The damage which was done to the Middle East and North African countries in 2010-2014 by the so-called Arab Spring was $833.7 billion. According to the report of ‘The Price of the Arab Spring’, which was presented at the Arab Strategic Forum in Dubai, the majority of the losses was registered in the spheres of infrastructure and GDP ($461 billion and $289 billion correspondingly). Moreover, losses of the financial markets, the decreases in foreign investment and tourism revenues, as well as on expenditures on refugees were assessed.
Shamil Sultanov, President of the Russia-Islamic World Center for Strategic Studies, thinks that the common Arab revolution started in the autumn of 2010: “If you remember the specifics of the revolution, you will find all the components. The revolution began then, not only the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions. It started after national mass media such as Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera, which didn’t exist in the 70’s, started their work. There is a very interesting point: the Arab literary language became clear to millions of people thanks to Arab TV stations. The communication exchange increased. And we saw an elementary process, the development of a revolutionary process.”
According to Sultanov, the Muslim Brotherhood was not ready for the revolution in Egypt: “During the first half of the year, youth organizations participated in these demonstrations in January and February 2011. They determined the direction for the policy, and then more gradually organized a force in Egyptian society that seemed to be ready to realize its program – the Muslim Brotherhood headed the political process. After 2012, when Morsi came to power, his power was inadequate, together with his program. It didn’t correspond to the necessary requirements of that period of time. I want to say that this is not a purely regional process. All revolutions have taken place with the interference of external factors.”
The expert compares Morsi’s coming to power with the most powerful party in Russia, the Socialist Revolutionary Party: “From February to October 1917 the most powerful party was in power in Russia. It was based on the most powerful social group. Their social base was Christianity. The Socialist Revolutionary Party was inadequate, like the Muslim Brotherhood. Then the next stage began. It was the stage of radicalization, the radicalization was everywhere. External factors also play a very important role, but the feature of this external factor in the Middle East is in the fact that there are many foreign players playing their games, including intelligence services and security services, based on a so-called terrorist organization. It just makes the situation more complicated.”
Another important distinctive moment that can help to distinguish the current Arab revolutions from the Russian Revolution in 1917, and even the Iranian revolution in 1979, is the value of regional factors, Sultanov thinks. “It started in 2010, and it will last at least until the years 2030-2035, because the normal cycle of the revolutionary process is 30-35 years. And I assume that all that is being done now, all attempts to solve problems with the help of the Vienna talks and so on, are just some diplomatic attempts to go nowhere. Because at the heart of solving the problem in the Middle East is the establishment of a new balance of power. And it will take a lot of time to establish it.”