[December 17, 2020 marked the tenth anniversary of the start of the Arab uprisings in Tunisia. Beginning in 2011, mass uprisings swept North Africa and the Middle East, spreading from the shores of Tunisia to Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, and the Eastern Province of the Arabian Peninsula. A “second wave” of mass protests and uprisings manifested during 2019 in Sudan, Algeria, Lebanon, and Iraq. The persistence of demands for popular sovereignty even in the face of re-entrenched authoritarianism, imperial intervention, and civil strife is a critical chapter in regional and global history.

This is part of an effort to mark, interrogate, and reflect on the Arab uprisings, we launch a yearlong set of events, reflections, and conversations. We hope to produce resources for educators, researchers, students, and journalists to understand the last decade of political upheaval historically and in the lived present. For more, visit www.mespi.org.

This is the first of six parts of a series that presents peer-reviewed articles concerned with the Arab uprisings published in 2010-2020 from our peer-reviewed articles database. In this installment, we highlight those focusing on roots and causes of the uprisings, as well as reflections on the uprisings.]

Pax Americana and the Dissolution of Arab States: The Humanitarian Consequences (1990–2019)

By: Tareq Y. Ismael, Jacqueline S. Ismael

Published in Arab Studies Quarterly Volume 42, Issue 1-2 (2020)

Abstract: This article provides an assessment of three decades of US hegemony over the Arab-majority states of the Middle East’s Gulf region. Since its direct military intervention in the 1990 war over Kuwait, the US increasingly engaged itself as an architect forging the region through deployment of its neoliberal economic and financial coercion, Janus-faced support for authoritarian regimes while promoting democracy, human rights and individual freedom rhetorically, as well as repeated direct military interventions into Arab states in an effort to bring about regime change. At the base of diplomatic and public justification for the 1990–91 intervention—or the Gulf War as it became known to Americans—was the assertion that the war was defensive in nature, protecting the territorial integrity of Kuwait as well as the enshrining the norms of non-intervention and the sanctity of borders. Over the following years, however, US military forces came to be active in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya with an expanded coterie of bases littered across the states of the Gulf (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman). While the US and its allies had been engaged in the region’s politics throughout the Cold War, from 1990 through 2019, the US escalated its role to preside over regional politics through a hub-and-spoke latticework of relations between itself and regional states. From the perspective of nearly three decades since 1990, an appraisal of this coercive relationship, focusing on the humanitarian impacts it has wrought upon the region’s peoples, suggests it has failed according to these criteria. Many of the region’s peoples have experienced a marked decline in their economic well-being, personal safety and health, while the state apparatuses established following the retreat of European imperialism now lie in ruin in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The populations of these states now face a precarious future, without the protection of state institutions, against a range of predatory actors. Moreover, these actions have contributed toward the decline of US global influence, thereby encouraging further change in an environment where popular sovereignty and inputs into governance by regional peoples has been frustrated through the exercise of US power.

Governing uncertainty: challenges for the first Tunisian provisional administration of 2011 and its impacts in 2012-2014

By: Sabina Henneberg

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 47, Issue 3 (2020)

Abstract: The first Tunisian provisional administration (TPA) formed in an ad hoc manner in the wake of President Zayn al-͑Abidin bin ͑Ali’s departure on 14 January 2011. Due to its nature as a first provisional administration (or interim government) as well as the constraints and circumstances it faced, the TPA confronted many challenges. This article discusses four main types of challenges with which it struggled: representation and legitimacy, state building and national identity, media and electoral reform and transitional justice and judicial reform. The ways the TPA dealt with these challenges had an impact on later phases of post-authoritarian governance. The article demonstrates the importance of studying initial decisions taken (and the constraints shaping them) during attempted transition from authoritarian rule.

Transnationalism and exceptional transition processes. The role of the Libyan diaspora from Qadhafi’s Jamahiriyya to post-revolutionary civil war and state collapse

By: Peter Seeberg

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 47, Issue 5 (2020)

Abstract: The article analyses to what extent the Libyan diaspora was able to influence political processes in Libya under Muammar Qadhafi during the revolution in 2011 and after the fall of the regime. It is shown that the Libyan diaspora played a limited role when the Jamahiriyya, a repressive system of congresses and committees invented by Qadhafi, controlled the Libyan state. The regime drove most of the opposition out of the country, and from abroad a weak Libyan diaspora attempted to influence the development in Libya. The revolution in 2011 resulted in a different reality, where it was possible for the Libyan diaspora to return and play a significant role in the political transformation. However, the situation never stabilized, and a deteriorating security situation led to the creation of a renewed diaspora, which lost influence in Libya. UN-initiated attempts at reconstructing a Libyan polity created a process from which the Libyan diaspora seemed to be alienated. Taking its analytical starting point in the notion of political transnationalism, the article argues that the exceptional character of the Jamahiriyya contributed to marginalizing the diaspora during the Qadhafi regime and in the course of the Libyan transformation after the revolution.

Current Legacies of Colonial Violence and Racialization in Tunisia 

By: Benoît Challand

Published in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East Volume 40, Issue 2 (2020)

Abstract: The article argues that the social life of racialization in Tunisia can be traced back to colonial norms and that one cannot speak of racialization in isolation of class differentials, elements that arose historically with the spread of the tandem colonialism-capitalism in North Africa. From a direct form of racialized violence leaving Muslim Tunisians on the low end of the colonial social ladder of worth, salaries, and the right to life, one moved to a more symbolic form of violence, with the south of the country quasi-racialized as less valuable than the urban coastal areas around Tunis and the Sahel in contemporary Tunisia. In a polity that reached independence more than six decades ago, one can witness the perpetuation of a north-south divide that dates back to the colonial times; but a historical reading of racialized brutality can help us recognize a distinct tradition of activism, in particular trade union activism around the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) and protests in the southern part of the country, such as the one that led to the ousting of dictator Ben Ali in 2011. Through a discussion of diachronic forms of racialization, the article suggests that Giorgio Agamben’s focus on juridical issues of exception is partly misleading, for many forms of exception arise outside of the realm of emergency.

Egypt’s Quest for Social Justice: From Nasser to Sisi

By: Rasha S. Mansour

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 13, Issue 2 (2020)

Abstract: This paper examines Egypt’s shift from socialism to neo-liberalism in the wake of the economic crisis of the late 1980s and the implications of this shift for its socialist legacy. It argues that the decline of the welfare state in Egypt since 1991 has contributed to the erosion of the social contract forged in the post-independence period, which was marked by state-led development and high social mobility and a prominent role for the middle class. Neoliberal ‘reforms’ dictated by economic crisis and pressures from transnational capital as well international financial institutions led to the alienation of the middle and lower classes and the emergence of a new economic elite, whose dubious links to the ruling class has undermined the regime’s legitimacy and helped fuel the 25 January 2011 uprising.

Intermittent Breaks of Public Order in the Moroccan Political Context: An ARDL Approach to the Dynamics of Protest Mobilizations, 1997–2018

By: Ben Ahmed Hougua

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 13, Issue 2 (2020)

Abstract: For more than twenty years, politics in Morocco has been witnessing a change in the cycles of protests under the influence of the parameters linked to the economic liberalization and evolution of the processes of disenchantment with a conventional political culture. The frequent use of repertories of collective action has not failed to shake the political and social landscape to the point that the demobilization of an area is followed by uprisings in neighboring sites. The response of public authorities varies according to the intensity and objectives of the social uprisings. This research is to study the evolution, over time, of the links between repression, the index of consumer prices of basic foodstuffs, and social uprisings. It covers about twenty years from January 1997 to November 2018. In addition to the descriptive temporal evolution, the work applies autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) modeling to examine whether there are short- and long-term associations between the variables mentioned above.

Gaddafi’s Legacy, Institutional Development, and National Reconciliation in Libya

By: Youssef Mohammad Sawani

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 13, Issue 1 (2020)

Abstract: Since the fall of Gaddafi’s forty-two years of rule, Libya has been facing tremendous challenges of instability and insecurity reflecting and characterized by both a political impasse and a lack of legitimate state institutions. Ad-hoc and non-state formations grew outside the legitimate state boundary and became the real actors, polarizing politics and society while rendering any political dialogue ineffective, especially when confined to exclusionary power-sharing arrangements. Official bodies remain weak and divided, while peripheral actors reject/resist submitting to its authority. While acknowledging that the current Libyan crisis is the product of the interaction of several factors including the Islamists and non-Islamist contestation, regional and tribal dimensions, and foreign interventions, this paper concentrates on the effects of the state approach of the Gaddafi era as well as the failure to adopt and implement reconciliation post the 2011 conflict. Therefore, it is argued that the first step towards realizing peace, security, and development is a departure from the current approach and the necessity of bringing in the real players to agree on a roadmap to reclaim the state by launching state-building processes that have national reconciliation as an essential component at their core. State-building cannot be purely a technical exercise of defining, designing, building, or reforming public institutions, while ignoring reconciliation. No matter how successful such technical state-building processes may be, some parts of the population will remain excluded and major segments of the population are likely to remain highly mistrustful of the (new) state and its institutions. Therefore, addressing this gap is central to a transformative approach to state-building that includes reconciliation in which dealing with the Gaddafi legacy is central to preventing future conflict relapse.

State of the world 2019: autocratization surges – resistance grows

By: Seraphine F. Maerz, Anna Lührmann, Sebastian Hellmeier, Sandra Grahn, Staffan I. Lindberg

Published in Democratization Volume 27, Issue 6 (2020)

Abstract: This article analyses the state of democracy in the world in 2019. We demonstrate that the “third wave of autocratization” is accelerating and deepening. The dramatic loss of eight democracies in the last year sets a new record in the rate of breakdowns. Exemplifying this crisis is Hungary, now the EU’s first ever authoritarian member state. Governmental assaults on civil society, freedom of expression, and the media are proliferating and becoming more severe. A new and disturbing trend is that the quality of elections is now also deteriorating in many countries. Nevertheless, there are also positive signs: pro-democracy protests reached an all-time high in 2019. People are taking to the streets to protest the erosion of democracies and challenge dictators. Popular protests have contributed to substantial democratization in 22 countries over the last ten years – including Armenia, Tunisia, and Ecuador. This was before the Covid-19 pandemic. Responses to the crisis, including many states of emergencies, risk further accelerating autocratization.

On the ‘Arab Inequality Puzzle’: The Case of Egypt

By: Gilbert Achcar

Published in Development and Change Volume 51, Issue 3 (2020)

Abstract: This article surveys and discusses prominent protagonists of the debate on socio‐economic inequality in the Arab region, with a special focus on the World Bank and Egypt. According to official data, the region holds remarkably low Gini coefficients in a context of declining inequality. This contradicts the popular perception of high social inequality as a major cause of regional protests since the Arab Spring; hence the reference to a ‘puzzle’ in mainstream literature. The debate about the reality of social inequality in the region has developed since 2011 — particularly in regard to Egypt, where income and consumption data are periodically collected by means of household surveys. Inequality measures based on this method alone, while income taxation data are inaccessible, are highly questionable and conflict with various observations and calculations based on other indicators such as national accounts, executive income or house prices. Yet, the World Bank upholds official inequality findings in portraying the Arab upheaval as the revolt of a ‘middle class’ that aspires to greater business freedom, in consonance with the neoliberal worldview.

“I Have Ambition”: Muhammad Ramadan’s Proletarian Masculinities in Postrevolution Egyptian Cinema

By: Frances S. Hasso

Published in International Journal of Middle East Studies Volume 52, Issue 2 (2020)

Abstract: This article provides a close reading of two popular Egyptian action films, al-Almani (The German, 2012), the first blockbuster since the 25 January 2011 revolution, and Qalb al-Asad (Lion heart, 2013), both starring Muhammad Ramadan as a socially produced proletarian “thug” figure. Made for Egyptian audiences, the films privilege entertainment over aesthetics or politics. However, they express distinct messages about violence, morality, and revolution that are shaped by their moments of postrevolutionary release. They present the police state in salutary yet ambivalent terms. They offer a rupture with prerevolutionary cinema by staging the failure of proletarian masculinities and femininities that rely on middle-class respectability in relation to sex, marriage, and work. Even as each film expresses traces of revolutionary upheaval and even nostalgia, cynicism rather than hopefulness dominates, especially in al-Almani, which conveys to the middle and upper classes the specter of an ever-present threat of masculine frustration. The form and content of Qalb al-Asad, by comparison, offer the option of reconciling opposing elements—an Egyptian story line with a less repressive conclusion if one chooses a path between revolutionary resistance and accepting defeat.

Protest and Regime Change: Different Experiences of the Arab Uprisings and the 2009 Iranian Presidential Election Protests

By: Kamran Rabiei

Published in International Studies Volume 57, Issue 2 (2020)

Abstract: Political developments, such as the ‘Arab Spring’, have led the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) towards instability, unrest and severe sectarian confrontations. Nearly 2 years before the ‘Arab Spring’, ‘the Iranian Green Movement’ swept over the country and led to the expectations that Iran would undergo a fundamental political change. The article addresses an important question as to why the 2009 Iranian unrest known as the ‘Green Movement’ did not lead to regime change, while on the other hand, the ‘Arab Spring’ ultimately led to the change of political systems in Tunisia and Egypt. Further, some significant factors are highlighted anticipating the degree of stability and instability for the future of political regimes in the MENA region.

Jihad as a Form of Political Protest: Genesis and Current Status

By: Evgeny I. Zelenev, Leonid Issaev

Published in Iran and the Caucasus Volume 24, Issue 3 (2020)

Abstract: This article presents the evolution of the concepts of jihād from the minimalist and maximalist approaches. In the present article one can find two conceptions: the conception of liminality and the conception of re-Islamisation. Liminality is a form of structural crisis that appears as a result of the split within the Islamic spiritual elite and Muslim community itself. The period of liminality is characterised by political and social instability, crisis of social and individual forms of self-identification and sharp cognitive dissonance among many ordinary believers who conduct their own search for fundamentally new forms of Islamic political existence. Re-Islamisation is the post-liminality period that happens if the maximalist block of Islamic elite wins political power. The events of the Arab Spring can be seen as the result of the appearance in the Islamic ideological space of two different ideological platforms (minimalism and maximalism) around which representatives of not only the Islamic elite, but also the “popular” Islam gathered.

Fear and Learning in the Arab Uprisings

By: Michele Dunne

Published in Journal of Democracy Volume 31, Issue 1 (2020)

Abstract: Massive and sustained popular uprisings in Sudan, Algeria, Iraq, and Lebanon in 2019 have shown that the discouragement and fears bred by events since the 2011 Arab Spring have put only a temporary brake on the efforts of publics in the Arab world to push for change. As the movements in Sudan and Algeria in particular illustrate, many participants seem to believe that they can improve their odds by drawing on the experiences of neighboring countries, as well as the histories of their own societies. Among the most important lessons cited by protesters so far are these: Popular pressure for change must be massive and sustained to be effective; transition plans designed by the military—particularly proposals for quick elections—can be a trap; protesters should be wary of involvement by Arab state “frenemies”; and going forward requires moving beyond fear.

Breaking Out of the Democratic Slump

By: Larry Diamond

Published in Journal of Democracy Volume 31, Issue 1 (2020)

Abstract: Since 2006, democracy in the world has been trending downward. A number of liberal democracies are becoming less liberal, and authoritarian regimes are developing more repressive tendencies. Democracies are dying at the hands of elected authoritarian populists who neuter or take over the institutions meant to constrain them. Changes in the international environment, as well as technological developments and growing inequality, have contributed to this democratic slump. Yet mass prodemocracy protests in authoritarian and semiauthoritarian settings, from Armenia to Hong Kong to Sudan, underscore democracy’s continuing appeal. Moreover, authoritarian populism has an Achilles’ heel in the form of unchecked leaders’ tendency to sink into venality, cronyism, and misrule. There is still an opportunity to renew democratic progress, but a return to first principles and renewed efforts on the part of the advanced democracies will be needed.

Tunisia’s Endless Transition?

By: Daniel Brumberg, Maryam Ben Salem

Published in Journal of Democracy Volume 31, Issue 2 (2020)

Abstract: The year 2020 is proving to be another trying one for Tunisia’s barely decade-old democracy. Following parliamentary and presidential elections in September and October 2019—the fourth and fifth national votes held since dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fell in 2011—new president Kaïs Saïed and the unicameral 217-member national assembly face the task of consolidating democratic institutions despite economic crisis, rampant corruption, growing social and identity tensions, and widespread political estrangement. The Jasmine Revolution that began with Ben Ali’s flight into exile was able to succeed initially thanks to a deal or “pact” among his disparate opponents and lingering elements of his power structure. But it is proving very hard to move beyond that first, hard-won agreement and the consensus-based power-sharing system that it produced.

