June 29, 2011
Iraq and the Misnamed 'Arab Spring'
"Arab Spring" has become the default term for describing the unrest across the Middle East and North Africa. Indeed, the phrase is rooted in the assumption that there is some deeper trend underlying the recent series of protests and uprisings in the region. As Lee Smith points out, there is a widespread belief that there is "something uniquely Arab" tying together all the political upheavals, a notion perfectly illustrated in the Guardian's contention that the unrest is "about forging what both dictators and former colonizers alike have denied the people: a pan-Arab identity." Amir Taheri, writing for the London newspaper The Times, denied the existence of any "sectarian feuds" in the "Arab Spring." However, a closer examination of the evidence reveals that the term "Arab Spring" -- peddled across the mainstream media -- is a misnomer on several counts. Most notably, nothing suggests a consistent profile that necessarily makes the protestors in the individual...(Read Full Article)