Revolutions and violence have run rampant throughout the Middle East over the past year, destabilizing countries and leaving thousands dead.

Four Arab rulers - who had been in power for more than 100 years combined - have been overthrown. The anarchy continues as different factions fight to form new governments in the volatile region.

In Tucson, many residents have been keeping a close eye on the developments overseas. Karim El-Saharty, an Egyptian who has working on his doctoral degree at the University of Arizona, described the situation back home.

“Lack of security, economic instability, a lot of people have lost their jobs. ... It’s very chaotic,” he says. "With the deterioration of the economic condition, people have nothing to lose."

El-Saharty says citizens-turned-revolutionaries are reacting to inequity and a lack of freedom. And as the escalating bloodshed in Syria indicates, the Arab Spring is far from over.

“We’ve just cut the head of the snake,” El-Saharty says. “The revolution has a long way to go before we can call it a success.”

Dina Jadallah, an Arab-American, is a Ph.D. candidate in the UA's School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies. For her, the United States' actions in the region reveal a two-faced foreign policy.

"I don't know if it (Arab Spring) impacts the United States so much as the United States is trying to use it to advance its own interests," she says. "(U.S.) uses it very episodically depending on which country it's dealing with."

Democracy promotion funded by the United States pales in comparison to how much military aid America sends to coercive organizations all over the region, she adds.

In Egypt, removing corrupt politicians, giving citizens a sense of security and reforming the country's education system are the necessary elements to build a better society, El-Saharty says.

"The revolution," he says, "has a long way to go before we can call it a success."

UA Ph.D. canmdidates Dina Jadallah (center) and Karim El-Saharty say Arab Spring has long ways to go.