Underground Music in Tunisia: The Case of Awled AL Manajim Under Ben Ali

By: Mohamed Chamekh

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 29, Issue 4 (2020)

Abstract: Awled AL Manajim musical group was forced to go underground under Ben Ali (1987-2010) as the consequence of regime censorship and restrictions on engaged artists. The post-Ben Ali era experienced the proliferation of other types of underground music, in particular rap and hip-hop which achieved major importance in comparison with the old forms of the underground that managed not only to survive Ben Ali’s dictatorship, but also created a culture of resistance through art. This article argues that Awled AL Manajim contributed to the development of a resistance movement in the Mining Basin and suggests that this musical group managed, to a certain extent, to articulate the causes and concerns of the local populace.

Living Revolution, Financial Collapse and Pandemic in Beirut: Notes on Temporality, Spatiality, and “Double Liminality”

By: Rima Majed

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 12, Issue 3 (2020)

Abstract: This article reflects on the experience of living an exceptional year of revolution, financial collapse, pandemic (and later, explosion) in Lebanon since October 2019. Based on auto-ethnography, the article grapples with the experience of “double liminality” by juxtaposing the revolutionary moment of publicness, enthusiasm and clarity; to the pandemic moment of isolation, rumination and anxiety.

Micro Meta Encounters with Revolutionary Temporalities

By: Maya El Helou

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 12, Issue 3 (2020)

Abstract: Through the anthropological labor of making sense of everyday life, I question if normative time suffices in capturing revolutionary temporalities.

Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will after the 17 October Protests in Lebanon

By: Ibrahim Halawi, Bassel F. Salloukh

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 12, Issue 3 (2020)

Abstract: This field note reflects on a persistent Gramscian dilemma that has haunted non- and anti-sectarian postwar protests in Lebanon on the road to 17 October 2019: how can genuine political transformation be brought about absent its meaningful, context-sensitive, and creative organizational forms and preconditions? We situate the 17 October protests in a long line of anti-sectarian protests that have overlooked the necessity of political organization in the pursuit of political change. In so doing, however, they have missed yet another strategic opportunity to sabotage the range of clientelist, institutional, and discursive practices reproducing sectarian modes of mobilization and identification in postwar Lebanon. We then magnify this omission by presenting the experience of Mouwatinoun wa Mouwatinat Fi Dawla (Citizens in a State): a political party that explicitly departs from the civil society handbook by politicizing opposition to the sectarian system.

The New Arab Uprisings: Lessons from the Past

By: Marina Ottaway, David Ottaway

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 27, Issue 1 (2020)

Abstract: Not available

Tunisia’s Foiled Coup of 1987: The November 8th Group

By: Sharan Grewal

Published in The Middle East Journal Volume 74, Issue 1 (2020)

Abstract: In 1987 Tunisian prime minister Zine al-‘Abidine Ben ‘Ali seized power from the ailing president, Habib Bourguiba. Less well-known is that Ben ‘Ali’s coup had preempted another coup plot planned for the following day. This article recounts the story of this latter plot, led by the November 8th Group, a coalition of about 200 individuals in the military, security forces, and the Islamic Tendency Movement (MTI). Drawing on memoirs and interviews, the article explores the plotters’ motivations, post-takeover plans, and ultimate failure. It highlights how Bourguiba’s coup-proofing strategies shaped the plot and its outcome, concluding with a discussion on the foiled coup’s lasting impact on Tunisian civil-military relations.

Rethinking the Root Causes of The Tunisian Revolution and its Implications

By: Mohammad Dawood Sofi

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 12, Issue 3 (2019)

Abstract: What happened within and beyond Tunisia in 2010–11 has been told repeatedly from a number of perspectives, each putting a greater or a lesser emphasis on one or several variables ranging from society, politics, economics, to religion or the involvement of external dynamics. An exploration of the causes of the Arab Spring and the factors that shaped its outcome is critical when answering several frequently raised questions, some of which are highlighted here. This article provides a concise picture of the Arab Spring and its consequences for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It defines the meaning of revolution by examining various explanations and interpretations provided by several theorists and shows which explanation(s) best fits the Tunisian case. Moreover, the study explains how multiple factors, such as social and economic injustice, authoritarian rule, the internet, and social media have played a role in enabling the Tunisian Revolution to happen.

The Dynamics of Egypt’s “Semi-opposition,” 2004–11

By: Mai Mogib Mosad

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 12, Issue 4 (2019)

Abstract: This paper maps the basic opposition groups that influenced the Egyptian political system in the last years of Hosni Mubarak’s rule. It approaches the nature of the relationship between the system and the opposition through use of the concept of “semi-opposition.” An examination and evaluation of the opposition groups shows the extent to which the regime—in order to appear that it was opening the public sphere to the opposition—had channels of communication with the Muslim Brotherhood. The paper also shows the system’s relations with other groups, such as “Kifaya” and “April 6”; it then explains the reasons behind the success of the Muslim Brotherhood at seizing power after the ousting of President Mubarak.

Guns and butter? Military expenditure and health spending on the eve of the Arab Spring

By: Adam Coutts, Adel Daoud, Ali Fakih, Walid Marrouch, Bernhard Reinsberg

Published in Defense and Peace Economics Volume 30, Issue 2 (2019)

Abstract: We examine the validity of the guns-versus-butter hypothesis in the pre-Arab Spring era. Using panel data from 1995 to 2011 – the eve of the Arab uprisings – we find no evidence that increased security needs as measured by the number of domestic terrorist attacks are complemented by increased military spending or more importantly ‘crowd out’ government expenditure on key public goods such as health care. This suggests that both expenditure decisions were determined by other considerations at the government level.

The Economic Consequences of the Libyan Spring: A Synthetic Control Analysis

By: Javier García-Enríquez, Cruz A. Echevarría

Published in Defense and Peace Economics Volume 30, Issue 5 (2019)

Abstract: In 2011 a wave of revolutionary movements, the so-called Arab Spring, spread in the Middle East and North Africa. Libya was one of the most affected countries, ending Gaddafi’s dictatorship after an international intervention and a civil war. This paper assesses the effects that this revolution had on Libyan economy. The analysis is made by means of the synthetic control method. Our estimates for the 2011–2014 period show (i) a cumulative loss in the growth rate of per capita real GDP of 64.15%; (ii) a cumulative loss in per capita real GDP of 56,548 dollars; and (iii) a cumulative loss in the aggregate real GDP of 350.5 billion dollars.

Beyond elections: perceptions of democracy in four Arab countries

By: Andrea Teti, Pamela Abbott, Francesco Cavatorta

Published in Democratization Volume 26, Issue 4 (2019)

Abstract: This article draws on public opinion survey data from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordan to investigate first, whether a “demand for democracy” in the region exists; second, how to measure it; and third, how respondents understand it. The picture emerging from this analysis is complex, eluding the simple dichotomy between prima facie support and second order incongruence with democracy, which characterises current debates. Respondents have a more holistic understanding of democracy than is found in current scholarship or indeed pursued by Western or regional policymakers, valuing civil-political rights but prioritizing socio-economic rights. There is broad consensus behind principles of gender equality, but indirect questions reveal the continuing influence of conservative and patriarchal attitudes. Respondents value religion, but do not trust religious leaders or want them to meddle in elections or government. Moreover, while there is broad support for conventionally-understood pillars of liberal democracy (free elections, a parliamentary system), there is also a significant gap between those who support democracy as the best political system in principle and those who also believe it is actually suitable for their country.

Never out of Now: Preference Falsification, Social Capital and the Arab Spring

By: Ammar Shamaileh

Published in International Interactions Volume 45, Issue 6 (2019)

Abstract: Could the Arab Spring have led to a rise in support for authoritarian governments in some states? Discussions of revolutionary diffusion during the Arab Spring focused on whether expressions of discontent spread to different states. Such discussions, however, neglect the potential for there to be a decrease in expressions of discontent in the wake of spreading revolutionary sentiment in certain contexts. The spread of revolutionary fervor in states with similar characteristics decreases perceptions that individuals will free ride in a revolution, and, thus, increases the perception that a revolution can succeed. This perceived increase in the probability of a revolution succeeding, however, can decrease expressions of discontent with the regime where the threat of an unfavorable alternative replacing the status quo is high. The empirical analysis of data collected before and after the Arab Spring provides evidence that the Arab Spring decreased criticism of the regime in some authoritarian contexts.

Can Egypt’s Democratic Hopes Be Revived?

By: Amr Hamzawy

Published in Journal of Democracy Volume 30, Issue 4 (2019)

Abstract: In today’s Egypt, commitment to democracy appears scarce among actors both within the regime and in civil society, and public-opinion polls further suggest that demands for democratic governance have been abandoned. An undemocratic political understanding and disenchantment with the concept of democracy seemingly prevail among a majority of the population. Rather than seeking a return to democratic government, Egyptians are once again hoping that an authoritarian regime will succeed in raising the standard of living. Only a few groups of activists are gradually articulating a peaceful democratic culture of resistance, found in universities and professional associations as well as on social media and in the underground music scene. Their efforts offer grounds for hope.

Can Egypt’s Democratic Hopes Be Revived? 

By: Amr Hamzawy

Published in Journal of Democracy Volume 30, Issue 4 (2019)

Abstract: In today’s Egypt, commitment to democracy appears scarce among actors both within the regime and in civil society, and public-opinion polls further suggest that demands for democratic governance have been abandoned. An undemocratic political understanding and disenchantment with the concept of democracy seemingly prevail among a majority of the population. Rather than seeking a return to democratic government, Egyptians are once again hoping that an authoritarian regime will succeed in raising the standard of living. Only a few groups of activists are gradually articulating a peaceful democratic culture of resistance, found in universities and professional associations as well as on social media and in the underground music scene. Their efforts offer grounds for hope.

Determinants of political instability across Arab Spring countries

By: Nayef Al-Shammari, John Willoughby

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 24, Issue 2 (2019)

Abstract: This paper investigates the determinants of political instability across Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with special attention to the Arab Spring-affected region. The yearly data-set covers 19 countries in the MENA region for the period 1991–2014. The study uses pooled ordinary least square (OLS), fixed effect and random effect approaches. Our most robust result indicates that political instability in the region is very sensitive to exogenous food price shocks. Youth unemployment and regime durability are also strong predictors of unrest. The frustrated educated youth explanation of the Arab Spring is, however, not borne out by our study. The connection between the presence of democratic institutions and political unrest is more complex. Our results confirm other studies which find that more democracy leads to less unrest. On the other hand, our focused study of five Arab Spring countries and Egypt finds the reverse. Our results are sensitive to the ways in which the variables are defined. It is always important to use alternative empirical specifications when undertaking econometric investigations of political processes.

Coalitions for change in Egypt: Bridging ideological and generational divides in the revolution

By: Chaymaa Hassabo

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 24, Issue 4 (2019)

Abstract: The Egyptian Movement for Change (Kifâya) was created in 2004 to raise ‘democratic’ demands voiced by a wide range of political actors: Islamists, radical leftists or liberals, as well as ‘independents’. Using a repertoire based on street demonstrations this movement centred its action on the issue of political change in Mubarak’s Egypt in the late 2000s.
Focusing on the emergence and trajectory of this movement, this article discusses the following questions: How did different political actors get together and sustain collective action, despite their ideological divergences and distinct generational belongings? How has the presence of young activists within these movements challenged the elder generations’ political action before the revolution? How has the revolutionary event of 2011 blurred the line between the political generations?
The article argues that generational differences were salient before 2011 and were reflected in different understandings of change. By contrast, the fall of Mubarak redefined these divisions along ideological orientations rather than generational lines. Two perspectives inform the issue of political change inside this coalition. Firstly, the contribution focuses on political change among cross-ideological networks and groups of politicians. Secondly, it underlines the definition of political change from the perspective of different generations of activists.

Visualizing Inequality: The Spatial Politics of Revolution Depicted in Syrian Television Drama

By: Nour Halabi

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 28, Issue 2 (2019)

Abstract:  This article analyzes how Syrian television drama is not only an important field of cultural expression and a site of contestation but also reveals the many socioeconomic spatial tensions underlying the 2011 Revolution and its aftermath. The latter aspect is demonstrated through a visual and textual analysis of two television serials that depict the ‘ashwa’iyat,

Cartelization, Neoliberalism, and the Foreclosure of the Jasmine Revolution: Democracy’s Troubles in Tunisia

By: Colin Powers

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 11, Issue 1 (2019)

Abstract: While frequently hailed as the sole success story of the Arab Uprisings, the consolidation of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution has in fact proven deeply problematic. This paper will argue that the frailty of Tunisia’s democratic present is a direct function of liberal democratization, specifically implicating this practice of democratization in the hollowing and cartelization of the political system. In insulating policymaking within a host of nocturnal councils, I will argue that liberal democratization has purposefully obstructed the translation of popular preferences into policy outcomes, thereby preventing the Tunisian people from realizing the social democracy they so clearly desire.

Cartelization, Neoliberalism, and the Foreclosure of the Jasmine Revolution: Democracy’s Troubles in Tunisia 

By: Colin Powers

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 11, Issue 1 (2019)

Abstract: While frequently hailed as the sole success story of the Arab Uprisings, the consolidation of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution has in fact proven deeply problematic. This paper will argue that the frailty of Tunisia’s democratic present is a direct function of liberal democratization, specifically implicating this practice of democratization in the hollowing and cartelization of the political system. In insulating policymaking within a host of nocturnal councils, I will argue that liberal democratization has purposefully obstructed the translation of popular preferences into policy outcomes, thereby preventing the Tunisian people from realizing the social democracy they so clearly desire.

Lying, Denying, or Justifying? Rethinking Authoritarian Repression Strategies in Light of Ben Ali’s Tunisia

By: Mirjam Edel

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 11, Issue 1 (2019)

Abstract: In Tunisia under Ben Ali (1987–2011), marked human rights rhetoric coincided with intense repression. This points to a more general puzzle: what happens when authoritarian regimes uphold their repressive power maintenance agendas while simultaneously trying to avoid negative international consequences? This article argues that authoritarian decision-makers attempt to evade negative consequences from international audiences by applying cushioning strategies in the form of obfuscation, rhetorical justification and/or procedural justification. In that way, they adapt their repressive tactics and manipulate the visibility and perception of their repressive behavior. Ben Ali’s main strategy was to obfuscate, i.e. to deny and cover repression. However, as international audiences are far from applying the same yardstick to all human rights violations, ruling elites often repress targets differently depending on whether audiences have links and sympathy. Again, this becomes apparent in the Tunisian case study, from which hypotheses are generated for future research.

Protest Camp as Counter-Archive at a Moroccan Silver Mine

By: Zakia Salime

Published in Middle East Report Issue 291 (2019)

Abstract: Eight years ago, residents of Imider in Morocco’s rural southeast shut down a silver mining company’s water pipe on a nearby mountain to protest the damages to their health and livelihoods. This direct action turned into the longest sit-in protest encampment in Moroccan history.  Perched on a rugged mountain top, the camp has become a living archive of decades of struggle manifested in documents, drawings, poetry and songs.

Egypt’s Post-2011 Embrace of Russian-Style Misinformation Campaigns

By: Nathaniel Greenberg

Published in Middle East Report Issue 292/293 (2019)

Abstract: Since the 2013 coup, Egypt’s posture vis à vis information and cyber warfare has evolved from a defensive one—geared toward domestic surveillance and blocking—to an offensive one also focused on influence operations abroad. This shift has pulled Egypt further into an open embrace of Russia.

Lebanon’s Thawra

By: Rima Majed, Lana Salman

Published in Middle East Report Issue 292/293 (2019)

Abstract: This uprising is demanding justice beyond sectarian, class, religious or cultural divides. In the clarity brought about by the uprising, the regime’s politics of division has been challenged by the uprising’s politics of solidarity.

Regional Authoritarians Target the Twittersphere

By: Alexei Abrahams

Published in Middle East Report Issue 292/293 (2019)

Abstract: Saudi Arabia’s illicit infiltration of Twitter turns out to be only the tip of the iceberg of regional authoritarians’ efforts to wrest control of political discourse on social media.

