The and Ben-Ali, two autocratic rulers, oppressing their
The United States has intervened in many countries around the world to offer both military and diplomatic aid. In February of 2011, Middle Eastern countries met their governments with “an outburst of popular protest and demand for reform” (The Arab Spring’ par. 2). This became known as the “Arab Spring.” Tunisia being the first (2010-2011) and Libya (2011) following after. In this time of need, the United States saw an opportunity to aid Tunisia and Libya in their political transitions by use of diplomatic and military actions. By doing so the United States was able to overthrow both Muammar al Gaddafi and Ben-Ali, two autocratic rulers, oppressing their nations. We have provided over millions of dollars in aid in their transitions from autocracy to democracy. In these crucial times of need, the United States works diplomatically and militarily transparency in country afflicted by former authoritarian regimes, restoring the faith of the people in their newly founded democratic state. Muammar al Gaddafi took over the Libyan government from 1969-2011, where he established an “authoritarian political system” (Blanchard 2). Tired of his cruel oppressive ruling, protest broke out in opposition of Gaddafi (Blanchard 2). These armed protesters eventually captured him on October 20th, 2011 (Blanchard 3). After his death, however, the Libyan people struggled to “adopt a new discourse based on free elections and power sharing” (El-Gamaty par. 3). The Government of National Accord (GNA) was formed in Libya as the new government to bridge the gap between the warring factions in East and West Libya (El-Gamaty par. 16). These factions make forming a stable government under the ideals of Islam and Democracy difficult, and international involvement only seems to only escalate the crisis even further (El-Gamaty par. 7). Libya is located in Northern Africa, which means the security of “Sahel, North Africa, and the greater Mediterranean” linking Libya to the Middle East and Europe (Pargeter 5). The U.S. is interested in this because of the growing number of terrorist groups in this area like “ISIS, al-Qaeda. And Assar al Sharia,” and with Libya’s government transitioning to a democratic state it leaves them susceptible to terrorism (Pargeter 9). At the end of the transition The United States expects the “cycle of violence in Libya” to end, and their people will start by “settling their differences through a process of dialogue, and negotiation,” instead of violence (Pargeter 11). Foreign relations with Libya “were established December 24, 1951” (A Guide to the United States’ par. 8). Under the ruling of Gaddafi, however, “United States relations with Libya deteriorated sharply” ultimately leading the U.S. to “suspend Embassy operations” in February of 2011 (A Guide to the United States’ par. 8). In response to the growing conflict, President Obama imposed new sanctions on Libya “preventing Gaddafi government figures from accessing Libyan state funds, and restricts U.S persons’ financial transactions with certain Libyan peoples and entities (Blanchard 5). When Gaddafi fell, the U.S. reestablished ties with Libya, and recognized and supported the new transitional government the National Transitional Committee (How was the NTC received? par. 9). This new government had many ideas to protect, and support the Libyan people in their transition to democracy, but was dissolved because of massive protest and the forming of the GNA, which was backed by the US (How was the NTC received? par. 22). With many different governments, factions, and groups still opposing each other, Libya still remains in a chaotic state. During Gaddafi’s remaining few months of ruling, the United States and member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) waged war on Libya (Mueller 1). Under the umbrella of NATO, the United States issued a no-fly zone over Libya, this insured the destruction of anti-air personnel so successfully allowing for more air strikes to occur “by any means necessary” (Cavvis 15). This became known as Operation Odyssey Dawn, the United States “fired over a hundred Tomahawk attack cruise missiles (TLAM’s) at central nodes of Gaddafi’s air defense system” and also at military bases destroying many bombers (Cavvis 21). Following this NATO began Operation Unified Protector (OUP), citing that they would be able to engage “any Libyan troops if they were fighting with the Libyan populace” (Mueller 30). These bombings continued from March to October, remarkably pushing back Gaddafi’s troops, and deploring them of all their resource (Mueller 40). After Gaddafi’s capture, the United States discontinued the NATO bombing campaigns because the “regime was finished”(Mueller 40). In this situation, both diplomatically and militarily the United States supported Libya in its transition to democracy. Diplomatically we froze the funds of the Gaddafi regime, deploring them of all means of fighting back against the rebels. Militarily, we took out key air defenses, and large quantities of Gadaffi’s men, however, long term this operation was a failure. After the intervention the country was left as a “complete political anarchy, with a destroyed economy, and a warn torn society” (Espiritu 1). Tunisia and Libya have many similarities, but one mass difference. It was successful. President Ben Ali, a “corrupt man,” headed the Tunisian authoritarian government (Arieff 5). In late 2010, tensions in Tunisia came to an all time high because of “lack of human rights, unemployment, and skyrocketing food prices” (“Tunisian Democracy Revolt” par. 1). When college graduate “set himself on fire ” and another “electrocuted himself to death” in the town of Sidi Bouzidi (“Tunisia Democracy Revolt” par. 1). These two young men died as martyrs for the Jasmine Revolution, spurring the protest of the authoritarian regime, forcing the Ben-Ali to “dissolve the government and flee” (“Tunisia Democracy Revolt” par. 1).On February 27th of the following year, “a more stable, if weak, interim government took shape,” that established a new constitution and political system — democracy (Arieff 3). Tunisia is important to the United States due to its location in Northern Africa, like Libya, this is a link to the Middle East and the rest of Europe. In addition to this, it is of the uttermost importance the U.S. aids Tunisia in their transition to keep groups like al-Sharia from taking over and extending their power in such a crucial location (Sakthivel par. 36). In this transition, from corruption to democracy, the United States supported Tunisia by mean of diplomacy and military. In an effort to support Tunisia diplomatically, the United States has made it clear it is open to working with Tunisia’s “new government.” In 2011, in support of the transition the U.S.”designated a total of roughly $42 billion in bilateral, non-military transition support” (Arieff 20). This sum of money is for Tunisia to set up a new form of government, invest in their economy, and support civil liberties. A Peace Corps program will also be established, and an “”Open Skies” agreement to direct air links.”(Arieff 20). With the financial aid the U.S. is providing, Tunisia will be able to form a more stable government. By using these resources they can set programs into place to finish their transition from authoritarianism to democracy. In accordance with military, the United States has been supporting Tunisia through the sale of many arms and military vehicles. The U.S. provided Tunisia with a majority of their military equipment, since it is equipment from the “80’s and 90’s” (Arieff 24). This equipment helps to improve Tunisia’s “coastal security” and to combat terrorism. (Arieff 24). Congress provided packages to Tunisia of over “$20.9 million” to them “to conduct counter terrorism CT operations” (Arieff 24). With this military aid, Tunisia is able to fight back against opposing forces form a stable government. While Tunisia’s democratic transition is not completely finished, it certainly has come quite a bit farther than Libya. Programs are in place such as the Alliance of Tunisian Facilitators, which is working in the community with civil service leaders “to promote peace” and “assist the poor.” (The Current Situation in Tunisia). Other programs are in place to combat terrorism, increasing security on Tunisia’s borders.