Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, January 18th, 2019

The Ugly Face of Arab Spring


The Ugly Face of Arab Spring

The Arab Spring, which started on December 17, 2010 in Tunisia with the Tunisian Revolution, was a milestone around the globe. By the end of February 2012, rulers had been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen; civil uprisings had erupted in Bahrain and Syria. Protests in Syria started on  January 26, 2011, when a police officer assaulted a man in public at “Al-Hareeka Street” in old Damascus. The man was arrested right after the assault. As a result, protesters called for the freedom of the arrested man. Soon a “day of rage” was set for 4–5 February, but it was uneventful. On  March 06, 2011 the Syrian security forces arrested about 15 children in Daraa, in southern Syria, for writing slogans against the government. Soon protests erupted over the arrest and abuse of the children. Daraa was to be the first city to protest against the Ba’athist government, which has been ruling Syria since 1963. The unrest triggered nationwide protests demanding President Assad’s resignation. The government’s use of force to crush the dissent merely hardened the protesters’ resolve. By July 2011, hundreds of thousands were taking to the streets across the country. Opposition supporters eventually began to take up arms, first to defend themselves and later to expel security forces from their local areas. Violence escalated and the country descended into civil war as rebel brigades were formed to battle government forces for control of cities, towns and the countryside. Fighting reached the capital Damascus and second city of Aleppo in 2012.
Now, more than 250,000 Syrians have, reportedly, lost their lives in armed conflict and more than 11 million others have been forced from their homes as forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule battle each other – as well as jihadist militants from so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The UN has accused ISIS of waging a campaign of terror. This group has inflicted severe punishments on those who transgress or refuse to accept its rules, including hundreds of public executions and amputations. Its fighters have also carried out mass killings of rival armed groups, members of the security forces and religious minorities, and beheaded hostages, including several Westerners.
The ISIS fighters practiced their radical ideology in Syria and fueled the war. Moreover, they widened their realm of influence and carried out terrorist attacks not only in the Middle East but around the world. For instance, a terrorist attack on November 13, 2015 in Paris, the capital city of France, killed at least 130 people and wounded many others. Similarly, the terrorist attack carried out in San Bernardino, California on December 02, 2015, killed 14 people and injured 21 more – both the attacks had, reportedly, link with the ISIS group.
On Monday, December 19, 2016, the Turkish Officer Mevlut Mert Altintas gunned down Russia’s Ambassador Andrei Karlov as the diplomat spoke before an exhibition of Russian photos at an art gallery in the Turkish capital of Ankara. After killing the ambassador, Altintas, a 22-year-old officer with the riot police, denounced Russia’s role in the Syrian war, screaming:  “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!”
The shooting was among the most brazen retaliatory attacks yet on Russia since Moscow entered the war in Syria on the side of President Bashar al-Assad and unleashed a bombardment on Aleppo that has drawn international condemnation for what observers on the ground have called indiscriminate attacks on civilians.
Although, there was not yet any evidence that the shooter belonged to any radical Islamic groups, such as ISIS or the Nusra Front, the words of killer reveals his radical mindset and his tendency towards the ideology of ISIS. Based on his slogan, he resorted to this act of violence for the defeat of ISIS group in Aleppo.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the deadly truck rampage through a Berlin Christmas market a likely “act of terrorism”.
The incident had echoes of the deadly truck assault in the French city of Nice in July that killed 86 people and was claimed by the ISIS group. Initially Germany officials had hesitated to use the word “attack.” But early Tuesday police issued two tweets, one describing it as a suspected act of terror and the other declaring that “the truck was deliberately steered into the crowd at the market.”
The deaths in Berlin came just hours after a gunman in Zurich opened fire in an Islamic center, wounding three people who were praying, according to news reports. Police later found the gunman dead 300 yards from the scene of the shooting.
In July, a 27-year-old rejected Syrian asylum seeker detonated a bomb near the entrance to a music festival in the center of the southern German town of Ansbach, killing himself and wounding several people.
Although the Arab Spring aimed to strengthen democratic practices and defend the rights and liberty of the people and it also bore positive results in this regard, the horrible consequence is also beyond doubt. As a result, the war in Syria is the product of Arab Spring where the ISIS group could put its ideology into practice – which stoked sectarian violence and inflicted heavy casualties upon the civilians. In addition, the ISIS group seeks to gain foothold in other countries, mainly Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. 

Hujjattullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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