The Deep Roots of Libya’s Security Fragmentation

By: Jean-Louis Romanet Perroux

Published in Middle Eastern Studies Volume 55, Issue 2 (2019)

Abstract: Six years after the 2011 revolution that toppled the Gaddafi regime, the political transition in Libya is at a standstill. The fragmented security landscape fuels chronic local conflicts, lawlessness, and insecurity, and paralyzes the political transition with destabilizing consequences on its neighbors. What explains the rapid, profound, and lasting security fragmentation that affected post-Gaddafi Libya? Notwithstanding the manifest failures of the international intervention during and after the 2011 conflict, this article argues that the security fragmentation in post-Gaddafi Libya is deeply rooted in domestic economic, cultural, and political factors. In particular, the Libyan economy offers almost no employment opportunities, and the country lacks a unitary government and functioning state institutions that it needs to redistribute its oil wealth. Under these circumstances, Libyans attempt to cope with economic hardship, insecurity, and lawlessness by turning towards their family, tribe, neighborhood, or ethnic group, thereby fueling the fragmentation of security. Libya’s current security fragmentation and instability can be seen as part of the messy historical process of state formation. During this phase, political and security agreements are brokered and institutionalized through localized processes of rebel governance whose realm of possible arrangements are determined by contextual economic, political and cultural constraints.

Supporting political debate while building patterns of trust: the role of the German political foundations in Tunisia (1989–2017)

By: Pietro Marzo

Published in Middle Eastern Studies Volume 55, Issue 4 (2019)

Abstract: This article focuses on a specific aspect of the international context surrounding the Tunisian transition to democracy. Through the case of the German political foundations in Tunisia, this study argues that the country’s journey to democracy has not been an exclusively domestic affair, but has also been the product of the engagement of international actors and their interplay with domestic groups. Building on evidence from semi-structured interviews and data triangulation the article shows that since the late 1980s four German political foundations operating in Tunisia created platforms for ‘political debate’ – alternative to the regime’s but not subversive – and encouraged political training. The article posits that initially the German political foundations helped Ben Ali’s regime in the making of a ‘façade liberalisation’, while in the long run their activities generated unintended consequences that in part undermined its ‘authoritarianism upgraded’. The article demonstrates that their longstanding presence on the ground allowed the German political foundations to develop patterns of trust with and between political and civil groups, ultimately improving the capacity of their action after the revolution.

The politics of consensus: al-Nahda and the stability of the Tunisian transition

By: Rory McCarthy

Published in Middle Eastern Studies Volume 55, Issue 2 (2019)

Abstract: Tunisia’s transition away from authoritarianism has been shaped by a politics of consensus, which has brought together representatives of the former regime with their historic adversary, the Islamist movement al-Nahda. This article argues that consensus politics was a legacy of the authoritarian regime that was re-produced during a democratizing transition. The politics of consensus was encouraged and enabled by al-Nahda, which prioritized its inclusion within this elite settlement to provide political security for itself and the broader transition. However, this came at a cost, engineering a conservative transition, which did not pursue significant social or economic reform. The Tunisian case shows that historical legacies, such as consensus politics, can shape a transition as much as contingent, pragmatic decisions by political leaders.

Protests and the Arab Spring: An Empirical Investigation

By: Tansa George Massoud, John A. Doces, Christopher Magee

Published in Polity Volume 51, Issue 3 (2019)

Abstract: This article discusses a variety of major explanations for the intensity of recent protests in Arab states and investigates whether there is empirical support for them. We survey various political, economic, and social factors and develop a comprehensive empirical model to estimate the structural determinants of protests in 19 Arab League states between 1990 and 2011, measured using events data. The results show that protests were stronger in countries with higher inflation, higher levels of corruption, lower levels of freedom, and more use of the internet and cell phones. Protests were also more frequent in countries with partial democracies and factional politics. We find no evidence for the common argument that the surge in protests in 2011 was linked to a bulge in the youth population. Overall, we conclude that these economic, political, and social variables help to explain which countries had stronger protest movements, but that they cannot explain the timing of those revolts. We suggest that a contagion model can help explain the quick spread of protests across the region in 2011, and we conduct a preliminary test of that possibility.

The Tunisian Revolution and the Role of Regional Development Disparities in its Outbreak

By: Riadh Béchir

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 11, Issue 3 (2018)

Abstract: For several decades, whole regions of Tunisia were excluded from the national development process, which had focused mainly on the coastal regions. Indeed, an ongoing territorial disparity between the governorates of the country was observed. This article addresses this disparity and its relationship with the revolution of 14 January 2011.

The Tunisian Revolution and the Role of Regional Development Disparities in its Outbreak 

By: Riadh Béchir

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 11, Issue 3 (2018)

Abstract: For several decades, whole regions of Tunisia were excluded from the national development process, which had focused mainly on the coastal regions. Indeed, an ongoing territorial disparity between the governorates of the country was observed. This article addresses this disparity and its relationship with the revolution of 14 January 2011.

Rethinking the Tunisian miracle: a party politics view

By: Şebnem Yardımcı-Geyikçi, Özlem Tür

Published in Democratization Volume 25, Issue 5 (2018)

Abstract: Five years on from the Tunisian revolution, Tunisia stands as the sole success story of the Arab Spring. The country since then has managed to adopt a pluralist and democratic constitution, and held three free and fair elections. Accordingly, in the eyes of several observers, Tunisia is now in the process of consolidating its new democracy. However, the reality on the ground seems much gloomier, as most recent opinion surveys suggest that there is a significant degree of dissatisfaction, not only with political parties and Parliament but also with the very institution of democracy. Nevertheless, what accounts for this change? After the collapse of the long-lasting and oppressive Ben Ali regime, how, just in five years, has Tunisians’ confidence in the democratic process changed? This article accounts for this state of affairs from a party politics view, arguing that political parties, which are the main protagonists of the consolidation process, fail to fulfill their role of acquiring legitimacy for the new regime. While party–state relations seem to be stabilized due to the inclusiveness of the constitution-making process, both inter-party relationships and the relationship between parties and society suffer from numerous flaws which, in turn, hamper the democratic consolidation process.

The Pre-2011 Roots of Syria’s Islamist Militants

By: Line Khatib

Published in Middle East Journal Volume 72, Issue 2 (2018)

Abstract: Islamist militancy is not a new phenomenon in Syria; indeed, many of the groups active since the outbreak of the popular uprising in 2011 have existed since the early 2000s. The emergence of these Islamists and the Islamization of the Syrian conflict can primarily be traced to the earlier foreign policy of the regime of Bashar al-Asad, of which harboring and collaborating with Islamist militants was an integral part. The outcome of this policy was the rise of a radical and apocalyptic type of Islamist movement that the regime cannot effectively control and that is at odds with Syria’s more ecumenical and intellectual Islamic tradition.

New Social Movements: The Case of Youth’s Political Project in Egypt – Comparing the 1919 and 2011 Revolutions

By: Dina El-Sharnouby

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 10, Issue 3 (2018)

Abstract: With the 2011 Revolution in Egypt, new forms of social mobilization and new possibilities for political interaction surfaced. The manifestation of these events suggested a different understanding of politics among particularly revolutionary youth. How do their values and practices affect political imaginaries? How are those imaginaries different from previous revolutionary struggles? This article highlights the political projects of the 2011 revolutionary youth versus previous revolutionary struggles by looking at youth activists and the case of the leftist Bread and Freedom party. Contrasting the Revolution of 1919 to 2011 in Egypt reveals a renewed call to social justice imagined to be practiced through the state and state institutions while minimizing ideology and a singular leadership in their mobilization strategies. Drawing on fieldwork done in 2014 and 2015, this paper suggests that the 2011 political project from youth’s perspective is about the importance of political practices of social justice over an ideology.

Public Support for Democratic Reform in post-Mubarak Egypt

By: Fait Muedini, Bryan Dettrey

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 10, Issue 2 (2018)

Abstract: This article investigates support for democracy after the overthrow of Egypt’s long-time President Hosni Mubarak. It specifically examines concerns prompting the protests and support for several democratic reforms in Egyptian governance. The results suggest corruption slightly outweighed the lack of democracy as a primary concern of Egyptians over the last few years. Specific democratic reforms such as a fair judicial system and the ability to criticize government receive significant support. Less support is found for equal rights for women and considerably less support for civilian control of the military. The article concludes with a discussion of how little support for providing civilian control over the military may represent an obstacle to a democratic transition. Democratic consolidations are more likely to be successful if democracy is “the only game in town”.1 The role of the military in the ouster of Mubarak and now Mursi suggests the military has significant influence on Egyptian governance, with little support for altering this institutional arrangement.

American Interventionism and the Geopolitical Roots of Yemen’s Catastrophe

By: Waleed Hazbun

Published in Middle East Report Volume 48, Issue 289 (2018)

Abstract: The region’s current pattern of violence is rooted in the repeated US efforts to re-make the region to its advantage through the use of coercive force since 2001. Washington’s interventions and proliferating counterterrorism operations around the region—along with the new Arab wars that followed the Arab uprisings—have led regional middle powers to attempt to reshape that system to serve their own interests. The Saudi–Emirati war in Yemen is just the most tragic example of an Arab state suffering from the geopolitical transformation of the geopolitical and regional order.

Ambitions of a Global Gulf

By: Adam Hanieh

Published in Middle East Report Volume 48, Issue 289 (2018)

Abstract: From the wars in Syria and Libya to the catastrophic bombing campaign in Yemen, the Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been the main Arab forces involved in the region’s current conflicts. The Gulf also increasingly shapes the political and economic policies of other Arab states, promoting economic liberalization along with hardening authoritarianism and repressing social protest. Their destructive prosecution of the war in Yemen is an attempt to position themselves as the principal mediators of the maritime routes and territorial hinterlands located in and around the Arabian Peninsula—a strategic prize that will be decisive to shaping the Middle East’s future geopolitical landscape.

The UN’s response to the underlying causes of the Arab Spring before and after the eruption of events: a critical assessment of the UN’s pursuit of its core values and purposes

By: Tuba Turan

Published in Middle Eastern Studies Volume 54, Issue 4 (2018)

Abstract: This article aims to assess whether the UN is effectively pursuing its core values and purposes, focusing on the Arab Spring and UN efforts in the MENA region. It examines how the UN responded to the long-standing causes of the Arab Spring uprisings, both before and after their eruption. After linking the conflict resolution literature with the literature on the root causes of the Arab Spring uprisings, the article surveys UN efforts between 1994 and 2017 regarding human development, democratization, human rights, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, alongside the resolutions of relevant UN bodies. This comprehensive survey of the activities of the UNDP, UN human rights machinery, human security apparatuses, and the General Assembly and Security Council suggests that the UN was limited in promoting its core values democratic governance and human rights, which could have addressed the long-standing root causes of the Arab Spring. The article concludes that the UN’s limitations, stemming from its non-interference principle also paved the way for power politics, external intervention and instability in the region.

Song and rebellion in the Syrian uprising

By: Joel D. Parker

Published in Middle Eastern Studies Volume 54, Issue 6 (2018)

Abstract: Not available

‘Let them entertain themselves’: the fall of the Mubarak regime seen through Egyptian political cartoons

By: Rania Saleh

Published in Middle Eastern Studies Volume 54, Issue 3 (2018)

Abstract: This article examines the issues underlying the downfall of the Mubarak regime from the perspective of Egyptian cartoonists. A total of 2734 political cartoons published in five leading newspapers between January 2010 and February 2011 are analyzed. Because they form a significant part of the cultural context within which these cartoons are created, popular political jokes are also referenced. The study identifies political stagnation, domestic issues and corruption as the three most significant issues that paved the road to the fall of Mubarak.

The Puzzle of Democratic Divergence in the Arab World: Theory Confronts Experience in Egypt and Tunisia

By: Eva Bellin

Published in Political Science Quarterly Volume 133, Issue 3 (2018)

Abstract: Eva Bellin explores the divergent political trajectories pursued by Egypt and Tunisia after the Arab Spring. She argues that factors such as socio-economic development, mass culture, and prior regime character were less consequential in shaping the chances of democratic transition than were factors such as civil society, the character of the military, and leadership.

Drugs of choice, drugs of change: Egyptian consumption habits since the 1920s

By: Philip Robins

Published in Third World Quarterly Volume 39, Issue 2 (2018)

Abstract: Much has been written and published about the 25 January 2011 Egyptian revolution from the perspective of contemporary history and political science. Much less attention has focused on social policy. I am unaware of any scholarly material that has dealt with illicit drugs during the critical 2011–2016 period, yet increasing drugs consumption provided a social backdrop to the events of that period. This paper identifies historical trends in illicit drugs consumption over the course of the last century to the beginning of the Arab Spring. During much of this period hashish was the drug of choice. This paper argues that drug consumption was on the rise in Egypt well before the downfall of President Husni Mubarak in February 2011, but that it has grown markedly since the ousting of the former president. It will ask which have been and are the drugs of choice in contemporary Egypt. It will further ask how this composition has changed and why, giving special focus to the relatively new mass, opioid drug, Tramadol.

The Patterns of Syrian Uprising: Comparing Hama in 1980–1982 and Homs in 2011

By: Dara Conduit

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 44, Issue 1 (2017)

Abstract: Economic grievances that marginalized rural citizens and eroded the Syrian government’s political base are widely considered to have sparked the 2011 uprising. Although the country’s 1980–1982 protests were also blamed on economic factors, commentators to date have largely resisted comparing the events. This article draws parallels between Hama in the lead-up to 1980–1982 and Homs pre-2011, arguing that while there are differences between the uprisings—including the socioeconomic group involved—the root causes of grievance were remarkably similar. Both uprisings followed a redrawing of Syria’s social contract that marginalized a group that had previously had a stake in the Syrian state. In both cases, a new underclass was formed that became the backbone of the political unrest. Although economic factors cannot explain the 2011 uprising in its entirety, this article argues that some of the seed dynamics in 2011 were remarkably similar to 1980–1982.

Syria – from the six day war to the Syrian civil war

By: Eyal Zisser

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 44, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: The story of Syria during the Six-Day War is the story of a state whose leadership was young, inexperienced, reckless, and radical; it sowed fire and reaped a firestorm. For a while the war seemed as a turning point in the history of Syria since it led to the rise of Hafiz al-Asad, who gave his country political stability that enabled him to turn it into a powerful and esteemed state at home and abroad. However, the Asad’s era was marked by freeze, stagnation and the maintenance of the status quo which became the essence of the Syrian regime’s policies and course of action not only vis-à-vis Israel, but also in its activity domestically, whether in the social, political, or economic sphere. The ultimate result, as this article argues, was the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, which demonstrated that the appearance of stability and strength projected by the regime was a false facade.

Regime-change agenda: the Egyptian experience from 2011 to 2015

By: Mediel Hove, Enock Ndawana

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 10, Issue 1 (2017)

Abstract: This article discusses the role of the United States of America in the failure of the democratic revolution in Egypt during the Arab Spring. While appreciating the role of internal actors and the domestic dynamics, it demonstrates that regime change in Egypt was largely a consequence and a reflection of the US’s interests in Egypt and the region in general. It argues that the seemingly successful removal of the Hosni Mubarak regime by popular uprisings and the rise of Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood signalled the success of democracy. However, Morsi’s controversial overthrow and imprisonment, notwithstanding his weaknesses, led to the backfiring of the regime-change strategy. The subsequent rise to power of a former military man, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and his administration has, thus far, demonstrated a contradiction to all the promises of the Egyptian revolution. It concludes that the drivers of regime change should re-examine the merits of their strategy in an effort to establish lasting peace in the country.

Geopolitics of identity: Egypt’s lost peace

By: Amr G. E. Sabet

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 10, Issue 1 (2017)

Abstract: This paper attempts to provide a conceptualization of Egypt’s current predicaments by process-tracing historical critical junctures and sequences of causal mechanisms that contributed to bringing about the January 2011 events. Focusing on the period between the July 1952 Revolution led by Gamal Abdel Nasser and the events of 2011, it traces the developments and changing political and strategic trajectories of the three presidents Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. The case of Egypt is examined here as ‘an instance of a class of events’ focusing on phenomena related to the tracing of causal factors or critical junctures, and mechanisms leading to a particular outcome on 25 January 2011. It further links the uprising to that country’s 1979 ‘Peace Treaty’ with Israel. This treaty ‘de-securitized’ the latter, allowing it significant regional freedom of action. This had a causal effect on challenging Egypt’s identity-motivated action, contributing, in the process, to undermining its identity structure. An increasing awareness among many Egyptians of the link between the treaty and their identity formation is one of the main reasons for summoning the legacy of Nasser’s leadership as a source of ‘ontological security’.

