As a civil war rages in Syria, rebellions are currently sweeping through both Ukraine and Bosnia & Herzegovina. These three clashes between people and state have the possibility to turn into a full-scale revolution that could end regimes and usher in new governments. In Ukraine’s case, the positions are divided geographically and could result in a civil war if the situation is not resolved in due time. Bosnia & Herzegovina seems to have re-ignited old habits, following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, and has seen mass protests against the central government in multiple towns and cities across the country.
Recent events indicate that the situation in Syria appears to be petering out following intervention from the international community. Despite this, the events of the Syrian civil war have resulted in massive widespread casualties, droves of displaced refugees, and Geneva convention-violating conflict tactics. ABC reports that more than 10, 000 Syrian children have been killed in the three year conflict, pushing refugees and militants into neighbouring Lebanon. That’s not to mention the knock-on effects on relations with neighbouring countries. The conflict, which began in 2011 as an aftershock of the Arab Spring protests in 2010, has been marked by – and exacerbated by – protests since it began.
Concurrently, further North the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv is akin to a warzone. Reports indicate that, since the protests in Ukraine started in late 2013, there have been multiple casualties, hundreds of arrests and thousands of injuries. The riots started after meetings to increase relations between Ukraine and the EU were mothballed in favour of an agreement on closer ties with Russia. Demonstrations were held in the city square of Kyiv, quickly turned violent after protestors stormed integral government buildings and ultimately clashed with riot police. Protestors are demanding the resignation of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. The opposition protestors have been numbered in the hundreds of thousands and have successfully taken control of much of central Kyiv. Much of the ire has been focused on Yanukovych who has been accused of widespread corruption both in the dissolution of EU integration talks and his regime’s illegitimate proceedings. Opposition party leaders have done what they can to distance themselves from the violent demonstrations and the Ukrainian government is scrambling to find solutions to the political unrest. Attempts have been made by Russia, the EU, and the UN to quell the situation, but it appears that American attempts – in conjunction with an EU brokered deal – could mean the end to these clashes.
The people of Bosnia &Herzegovina have followed suit and erupted into protests across the country regarding a number of issues not limited to: political inefficiency; increased austerity measures; increasing unemployment; a crumbling economy; and much more. Protestors stormed government buildings in Tuzla and Sarajevo in early February; prompting some people to call this a ‘Bosnian Spring’ – referencing the Arab Spring wave of revolutions in 2010. The protestors have set government buildings ablaze and demolished police equipment in their demonstrations – most of who were met with tear gas and rubber bullets from riot police. Ultimately, protestors are looking for the government to find a solution to the widespread economic stagnation and soaring unemployment rate. Revolution is clearly in the air, and to shed some light on global rebellions here are 5 of the largest and most impacting rebellions of the past ten years:
5. Orange Revolution: 2004 – 2005
It would appear that Ukraine has a penchant for both revolutions and severely despising Viktor Yanukovych. The 2004 Ukrainian Presidential elections pitted Viktor Yushchenko against Viktor Yanukovych, with the run-off vote finding Yanukovych victorious. Widespread protests broke out following allegations that the ruling party had tampered with the elections process to ensure that Yanukovych would win. The protests began in November of 2004 and ended January 2005, but resulted in a re-election that saw Yushchenko voted into office. Corruption ultimately got the better of the Ukrainian elections as 5 years later he would take office again and eventually bring us back to the protests currently crippling the former soviet satellite nation.
4. Iranian Green Movement: 2009 – 10 and 2011 – 2012
No stranger to political revolutions, Iran saw massive protests grip the country following the 2009-2010 presidential elections. Official results showed that the incumbent, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had won by a landslide victory amid widespread allegations of ballot-fixing and vote-tampering. Protesters took to the streets in thousands demanding for President Ahmadinejad to resign. The protests began June 2009 until February 2010 and were reignited February of 2011 up to February of 2012 – a combined length of 1 year and 9 months. All told, upwards of 100 deaths were reported throughout the entire country spanning both sets of demonstrations.
3. Tuareg Rebellion: 2007 – 2009
The Tuareg rebellion is technically a two-part rebellion. The Tuareg are a nomadic tribe who live anywhere from Northern Mali and stretch up through Niger, Algeria, and Libya – most regional governments have done little for the tribe and have historically ignored the Tuareg people. Their initial rebellion was against the Mali and Niger governments, requesting that they honour peace accords from a prior rebellion by the Tuareg insurgents. The explosive violence that ensued was due to little recognition and broken promises regarding concessions made in the aforementioned peace accords. This rebellion lasted from February 2007 until May 2009 and resulted in a little over 400 casualties. The second Tuareg rebellion of the past 10 years happened in 2012, and though it was much shorter, resulted in significantly higher casualties. Tuareg rebels waged war against the Malian government in an attempt to take independent control of the Malian region of Azawad. The rebellion lasted from January to April of 2012 and resulted in over 1000 casualties and upwards of 200, 000 displaced refugees.
2. Arab Spring: 2010 – present
The Arab Spring refers to the wave of protests and rebellions that gripped northern Africa and the Middle East in 2010 resulting in the ousting of multiple governments, regime changes, and civil war. The Arab Spring is still ongoing in Bahrain and Syria, which means it has lasted a whopping 3 years and 2 month with upwards of 2500 deaths. The Arab spring revolutions toppled governments in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya. Furthermore, the Arab Spring sparked the civil war in Syria and has sustained massive protests in Bahrain to the date. Government concessions have been made by regimes all over the region following demonstrations in Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Western Sahara, and Morocco.
1. Second Intifada: 2000 – 2005
The second part of a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation, the Second Intifada started in September 2000 and ended in February of 2005 with upwards of 4400 total casualties. Palestinian demonstrators took to the streets to protest Israeli President Ariel Sharon which soon turned into a militant struggle between Palestinian and Israeli forces. Ultimately, the clashes between both fronts ended in 2005 when the Palestinian front fractionated and began to suffer severe infighting. The conflict resulted in the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza strip and the Israeli west Bank barrier. Currently, Palestine has obtained a UN ‘non-member observer status,’ which is another step closer to bringing them full independence.