Contemporary world is facing drastic changes in terms of the power structure and regime. Public is playing the main role in this regime transition and its move towards democracy. It should be mentioned that economic, social, socio-economic and political factors are responsible for this change. All these factors play a significant role causing the changes, which take place in most parts of the world. The Arab Spring is a very significant and accurate example of such regime change in the contemporary world. A lot of factors caused the Arab Spring. Economic reasons played a vital role in the regime change for the countries, which further became a part of the Arab Spring. Poor economic conditions, poverty and, most importantly, unemployment made people get involved into the Arab Spring. The countries affected by the Arab Spring include Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen. Bahgat Korany in his book Arab Spring in Egypt: Revolution and Beyond highlights the importance of the above-mentioned economic conditions, which ultimately led to the Arab Spring. According to Korany (2012),
The Arab Spring in Egypt addresses these issues, examining the reasons behind the collapse of Egypt’s authoritarian regime; analyzing the group dynamics in Tahrir Square of various factions: labor, youth, Islamists, and women; describing economic and external issues and comparing Egypt’s transition with that of Indonesia; and reflecting on the challenges of transition.
The global food policy report (2011) also shows poor economic conditions and poverty of the countries, which played a decisive role in the Arab Spring., Shenggen Fan mentions that,
In parts of North Africa and the Middle East, long-standing factors—ranging from youth unemployment to growing income disparities and high risk of food insecurity—led to the Arab Spring, mainly in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, but also in Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen. Addressing the challenges that gave rise to the Arab Spring will require more inclusive development strategies. To improve household food security, governments in the region will need to adopt policies that stimulate inclusive growth, such as employment generation for the young and poor, as well as expanded and well-targeted safety nets (Fan, 2011).
Before the Arab Spring, all of those countries had a strong authoritarian regime headed by a powerful dictator. Apart from the economic disparities and some other factors, like poverty and unemployment, many other reasons should also be taken into consideration while discussing the reasons for the Arab Spring. The dictators were ruling these countries for decades. They suppressed and oppressed the citizens by their inhumane laws and rules. The basic fundamental right of freedom of speech or expression was denied to the citizens by the dictators in order to protect their authoritarian rule. However, since the beginning of the twenty first century, the things have changed and the new methods of communication and expressing oneself were used. Novel and relaxed means of communication provided the youth of the suppressed Arab and African countries a chance to express themselves and their anger against the tyrants. They used social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) to mobilize people against the dictators. It helped in their fight for the human rights including freedom of speech and expression. This social aspect of the Arab Spring has also been acknowledged by many of the authentic sources and has been entitled as one of the major reason for the Arab Spring. Great Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office published a Human Rights and Democracy Report in 2012. In this report, it has been highlighted that fight for human rights was at the heart of the Arab Spring.
At its core, the protests that swept the region are about citizens demanding their legitimate human rights and dignity. These universal rights cannot be taken for granted in many countries in the MENA region, where for decades they have been denied by narrowly based security regimes focused on survival and patronage politics. If the Arab Spring eventually succeeds in bringing relatively open and democratic societies, it will be the greatest gain for human rights and freedom since the end of the Cold War… Freedom of association has been progressively restricted over the years. Some civil society groups were specifically restricted, particularly those working on human rights and transparency. They faced government obstruction and harassment, culminating in raids in late December against local and international organizations. While we recognize the need for regulation of civil society, we have urged the government to ensure that this takes place in a transparent and fair manner… Once the Arab Spring began, alongside traditional media and international satellite media channels, online social media played a facilitating role in mobilizing protestors (Human Rights and Democracy, 2012).
The politics had a huge influence on the Arab Spring. Before the revolution, the elections in these states were unfair. The dictators always elected themselves as the heads of the states and extended their ruling tenures. Therefore, a strong sense of hatred appeared in the minds of people regarding their rulers. Moreover, no one was allowed to form political parties in these countries during the authoritarian regimes of the dictators. Thus, people started uprisings against the dictators during the Arab Spring and demanded democracy and change in leadership, which forced the dictators to give up their authoritarian rule.
The Arab Awakening offers broad lessons by analyzing key aspects of the Mideast turmoil, such as public opinion trends within the "Arab Street"; the role of social media and technology; socioeconomic and demographic conditions; the influence of Islamists; and the impact of the new political order on the Arab-Israeli peace process(Pollack, 2012).
According to the Human Rights report, the desire for increased political participation was one of the most important reasons of the Arab Spring (Human Rights and Democracy, 2012).