Urban political culture in the Arab world: the relationship between orientation towards democracy and political protest

By: Ben Ahmed Hougua

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 10, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: The main hypothesis of this study is based on a causal relation between certain forms of emerging political culture in urban ecology, among the dissatisfied democrats, and the political protest in Arab capitals. This hypothesis is based on an implicit implication that the modernization factors provided by the capitals’ urban ecology contribute to cultural transformations in emerging generations. These transformations are determined by the adoption of modern value systems represented by independence, self-expression and freedom. The demographic succession of generations – in addition to the transformations of economic and cultural conditions of socialization within the urban ecology – contributes to the deep and slow transition at the same time to new forms of meanings where modernity plays a significant role in their formulation. Therefore, it is expected that these transformations will take a more visible shape among the young and educated social groups, as they are the most exposed to waves of modernization. This paper studies the relationship between emerging political culture in Arab capitals and the engagement in political protest. It uses statistical analysis to see if there are substantial differences between the dissatisfied cultural trends and the allegiant trends, in light of demographic, value, moral and political variables. The methodology used is based on a synthesis between the authoritarian/democratic trends and self-esteem for institutional achievement (confidence in democratic political institutions such as parliament and government).

The current status of corruption in Egypt

By: Ahmed Alaa Fayed

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 10, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: Given that corruption was one of the primary reasons that pushed the Egyptian masses to rally in 2011, it is important to look at its current status to see whether the levels of corruption have increased, decreased or remained the same since. This paper overviews the current status of corruption in Egypt according to different national and international perception indices. In an attempt to explain why corruption remains prevalent in Egypt, it looks at the different anticorruption efforts accomplished by the state and non-governmental organizations after 2011.

Weathering the storm: why was there no Arab uprising in Algeria?

By: Gianni Del Panta

Published in Democratization Volume 24, Issue 6 (2017)

Abstract: This article re-opens the discussion of why there was “no Arab Uprising in Algeria.” After critically reviewing previous findings, the paper suggests that the stability of the Algerian regime was mainly a result of the non-formation of a cross-class and cross-ideological coalition. Splitting this hypothesis into its two main parts, it will be shown, first, that the working class was the missing element. Two factors explain this: (a) the numerical and strategic marginalization of productive workers – in turn, an effect of the process of de-industrialization that hit the country from the late 1980s onwards; and (b) the presence of an aristocracy of labour in the hydrocarbon sector, from which a tiny minority of workers produced an overwhelming amount of wealth. Secondly, the enduring distrust among opposition groups – a direct legacy of the still-too-recent civil war, as well as an effect of the specific institutional environment that developed from the mid 1990s onwards – prevented the establishment of a “negative coalition” through which all opposition forces could jointly mobilize against the regime.

The $74 billion problem: US–Egyptian relations after the ‘Arab Awakening’

By: Oz Hassan

Published in International Politics Volume 54, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: Adopting an epistemic communities approach, this article outlines how US foreign policy elites have constructed their response to Egypt’s 2011 revolution. It argues that through the discursive deployment of elite power a neoliberal-security policy paradigm has been constructed and institutionalised. This policy seeks to promote a democratic transition in the long term whilst also allowing US elites to pursue more immediate security interests. However, tensions in the policy are evident as a result of continued flows of US foreign aid to Egypt that are contributing to the continuation of an Egyptian military–industrial–commercial complex that threatens the likelihood of any democratic transition.

Sight, Sound, and Surveillance in Baʿthist Syria: The Fiction of Politics in Rūzā Yāsīn Ḥasan’s Rough Draft and Samar Yazbik’s In Her Mirrors

By: Max Weiss

Published in Journal of Arabic Literature Volume 48, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: Contemporary Syrian literature bears unmistakable traces of more than four decades of authoritarian rule. This article identifies connections among aesthetics, politics, and affect in two Syrian novels, Rūzā Yāsīn Ḥasan’s Brūfā (Rough Draft) (2011) and Samar Yazbik’s Lahā marāyā (In Her Mirrors) (2010). Through literary representations of state security (the mukhābarāt), surveillance—including the structure and function of mirrors and screens, eavesdropping, and security stations—and new conceptions of the political, state power influences cultural production, even as the contemporary Syrian novel offers a critique of authoritarian dictatorship’s immanent relationship to the practice of narration itself.

Turkey: How the Coup Failed

By: Berk Esen, Sebnem Gumuscu

Published in Journal of Democracy Volume 28, Issue 1 (2017)

Abstract: On 15 July 2016, Turkey was shaken by an attempted coup. For the first time in modern Turkish history—a history littered with attempted coups—the elected government thwarted the putsch. We suggest that the success of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in defeating the coup attempt is part and parcel of its competitive authoritarian regime. On the one hand, AKP’s extensive access to public and private resources, as well as its control over conventional and social media, bolstered its capacity to mobilize during the time of crisis. On the other hand, the regime’s electoral features have armored the AKP with political (not to mention popular) legitimacy, and have incentivized opposition parties to remain committed to the regime, rather than opt for an uncertain future under military rule. We conclude that the failure of the coup attempt not only indicates the resilience of competitive authoritarianism in Turkey, it may also pave the way for a more stable authoritarian regime under the AKP’s rule.

L-Makhzan al-’Akbari: Resistance, Remembrance and Remediation in Morocco

By: Miriyam Aouragh

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 26, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: Morocco was prompted by the sense of making and witnessing history that began as the backdrop to the mass uprisings across the region in 2011 and continued well into 2012. At several moments the country at large burst into a mosaic of rebellion. As expected, the state intervened with media propaganda, smear campaigns and intimidation to pre-empt the growing impact of the activists and as such to erase this revolutionary episode effectively from Morocco’s collective memory. This article examines the practices and implications of the remediation of past experiences of struggles and brings the memories of past resistance together with experiences of present struggles. This article takes particular interest in the intersection between 20Feb activists’ political projects and the growing array of digital politics and allows us to understand better the impact of digital media in times of revolution.

Freedom, Power and the Crisis of Politics in Revolutionary Yemen

By: Ross Porter

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 26, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: In the study of revolutionary events, it is often assumed that ‘political crisis’ attests to the failure of revolutionary ideals. Accordingly, revolution is understood as the pursuit of political consensus and the institutionalization of freedom and equality at the level of the state. In contrast, this article describes how, during the recent revolution in Yemen, revolutionaries actively negated proposals for a ‘political solution.’ It explores how the desire to contain power within the imaginary of ‘the people’ and safeguard revolutionary freedom produced instead an ethical charter for perpetuating a crisis of politics. As such, it argues that revolution should be understood less in terms of a seamless teleology of political development and more according to the immediate ethics of living a revolutionary life.

Turkey’s Slide into Authoritarianism

By: Burak Bekdil

Published in Middle East Quarterly Volume 24, Issue 1 (2017)

Abstract: Not available

Morocco’s Palestinian Politics

By: Zakia Salime, Paul Silverstein

Published in Middle East Report Volume 47, Issue 282 (2017)

Abstract: You are not in Gaza, this is al-Hoceima!” This title describes a video clip of tear gas in the streets of al-Hoceima, the epicenter of the ongoing protests by the Hirak movement in the mountainous Rif region of northern Morocco. [1] Hirak protesters risk their lives demonstrating against corruption and for civil rights and state investment in the peripheral Berber-speaking region. Protests have been ongoing since the October 28, 2016, death of local fish seller Mohcine Fikri, who was crushed in a garbage compactor while trying to retrieve 500 kilograms of illegally-caught swordfish police had confiscated. Solidarity demonstrations spread across Morocco and the Moroccan diaspora in Europe.

Police Collapse in Authoritarian Regimes: Lessons from Tunisia

By: Merouan Mekouar

Published in Studies in Conflict & Terrorism Volume 40, Issue 10 (2017)

Abstract: The quick unraveling of authoritarian systems specifically designed to bear social pressure during revolutions is puzzling. Building on the 2011 Tunisian revolution, this article analyzes the collapse of the police apparatus during the 2011 revolution. In line with Way and Levitsky’s study of authoritarian collapse, this article shows that the low cohesion and low scope of the security forces is one of the main factors explaining the rapid collapse of one of the Arab world’s seemingly most solid repressive systems. At the theoretical level, this article will demonstrate that preference falsification is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can nourish authoritarian resilience. On the other, it can also weaken repressive regimes by making core members of the regime overestimate the loyalty of the low-ranking members of the security apparatus.

The Fiscal Politics of Rebellious Grievance in the Arab World: Egypt and Jordan in Comparative Perspective

By: Pete W. Moore

Published in The Journal of Development Studies Volume 53, Issue 10 (2017)

Abstract: In the aftermath of the 2011 protests, narrow economic arguments for revolt have proliferated. This essay broadens the debate by arguing that states’ latent fiscal weakness is an important source of enduring rebellious grievance in the Arab World. The essay makes this claim through a comparison of fiscal decline and policy response in Jordan and Egypt. Both states have endured fiscal crises and periodic revolt starting in the late 1970s. Both regimes attempted to manage deepening fiscal weakness through similar coping policies, searching for new sources of revenue and revising public spending. These measures failed to reverse the decline. Instead, new sources of revenue and shifts in spending deepened inequality in new ways, lowered capacities to curtail public-private corruption, and entrenched labour insecurity. In other words, it is the politics of fiscal weakness which explain the prominence of socio-economic grievance voiced before, during, and after 2011.

A failure of governmentality: why Transparency International underestimated corruption in Ben Ali’s Tunisia

By: Hannes Baumann

Published in Third World Quarterly Volume 38, Issue 2 (2017)

Abstract: This article critiques the Foucauldian approach to governance indicators. Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) underestimated Tunisian corruption levels under President Ben Ali: his regime was highly corrupt but foreign investors were less affected. CPI methodology meant it reflected primarily the needs of foreign investors. The Foucauldian approach specifically excludes analysis of governance indicators’ methodologies. It thus fails to demonstrate the effectiveness of governance indicators as a technology of government, and it fails to show how the production of the CPI is embedded in a wider global political economy.

Media development in Syria: the Janus-faced nature of foreign aid assistance

By: Billie Jeanne Brownlee

Published in Third World Quarterly Volume 38, Issue 10 (2017)

Abstract: This article intends to provide responses to some of the many unanswered questions about the making and the transformation of the uprising in Syria by exploring a new avenue of research: media development aid. Most academic interest has been oriented towards the role that the new media played at the time of the uprising; insufficient interest, by contrast, has been directed to the development of the sector in the years predating it. What emerges from this article is that the Syrian media landscape was strongly supported by international development aid during the years prior to the outbreak of the uprising of 2011. By looking at the complex structure of media aid architecture and investigating the practices and programmes implemented by some representative organisations, this article reflects on the field of media development as a new modus operandi of the West (the EU and US especially), to promote democracy through alternative and non-collateral, bottom-up support.

Saudi regime resilience after the 2011 Arab popular uprisings

By: Madawi Al-Rasheed

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 9, Issue 1 (2016)

Abstract: Although all Arab monarchies (Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Jordan and Morocco) witnessed varying degrees of mass protest during the Arab uprisings of 2011, none of the kings and princes has thus far been deposed. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia saw pockets of sporadic protest in many cities in the early months of 2011, but those failed to evolve into a mass protest movement across the country. This paper analyzes the conditions that led to Saudi stability, attributing it to a combination of domestic and regional factors. The paper also highlights how the conditions that led to monarchical resilience over the last five years may result in unexpected upheavals in the future.

Trade and Peace: The EU and Gaddafi’s Final Decade

By: Amir M. Kamel

Published in International Affairs Volume 92, Issue 3 (2016)

Abstract: This article examines the effectiveness of the EU’s use of trade to induce peace in Libya during Gaddafi’s final ten years in power, between 2001 and 2011. During this period, the EU implored and reiterated through rhetoric, policy and the exchange of goods and services that trade was to be used as a tool to maintain peace and prevent conflict. Indeed, this peace‐through‐trade assumption is at the heart of the EU, which was founded on the notion that economic interdependence ameliorates potential causes of conflict. Initially, this article embeds its argument in the theory concerned with the relationship between trade and peace, followed by tracking the development of the EU’s policy. The main body of the article then provides evidence which goes against the assumption that the trade–peace relationship is positively correlated. Specifically, it is argued that the EU’s peace‐through‐trade policy failed in this instance due to the fact that it failed to take into account the Libyan context: namely, the Middle Eastern state’s ethnographic and historical makeup; the weapons of mass‐destruction programme and the subsequently induced sanctions; Gaddafi’s rule and attempts at reform; as well as the 2011 conflict. All these factors amalgamated to ongoing conflict in Libya during Gaddafi’s final decade in power despite EU–Libyan trade continuing to take place during this timeframe.

Explaining the Arab Uprisings: transformations in Comparative Perspective

By: Steven Heydemann

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 21, Issue 1 (2016)

Abstract: Drawing on the research presented by contributors to this special issue, this article assesses the analytic opportunities that emerge when the Arab uprisings are conceptualized as moments of transformation rather than as incipient, flawed or failed transitions to democracy. Highlighting critical issues that cut across and link the experiences of political relevant elites (PREs) and mobilized publics in the cases of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen, it identifies three sets of issues that warrant further comparative research: the effects of stateness and patterns of state-society relations on the trajectory of Arab uprisings; the role of identity politics and non- state forms of solidarity as drivers of political mobilization and collective action, and the impact of these forms of collective action on possibilities for establishing stable, legitimate forms of governance; and the limits of civil societies and civic sectors in influencing transformational processes.

New Paradigms of Popular Sovereignty in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings

By: Paul Amar

Published in Arab Studies Journal Volume 23, Issue 1 (2015)

Abstract: Not available

Mechanisms of Authoritarian Rule in Bahrain

By: Nebil Husayn

Published in Arab Studies Quarterly Volume 37, Issue 1 (2015)

Abstract: This investigation identifies the different elements in Bahraini society and government that indicate the existence of authoritarian rule and the mechanisms which perpetuate it. Hardliners in the royal family have strategically obstructed democratization in the country by controlling Bahrain’s ideological and coercive state apparatus. The ideological apparatus encourages public disavowal of political reform and marginalizing Bahrain’s Shī’ī heritage. The coercive state apparatus regularly punishes, imprisons, and physically abuses political activists and those who are suspected of encouraging civil unrest. Bahrain’s alliance with Saudi Arabia has encouraged hardliners in the government to particularly promote anti-Shī’ī agendas that stigmatize, disenfranchise, and repress the majority of its citizens. Representatives of the Bahraini government have consistently accused Iran of providing logistical support to Bahraini activists. However, evidence suggests the claims of Iranian involvement in the 2011 demonstrations or an alleged coup attempt in 1981 to be false. Finally, this article identifies developments in 2011, both inside and outside of the country, that encouraged the reduction of repression of its citizens.

Change and Continuity after the Arab Uprising: The Consequences of State Formation in Arab North African States

By: Raymond Hinnebusch

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 42, Issue 1 (2015)

Abstract: This article provides a comparative macro-level overview of political development in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. It examines their evolution from the colonial period through several distinct phases, showing how differences in their origins were followed over time by a certain convergence towards a common post-populist form of authoritarianism, albeit still distinguished according to monarchic and republican legitimacy principles. On this basis, it assesses how past state formation trajectories made the republics more vulnerable to the Arab uprising but also what differences they make for the prospects of post-uprising democratisation. While in Morocco the monarch’s legitimacy allows it to continue divide-and-rule politics, in Egypt the army’s historic central role in politics has been restored, while in Tunisia the trade union movement has facilitated a greater democratic transition.

Explaining Divergent Revolutionary Coalitions: Regime Strategies and the Structuring of Participation in the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions

By: Mark Beissinger, Amaney Jamal, Kevin Mazur

Published in Comparative Politics Volume 48, Issue 1 (2015)

Abstract: This study seeks to explain why the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions mobilized different constituencies. Using original survey data, we establish that while participants in both revolutions prioritized economic concerns and corruption over civil and political freedoms, Tunisian revolutionaries were significantly younger and more diverse in class composition than the predominantly middle-aged and middle-class participants in the Egyptian Revolution. Tunisian revolutionaries were also less likely to be members of civil society associations and more likely to rely on the internet as their source of information during the revolution. We explain these differences by reference to disparate incumbent regime strategies for coping with similar structural pressures for state contraction and political reform, which created different patterns of societal grievance and opposition mobilizing structures in their wake.

