What's left of the Arab Spring?

Freedom, democracy and prosperity were the goals of the demonstrators who occupied Cairo's Tahrir Square five years ago. What has become of the revolution?

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Magyar Idők (HU) /

Revolt was doomed to fail

All that is left of the Arab Spring is widespread disillusionment, commentator Levente Sitke writes in the centre-right daily Magyar Idők:

“Five years ago the Arab world sincerely believed it was possible to change history and erase the past. It also believed that a host of slaves could shake the world's very foundations and replace the ruling elite. Revolutions, however, are generally betrayed. In fact that is their governing principle, so to speak. And that's how it was with the Arab Spring as well. The people firmly believed in it but no one really knew where it was heading. ... The Arab Spring was doomed to fail: and an untold number of people have had to die in vain.”

Milliyet (TR) /

Discrepancies arise without dictators

The Arab Spring became a fiasco in most countries; only in Tunisia have hopes for more democracy come true, the conservative daily Milliyet writes:

“One should not forget that the Arab world is not homogenous. Nevertheless it is possible to name a few similarities. After many years of dictatorial rule, the lifting of oppression in these countries allowed the particularities of the population structure, the differences and tensions between ethnic and religious groups to come to the surface. Since Tunisia has a more homogenous population structure and a modern culture, it had more ease adapting to a pluralist system. But in Syria, Libya and Yemen ethnic and religious differences have resulted in fighting and upheaval. In Egypt, by contrast, the still existent 'military factor' did not allow a religious government although it was elected.”

The Guardian (GB) /

The spirit of Tahrir lives on

Not all the dreams of social transformation in Egypt have been shattered, the centre-left daily The Guardian writes optimistically:

“It cannot be denied that the Egyptian political model since Nasser - which is of an army-business elite, with some limited reform aspirations, demanding deference and obedience, running an economy that offers foreigners big profits and workers few rights, and supported by a numerous, heavy-handed and unaccountable police - is broken. It has sometimes had certain benign and paternal aspects, but they have been increasingly less evident as the years have gone by. And Egyptians have changed. A narrow opposition has broadened out. So the proper verdict on the Egyptian revolution, and on the counter-revolution that followed it, is that they are both still with us, and that the story is far from over.”

Star (TR) /

Major powers smothered revolution

The major powers are responsible for the failure of the revolution in Egypt, the pro-government daily Star writes:

“General Sisi's military coup on July 3, 2013 was an imperialist putsch carried out at the behest of the big powers. Sisi is nothing but a puppet. The second target of these powers was Erdoğan. ... But they weren't successful. Turkey even tried the putschists of [the military coup in Turkey in] 1980, teaching the big powers a lesson they couldn't fail to understand. The major powers didn't even call the coup in Egypt a coup: on the contrary they welcomed the coup leader Sisi to all international forums to give him legitimacy.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

It all depends on Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey

Five years on, the Arab Spring movement is in a disastrous state, observes the liberal business daily Hospodářské noviny:

“Libya, Syria and Yemen are in a state of chaos and the other countries - with the exception of Tunisia - have all reverted to heavy-handed governments. The frequent argument that the West is to blame for all this is, however, unfounded. The reasons for the emergence of the Arab Spring were homemade, as are those for its failure. … The internal problems can't be solved from one day to the next. The Muslim countries of the Middle East are subject to tensions that could trigger an open conflict between the three key states Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. Peace in the region can only be achieved if these countries adopt a pragmatic approach towards each other.”