Image 1 of 12: While other countries have turned the Arab Spring to their political advantage, Syria it would seem has not. The picture today is a bleak one of death & destruction. Massacres continue - after Houla, now Qubair - compounded with futile international efforts, as Syria is fast-turning into a regional and international battleground.
Image 1 of 12: Free choice or free fiasco: While Egypt appears to have progressed since the revolution, the country is near crisis point, torn between a future of Islamic fundamentalism or going back to the old style dictatorship under Shafiq. While Mubarak has been convicted & dealt a life sentence, no one is happy as protestors take to the streets again.
Image 1 of 12: Yemen has been a crisis-ridden country for some time now, but poverty & food crisis have reach unprecedented levels today. UNICEF cites Yemen as the 2nd worst country worldwide for malnutrition. Women & kids have taken the brunt and front the face of suffering. Feeding centers have opened nationwide to combat the high rate of child mortality.
Image 1 of 12: Whose side is it anyway? Syria violence spills over to nights of tire-burning in Beirut & Tripoli. Hard to believe but yet again Lebanon looks head-on into the face of a civil war. A simple kidnapping (in Lebanon kidnapping is par for the course) escalated into a giant political mess, involving Hezbollah. Nothing stays simple in the Cedar state.
Image 1 of 12: Business as usual in Gaza: As the summer starts, the water crisis hits the West Bank while settlers bathe in the swimming pools. Gaza rumbles on with shootings and skirmishes at the border. Meanwhile politicians are still squabbling over unity governments.
Image 1 of 12: It might all go South: War looms between North and South Sudan only months after fiercely contested independence was achieved for South Sudan. Some have said this was Omar al-Bashir's plan all along so he could retake the South, since granting their reluctant southern half's independence shook off the UN monitors.
Image 1 of 12: After the Spring could come a Fall. Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, looked like it was on the path to a greener side. But could now face an extremist takeover, as Salafis rampage through the capital burning shops selling alcohol, & army units are deployed to protect the public. Is this a barometer of how all the revolutions will go?
Image 1 of 12: Iraq has not been a happy country for a long time now. Chaos ensued after the 2003 invasion and things have not looked up since. The US troop withdrawal may have just left another security & power vacuum, with Iraq descending into more crises. Government corruption and politically motivated sectarian bombings are still rife. Iraqis are desperate.
Image 1 of 12: Jordan is every-Arab's safe haven, but it's not trouble-free. The refugees queue up to get in but how will the Kingdom manage its resources? All looks well on the surface, all quiet on the Jordan front (save the sporadic fighter jet military exercises) - but the recession is biting. Unemployment & a dire economical outlook does not inspire hope.
Image 1 of 12: Unemployment is the only stable factor in the Middle East just now with most if not all of the non-Gulf states suffering recession or just poor economical prospects, manifested to the people in inflated gas and electricity prices.
Image 1 of 12: Yemen's unstable political situation, with corrupt tribal leaders still vying for power, breeds insecurity not to mention that Al Qaeda is still prevalent as American drone attacks continue full throttle.
Image 1 of 12: Bahrain's ignored revolution: An ongoing crisis has lurched from one Shia-Sunni round to the next. Today people still scream "Down with King Hamad" but the world is hardly that interested given the more reported revolutions to follow. Saudi has been at the helm of a counter revolution to keep rebellion at bay & its interests in the region safe.
To float one's eyes over a map of the Middle East, is to see a region in distress. Revolution or not, the Arab region has not been faring well for a while and has been failing to get out of deadlock political situations and economic black holes.
While Egypt looks to be getting somewhere with its first free presidential elections coming to fruition, all eyes are on the blood baths in Syria and free elections may be harbingers to rougher times ahead, even if freely chosen. Syria's revolution is nowhere near getting off the ground in terms of people's will being heard. Iran & Russia are allegedly helping Assad with weapons.
While Lebanon seemed to have weathered the Harirri tribunal storm it might not have escaped the Syria spillover. And we all know how volatile the Cedar state is, prone to flaring up when aggravated by neighbors.
Iraq looks to be going nowhere promising. A series of bombs have blasted Baghdad and politicians with their sectarian power-battles are implicated. Erbel in the north does however tell a different story. But the Kurdish region has had a lot of investments pouring in and economic prosperity gives them more than a fighting chance. But Erbel is a patch and probably an anomaly in a region of arguably failure on failure.
Tunisia shows a picture today of corruption, insecurity and financial and social ills that gave rise to revolution in the first place - all still unsovled post-revolution. And this was supposed to be the Jasmine pioneer. The Islamic hardliners are leading the way to signs of a Salafist take over regionally.
Even after violence and war fatigue has set in, with added Arab Spring fatigue to boot, Arab states are still managing to impress the world audience anew with their continued flagrant failures, stale and freshly brewed.
Here's a roundup of the miserable state of Middle Eastern affairs today.
Do you agree or take issue with the statement that the Middle East is a bit of a miserable mess just now more than ever? Have your say in the comment space below.