Arab Spring

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  • Human Security and the Arab Spring

    The Arab Spring was ignited by an undeniable human security goal of achieving freedom from want, freedom from fear and freedom to live in dignity. This article analyses how human security concerns have figured in the Arab Spring and shaped its course.

    January 2013

    "Peace" for Gaza: Lessons from Israel’s “brutish” stand-off with Hamas

    Both sides appear to have wisely avoided a gruelling battle of attrition by opting for a tactical truce - not seemingly on account of a preference for peace but because of a pragmatic recognition of the futility of further conflict.

    November 26, 2012

    Kamlesh Kumar Jingar asked: How India and Egypt can rebuild their relations after the Arab Spring movement?

    Prasanta Kumar Pradhan replies: India and Egypt are looking forward to strengthening their bilateral ties in the aftermath of the regime change in Cairo. India has shown no hesitation in dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood which is in power and has already made the first contacts with the new government. The Egyptian Government is expected to reciprocate India’s initiatives to further deepen the relationship.

    As India-Egypt relationship is often seen in the context of the golden era of the Nehru-Nasser relationship, there lie a number of challenges to the relationship with the changing geo-political realities. There are, however, a number of areas of potential cooperation. Trade, an important factor in the relationship, could help strengthen the interaction between the two countries. Both sides need to take measures to build confidence on the issue of trade and investment. Sectors, such as, irrigation, solar energy, agriculture, information technology, human resources, etc., are other areas of potential cooperation and collaboration between the two.

    Politically, there is a need for both the countries to exchange ideas through frequent high level visits and contacts. It is also important to forge consensus on issues of regional and international concern. Both the countries have important roles to play in their respective regions. To regain the old charm in the relationship, the people-to-people contact should be developed between the two countries through the medium of education, tourism, culture and academic exchanges.

    Arab Spring: Aspirations Met Or Dreams Unfulfilled?

    As we move into the second winter of the Arab Spring, this Issue Brief attempts to take stock of the progress of the Arab Spring and examine whether the aspirations of people have been met or have they been handed a raw deal.

    October 26, 2012

    Is Arab Spring Part-2 Unravelling?

    Just when it seemed that the Arab Spring was almost over and the region was entering a phase of political transition, a flurry of developments in the first week of October 2012 has brought the region back into focus.

    October 12, 2012

    Neeraj Kapoor asked: The Arab Spring has churned the world, including democratic, communist and capitalist countries. What has been the overall impact of the Arab Spring at the wider international level?

    Satish Nambiar replies: The overall impact of the Arab Spring has not been uniform. While it has been generally warmly welcomed in the developed world comprising established democracies and free-market economies, and in most developing countries that have evolved into democracies, the response has varied from the muted to the subdued in countries under communist rule and under autocratic regimes. Whereas the former see this as a manifestation of the assertion of the will of the people towards greater personal freedom and an exercise of the rights and privileges of the people, the latter are concerned about the impact the movement can have within their own societies that have long been subjected to rigid control over civil liberties. They perceive the movement as a threat to their survival as the sole dispensers of the well being of their people. The more significant impact that merits close monitoring is on the monarchies that are ruling Saudi Arabia and many of the Gulf states with significant Shia populations that are awakening to their destinies, propelled as they are by what has transpired in a country like Iraq.

    There is of course another dimension to the development. While the assertion of the will of the people, personal freedom and civil liberties is welcome, the outcome of the elections that have followed, have some disturbing connotations. In almost all instances, parties with established radical Islamist inclinations appear to have secured the majority of the votes. Should this trend be benign, there is no need for alarm. But if this becomes the trigger for the more extremist policies that encourage activities like those undertaken by the Al Qaeda and associated movements, the international community will need to evolve policies to deal with the problem. That is the challenge.

    Hans Raj Singh asked: What is the impact of Arab uprisings on India, politically and economically?

    Prasanta K. Pradhan replies: The uprisings in the Arab world do not seem to have any direct political impact on India as India does not play a proactive political role in the region; rather, it poses a challenge for India’s foreign policy. India is opposed to any kind of intervention in the affairs of other states and believes that the problems should be resolved taking into account people’s aspirations. Thus, India abstained from voting in the United Nations Security Council over draft resolutions on Syria and Libya. However, with huge stakes involved in the region – political, economic and security - the Arab uprisings are a test case for India’s policies and approach towards the region.

    Economically, the Arab uprisings have led to a sharp increase in oil prices as oil production and supply were affected by the protests. The oil prices increased from around US$ 89 per barrel in December 2010, when the protests started, to over US$ 120 per barrel in May 2011. This can be attributed as one of the reasons for the rising oil prices in India. The impact of the uprisings on trade and investment has not yet been properly ascertained. But it has been reported that a number of Indian companies who have invested in several projects in the region, particularly in North Africa, are concerned about their investments and the future security environment in the affected countries. Also, there may be some marginal fall in remittances as number of Indian workers from Libya and Egypt have come back home.