A revolutionary region? Signs of 'Spring' trickle through to the glitzy Gulf
In the first round of revolutions, the Arabian Gulf avoided, for the most part, a change in their regimes, placating opponents with money handouts and increasing welfare safety nets.
The drama in Egypt or Tunisia was sidelined in this oil rich region and with good reason. In North Africa, the initial lot of Springs were started by economic hardship. Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest terrible financial conditions in Sidi Bouzid, while shocking unemployment in Cairo left young people the time and motivation to demonstrate against their government. Continue reading below »
But there was a non-economic, some would say more important, reason behind the Springs. Corruption was rife, ‘elections’, when they did happen, bore no reflection on the people’s will and human rights were non-existent.
So, while the Arabia Gulf doesn’t have anything like the same economic problems as Egypt or Tunisia, their residents are finally starting to worry about their lack of rights.
The governments of the Gulf are often dealing with minorities living in their richest regions but reaping none of the benefits. Others are ruling over a majority sect different to their own.
While the biggest disruptions are taking place in Bahrain and Kuwait, other places are also starting to show signs of dissent. What their government may not realize is: the harder the crackdown on protestors, the more sympathizers join.
If this Spring is to happen, it will need the focus of the world’s media on the abuse of power by leaders and their law enforcers, which is already cropping up everywhere from Eastern Saudi to central Kuwait.
Is the Arab Spring in the Gulf about to happen? Or are we a long way off any changes? Tell us what you think below.