the Arab Spring because of the nationwide protests that occurred in December 2010 following the self-immolation of a local vendor, Mohammed Bouazizi, due to injustices suffered at the hands of the local law enforcement personnel. These countrywide protests were mainly geared towards corruption and the repressive policies adopted by President Ali's regime. The protests forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country in January 2011 following the rejection by armed forces to bring down the protests and growing opposition.

These protests were soon followed by events in Egypt that contributed to the end of President Mubarak's reign. While the Tunisian events are widely regarded as the genesis of the Arab Spring, the decisive moment that transformed the Middle East region forever was the end of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian uprising proved to be a decisive moment in the Arab Spring because President Mubarak was the key Arab ally of Western countries since 1980. Protests against Mubarak's regime started in January 2011 and forced him to resign less than one month later following the military's refusal to intervene and crack down opposing masses that gathered at the central Tahrir Square in the country's capital.

After President Mubarak's fall, governments and protestors in the Middle East region were shocked at the events that occurred in Tunisia and Egypt. The Tunisian protests contributed to the end of an extremely secularist regime that had enforced unusually oppressive control over citizens for several decades. On the contrary, the events in Egypt resulted in the end of a decade of protests and challenge that broke the power of an arrogant regime that had recaptured complete control of its tumultuous population (Lynch, 2012, p.104).

The impact of the uprisings on the Middle East region was very clear and direct since anything seemed possible at that moment. Actually, the Middle East region experienced a tsunami of protests from disgruntled publics that took to the streets in opposition of the policies and practices of existing regimes. The explanations on the differences in each country that experienced the protests were instantly rejected by the fact that these massive protests were modeled after the Tahrir Square protest in Cairo, Egypt.

However, the simultaneity and extent of the series of protests that followed the Tunisian and Egyptian events changed very different local challenges into a unified Arab uprising. Frustrated, disgruntled and discontented citizens took to the streets in various Arab and Muslim countries after the opposition and civil protests that contributed to the fall of Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak. Generally, these citizens had never believed that there was a possibility for change until they witnessed the shocking events in Tunisia and Egypt. Notably, the Arab protest movements observed, supported, and imitated each other over time.

Some of the other Arab countries that were marked with civil protests following events in Tunisia and Egypt include Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Morocco, and Jordan. The wave of protests in Jordan, Morocco, Syria, and Bahrain were mainly fueled by success in North Africa as well as similar demographic realities, demands for better representation, and failures of state policies. Despite being driven by the factors, the protests failed to effect regime change in their respective territories (Dodge, n.d.).

Intervention:

As previously mentioned, intervention in a civil war that is characterized by a series of protests against an existing regime requires military intervention either by national, regional, or extra-regional forces. Since the commencement of the Arab uprising, there were different incidents of direct external military intervention in the Middle East region. These two entirely different cases of intervention by armed forces occurred in Libya and Bahrain on behalf of the rebels and on behalf of the regime respectively. Generally, it seems that the goals of each respective intervention were accomplished despite being entirely different in nature.

The external military intervention is the civil war is carried out on behalf of the rebels to help in ending the existing dictatorial regime. This kind of intervention is usually characterized by a fairly quick toppling of the existing regime, which eventually leads to the success of rebellion and achievement of the aims of the protests. In contrast, the direct external military intervention carried out on behalf of the regime is usually characterized suppression of the emerging force and civil protests. Since the objectives of the rebellion and civil protests are not achieved, this military intervention contributes to the success of the existing regime.

However, for external parties to use direct military intervention to help stop a civil war in a foreign country or territory, various factors are critically considered. First, these parties examine humanitarian conditions in the region in order to prevent atrocities and harm to innocent civilians or citizens. These humanitarian considerations usually exert much influence across public opinion. Secondly, external parties assess strategic… [END OF PREVIEW]

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