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'Dreams Turned Into Nightmares': Arab Spring Wrecked Middle East

© AFP 2021 / ABDEL RAHMAN ABDALLAHSupporters of Shiite Huthi rebels and militiamen shout slogans raising their weapons during a rally against the Saudi-led coalition, which has been leading the war against the Iran-backed rebels, on December 17, 2015 in Sanaa
Supporters of Shiite Huthi rebels and militiamen shout slogans raising their weapons during a rally against the Saudi-led coalition, which has been leading the war against the Iran-backed rebels, on December 17, 2015 in Sanaa - Sputnik International
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Five years after the Arab Spring shook the Middle East, the region now finds itself plagued by violence and torn along sectarian lines by the likes of Daesh, also known as ISIL.

"Today the Middle East is less stable, and less hopeful, than it was before the Arab Spring. Five years ago, the denim-clad, smartphone-wielding Arab liberal became the region's avatar. Now the knife-wielding jihadist and the refugee have risen to prominence instead," Sohrab Ahmari asserted in an article titled "The End of the Arab Spring Dream."

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Each nation, which survived a period of upheaval in the last half a decade, is, according to the analyst, "unhappy in its own way."

Tunisia, where it all began in December 2010, is hailed as the only success story, Ahmari noted in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal. The country, governed by the newly-adopted secular constitution, has seen several democratic transitions of power. 

Yet, "the birthplace of the Arab Spring is also the world's top exporter of fighters for Islamic State," as Daesh is also often referred to.

© AFP 2021 / MAHMUD TURKIAA picture taken on July 28, 2014 shows flames and smoke billowing from an oil depot where a huge blaze started following clashes around Tripoli airport, in southern Tripoli
A picture taken on July 28, 2014 shows flames and smoke billowing from an oil depot where a huge blaze started following clashes around Tripoli airport, in southern Tripoli - Sputnik International
A picture taken on July 28, 2014 shows flames and smoke billowing from an oil depot where a huge blaze started following clashes around Tripoli airport, in southern Tripoli

Yemen and Libya are engulfed in a bitter civil war, which shows no signs of abating. Several attempts to launch peace talks in these countries have so far failed to bring about any positive and much-needed change.

The recently-adopted UN Security Council on Syria provides a framework and a timeframe to resolve the months-long conflict, which has claimed the lives of 250,000 people and displaced millions. But this complicated process has only begun.

© AP Photo / Alexander KotsSyrian APC is followed by a tank in Harasta, northeast of Damascus, Syria, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015
Syrian APC is followed by a tank in Harasta, northeast of Damascus, Syria, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 - Sputnik International
Syrian APC is followed by a tank in Harasta, northeast of Damascus, Syria, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015

"How did dreams turn into nightmares?" Ahmari asked. "Secular Arab nationalism had already exhausted its energies by the time Mr. Mubarak and colleagues were overthrown. But as the rise of ISIS shows, Islamism represents a longer historical wave only beginning to crest."

For that reason, toppling regimes in the Middle East could not have diminished the appeal of radical Islam.

In the end, "disorganized urban liberalism," as Ahmari called it, could not offer a viable alternative to "the politics of tribe" or Islamism.

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