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Claudia Biriwaah-Yeboah
Analyse the causes of recent and current unrest in the `Arab World' and debate the consequences for
international businesses.
Recent and current unrest in the Arab world commonly known as the Arab spring , refers to a number of
uprisings and demonstrations in the Middle East an North Africa. Countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya
and Syria have been at the forefront of the disruption, which began in late 2010 and continues today. It
has been said that protests regarding socio-economic difficulties including unemployment and
inequalities have brought about the downfall of some political regimes. Consequently these difficulties
paved the way for looting, terrorism and industrial action amongst workers, which has caused
complications among International businesses in particular exporters and investors in these countries.
Furthermore the initial success of the protests has lead to similar uprisings taking place across the Middle
East as well as North Africa.
On 17th December 2010 a Tunisian street vendor by the name of Mohammed Bouzazi, set himself on fire
in response to having his produce intended for sale seized. In less than three weeks Bouzazis act of
rebellion led to protests across Tunisia against President Zine el- Abidine Ben Ali's regime and poor living
conditions. It was apparent Tunisians were successful in their attempt to reshape their countries tyrannical
make up when, President Ben Ali announced that he would not be standing for election in 2014. This
success encouraged neighboring Egypt to stand up against the dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak
who had spent thirty years in power. Thousands protested in Tahir square in the capital of Cairo and other
neighboring cities against poor living conditions and authoritarianism. President Mubarak, on the advise
of the military resigned from office and gave all power to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in
February 2011.
The uprising contagion swept through Libya in February of 2011 with protests taking place in the
countries second largest city Benghazi and capital Tripoli. Unlike his fellow head of states Ben Ali and
Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi reacted violently to protesters who called for the end of his 42 year
dictatorship. Snipers, soldiers, mercenaries and fighter jets were brought into Tripoli in an attempt to
thwart rebellion. Once it became clear that Gaddafi was prepared to use as much force as possible, The
U.N security council took note of this and imposed a no fly zone over Libya in order to protect protesters.
Nonetheless according to The BBC(2011) 1000 people are believed to have died during the unrest and
some 200,000 others have been displaced by the fighting. Following an attack on Tripoli in August 2011
Muammar Gaddaffi went into hiding but was later captured in October and killed.
In March 2011 Syrias government led by president Bashar al-Assad, became the latest country to be
affected by demonstrations. The initial protests were not about trying to overthrow the government but
rather the lack of freedom and rights in Syria. Protesters were acting in response to the torture and
arrest of two children. However security forces did not see the uprising in that light. They began opening
fire into crowds of protestors killing a large number of civillians which caused further unrest in nearby
towns. The Arab league attempted to establish a peace plan with the Assad regime, which would include
monitors within Syria to ensure that the regime complied with the new stipulations. This plan failed as the
Assad regime fought back harder against protestors in the capital of Damascus, increasing the death toll
and leading to an ongoing civil war across the country.
Although in the case of Tunisia and Egypt the end result of the upheaval has been a positive one for
protestors with political grievances, the pursuit of better political and living conditions has severely
affected International business. One of The major exports in the Middle East and North Africa, which has
been directly affected by the string of uprisings is the oil market. The Organization of The Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC) reported "more than 80% of the world's proven oil reserves are located in
OPEC Member Countries, 66% of which belong to the Middle East."

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Claudia Biriwaah-Yeboah
In the past the oil market has been affected in times of political disturbance. As seen in the Yom Kippur
war of 1973 where Arab oil producing nations imposed an embargo on countries in support of Israel. It
came as no shock when the oil markets spiraled in response to the various demonstrations taking place.…read more

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Claudia Biriwaah-Yeboah
tourist attractions to loose large numbers of visitors. Petty traders operating near the attractions have
also been affected as the lack of visitors in turn means that they are unable to sell their goods to tourists.
However the loss of tourism throughout the Middle East has benefited many businesses in the
neighboring state of Turkey.…read more

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Claudia Biriwaah-Yeboah
Bahdat.G (2012) Preliminary assessment of Arab Spring's impact on oil and gas in Egypt, Libya. Available
from: [Accessed
31st December 2012]
Giado.I (2011) Arab uprising cost tourism up to $7 Billion Available from: [Accessed
30th December 2012]
Grove.T (2012). Russia boosts arms sales to Syria despite world pressure.
Available from:
[Accessed 11th January 2013]
Kumaraswamy P.R (2011) `Uprisings in the Arab World' Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses p5
Available from: [accessed 20th
December 2012]
Ross.M.…read more


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