The Arab Spring and its Effects on the Region, the United States, and the International Community
Blythe, Devin M.
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The Arab Spring has fundamentally altered the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The regional revolution saw regime change in Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen, and civil wars in Libya and, at the time of writing this, ongoing in Syria. This thesis explores several dimensions of domestic and international politics related to the Arab Spring. Specifically, it evaluates the implications that the Arab Spring has had for selected Arab countries’ security relationships with the United States, how the Arab Spring has shed light on the doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect,” and the role of nonviolent civil resistance in outcomes in Libya. In examining the Arab Spring’s preliminary consequences, this thesis provides an initial understanding of how the revolutions affect the United States and challenge international norms. Each chapter uses a different method to come to its conclusion. To assess the effects of the Arab Spring on the U.S. security relationship with the MENA countries which did not experience regime change, two factors are applied: the country’s choice to adhere to public opinion and the influence of the shared threat with the United States. The chapter finds that among other things, a perceived common threat will continue to ensure a strong security relationship with the United States. The Arab Spring’s implications for “Responsibility to Protect” are determined by using the UN’s criteria for intervention and applying it in a comparison to the conflicts in Libya, where intervention was approved, and in Syria where the conflict continues. It is determined that the Syrian conflict does not meet the criteria for intervention due to the overriding interests of UNSC members. To evaluate the effectiveness of civil resistance, or nonviolent conflict, in Libya – where it was overshadowed by a violent civil war – effective strategies of civil resistance are applied to the movements present during the conflict. Civil resistance in Libya was effective and played a supporting role during the conflict to oust Qadhafi.