The U.S Role in Arab Spring

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In December 2010, mass anti-government protests began in Tunisia and later spread across the Arab world. By February 2011, revolutions occurred in Tunisia and Egypt, Libya and Syria. The uprisings were dubbed as “Arab Spring”. Many nations in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), that neighbor the conflict spots, have been greatly affected by the uprisings. Neighboring countries have experienced an influx of refugees, and a possibility of violence spilling over their borders. Nations that are far from the proximity of the conflicts, including the United States, have also seen an opportunity to have the dictatorial regimes within some nations replaced with democratic ones.

The United States' foreign policy, concerning the uprisings in the MENA region, is to make sure that rebellions essentially lead to removal of the dictators and their governing offices, and replaced with friendlier, more democratic regimes. In September 2011, United States Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, has created The Office of The Special Coordinator For Middle East Transitions (MET). The purpose of the office is coordinate U.S. Government assistance to rising democracies arising from these revolts. The office employs and coordinates tools and other agencies such as USAID, INL, MEPI, DRL and others. Special Coordinator of the MET office William B. Taylor Jr., implements and designs different strategies in order to support transitions to democracies in the region.

The Coordinator focuses on mobilizing and coordinating U.S. efforts to:

Support free, fair and competitive elections;
Assist the Egyptian, Tunisian, and Libyan people’s creation of enduring democratic institutions; Enable the current transitional authorities and future elected governments to deliver services and sufficiently meet citizen expectations, including through support for civil society and the private sector; Identify ways to support key sectors of the Tunisian, Egyptian, and Libyan economies; Increase outreach to emergent political, economic and social forces in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. (state.gov)

Since the January 2011 revolution in Tunisia, the U.S. has committed more than $350 million in aid to support Tunisia’s transition, focusing heavily on technical and financial assistance to Tunisia’s economy and private sector, support for peace and stability in the country and support for its civil society and democratic practices. The aid was distributed throughout various sectors and programs such as:

Tunisia Workforce Development Scholarship Fund – In 2013, the United States will launch a new scholarship fund forhundreds of Tunisian students to study at American universities and community colleges.

Youth and Women-Focused Entrepreneurship Programs – The United States provides assistance to more than 5,000 Tunisian youth and 1,500 women entrepreneurs.

Tunisia was selected for an MCC Threshold Program in September 2011. Created by the U.S. Congress in January 2004, MCC take an a unique approach on how best to deliver U.S. foreign assistance by focusing on good policies, country ownership, and results.

Critical Budget Support – The United States provided $100 million to pay directly
debt that Tunisia owed the World Bank and African Development Bank, allowing the Government of Tunisia to instead use an equal amount for its priority programs, and to accelerate economic growth and job creation. (state.gov)

On 19 March 2011, a multi-state coalition began a military intervention in Libya to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which was taken in response to events during the Libyan civil war, and military operations began, with US and British naval forces firing over 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles, the French Air Force, British Royal Air Force, and Canadian Royal Canadian Air Force undertaking sorties across Libya and a naval blockade by Coalition forces. Fighting in Libya ended in late...
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