The political economy of democratic transition in the Arab situation

By: Georges Corm

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 8, Issue 1 (2015)

Abstract: The present article is a translation of the text of a conference given in Arabic by the author in Tunis at the Presidential Palace at the invitation of President Al Mazoukiin in May 2014. Its main argument is that the poor quality of economic growth in Arabic economies has produced high unemployment rates, inexistent productivity and the total lack of appropriation of science and technology, in addition to a high rate of concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, including ruling elites. This lack of virtuous growth is due to the development of neo-patrimonialism within the context of rent economies that cannot produce real democratic institutions. The author first makes an attempt through several indicators to identify and describe the main symptoms of this bad growth; and then he describes how to move from a rent-based and unproductive economy to a virtuous and inclusive growth model whereby human resources are all mobilized in a national effort to appropriate an adequate cluster of technologies.

A Thematic Analysis of Online News Stories Framing Democracy in Both Iraqs

By: Goran Sabah Ghafour

Published in Global Media Journal Volume 13, Issue 24 (2015)

Abstract: This study analyzed online news stories framing democracy in two leading news agencies in Iraq. A mixed method approach of combining quantitative and qualitative content analyses was used to examine themes framing democracy as well as analyzing topics and sources. The study also examined statistically significant differences between both news agencies for democracy. Democracy, political human rights, and popular participation, as three themes of democracy, appeared most frequently. Elections, corruption, and democracy were the most prominent topics covered by both news agencies. Findings show a significant difference statistically in coverage of democracy in the online news stories. In terms of sources, the majority of news stories used citizens and local officials as two most frequent sources in regard to the coverage of democracy. Findings show that media in Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region rely heavily on ordinary citizens along with powerful sources while covering themes of democracy.

The Arab Uprising and the Persistence of Monarchy

By: Robert S. Snyder

Published in International Affairs Volume 91, Issue 5 (2015)

Abstract: The Arab uprising that began in 2010 saw the fall of rulers in states that had republican governments, yet the monarchs in their states survived. This is ironic in light of the fact that many monarchs throughout history have been vulnerable to revolutions. What explains this discrepancy? Although the literature has emphasized the impact of petrodollars in preserving the rule of the monarchs, this article stresses ideological and institutional factors. Like the Soviet Union’s embrace of Marxism–Leninism, the Arab republics had regimes based on the failed ideology of revolutionary nationalism. Although revolutionary nationalism, which fused the nation and state, declined by the late 1960s, it left an institutional legacy that made it difficult for the republican states to change. On the contrary, in defining themselves in opposition to revolutionary nationalism, the monarchs provided for security and stability in making themselves somewhat immune to transnational revolutionary movements like the Arab uprising. In differentiating the state from the nation, the monarchs, paradoxically, showed more respect for different societal interests within the nation than the republican rulers.

Unrest in the Arab world: why the 2011 uprisings still matter

By: Jane Kinninmont

Published in International Affairs Volume 91, Issue 5 (2015)

Abstract: This article reviews the current state of analysis of the 2011 Arab uprisings. It argues that valuable literature on the uprisings is emerging just at a time when the international policy agenda has moved away from 2011’s flirtation with visions of a democratic Middle East. This literature presents a timely reminder that the uprisings were part of long-term processes of political change, rather than isolated phenomena. Understanding the very different post-uprising trajectories of different Arab countries requires comparative analysis of the political economy, state institutions, the role of the security sector and strategies of opposition movements, among other factors. Moreover, comparative experiences from transitions in other regions indicate that the conflicts, economic problems and social polarization that have ensued in most of the transition countries are not evidence of an Arab exception, but, rather, have parallels with political transitions elsewhere, which have rarely been peaceful or simple. Compared to 2011, the perceived costs of political change are higher today, while the gains remain uncertain. But the drivers of unrest remain unresolved; and a small minority will seek change through brutal and violent means. Western policy-makers need to understand what is driving these movements. Yet they also, crucially, need to understand what is motivating and preoccupying the larger publics in the Arab world, in order to build broad-based relations with these countries, and avoid inadvertently empower violent groups by allowing them to set the political agenda.

The Extraordinary Politics of the Tunisian Revolution: The Process of Constitution Making

By: Sami Zemni

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 20, Issue 1 (2015)

Abstract: To understand the current stalemate in the drafting process of the Tunisian constitution, it is important to fathom the path Tunisia has chosen to walk since President Ben Ali fled the country. This article apprehends the post-Ben Ali era as a period of extraordinary politics, i.e. a moment of explicit self-institution of society in which popular participation, following Kalyvas’ analysis, aims to transform the institutions of state as well as social imaginaries, cultural orientations and economic structures. It analyses the period following Ben Ali’s departure as one in which the organization of free elections and the writing of a new constitution by an elected Constituent Assembly not as a technical process of institution-building aimed at creating a new political system, but as a re-constitutive phase of the political. This phase aims at the radical transformation of power relations within state and society and strives for the re-invention of society itself.

Modeling Mechanisms of Democratic Transition in the Arab Uprisings

By: Bertold Schweitzer

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 24, Issue 1 (2015)

Abstract: While the Arab uprisings triggered momentous historical change, in many Arab countries the transition to more comprehensively democratic rule is unfinished or has stalled. Most explanations for the dynamics and the difficulties of democratic transition focus on a number of determinants, such as social, cultural, religious, and economic causes, combined with generalizations on empirical uniformities and actors’ propensities. An approach focusing on causal social mechanisms, including environmental, cognitive, and relational ones, promises to provide more complete explanations of how relevant factors interact, why democratic transition does or does not proceed, and what could be done to promote it more successfully. This article critically examines the fruitfulness of modeling democratic transition, for the case of Egypt, using the framework of causal social mechanisms.

Jordan and the ‘Arab Spring’: No Challenge, No Change?

By: Martin Becka, Simone Hüser

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 24, Issue 1 (2015)

Abstract: JordanMany of the factors that in 2011 caused major uprisings in several Arab countries and led to deep political changes were and continue to be present in Jordan. Access to social media, widespread frustration with corruption, high unemployment among the well-educated youth, and growing inequality are but a few of the elements common to Jordan and those Arab states that experienced governmental upheavals. Nevertheless, the Jordanian political reality in the years 2010/11 experienced rather limited demonstrations and modest demands from society that the ruling regime met with traditional practices that the Jordanian monarchy has used to deal with previous, non-revolutionary crisis situations since the 1970s. Although demonstrations in late 2012 were more radical than in 2010/11, they also fell short of creating a revolutionary situation as in Egypt and Tunisia one year earlier. In order to contribute to an explanation of structural particularities in Jordan during the ‘Arab Spring’ we contend that the flow of rent revenues contributes to regime stability. In the case of Jordan, its political rents were significantly higher than those of Egypt and Tunisia, and this situation may help to explain the different outcomes. Political rents contribute both to an explanation of why protests in 2010/11 were less significant and why they could be met by the regime. Yet, rent income as such does not explain political stability fully, and for that reason this article also critically discusses the institutional frame in which the rent streams are embedded.

From Dynamic Events to Deep Causes: Outcomes and Explanations of the Arab Spring

By: Jason Bownlee, Tarek Masoud, Andrew Reynolds

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 7, Issue 1 (2015)

Abstract: Attempting to understand the complexities of the Arab Spring is a challenge both methodologically and evidentially. Over a three year period we evolved a problem-driven attempt at theory building and came to see historically rooted structural factors as more satisfying explanatory variables than some of the more proximate arguments proposed to explain the causes and consequences of the Arab Spring. We found that antecedent variables could account for the contrast between countries that experienced successful uprisings and those countries that experienced no uprising at all or an unsuccessful uprising. We found two variables provided significant explanatory leverage. The first was the extent of non-tax hydrocarbon (mainly oil) rents, the second, the nature of the ruling elite and whether the incumbent had inherited power.

Turkey’s Counterrevolution: Notes from the Dark Side

By: Jeremy Salt

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 22, Issue 1 (2015)

Abstract: Not available

Mass Mobilization and the Democracy Bias

By: Marc Morjé Howard, Meir R. Walters

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 22, Issue 2 (2015)

Abstract: Not available

Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in Post-Revolution Libya

By: Susan Kane

Published in Near Eastern Archaeology Volume 78, Issue 3 (2015)

Abstract: Libya’s cultural heritage is facing significant threats and damage, not only from unregulated development, but also increasing acts of civil disorder. With two de facto governments claiming authority in the country, no clearly operating constitution, contesting militias, and rising religious extremism, more damage is being done to the country’s cultural heritage than was caused by the events of the 2011 Revolution. During the Gaddafi regime, Libya’s cultural heritage from the pre-Arab period was seen as a reminder of Libya’s colonial past and therefore neglected for political reasons. And given the many challenges facing the new Libya, it is not surprising that cultural heritage struggles for recognition and protection. Working within this challenging environment, the Libyan Department of Antiquities continues to negotiate the protection of cultural sites in contested areas and to draw up plans for emergency inventory, crisis planning, and protection work. Despite their best efforts, it remains unclear what the future will hold for the cultural heritage of Libya.

After Qadhafi: Development and Democratization in Libya

By: Edward Randall

Published in The Middle East Journal Volume 69, Issue 2 (2015)

Abstract: The Arab revolutions in 2011 and youth-led agitation across the Middle East and North Africa gave cause to hope for positive political and economic development in the region. Subsequent conflicts now call into question the region’s potential to develop a prosperous and pluralistic future. The overthrow of the regime of dictator Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi in Libya offered Libyans a huge opportunity to craft a new state after a history of occupation and dictatorship. But the sacrifices and hopes of the revolution are in danger of turning to drift, infighting, and disillusionment as Libya struggles with tribal, ethnic, local, and regional rivalries suppressed by 42 years of Qadhafi’s rule. In the three years since, the transition has faced a fragmentation of political leadership, collapse of internal security, an increase in economic disputes, and a legacy of neglect and corruption.

End of Al-Assad, Or of Erdogan? Turkey and the Syrian Uprising

By: Jamal Wakim

Published in Arab Studies Quarterly Volume 36, Issue 3 (2014)

Abstract: In this article, I argue that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted to improve relations with Syria because he wanted Turkey to play a leading role in the Arab world. This role is promoted by the United States which aims at creating an alliance between Turkey and the Arab states to block Russia, China, and Iran from having access to the East Mediterranean or the Indian Ocean. Turkey’s reward would be to have access to Arab markets and oil. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was tempted by the United States, Turkey, and conservative Arab regimes to sever his ties with Iran, which he refused to do. Therefore, the former powers supported the Syrian uprising (which started as domestic protests against dictatorship, corruption, and misrule) to topple al-Assad. However, two and half years since the Syrian uprising started, the al-Assad regime seems to be resisting the attempts of his opponents to topple it, which would mean a failure of Erdogan in his political bet and might even lead to his downfall, especially after the eruption of protests against Erdogan throughout Turkey in early June 2013.

The Arab Spring: A Quantitative Analysis

By: Andrey V. Korotayev, Leonid M. Issaev, Sergey Yu. Malkov, Alisa R. Shishkina

Published in Arab Studies Quarterly Volume 36, Issue 2 (2014)

Abstract: The quantitative analysis of the Arab Spring events is a rather difficult task. Respective difficulties are related to the variety of factors affecting social instability, and to individual peculiarities of historical, cultural, socio-economic, and political processes in the region. As a result of the research, we found out that the processes of social and political destabilization in the countries of Arab Spring were caused by a complex set of factors. The most significant factors that tended to reduce the scale of sociopolitical destabilization during the Arab Spring have turned out to be the following: the ability of the government to reduce social tensions and the presence of “immunity” to internal conflicts. However, such indicators as structural and demographical characteristics and external influences turned out to be less significant in the context of the Arab Spring. It should be mentioned that the significance of the external influences indicator notably increases when the model is used to account for the death toll resultant from anti-government protests. We also discuss the possibility of applying the developed model of sociopolitical destabilization to forecast sociopolitical upheavals in future.

Perspectives for change in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria: the military factor and implications of previous authoritarian regimes

By: Federico Battera

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 7, Issue 4 (2014)

Abstract: This article argues that differences in Arab authoritarian regimes were mainly linked to the relationship between the state, the political party in power and the military. By exploring such differences in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria prior to the 2011 crisis, they are explained in the context of the political changes that ensued in the wake of the crisis. How the army played the dual role of instigating change while impeding it at crucial points in the transitional process is described. The mutual lack of autonomy between the state, the party and the military appears to have been a key factor in impeding change, whereas a clear separation of the functions of these institutions was more likely to enable political change to come about.

Arabs and democracy: an analysis of the findings of the survey of Arab public opinion towards democracy

By: Youssef Mohammad Sawani

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 7, Issue 3 (2014)

Abstract: A survey commissioned by the Center of Arab Unity Studies (CAUS), and carried out in late 2009 and early 2010, was the first Arab public opinion survey on democracy of its kind. This article presents its findings and contextualizes the analyses in the debate that has marked Arab political thinking on democracy as a system of good governance. The purpose of the survey was to shed light on the attitudes of ordinary Arabs with respect to democracy. Contrary to approaches that sought to explain the democratic deficit in the Arab world by virtue of its inherently ‘undemocratic’ culture and the Islamic religion, democratic elements are not absent from Arab culture and Arab people are yearning for democracy. The article analyses and compares the results with those of other surveys to conclude that contemporary Arabs are no exception and they have the same attitudes shared by humanity at large with respect to democracy as a solid political base for a fair system of governance.

From the Vantage Point of Tahrir Square: Popular Uprising in the Arab World

By: Girijesh Pant

Published in International Studies Volume 49, Issue 3, 4 (2014)

Abstract: The continuation of the uprising in the Arab world beyond the third year, despite a regime change, can be explained by locating it within the structural crisis of a neoliberal regime. The objective conditions of exclusion created a unique sense of power in being powerless, making it possible for diverse stakeholders to define a collective cause. This has been further reinforced by a sense of community fostered by electronic communication across the countries of the region and beyond. Thus, the street protests have garnered unprecedented support, giving it a global dimension. Ironically, the solidarity of the collective cause lost its cohesion in transforming itself into an institution. The attempt to construct a sectarian polity is failing due to massive opposition. Clearly, any attempt to impose a framework that does not have a representative character and which does not reflect popular aspirations in terms of a holistic social contract is not going to be acceptable to the protestors. Thus, the boundaries of public protest are expanding and expressions are changing but the sentiments are the same; it continues to be a struggle for inclusion, social justice and dignity.

Historical Sociology and the Arab Uprising

By: Raymond Hinnebusch

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 19, Issue 1 (2014)

Abstract: Historical sociology’s perspectives—co-constitution of the international and domestic, path-dependency, variegated regime types—help illuminate the state formation paths leading to the Arab Uprising. It also points to how contention between the mass mobilization unleashed by the Uprising and oligarchic inheritances is issuing in variegated hybrid outcomes.

Prospects for Implementing Democracy in Tunisia

By: Duncan Pickard

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 19, Issue 2 (2014)

Abstract: Tunisia adopted a progressive and democratic constitution, the most promising of the Arab Spring and perhaps in the modern history of the Middle East. As Tunisians well know, however, implementing the constitution will present daunting challenges. The new government and parliament, expected to be elected in the autumn, will have to quickly address pressing policy challenges: chiefly economic development and domestic security. The constitution creates a political system with many veto players with a thin line between consensus and deadlock. The winners and losers of the next elections must commit themselves to the success of the political process and not a specific electoral outcome in order to set positive precedents for the rule of law and the peaceful transfer of power.

‘Literary Springs’ in Libyan Literature: Contributions of Writers to the Country’s Emancipation

By: Elvira Diana

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 23, Issue 4 (2014)

Abstract: Much of Arab literature can be considered the dīwān (register) of Arab people’s history, which records pages both of its past and present. For this reason, the Arab Spring was certainly not an unexpected event but rather was foretold in literary works reflecting the discontent Arab people experienced under dictatorial regimes. In Libya, the seeds of the ‘Arab Spring’ can be found in the literary activity of some poets and writers who, since the beginning of Qadhdhafi’s rise, were committed to rebelling against the dictatorship and all its social and political abuses through their writing. Therefore, Libyan literature can be considered as a magnifying glass able to focus on the social and political reality that Libya has experienced in the last century. This article aims at analyzing how Libyan writers have contributed to the country’s emancipation before and during Qadhdhafi’s regime and to provide an outline of the literary springs that have occurred in Libyan literature since 1951 and which have accompanied the most important developments in Libya’s recent history.

