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Monday, 9 September 2013

2012 Arab Spring: Impact on Africa, SE-Asia, Analysis

An observation and analysis of these changes and their impact is based on the data available openly.

This map is based on information compiled from the following sources:

  1. www.polgeonow.com
  2. geocurrents.info
  3. www.geopoliticalmonitor.com
I am no expert in geo-politics. My observations are strictly compilations with overtones of opinion. They are meant to be informative and helpful in analysis of global perception of the Arab Spring.

The Impact of these political changes has been direct affect on an already declining global economy. Petroleum prices have crossed the USD 110 per barrel mark. This could not be regulated or stemmed owing to the political crisis that is also a contributor to this sudden price rise.

Africa

Turkey was the center of International attention because of its harsh crackdown on protests. Turkey is still politically very stable and the protests are well under control. These protests were specifically during Jan-2013 - July-2013.

Iran has not been very open about the nature of the protests, but there has been international criticism about some known counter-protests moves.
Changes in Somalia have not exactly begun at the time of the Arab Spring, but have lasted much longer. Yet the arms supplies and piracy on high-seas reflect a change in the degree of the conflict within Somalia.

Sudan is not labeled to be in Civil War officially by the United Nations, although North-Sudan and Southern-Sudan are recognized, Southern-Sudan is asymmetrically lacking in resources. There is an on-going conflict to control a buffer zone across the Northern and Southern Sudanese borders which are recognized areas for providing International Aid.

In Libya the civil war was a major issue of concern only due to refugees and a major shake-down of the region in politics and governance.

Egypt had been the center of attention of the world immediately following Tunisia and Sudan where the revolution was labeled bloodless (relatively fewer points of conflicts.) In Egypt it is likely that this change will take a longer period of time to give political stability.

Changes in the Central-African-Republic have not received much global attention. However the points of armed conflict in this region are quite high and may even result in an escalated civil war.

Conflict points in Algeria have increased despite strong and stabilizing influence of foreign powers (specifically France/Europe).

Middle-East

Lebanon has also experienced changes, yet in comparison with the conflict in Syria, they have been minor. These have not been represented in the map.

Syria is considered to be more of a keystone to political stability of western Arabia. The use of a possible chemical agent and thermite weapons has become a major international concern only after March 2013.

Yemen and the UAE have had protests, but their governments seem to have responded without impacting the stability of the region.

Saudi Arabia has controlled protests due to asymmetric distributions of population and wealth across the region. Their press is also selective in reporting anything that might alarm travelers and the situation is considered to be stable.

Indian subcontinent

Afghanistan was also affected in a larger scale prior to the Arab Spring and has been far more influenced by external intervention. However, internal protests leading to changes have coincided with the 2012 Arab Spring protests.

Pakistan, especially in the North-West frontier has reported major Taliban incursions. The government claims to have control over these protests, though the people have reported issues of inability of the government to impose law and order in these regions. There is a concern that the north-western parts of Pakistan may be overrun by Taliban control.

Myanmar seems to have given room to political change after an extremely long duration that could even be labeled as a fight for democracy. Yet, the actual governmental changes are in strange coincidence with the Arab Spring.

In Sri Lanka, protests in the South have coincided with the success of the Arab Spring of 2012. However, the civil war in Sri Lanka has been cause for more serious concern even prior due to investigation and UN confirmation of large scale human rights abuse in the conflict.

Nepal has had political unrest and changes.

Maldives had a major protest coincidental with the Arab Spring that has induced a General Election and a new government should hopefully take over. This is not represented in the map.

In India, these changes include major protests in the peninsular eastern state of Andhra Pradesh. The escalation of these protests to disrupt normal life has happened only in July 2013. However key political centers of India continue to be stable and small-scale peaceful protests have not been representative of any massive uprising or indicators of possible civil war.

Analysis of Cause (Distributed War/Protests)

Extended reach and affordability of communications technology seems to be a key factor in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria. If mineral resources in the region were being exported and protests had initially impacted that, the scenario later appears as if external powers have been providing financial aid or arms/ammunition for conflicts. 

Further aiding the method of these anti-governmental protests has been the increasing use of what has been termed 'open-source war' coined by John Robb in his work "Brave New War." His initial study of the term has been in relation to global-terrorism. He labels the new movement, globalization of terrorism which permits a terrorist organization to propagate "method" rather than "motive" across the globe.

The pattern of protests happen prior to any conflict or civil-war. The lack of a single leader or organization coordinating the protests has been a defining nature of these protests. Conventional political control methods have therefore been ineffective. Hence demographic study and isolation techniques followed by governments including USA, UK, France have not been able to aid in stemming the protests. 

The urban-myth that followers of Islam or those with Farsi or Islamic name are exclusively being targeted has also related in negative social perception with no effect on the protests. It is true that those who participate in protests often fall easy prey to political doctrine wrapped in newfangled terms. Egypt here is an apt example of how the Muslim brotherhood's promise was perceived and how the actual promise was practically effected resulting in massive rejection of their rule. The Al-Qaeda is a (global) organization network that has grown utilizing these new social changes. Unlike its claims, it hasn't "invented" these methods, nor is it capable of inducing such major upheaval.

Protests against the World-Bank and its summits in the USA also followed a similar strategy where the participants varied entirely in demography. However the stratagems and tactics employed were consistent with protests that have led to civil strife in the Arab world.

In Egypt methods for organizing protests, surviving or responding to crowd-control techniques were circulated openly on social networking websites. This resulted in last-minute desperate moves by the (then) Mubarak-led government to cut Internet access which was too little, too late.

Foreign nations involved in trade in desperation for access to key minerals (often petroleum) seem to have directly or indirectly financed opposition or governmental factions to maintain their access. To put this in context, Turkey has been unwilling to openly comment at the NATO on the contrasting opinions on Syria between USA and Russia. This is primarily because Turkey's main export of Natural Gas is to Russia.

Indicators

It is most likely that the previous political stability levels of several nations which are presently affected by civil-war (after the 2012 Arab Spring) are responsible for the resultant level of conflict. Countries who are already more stable and have a higher degree of transparency have a lesser chance of their people being thrown into a situation of civil war. The contrast between mineral wealth and actual GDP representative of wealth access and distribution has also affected intensity of the protests. 

In some cases mineral wealth or access may also mean special resources that are not thus classified. The Suez canal is controlled by Egypt, especially Egyptian Military in times of crisis permitting them to become the fulcrum of stability. Some Arab countries are exclusive hubs for Internet services to the Indian subcontinent or other South East Asian nations. This is also a key control point. 

Some minerals used in new technology are not yet popularly known to people. They are often mistaken with minerals used for Nuclear weaponry or dismissed as non-mineral resources. This has been the case in India with  'Monazite sand', a key source for Thorium. Tantalum is also in major demand as consumption of wireless communication devices is on the increase.

Access to an international communication resource namely the Internet and Social Networks are key factors.

Conclusion

The world is experiencing a new wave of power to the general populace powered by ubiquitous affordable communication. Governmental activities to control this access, technology assisted social networks, content circulated on the Internet by governments are happening in a desperate attempt to retain centralized nation-state control.

The world is moving to a new highly connected globalized city-state scenario. The failure of the nation-state to address issues pertaining to individuals and group entities will play the role of an catalyst.

However this opinion of mine is to indicate an outcome that could take a decade or even a century based on current socio-political resistance.

It is absurd to jump to conclusions of conspiracy, Armageddon, reorganization of the world for control to Oil without understanding the role of technology, demand for alternate minerals, consumerism, consumer-pressure and the freedom of the individual which is what is being truly sought for.