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Arab Spring

The phenomenon known in German-speaking countries as the “Arab Spring,” and in Anglophone countries also as “Arabellion,” refers to the period of mass uprisings, demonstrations, and revolutions, which began in 2010 in the Arab countries of the Middle East and the Maghreb. These national uprisings, which received much media attention, were primarily directed against the existing autocratic and dictatorial regimes and frequently resulted in violent riots. However, this actually brought about political change only in a few states – for example, in Tunisia through the fall of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011 and in Egypt through the resignation of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 – but due to the lack of established democratic structures it is doubtful whether this will change much in the social and economic situation of the people in the long term. In Syria the uprisings led to a devastating civil war, which is still ongoing. In Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, the forms of civil disobedience (demonstrations, strikes, graffiti, or distributing leaflets), which were mostly organized via social media, were either stopped by violent intervention on the part of the state authorities, or the protesters were placated by a partial change of government.