Radical Transformations and Radical Contestations: Bahrain’s Spatial-Demographic Revolution

By: Omar Hesham Alshehabi

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 23, Issue 1 (2014)

Abstract: This article approaches the developments in Bahrain during the first decade of the twenty-first century through a geographical, historical materialism perspective. It moves away from emphasizing the traditional narratives of events in the island as dominated by identity-based (and particularly sect-based) politics, arguing that the interactions between space, capital, and people over time are also central to explaining local dynamics. It argues that this period has been defined by a radical transformation of the spatial-demographic landscape of Bahrain, and that this perturbed state of creation and destruction on the spatial and demographic fronts crucially was reflected in a radical contestation of social identity, values and discourses. These play an important role in explaining the political explosion that occurred on February 14, 2011 and the subsequent political mobilization along sectarian and nationalist lines.

Troubled Political Transitions: Tunisia, Egypt and Libya

By: Ann M. Lesch

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 21, Issue 1 (2014)

Abstract: Not available

Taking Back the Village: Rural Youth in a Moral Revolution

By: Lila Abu-Lughod

Published in Middle East Report Volume 44, Issue 272 (2014)

Abstract: Not available

Potholes in the Road to Revolution

By: Michael Marcusa

Published in Middle East Report Volume 44, Issue 272 (2014)

Abstract: Not available

A Poor People’s Revolution: The Southern Movement Heads Toward Independence from Yemen

By: Susanne Dahlgren

Published in Middle East Report Volume 44, Issue 273 (2014)

Abstract: Not available

The Wretched Revolution

By: Yasmin Moll

Published in Middle East Report Volume 44, Issue 273 (2014)

Abstract: Not available

The Role of Drought and Climate Change in the Syrian Uprising: Untangling the Triggers of the Revolution

By: Francesca De Châtel

Published in Middle Eastern Studies Volume 50, Issue 4 (2014)

Abstract: This article examines the role of drought and climate change as triggers of the Syrian uprising that started in March 2011. It frames the 2006–10 drought that struck north-eastern Syria in the context of rapid economic liberalization and long-standing resource mismanagement, and shows that the humanitarian crisis of the late 2000s largely predated the drought period. It argues that focusing on external factors like drought and climate change in the context of the Syrian uprising is counterproductive as it diverts attention from more fundamental political and economic motives behind the protests and shifts responsibility away from the Syrian government.

Class and Politics in Turkey’s Gezi Protests

By: Erdem Yörük, Murat Yüksel

Published in New Left Review Issue 89 (2014)

Abstract: Successive mass protests have erupted seemingly out of nowhere since the financial crisis. The Arab uprisings of 2011 were fast followed by mobilizations across the Eurozone periphery, from Greece to Spain, and by Occupy in the us. Anti-corruption sit-ins paralyzed Indian cities; Brazil and Turkey erupted in 2013, while counter-mobilizations polarized Ukraine. What social forces and what politics have been in play? Earlier contributions to this journal have analyzed the emergence of 21st century ‘oppositional’ strata and examined the confluence of classes in the Brazilian protests— ‘new proletarians’, typically telemarketers with degrees, and the inflation-hit middle class. In this text, we focus on the social and political character of Turkey’s ‘Gezi’ protests, named after the small park in central Istanbul whose threatened demolition sparked a nationwide uprising that would last for more than a month.
The Gezi protests have already inspired an extensive literature on the causes, form, and content of this upsurge. There is a widespread assumption in much of this literature that the protesters were drawn largely from the ‘new middle class’, and that participation from those further down the social scale was either low or non-existent. Turkey’s protest movement has been seen as a manifestation of a new middle-class politics—democratic, environmentalist—whose global import is predicted to grow. Here, we test these assumptions through analysis of four sets of quantitative data: three surveys and a newspaper-based protest dataset. In contrast to many accounts, which concentrate largely on the central core of protesters inside Gezi Park itself, we examine the Turkish uprising at its height, when the greatest numbers were mobilized across the country, and look at levels of passive support as well as activist cadre. In the sections that follow, we briefly outline the arc of the protests, explore the arguments concerning their nature, sketch the broader economic and political context in which they took place and conclude with our own analysis, based on survey and protest data.

Economic Policies, Structural Change and the Roots of the “Arab Spring” in Egypt

By: Hannah Bargawi

Published in Review of Middle East Economics and Finance Volume 10, Issue 3 (2014)

Abstract: This paper analyses the economic challenges facing Egypt in the post-Mubarak period, demonstrating the ways in which economic policy choices over the 2000s have contributed to the economic and social outcomes witnessed in the run up to the 2011 uprisings. The article investigates three specific policy areas and demonstrates their role in reducing employment opportunities, eroding wages and facilitating the creation of an increasingly unequal economic and social structure in Egypt. The three policy areas addressed by the article are (i) the general misplaced fiscal focus on expenditure-reduction rather than revenue-enhancement and the lack of progressive revenue growth; (ii) the manipulation and use of subsidies in Egypt to appease the populous instead of fostering employment generation; (iii) the failure to adequately promote employment-intensive investment.

Tribal Politics in Contemporary Jordan: The Case of the Hirak Movement

By: Sean L. Yom

Published in The Middle East Journal Volume 68, Issue 2 (2014)

Abstract: During 2011/12, East Bank tribal youths in Jordan mobilized a new wave of political opposition through the Hirak movement. Reflecting generational change in their communities, as well as the historical erosion of tribal-state relations, these protest groups demanded sweeping democratic reforms from the monarchy. They also utilized language and methods more radical than the established legal opposition. This changing dynamic of tribal politics holds enormous implications for politics and stability within the Hashemite kingdom.

“State of Barbary” (Take Two): From the Arab Spring to the Return of Violence in Syria

By: Philippe Droz-Vincent

Published in The Middle East Journal Volume 68, Issue 1 (2014)

Abstract: Unlike the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings in 2011, the Syrian Revolution has endured for more than three years. The uprising burst from the “peripheries” of the regime into an organized national movement, clinging at the beginning to the ideal of a nonviolent, nonsectarian upheaval aiming at a democratic Syria. Yet, the dynamics of contention between the regime and social movements have been reshaped, leading to a return of violence with the risks of sectarian civil war looming.

Two years in Abu Dhabi: Adventures teaching journalism in the UAE during the Arab Spring

By: Matt J. Duffy

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 18 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

The Roots and Causes of the 2011 Arab Uprisings

By: Kamal Eldin Osman Salih

Published in Arab Studies Quarterly Volume 35, Issue 2 (2013)

Abstract: This research article attempts to scrutinize the nature and causes of the Arab uprisings which took people by surprise globally throughout 2011 and into 2012. The article argues that the repressive, violent nature of the Arab regimes and their suppression of individual liberties against a backdrop of ongoing corruption and deterioration of the economy have been among the major factors leading to the Arab revolts. In addition, the article attempts to answer the query: why were the two repressive regimes of Tunisia and Egypt so quick to come undone, whereas dismantling the Libyan regime took much longer? Finally, the article tries to develop a causation analysis as to why the Arab regimes of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman, and Sudan have not faced major political protest.

Egypt: Revolutionary Process and Global Capitalist Crisis

By: Ibrahim G. Aoudé

Published in Arab Studies Quarterly Volume 35, Issue 3 (2013)

Abstract: The upheaval that has swept the Arab world, beginning in December 2010, reached Egypt on January 25, 2011. The article argues that capitalist globalization and ultimately the 2008 global financial crisis were main causes of the uprising. The Mubarak regime’s privatization schemes exacerbated poverty and widened the already huge gap between rich and poor. Mubarak employed repression to ensure that no effective political opposition would materialize to challenge his authoritarian rule and crony capitalism. Strikes and demonstrations beginning in 2006 and the lead up to the uprising demonstrated that the fight for democracy and economic justice had been intertwined. The ouster of Mubarak has not improved the economic situation for the majority of the population and authoritarian rule remained under the military and since the election of the Islamist President Morsi. Popular resistance continues against the Islamists in power to bring about a secular regime that would establish democracy and economic justice.

Citizenship against the Grain: Locating the Spirit of the Arab Uprisings in Times of Counterrevolution

By: Benoît Challand

Published in Constellations Volume 20, Issue 2 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

Competing Ways of Life: Islamism, Secularism, and Public Order in the Tunisian Transition

By: Malika Zeghal

Published in Constellations Volume 20, Issue 2 (2013)

Abstract: The Tunisian uprisings of 2010-2011 constituted a moment that can be described as “fugitive democracy,” a term coined by Sheldon Wolin to describe ephemeral and exceptional moments of commonality that contrast with fractioned everyday institutionalized politics. In the context of “fugitive democracy,” “a free society composed of diversities can nonetheless enjoy moments of commonality when, through public deliberations, collective power is used to promote or protect the well-being of the collectivity.” Between the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi on December 17, 2010, and the departure of President Ben Ali on January 14, 2011, Tunisians experienced such a political moment: the usual boundaries separating those excluded from political institutions from those included in them disappeared. It was precisely during this moment–comparable to a tabula rasa–that it became possible for demonstrators all over Tunisia to readily demand and imagine the possibility of an entirely new political system. This desire for radical change was illustrated by the slogan declaimed by the protestors on January 14, 2011, the day Ben Ali fled: “the people want to bring down the regime” (al-sha‘b yurid isqat al-nizam). It could also be heard in the now famous imperative “Dégage!,” addressed in French to the president and to the police in front of the building of the feared ministry of Interior on the main avenue of the capital.

Social Media in Egypt’s Transition Period

By: Yosra Abdel Sattar El Gendi

Published in Khamasin (2013)

Abstract: This research examines the role of social media in the transition phase in Egypt (February 2011-June 2012). It asks whether social media networks lose out in turn asagents of mobilization to the political organizations that sprung up in the transitionphase. Further, it examines whether different political participants in elections, civilsociety, and massive protest movements used Facebook and Twitter differently in thetransition period. It also analyzes the use of social media in different types of protests. A mixed method was used that included focus groups, interviews and a user survey(n= 230). Among the main findings was that different social media networks are useddifferently by adherents of different political orientations, as well as different types ofpolitical participants. Also, social media partially reinforced organized structuresof mobilization during the transition period.

Libya’s Revolution at Two Years: Perils and Achievements

By: Frederic Wehrey

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 18, Issue 1 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

The Other Side of a Neoliberal Miracle: Economic Reform and Political De-Liberalization in Ben Ali’s Tunisia

By: Gerasimos Tsourapas

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 18, Issue 1 (2013)

Abstract: Employing a Gramscian framework this analysis argues that economic liberalization in Tunisia under Zine El Abidine Ben Ali allowed for a deeper penetration of state power into society, introducing novel modes of control during a climate of economic uncertainty which, labelled an ‘economic miracle’, was to be defended at all costs. It examines two institutions central to the reform process – the Tunisian Solidarity Bank and the National Solidary Fund – making the argument that, by associating the ‘miracle’ discourse with a variety of pre-existing narratives, the regime ensured compliance, invalidated dissent and prolonged its repressive grip on power.

Political Contestation in Algeria: Between Postcolonial Legacies and the Arab Spring

By: Muriam Haleh Davis, Thomas Serres

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 22, Issue 2 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

Understanding Libya’s ‘Revolution’ through Transformation of the Jamahiriyya into a State of Exception

By: Matteo Capasso

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 22, Issue 2 (2013)

Abstract: This article aims to provide a historical and structural context to the outbreak of the Libyan Revolution, which began in February 2011. It does so through an analysis of the polity Mu’ammar Qadhdhafi termed a Jamahiriyya. By identifying a crucial transformation within the long development of the Jamahiriyya through what Giorgio Agamben defines the state of exception, the article demonstrates how the official discourse entered in sharp contradiction with the very principles around which the regime had framed its moral purpose since the coup d’état in 1969. This metamorphosis resulted both in the slow, yet constant, erosion of the legitimacy of the regime and in the emergence of different forms of resistance. It is in such conditions, where emerging offstage resistances, what James Scott has called hidden transcripts of power, and counter-discourses began to come out, that the paper tries to assess the significance of the popular revolt and NATO’s subsequent international intervention for the future of the country.

Contextualizing the Arab Revolts: The Politics behind Three Decades of Neoliberalism in the Arab World

By: Koenraad Bogaert

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 22, Issue 3 (2013)

Abstract: This article argues that attempts to understand the significance and implication of the Arab uprisings must not lose sight of the fact that the current pressures for change are rooted in the fundamental political transformations that took place during the previous three decades. These transformations were intimately related to neoliberal economic reforms. The article examines the impact of neoliberal reforms in two parts. First, it discusses the politics behind three decades of neoliberalism in the region. Second, it elaborates on the urban setting as a locale where we can theorize some of the agency at work in the complex process of neoliberal globalization. As such, we should understand Arab politics–and resistance–as a complexity that goes beyond the mere interaction between ‘the regime’ and ‘the Arab people’ and relate these politics to shifting power balances in contemporary globalization.

Tunisia and Syria: Comparing Two Years of Revolution

By: Leyla Dakhlia

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 22, Issue 3 (2013)

Abstract: This article aims to reconstruct the connection between the uprisings in Tunisia and Syria—or rather provide the means for characterizing it—by comparing two extremes that could be defined as opposites: that of the particular moment of contestation; and also the circulation and communication of ideas. The purpose of this exercise is not only to challenge the common discourse but also to provide other possible lines of approach regarding the moment itself, what stirs it up, what shifts it, of what it is made, and what can blur the lines. This exercise also provides the opportunity, albeit paradoxical, to reflect on pressing concerns that have arisen from observing what has been occurring in the region since early 2011.

Tahrir: Politics, Publics and Performances of Space

By: Derek Gregory

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 22, Issue 3 (2013)

Abstract: One of the iconic sites of the Arab uprisings that started in December 2010 was (and remains) Tahrir Square in Cairo. This is also a site that makes it possible to trace the entanglements of a digital public sphere with a physical public space. Many commentators on events in Egypt have insisted on the power of digital social media, and especially Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to activate and co-ordinate political opposition to the Mubarak regime. But conventional means of communication also played a crucial role, and the presence of large crowds gathered together in public spaces was vital to the immediate gains made in by what was a remarkably heterogeneous revolution. Using the work of Judith Butler, it becomes possible to clarify the ways in which the animation of a diverse public was inseparable from its ability to appropriate and in some substantial sense ‘gather’—to re-claim and re-appropriate—a properly public space. In short, it was through both their digital platforms and their bodily presence that so many people collaborated in a series of political performances that were also performances of space.

The “Arab Spring”: Socioeconomic Aspects

By: Onn Winckler

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 20, Issue 4 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

The Challenge of Democratic Transitions in the Middle East

By: Riman Barakat

Published in Palestine-Israel: The Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture Volume 18, Issue 4 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

Human Rights, the Internet and Social Media: Has Technology Changed the Way We See Things?

By: Ziad Khalil AbuZayyad

Published in Palestine-Israel: The Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture Volume 18, Issue 4 (2013)

Abstract: Freedom of expression is a requirement for a true democracy and declared as a human right, but not everyone has it. The struggle continues to assure freedom of expression around the world, but it becomes harder to achieve in areas where conflict exists or when a country is going through political or social change.

Of Lawyers and Samsars: The Legal Services Market and the Authoritarian State in Ben ‘Ali’s Tunisia (1987–2011)

By: Eric Gobe

Published in The Middle East Journal Volume 67, Issue 1 (2013)

Abstract: The recent history of the Tunisian Bar was symptomatic of repeated attempts by President Ben ‘Ali’s authoritarian state to subjugate a profession which was meant to guarantee respect for the rule of law and defendants’ rights. To this end, the state established an apparatus intended to control the workings of the legal services market and reduce the profession’s capacity for self-regulation. This situation led to the development of illegal practices and influenced a majority of lawyers to support the mobilization against Ben ‘Ali’s regime.

