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Kenneth Jost’s Article “Unrest in the Arab World”

The Arab Spring was started not only as of the change of the political regimes but also as a change in the public consciousness regarding the ideas of civil and political rights. Such viewpoints are promoted in work “Unrest in the Arab World,” which was written by Kenneth Jost in 2013. To understand the situation in the Arab world, it is necessary to refer to the key ideas declared by Jost and compare them with the facts regarding the current situation in the world.

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In his article, Jost states that the Arab Spring did not end, and the civil war in Syria is only one more step in the chain of uprisings; moreover, even those countries in which uprisings led to the change of political regimes cannot be discussed as ‘free’ in relation to the idea of civil and political rights that is why it is possible to expect the further development of the civil movements in the region. To receive the complete picture related to the situation of unrest in the Arab world which is observed during the recent years, it is necessary to summarize the key points provided by Jost in his article published in 2013, to compare the conclusions with the information on the current situation in Africa and the Middle East, and to discuss the United States’ position in relation to the conflicts while concluding on the choice of the appropriate policy and plan of actions.

In his article, Kenneth Jost notes that the Arab Spring brought only partial relief for the countries of the Arab world because the uprisings ended mostly with the partial results and with the unclear plans for the further progress of such countries as Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. The most controversial situation is associated with Syria because of the developed civil war. Jost pays attention to the fact that it is impossible to conclude in the same way for the results of the Arab Spring in all the countries because, in spite of the similar pattern, all the countries differ in relation to realizing the ‘ideals’ of the Arab Spring (Jost 109-112).

Although Egypt and Libya survived the change of the regimes and focused on the declaration of the political and civil rights, these countries can be discussed only as partially free, and many participants of the Arab Spring only concentrated on realizing the modest civil and political reforms. Jost also refers to the example of Bahrain as the country to demonstrate the strong resistance to the tendencies of the Arab Spring while supporting the traditions (Jost 111). The author states that the rises of the Islamists parties, the freedom deficit, and the focus on religious and social traditions are the main challenges to change the regimes in all the Arab countries according to the ideals of the Arab Spring.

Jost focuses in his article on the idea that the Arab Spring is not ended, and this process is connected with the fact that the situation in Syria is not stable. This idea is also discussed in the article “Has the Arab Spring Failed?” published in The Economist in July of 2013. The authors of the article note that the Arab Spring brought unexpected results. In spite of the fact that the elements of democracy can be observed in the political life of Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen, the overall results are not positive. The Arab Spring outcomes should be discussed with references to the bloody civil war in Syria and an unstable regime in Egypt (“Has the Arab Spring Failed?” 11). The authors are inclined to support the ideas stated by Jost in his article, and they even conclude that it would be better if the Arab Spring “had never happened at all” (“Has the Arab Spring Failed?” 11). Thus, the Arab Spring brought much struggle and violence to the Arab countries in comparison with few positive results.

Furthermore, there is also no adequate, stable solution for the conflict in Syria. Referring to a range of articles published in The Economist, it is possible to note that the situation in Syria only worsens, and Jost’s predictions on the development of the conflict seem to be reasonable and supported with the evidence on the recent events. Thus, it is stated in the article “The Jihadists May Have Gone Too Far; Syria, Iraq and al-Qaeda” that the Islamist groups influence the situation in Syria significantly, and the civil war only becomes more intense and controversial because of the impossibility to find the peaceful resolution for the range of political and religious questions (“The Jihadists May Have Gone Too Far” 39).

Thus, the ideas presented in this article also support Jost’s considerations on the role of the Islamist group in the development of the conflict. According to Jost, the Islamist groups are powerful and rather threatening to guarantee stability in the Arab countries because of the focus on their radical goals (Jost 124). As a result, following Jost’s conclusions and the information presented in the article “The Jihadists May Have Gone Too Far; Syria, Iraq, and al-Qaeda,” it is possible to note that the Islamist groups remain to be the force which contributes to the conflict’s further development.

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It is stated in Jost’s article that the predictions in relation to the war in Syria are not positive because the experts do not see the positive resolution to the country where the negative consequences are expected from the progress of Assad’s regime and from the uprising’s victory because the revolting forces lack the effective leadership. The ‘bleak’ predictions regarding the future of Syria are correlated with the discussion presented in the article “Can He Manipulate the West?; Syria’s Civil War”. The article discusses the results of Bashar Assad’s efforts related to supporting the legitimacy of his regime in the country (“Can He Manipulate the West?” 21).

The activity of Assad supports the idea that the opposition forces in the civil war in Syria are ready to continue the opposition in order to protect their ideals. Today, the results of the conflict in Syria depend significantly on the world community’s reaction to the country’s war. On the other hand, the world community cannot influence the progress of the conflict in which such forces as the jihadist groups and Assad’s administration are involved (“Can He Manipulate the West?” 21; “The Jihadists May Have Gone Too Far” 39). From this point, Jost’s discussion of the future of the situation in Syria can be considered as rather effective, and the author’s major predictions are supported by the data presented in the recent articles on the topic.

The Arab Spring is a controversial phenomenon, and the United States should pay much attention to selecting the appropriate policy to react to the situation in the Arab world. To avoid any negative consequences of radical activities, it is necessary to focus on non-intervening and non-supporting any regimes with the help of the weapons. In spite of supporting the democratic regimes, the United States should allow the Arab countries to regulate the conflict without using the external armed forces.

The active debates on the situation in Syria and other territories of conflicts should be realized only in the political arena, without continuing the debates on the battlefield. The United States should focus on avoiding the intervention into the conflict in order to protect the ideals of democracy without using the arms. Although the United States should support its interests in relation to the Arab world, the use of power cannot lead to the expected positive results. That is why the strategy of avoiding participation in the conflict can be discussed as most reasonable for the country, and all the controversial questions should be resolved as a result of the open dialogue between the political forces.

Kenneth Jost’s article “Unrest in the Arab World” provides many ideas on the development of the Arab Spring in the region. The article was published in 2013, and today it is possible to compare the article’s key points and discussed predictions with the current situation in the Arab countries. Many predictions made by the experts cited in the article can be considered as relevant because they supported the recent discussions presented in the articles published in 2014. The Arab Spring seems to be unfinished because of the developed civil war in Syria and because of the controversial consequences of the uprisings observed in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia.

Works Cited

“Can He Manipulate the West?; Syria’s Civil War”. The Economist 410.8871 (2014): 21-23. Print.

“Has the Arab Spring Failed?” The Economist 408.8844 (2013): 11. Print.

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Jost, Kenneth. “Unrest in the Arab World”. CQ Researcher 23 (2013): 105-132. Print.

“The Jihadists May Have Gone Too Far; Syria, Iraq and al-Qaeda”. The Economist410.8869 (2014): 39-40. Print.

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