Attrition: The Arab Spring Continues To Bleed


May 14, 2012: Tunisia has updated the casualty count for its revolution last year. Actually, the Tunisian demonstrations began in December 2010, and the government was overthrown by mid-January. The final casualty count for that was 338 dead and 2,147 wounded. This was the first of the Arab Spring uprisings and the shortest and most successful. It was also, by far, the least bloody.

The "Arab Spring" uprisings led to the fall of several long time dictatorships and a rush to reform (or give the appearance of such) by most other Arab governments. But this was not without cost and it isn't over (especially in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, and Algeria). Over 45,000 have died so far, and over a million people were wounded, imprisoned, or driven from their homes. The financial cost, so far, has been over $140 billion. About half of that is the destruction of buildings and possessions, or lost GDP. These lost wages have been particularly difficult for populations that were poor to begin with. The rest of the cost was money wealthier monarchies and dictators have spent (sometimes borrowed) to placate their restless populations.

Tunisia was the briefest of these, with the smallest number of deaths. Neighboring Libya had the highest body count. The new government there says it was at least 30,000 but could be much higher. There is still fatal violence in Libya.

The ongoing violence in Syria has left 11,000 dead so far. There is supposed to be a peace deal in Yemen but the fighting continues, with over 2,000 dead. Similar situation in Egypt, where the violence, and killings, continues and the death toll is nearly 1,200 so far. There were a lot of demonstrations in Bahrain but the government remains firmly in power. Same situation in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Morocco where there may still be major unrest.





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