Understanding the Success of Mass Civic Protest in Tunisia

By: Michele Penner Angrist

Published in The Middle East Journal Volume 67, Issue 4 (2013)

Abstract: On the surface, the 2011 Tunisian Revolution seems attributable primarily to economic causes, social media, and the army’s refusal to back the regime of President Zine El-‘Abidine Ben ‘Ali. A deeper look reveals that its success depended on the interaction between the structural brittleness of a regime that had alienated many key civilian constituencies and the emergence of sustained, cross-class, geographically widespread, mass demonstrations. These demonstrations were facilitated by Islamist moderation, secularist-Islamist rapprochement within the opposition, and the actions of the Tunisian General Union of Labor (Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail, or UGTT). In the wake of Ben ‘Ali’s departure, Islamist moderation and the fruits of secularist-Islamist rapprochement facilitated the holding of elections and the drafting of a new constitution

Constitutional Principles: Documents on Post-Revolution Egypt

By: Tahany El Gebaly, Sonia Farid

Published in Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics Issue 32 (2012)

Abstract: This article presents the  three important documents which delineate the constitutional principles aspired for in postrevolution Egypt (January 25, 2011). They are known as the Azhar Document (June 2011), the National Council Document (July 2011), and the Silmi Document (November 2011). They represent visions of a future Egypt analyzed in an introduction by the author that provides insights into the historical context, issues debated, and concerns attended to in drafting these documents. Though they did not result in a concrete declaration, they created a rich environment where principles of freedom, social justice, development, education, civil rights, and citizenship were discussed

Strength and Vulnerability after Egypt’s Arab Spring Uprisings

By: Sherine F. Hamdy

Published in American Ethnologist Volume 39, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Following the revolts that unseated Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, a contradictory discourse has emerged in which Egyptians imagine themselves to be resilient in body and spirit but also enfeebled by years of political corruption and state negligence. During the mass protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the regime’s orchestrated violence neither crushed the movement nor provoked activists to abandon their vow of peaceful protest. However, Egyptians’ pride in the physical and moral resilience that enabled this feat is infused with an understanding of its fragility; many face vulnerabilities to disease within the context of environmental toxins, malnutrition, and a broken, overtaxed health care system. And they mourn the deterioration of moral principles and values after years of brutal oppression and social injustice. These conflicting views—of vitality and vulnerability—have led to a dizzying oscillation between optimism and despair; even as people celebrate the accomplishments of the uprisings, they are also keenly aware of the formidable challenges that lie ahead.

Meanings and Feelings: Local interpretations of the use of violence in the Egyptian revolution

By: Farha Ghannam

Published in American Ethnologist Volume 39, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: I trace the shifting feelings of some of my close interlocutors in a low‐income neighborhood in Cairo and explore some of the cultural meanings that informed their attempts to make sense of the changing situation during the first days of the Egyptian revolution. Specifically, I reflect on how existing concepts that structure uses of violence have been central to the way men and women interpreted the attacks of baltagiyya (thugs) on the protesters in Tahrir Square and how these interpretations ultimately framed my interlocutors’ feelings and views of the revolution, Mubarak’s regime, and its supporters.

The Egyptian Revolution: A Triumph of Poetry

By: Reem Saad

Published in American Ethnologist Volume 39, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: The 11‐day interval between the fall of Tunisia’s Ben Ali and the onset of the Egyptian revolution is now almost forgotten. These days were important mainly as the time when inspiration was nurtured and the big question on people’s minds was, could a revolution happen in Egypt? Never before had this question been debated so intensely. I look at two contrasting ways of addressing it. On the one hand, seasoned political analysts (mostly political scientists) were predominantly saying no, Egypt is not Tunisia. On the other hand, activists were talking dreams and poetry, especially invoking lines from two famous Arab poets on the power of popular will and the inevitability of revolution. In this case, poetry prevailed. It was not only a source of inspiration but also carried more explanatory power than much social science. Here I document this moment and pay tribute to poetry and dreams.

‘Suleiman: Mubarak decided to step down #egypt #jan25 OH MY GOD’: examining the use of social media in the 2011 Egyptian revolution

By: Genevieve Barrons

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 5, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: For the last decade, a debate has raged over the place of social media within popular uprisings. The 2011 Egyptian revolution shed new light on this debate. However, while the use of social media by Egyptians received much focus, and activists themselves pointed towards it as the key to their success, social media did not constitute the revolution itself, nor did it instigate it. Focusing solely on social media diminishes the personal risks that Egyptians took when heading into the streets to face rubber bullets and tear gas, as well as more lethal weapons. Social media was neither the cause nor the catalyst of the revolution; rather it was a tool of coordination and communication.

The socio-economic factors behind the Arab revolutions

By: Georges Corm

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 5, Issue 3 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

On ‘cultural revolution’ and the Arab culture of revolution

By: Abdullah R. Lux

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 5, Issue 3 (2012)

Abstract: Given the media hype and attention devoted to the events of the 2010–2011 ‘Arab Spring’ it may perhaps be overlooked that the Arabs, and more than many other nations, possess long experience with diverse and profound long-term revolutions in the twentieth century. For numerous reasons and especially the sweeping and pervasive socio-economic and political changes some of these introduced, they may well be more appropriately categorized as ‘revolutions’ than those termed as such at the moment. This article explores one dimension of this phenomenon and demonstrates that the concept of what was specifically termed a ‘cultural revolution’ (originally by Lenin about 1923) was first introduced in the Arab world by Jamal ‘Abd al-Nasser on 19 December 1961, nearly four years before Mao Tse Tung’s launch of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in 1966. For his part, Mu‘ammar Qadhafi, who admitted borrowing the term (if not the mechanism) from Mao, would announce a ‘cultural revolution’ with markedly different connotations on 15 April 1973 at Zuwarah, which signalled the beginning of the road towards implementation of the ‘Third Universal Theory’ (reaching final form in the Green Book) and the subsequent inception of the Jamahiriya in 1977. Although the theoretical and practical implications were distinct for Lenin, Nasser, Mao and Qadhafi, history suggests that it was Nasser – the giant of Pan-Arabism who would come to define and represent Arab socialism – who preceded Mao as the first to call for a ‘cultural revolution’ as a policy at the level of state. He saw this as indispensable to the project of political and socio-economic revolution in the service of a just and sufficient society, where ‘sound democracy’ was not the pro-forma Western variant in the service of unmitigated capitalism and powerful elites, but rather an expression of socio-economic parity and a guarantee against exploitation by one group or one human being of another.

Morocco and democratic transition: a reading of the constitutional amendments – their context and results

By: Abdelilah Belkeziz

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 5, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: This article, originally delivered in the Fall of 2011 at a seminar held in Beirut at the Centre for Arab Unity Studies, examines the 2011 amendments to the Moroccan Constitution in light of the historical background. The tumultuous events of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ brought new urgency to the issue of constitutional reforms that had been broached initially on the accession of Muhammad VI to the throne in 1999. Since independence, Moroccan political society has typically been vibrant, democratic and home to numerous political parties of various orientations and, since the 1970s, has witnessed calls by various sides for constitutional reforms as well as for the institution of a constitutional or parliamentary monarchy. On 9 March 2011 Muhammad VI gave a momentous address subjecting the issue of royal authority to public deliberations. This topic had previously ranked as one of the few unapproachable taboos of the political scene. A vital driving force in the process of constitutional reform has been the youthful February 20 Movement that was instrumental in the mobilization of millions of Moroccans and led to submitting the new draft Constitution to popular referendum and its ratification on 1 July 2011. Unlike other Arab countries, Morocco’s functioning democracy, its well-established political parties and the fact that the issue of constitutional reforms had already been on the table meant that when Moroccans descended into the streets they had a set of clearly defined demands – demands that were also less drastic than those being made in other countries. Yet while Moroccan politics have been highly developed and articulate since the 1940s, the events of the Arab Spring provided the necessary shock and catalyst to transform relative complacency into action. The dense topography of mature political parties and organizations in Morocco factored in two ways: first, it permitted a stable environment for democratic transition, which was not new as a concept; and in a somewhat less positive regard, the compromises and concessions to numerous sides dictated by Moroccan political pluralism led – in the drafting of the amended Constitution – to a document of somewhat indistinct character. The King’s authority, in particular, is not so limited as a contemporary parliamentary monarchy and he retains a distinct set of powers, particularly under the aegis of his role as ‘Commander of the Faithful’ (Amir al-Mu’minin). Nevertheless, there have been significant changes and this article examines the nature of these, their genesis and links to various political trends and parties. The uniqueness of the Moroccan model is demonstrated, though other Arab countries, notably Jordan, may follow a similar path.

Democratic transition and sectarian populism: the case of Lebanon

By: Imad Salamey, Paul Tabar

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 5, Issue 4 (2012)

Abstract: Despite being considered as one of the oldest constitutional democracies in the Middle East, Lebanon has been confronted with periodical institutional crises and civil violence. A protracted transitional period towards democracy has threatened the autonomy of deeply fragmented sectarian groups, and has instigated a polarizing struggle over nationhood. Fearing the degradation of their power to a majoritarian order, sectarian leaders have resorted to various mobilization strategies to obstruct the emergence of a unifying national identity and democratic state. Consequently, a chronically weak state has emerged, divided along antagonistic sectarian loyalties with power shared according to sectarian consociationalism. In order to reveal the tenets of sectarian populism in Lebanon and their impacts on nation-building, the state and democratic transition, a nationwide opinion survey was conducted by the Lebanese American University (LAU), Beirut, during January of 2011 with a random sample of 586 Lebanese respondents divided along sectarian affiliation. The survey examined differential populist mobilization among major sectarian groups and revealed potential explanatory variables. The results shed light on the formation of populism in a divided society and the challenges it poses for democratic transitions in Lebanon and perhaps in transitional Middle Eastern states.

The corruption of political elites in Iraq – an economic analysis

By: Haithem Kareem Sawaan

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 5, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: This article examines the corruption of political elites in Iraq in the wake of the 2003 American occupation – a phenomenon that has had disastrous consequences for the country as well as astronomical fiscal costs. The corruption that has now become endemic has served not only to undermine reform and reconstruction efforts – while simultaneously accomplishing the embezzlement of billions of dollars – but also has left the Iraqi people exposed to a wide array of harms from contaminated wheat imports to an infrastructure in complete disarray to foreign machinations, including those of international food conglomerates. Through the acquiescence of corrupt Iraqi elites, the country has been laid open to external interests and foreign initiatives as well as those of the World Trade Organization (WTO) through means such as the 100 ‘orders’ signed by US ‘Ambassador’ Paul Bremer III under the auspices of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Graft and kickback schemes of every stripe are rife throughout the country, and monies donated in the form of international assistances have served to line the pockets of the corrupt, never reaching the intended recipients among the average Iraqi population in many instances. The vicious cycle is further perpetuated also through a corrupt judiciary that militates against any sort of meaningful transparency or oversight. Corruption, and that of the powerful elites in particular, has not only squandered genuine development opportunities that might have benefited the country at large and done much good to facilitate reconstruction efforts, but also it has – for the foreseeable future – thrown the issues of Iraqi oil revenues and food security as well as that of national sovereignty into a peril of the first order.

Detailed analysis of the phenomenon of political corruption in Algeria: causes, repercussions and reform

By: Mohammed Halim Limam

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 5, Issue 2 (2012)

Abstract: Corruption in present-day Algeria has become so rife that it has gone from what Algerians once sardonically termed the ‘sport of the elite’ to being the ‘national sport’. Not only has it reached epidemic proportions at all levels, it has become a culture unto itself, endemic to the country. Because most documented instances of major corruption and scandals have been linked to official branches, apparatuses and persons of the state, and because most have occurred and would not have been possible without some sort of official sanction, corruption in Algeria is ipso facto political. The mechanisms and networks of corruption are many and interlocking, revolving around and feeding on bribery, clientelism, tribalism, nepotism, webs of personal interest and loyalties. The crisis is multifaceted with international dimensions as well, given the collusion of multinational corporations and the intersection of power and vast revenues deriving from oil rent that has also permitted, through an overinflated and ineffectual state bureaucracy, a fertile environment for the pernicious phenomenon. Privatization; the opening of Algerian markets to direct foreign investment and liberalization of trade in response to structural reforms demanded by international monetary institutions during the 1990s; what was effectively a vicious and disastrous civil war in the wake of the suspension of the 1992 elections; as well as globalization have all factored in reinforcing old forms of corruption and promoting new ones. Elite coteries, crony capitalism, and a new generation of ambitious intermediaries and young opportunistic entrepreneurs, such as Rafiq ‘Abd al-Mu’min Khalifa (convicted head of the al-Khalifa Group), have become the new players in billion-dollar schemes of graft, theft and embezzlement of unprecedented proportions. Furthermore, court cases and judicial proceedings have often taken on the aspect of farce when arrests are made and charges brought against minor officials, leaving those higher-up and known to have been party to illicit activities and dealings above the law in the realm of the ‘untouchables’. Significantly, the road to reform, which must necessarily be political in the first instance, is fraught with obstacles, not the least of which is that favouritism is institutionalized in the letter of Algerian law. With good reason, Algerians in general have become highly circumspect with candidates and an electoral process that are open to every tactic of manipulation. This article provides valuable insider information into the specifics and mechanics of Algerian corruption, which even the ruling elite has been obliged to admit constitutes the primary threat to the stability and continuity of the state. The research and distillation of conclusions in this article are drawn from the full-length Arabic-language book by Muḥammad Ḥalīm Līmām entitled Ẓāhirat al-Fasād al-Siyāsī fī al-Jazāʾir: al-Asbāb wa al-Āthār wa al-Iṣlāḥ. Beirut: Center for Arab Unity Studies (CAUS), 2011.

On One Forgotten Cause of the Arab Spring: the Lack of Economic Freedom

By: Emmanuel Martin

Published in Economic Affairs Volume 32, Issue 3 (2012)

Abstract: Had the Arab Spring been widely interpreted as a revolution for ‘laissez faire’, it would certainly have stimulated more reflection on the central place of the entrepreneur in economic development, and the fundamental role of economic freedom to let this prosperity-generating entrepreneurship flourish. The future of the Arab Spring depends on the capacity of the new democratically elected governments to implement measures to prevent crony capitalism, restore the rule of law and promote economic freedom in order to ensure general prosperity.

The 2011 uprisings in the Arab Middle East: political change and geopolitical implications

By: Katerina Dalacoura

Published in International Affairs Volume 88, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: The Arab uprisings of 2011 are still unfolding, but we can already discern patterns of their effects on the Middle East region. This article offers a brief chronology of events, highlighting their inter-connections but also their very diverse origins, trajectories and outcomes. It discusses the economic and political grievances at the root of the uprisings and assesses the degree to which widespread popular mobilization can be attributed to pre-existing political, labour and civil society activism, and social media. It argues that the uprisings’ success in overthrowing incumbent regimes depended on the latter’s responses and relationships with the army and security services. The rebellions’ inclusiveness or lack thereof was also a crucial factor. The article discusses the prospects of democracy in the Arab world following the 2011 events and finds that they are very mixed: while Tunisia, at one end, is on track to achieve positive political reform, Syria, Yemen and Libya are experiencing profound internal division and conflict. In Bahrain the uprising was repressed. In Egypt, which epitomizes many regional trends, change will be limited but, for that reason, possibly more long-lasting. Islamist movements did not lead the uprisings but will benefit from them politically even though, in the long run, political participation may lead to their decline. Finally, the article sketches the varied and ongoing geopolitical implications of the uprisings for Turkish, Iranian and Israeli interests and policies. It assesses Barack Obama’s response to the 2011 events and suggests that, despite their profound significance for the politics of the region, they may not alter the main contours of US foreign policy in the Middle East in a major way.

No friend of democratization: Europe’s role in the genesis of the ‘ Arab Spring’

By: Rosemary Hollis

Published in International Affairs Volume 88, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: The argument advanced in this article is that EU policies helped to trigger the so-called Arab Spring, not by intention but by default. This contention is advanced through an examination of four strands of EU policy towards those countries designated as Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPCs) under the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Programme (EMP) and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), namely: trade and economic development, political reform, the ‘peace process’, and regional security (including migration control). What emerges is that the EU has not just departed from its own normative principles and aspirations for Arab reform in some instances, but that the EU has consistently prioritized European security interests over ‘shared prosperity’ and democracy promotion in the Mediterranean. The net result is a set of structured, institutionalized and securitized relationships which will be difficult to reconfigure and will not help Arab reformers attain their goals.

Syria: from ‘authoritarian upgrading’ to revolution?

By: Raymond Hinnebusch

Published in International Affairs Volume 88, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Syria was, until recently, seen as a ‘successful’ example of authoritarian ‘upgrading’ or ‘modernization;’ yet in 2011 the Syrian regime faced revolution from below: what went wrong? Bashar al-Asad inherited a flawed regime yet managed to start the integration of his country into the world capitalist market, without forfeiting the nationalist card by, for instance, attempting to acquire legitimacy from opposition to Israel and the US invasion of Iraq. Yet, despite his expectations and that of most analysts, his regime proved susceptible to the Arab uprising. This article examines the causes and development of the Syrian uprising of 2011. It contextualizes the revolt by showing how the construction of the regime built in vulnerabilities requiring constant ‘upgradings’ that produced a more durable regime but had long term costs. It focuses on Bashar al-Asad’s struggles to ‘modernize’ authoritarianism by consolidating his own ‘reformist’ faction, balancing between the regime’s nationalist legitimacy and its need for incorporation into the world economy; his shifting of the regime’s social base to a new class of crony capitalists; and his effort to manage participatory pressures through limited liberalization and ‘divide and rule’. The seeds of the uprising are located in these changes, notably the abandonment of the regime’s rural constituency and debilitating of its institutions. Yet, it was Asad’s inadequate response to legitimate grievances and excessive repression that turned demands for reform into attempted revolution. The article then analyses the uprising, looking at the contrary social bases and strategies of regime and opposition, and the dynamics by which violence and foreign intervention have escalated, before finishing with comments on the likely prognosis.

