An Arab Spring pop quiz


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Now that summer is upon us, many are wondering how long the trends promulgated by the so-called “Arab Spring” will continue. Will last-ditch efforts to oust dictatorial regimes fizzle by July, or will a renewed vigor among the people press even more leaders to abandon their overly long reigns?

What is certain is that events in Syria, Libya, and Yemen (just to name a few) are now of utmost importance to the American people. In our country, where democracy ensures that the people hold greater power than any leader, we should welcome the likes of Tunisia and Egypt into our ranks. Additionally, as Americans’ concern over rising oil prices increases and with the growing likelihood of terrorist groups taking advantage in the chaos, it would be costly not to pay attention to the world around us during this pivotal transition.

But the primary concern for bystanders around the world is, prima facie, the preservation of human rights. By keeping watch over NATO’s (and our own) actions in Libya, showing our support for protesters in Yemen, and encouraging the federal government to increase sanctions against Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime, the Arab Spring will go down as a worldwide revolution for the better.

So, my fellow Americans: I’m here to help you test your knowledge about these events that will shape our foreign policy for years to come.

1. Who was the first regime leader to step down following widespread protests in his country?
a. President Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak
b. President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali
c. President Ali Abdullah Saleh
d. Leader and Guide of the Revolution Muammar el-Qaddafi

2. Which country is not currently in the throes of bloody, widespread protests?
a. Iraq
b. Syria
c. Israel
d. Yemen

3. How many Arab states (including north Africa and the Middle East) have experienced large-scale protests at some point since December 2010?
a. 21 of 23
b. 17 of 23
c. 14 of 23
d. 11 of 23

4. Despite international outcry, Saudi Arabian troops temporarily invaded which country in March, ostensibly to restore order?
a. Qatar
b. Oman
c. Kuwait
d. Bahrain

5. How many Arab states’ leaders have actually given up their positions since December 2010?
a. Five
b. Four
c. Three
d. Two

6. How many of the Arab League’s 21 members are also parties to the International Criminal Court?
a. Four
b. Two
c. One
d. None

7. Protests in Syria, against the iron-fisted 11–year President Bashar al-Assad, have continued for this many days despite widespread government crackdowns:
a. 52
b. 72
c. 102
d. 122

8. Though Saudi rulers will allow municipal elections to finally be held in September, almost two years after originally planned, what catch remains?
a. Only sheiks are allowed to cast votes
b. The contenders must be selected by King Abdullah
c. Women’s votes are worth half a man’s
d. Women cannot vote at all

Answers: 1 - b, 2 - a, 3 - b, 4 - d, 5 - d, 6 - a, 7 - c, 8 - d.

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