2011 War in SwAaNA: A Primary Sources Repository
General Description & Background:
On December 17, a Tunisian fruit seller ignited an uprising that caused the fall of the authoritarian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. By the middle of January 2011, protest movements were launched in a number of other Arab countries starting the so-called Arab Spring. The slogan, “The People Want the Fall of the Regime” [al-sha`b yurid isqat al-nizam], and shorter cries such as, degage, irhal, game over, down with the regime, ghur, etc… became widespread.
Undoubtedly, the first two decades of this millennium will be recorded as the Arab Spring Era. The first sixty days of the Arab Spring unleashed a wave of social protest that removed two powerful, Western-favored, authoritarian rulers, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak of Tunisia and Egypt, respectively. Almost all other Arab countries were affected as well. Libya fell into a bloody civil war that resulted in the brutal killing of Muammar Qaddafi. Yemen was paralyzed by peaceful protest that continued until President Ali Abduallah Saleh was forced out. Bahraini rulers accused protesters of being agents of a sectarian foreign country and invited the Saudi army into their country to crush a peaceful protest movement. Jordan and Morocco amended their constitutions to partially meet some of the protesters’ demands. Low-intensity protest movements appeared in Qatar, Oman, Mauritania, Algeria, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia. Iraq continued to struggle after being destabilized by the U.S. invasion that killed thousands of people and amplified sectarian and ethnic tension. Syria became a battle ground for a destructive proxy war that divided the entire world community into pro- and anti-Assad factions.
Providing an accurate account of these events—some of which are still underway—is a daunting task that requires focused persistence, deliberate approaches, and good grasp of the facts. The complexities of the 2011 wars compel researchers to be creative in building the body of evidence that would allow for accurate and complete accounts. Drawing on knowledge outside a single academic discipline enables us to achieve some of these goals–hence the Integrated Knowledge Research and Teaching as a new approach applied in this project and in the field of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies in general.
This collection is an essential resource for understanding the events of the 2011 and beyond.
Media reporting students, journalists, and researchers can explore a decade shaped by hope and conflict by utilizing the significant collection of videos and NGO reports.
Scholars and students interested in contributing to this research and archiving project are invited to reach out.
This is a collaborative project involving faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduate students with research and teaching interest in modern Islamic societies and southwest Asia and north Africa.
A timeline of key events: