By Ty McCormick
The Arab Spring did not bring economic prosperity
Mohammed Bouazizi's final act of hopelessness -- setting himself ablaze in front of a government building in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, on Dec. 17, 2010 -- touched off a wave of civil unrest that toppled two governments, threatens to bring down at least three others, and has redefined the relationship between the ruler and the ruled across the Arab world. But the protests, which were spurred by rising food prices and unemployment, have bequeathed a cruel irony to their makers: A worsening of the very same conditions that sparked the Arab Spring.
For the rebel Transitional National Council in Benghazi, things aren't much better: Billions of dollars worth of frozen Libyan assets remain off limits and the only major source of income, oil, remains trapped beneath the Arabian Gulf Oil Company's (Agoco) damaged drilling equipment. According to Agoco information manager Abdeljalil Mayouf, who spoke with Al Arabiya last week, "We are not producing. Everything is under repair. I can't tell you a date to restart." The gas pipeline that normally fuels power plants in Benghazi and other eastern Libyan cities is also shut down, forcing the former petro-giant to import fuel, for which it has so far been unable to pay. Several European oil tankers have left Benghazi without unloading when the rebels were unable to put up the cash, the Los Angeles Times reported.
-Ty McCormick is an editorial researcher at Foreign Policy