The Arab Spring, Winter, and Back Again? (Re)Introducing the Dissent-Repression Nexus with a Twist

By: Christian Davenporta, Will H. Mooreb

Published in International Interactions Volume 38, Issue 5 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

The Spring of Hope and Winter of Despair

By: Abbas Amanat

Published in International Journal of Middle East Studies Volume 44, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: For the majority of Iranians who went through the Islamic Revolution of 1979 with high hopes, the “Spring of Freedom” (Bahar-i Azadi) never really bloomed except perhaps on the specially minted gold coins issued in March 1979 by the Provisional Government of Mahdi Bazargan. Revolutionary optimism quickly died out and gave way to a long winter of discontent. For the peoples of the Arab world who are presently witnessing an “Arab Spring,” the turn of events may be different. Though the current movement has yet to fully unfold, potentially taking months or even years, and though it is unrealistic to generalize about all Arab countries as if they were one monolithic unit, there are features that set today’s movements apart from the 1979 Iranian Revolution as much as there are striking parallels.

The “Arab Spring” as Seen through the Prism of the 1979 Iranian Revolution

By: Negin Nabavi

Published in International Journal of Middle East Studies Volume 44, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Revolutions are by nature unpredictable and unsettling. That the wave of revolutions in North Africa and the Arab Middle East began so unexpectedly and spread with such speed, leading to the fall of the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, has added to the concern regarding the “new order” that is to come after the initial euphoria. From the outset, the fear has been that these revolutions will follow the same trajectory as Iran did in 1979—in other words, that they will marginalize those who launched the revolutions and provide the grounds for the rise to power of the most savvy, purposeful, and best organized of the opposition groups, namely, the Islamists. Yet when one considers the recent uprisings in the Arab world through the prism of Iran’s experiences in 1979, the parallels are not so evident. Mindful of the variations and distinctions between each of the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, it would appear that in broad terms, and beyond superficial similarities, there is little in common between the events of Iran in 1979 and what has happened in the past year in the Arab world.

The Arab Spring: Ideals of the Iranian Green Movement, Methods of the Iranian Revolution

By: Charles Kurzman

Published in International Journal of Middle East Studies Volume 44, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Which Iranian uprising does the Arab Spring bring to mind? The Green Movement of 2009, which challenged the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or the Iranian Revolution of 1979, which brought the Islamic Republic to power?

Arab and Iranian Revolts 1979–2011: Influences or Similar Causes?

By: Nikki R. Keddie

Published in International Journal of Middle East Studies Volume 44, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: In the thirty-two years from 1979 to 2011 there have been numerous mass movements in Iran and several Arab countries that have overthrown or threatened rulers who seemed secure for several decades. By September 2011, the shah of Iran and the presidents of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya had been overthrown; of those, only the anti-Qaddafi revolt had outside (NATO) help. Major popular movements had also threatened the rulers of Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria. Iran had seen the massive Green Movement in 2009, aimed primarily at fraud in that year’s presidential elections. Among the questions that emerge regarding these movements are the following: Why did they arise when they did? Why were they not predicted? How much influence did one or more of these movements have on the others? Why were some movements successful and others, thus far, not? Some of these questions will demand long study and analysis, which may not lead to a consensus. Here will be a preliminary brief discussion of a few of them, with stress on the question of influence.

The Egyptian Uprising and the Global Capitalist System

By: Ibrahim Aoude

Published in International Studies Volume 49, Issue 3-4 (2012)

Abstract: This article situates Egypt in the global capitalist system to understand better the causes of the uprising beyond the one that has been put forth primarily in the Western media, viz. the authoritarian, undemocratic Mubarak regime was the main source. While democracy is a critical instrument that gives people more say in the process of governance, the uprising was primarily caused by the failure of the Mubarak regime to bring economic prosperity. Indeed, poverty had increased and political repression was used to squelch any opposition to Mubarak’s economic policies. This article argues that the continuing uprising is part of a global resistance to a US-led global capitalist system.

Christian Encounters with Iran: Engaging Muslim Thinkers after the Revolution

By: Sasan Tavassoli

Published in Iran and The Caucasus Volume 16, Issue 2 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

Tunisia’s Transition and the Twin Tolerations

By: Alfred Stepan

Published in Journal of Democracy Volume 23, Issue 2 (2012)

Abstract: In 2011, Tunisia achieved a successful democratic transition, albeit not yet a consolidation of democracy. It did so while adhering to a relationship between religion and politics that follows the pattern of what I have called the “twin tolerations.” The first toleration is that of religious citizens toward the state. It requires that they accord democratically elected officials the freedom to legislate and govern without having to confront denials of their authority based on religious claims—such as the claim that “Only God, not man, can make laws.” The second toleration requires that laws and officials must permit religious citizens, as a matter of right, to freely express their views and values within civil society, and to freely take part in politics, as long as religious activists and organizations respect other citizens’ constitutional rights and the law.

The Hariri Political Dynasty after the Arab Spring

By: Ward Vloeberghs

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 17, Issue 2 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

Yemen’s Arab Spring – Democratic Opening or Regime Maintenance?

By: Vincent Durac

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 17, Issue 2 (2012)

Abstract: Yemen’s revolt of 2011, like its counterparts in Tunisia and Egypt, raises many questions about recent analysis of authoritarianism in the Arab world. The long-standing regime of Ali Abdullah al-Saleh and his General People’s Congress (GPC) party seemed to represent a classic case of authoritarian upgrading. The surprisingly open political system in Yemen, which followed the emergence of the new state in 1990, masked the extent to which the president exerted control through a network of informal alliances and, in recent years, external support and patronage. The widespread and persistent protests against the regime which led ultimately to a handover of power to Saleh’s vice-president and the formation of a government of national unity between the GPC and the opposition, seem to constitute yet another set of challenges to the theses of authoritarian upgrading and Arab hostility to democracy. However, the narrative of popular protest leading to the demise of a reviled authoritarian regime received a setback as the Yemeni situation developed. The protest movement, which emerged, in the first instance, from outside established centres of political activity, was quickly overtaken and marginalized both by the established parties of opposition and by tribal actors. While Saleh’s exit from office represents a major rupture in Yemeni political life, the future is best read in terms of the reassertion of pre-existing political dynamics, both domestic and international rather than in hopeful but unfounded expectations of democratic transformation.

Why did the Egyptian Middle Class March to Tahrir Square?

By: Hazem Kandil

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 17, Issue 2 (2012)

Abstract: Building on the extensive literature on relations between the state and social classes, this article examines the reasons leading important sectors of the middle class to revolt against Egypt’s Mubarak regime. The role of the middle class in the Egyptian uprising is both crucial and somewhat paradoxical. It is crucial because it was the middle class that overwhelmingly mobilized against Mubarak, with workers and peasants remaining, at least initially, on the sidelines. It is also paradoxical because the Mubarak regime had courted the middle class for a long time and the latter did benefit from its privileged relations with the regime. However, the neo-liberal reforms undertaken more recently undermined many of the material and political achievements of the middle class, favouring instead a new class of tycoon capitalists linked to the regime. This created extensive dissatisfaction within the middle class, which seized on the opportunity provided by the circumstances of the Arab Spring to demand political change.

The End of Authoritarian Rule and the Mythology of Tunisia under Ben Ali

By: Francesco Cavatorta, Rikke Hostrup Haugbølle

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 17, Issue 2 (2012)

Abstract: Rather than concentrating on potential explanations for the Tunisian uprising or focusing on the future challenges the country has, this article looks back at the time of Ben Ali and the mythology that the regime created around political, economic and social development in Tunisia. The article argues that the authoritarian resilience paradigm and the democratization one tended to obscure the complexity of Tunisian society and how it reacted and adapted to the policies the regime implemented over the course of more than two decades. Thus, the article problematizes the rigidity of paradigms and contends that a more nuanced and holistic approach is necessary to understand both Tunisian politics and Arab politics more generally.

Surfing the Democratic Tsunami in Morocco: Apolitical Society and the Reconfiguration of a Sustainable Authoritarian Regime

By: Emanuela Dalmasso

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 17, Issue 2 (2012)

Abstract: The democratic wave seems to have finally reached the shores of the Middle East. Nevertheless, some countries have been less affected than others. Morocco in particular is singled out as an ‘exception’ and, despite large protests beginning in February 2011, the country seems not to have experienced significant democratic change. This article questions the degree to which Morocco is indeed an exception. Building on an analysis of the political context prior to the protests, it explores the political adjustments that the Moroccan regime has been forced to undertake following the demonstrations inspired by the Arab Spring. Largely unnoticed by international observers, Morocco has also undergone what may well be a watershed moment in its history. This article argues that changes to the political system as a result of the Arab uprisings may have far greater long-term significance than it appears at first glance. The case of Morocco exemplifies the paradox of analysing Arab politics as if the paradigms of democratization and of authoritarian resilience are in opposition to each other. This is not the case, as many of their assumptions can be collapsed in a single explanatory framework which can genuinely account for regional developments.

Upgrading Post-democratization Studies: Examining a Re-politicized Arab World in a Transition to Somewhere

By: Morten Valbjørn

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 21, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

Oman: The “Forgotten” Corner of the Arab Spring

By: James Worrall

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 19, Issue 3 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

The Syrian Uprising of 2011: Why the Asad Regime Is Likely to Survive to 2013

By: Joshua Landis

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 19, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

The Iranian Armed Forces in Politics, Revolution and War: Part One

By: Ahmed S. Hashim

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 19, Issue 2 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

The Iranian Military in Politics, Revolution and War, Part Two

By: Ahmed S. Hashim

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 19, Issue 3 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

The Arab Revolutions: A Preliminary Reading

By: Yusri Hazran

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 19, Issue 3 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

Democracy, Autocrats and U.S. Policies In the Middle East

By: Timo Kivimäki

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 19, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

Are Iraq and Turkey Models for Democratization?

By: Ofra Bengio

Published in Middle East Quarterly Volume 19, Issue 3 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

Horizontalism in the Egyptian Revolutionary Process

By: John Chalcraft

Published in Middle East Report Volume 42, Issue 262 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

Culture, State and Revolution

By: Sonali Pahwa, Jessica Winegar

Published in Middle East Report Volume 42, Issue 263 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

Reflections on Two Revolutions

By: Ahmad Shokr

Published in Middle East Report Volume 42, Issue 265 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

Egypt’s Music of Protest

By: Ted Swedenburg

Published in Middle East Report Volume 42, Issue 265 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

Farewell to an Age of Tyranny? Egypt as a Model of Arab Revolution

By: Elie Podeh

Published in Palestine – Israel The Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture Volume 18, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

The Israeli Summer and the Arab Spring

By: Hillel Schenker

Published in Palestine – Israel The Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture Volume 18, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

The Arab Spring: Progress Report and Conclusions

By: Ziad AbuZayyad

Published in Palestine – Israel The Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture Volume 18, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

From the Arab Peace Initiative to the Arab Spring and Back

By: Ron Pundak

Published in Palestine – Israel The Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture Volume 18, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

Reverberations of the Arab Spring

By: Louis Kriesberg

Published in Palestine – Israel The Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture Volume 18, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

The Arab Spring: Opportunities

By: Ehud Eiran

Published in Palestine – Israel The Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture Volume 18, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

The Turkish Model and the Arab Spring

By: Alon Liel

Published in Palestine – Israel The Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture Volume 18, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

Analyzing the Obvious: Is It the Culture of Civil Unrest or the Culture of Uncivil Rest That Needs to Be Revisited in the Arab World?

By: Munther Dajani

Published in Palestine – Israel The Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture Volume 18, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: The youth are now demanding substantial changes that would overturn not only a long-running government and series of presidents but also the whole system with its powerful tools of oppression.

The Arab Spring: Why the Surprising Similarities with the Revolutionary Wave of 1848?

By: Kurt Weyland

Published in Perspectives on Politics Volume 10, Issue 4 (2012)

Abstract: Prominent scholars have highlighted important similarities between the Arab Spring of 2011 and the “revolutions” of 1848: Both waves of contention swept with dramatic speed across whole regions, but ended up yielding rather limited advances toward political liberalism and democracy. I seek to uncover the causal mechanisms that help account for these striking parallels. Drawing on my recent analysis of 1848, I argue that contention spread so quickly because many people in a wide range of countries drew rash inferences from the downfall of Tunisia’s dictator. Applying cognitive heuristics that psychologists have documented, they overrated the significance of the Tunisian success, overestimated the similarities with the political situation in their own country, and jumped to the conclusion that they could successfully challenge their own autocrats. This precipitation prompted protests in many settings that actually were much less propitious; therefore problems abounded. Cognitive shortcuts held such sway because Arab societies were weakly organized and repressed and thus lacked leaders from whom common people could take authoritative cues. The decision whether to engage in emulative contention fell to ordinary citizens, who—due to limited information access and scarce experience—were especially susceptible to the simple inferences suggested by cognitive heuristics.

Counter-revolution by Ideology? Law and development’s vision(s) for post-revolutionary Egypt

By: Mohsen Al-Attar

Published in Third World Quarterly Volume 33, Issue 9 (2012)

Abstract: Law and development, as both movement and practice, has led a tumultuous life: a hurried zenith cut short by a fatal critique followed by an opportunistic resurrection. The name alone is sufficient to trigger a range of reactions, extending from the complimentary to the condemnatory. In this article I track law and development’s evolution via an examination of its role in the remodelling of Egyptian society in the post-Nasser era. While the 2011 revolution has encouraged institutions such as usaid to hasten their legal reform efforts, I argue that these are more akin to counter-revolution by ideology than genuine revolution by law. Nevertheless, rather than relegate the movement to the annals of imperial intrigue, I conclude by proposing the use of legal pluralism to revive, and possibly ignite, law and development’s emancipatory potential.

The End of the Libyan Dictatorship: The Uncertain Transition

By: Yahia H. Zoubir, Erzsebet N. Rozsa

Published in Third World Quarterly Volume 33, Issue 7 (2012)

Abstract: The 42-year dictatorship in Libya finally collapsed in October 2011; it took the Western-backed armed uprising seven months of intensive fighting to defeat Qaddafi’s loyalist forces. The fall of the Qaddafi regime is a welcome development in the Middle East and North Africa region. But, unlike Tunisia or Egypt, Libya does not have a standing army or a reliable potential force that can bring the necessary stability for a political transition. The tribal nature of the country and the difficulty of disarming the rebels and other groups pose serious challenges to the new authorities in Tripoli. Unless these issues are handled effectively, Libya will undergo a long period of unpredictability.

The Eclipse of Arab Authoritarianism and the Challenge of Popular Sovereignty

By: Hilal Khashan

Published in Third World Quarterly Volume 33, Issue 5 (2012)

Abstract: This paper proposes that the tumultuous events associated with the Arab uprisings are unlikely to engender democracy in the foreseeable future. At best, they will probably produce unstable political orders on the basis of accommodation and ad hoc political alliances. The argument of this paper lends itself to analysis through the examination of Arabs’ experience with (1) failed reforms, (2) regime defiance, (3) the gap between youth awakening and sociopolitical reality and (4) the uneasy encounter between nascent competence, confidence and political consensus. The author’s assessment suggests that recent dramatic developments in the Arab region are only the beginning of a long process of political evolution that is unlikely to be concluded before the successful resolution of the issue of political identity and the transformation of Arab publics from subjects into citizens.

The Collapse of Middle Eastern Authoritarianism: breaking the barriers of fear and power

By: Imad Salamey, Frederic S. Pearson

Published in Third World Quarterly Volume 33, Issue 5 (2012)

Abstract: This article analyses Middle Eastern authoritarianism and the contemporary political transformations which have swept the region. It suggests that, given the uneven spread of reform and the selectiveness of international intervention, the prioritisation of Middle Eastern stability over democratic transformation, combined with local authoritarian regimes’ ability to use excessive force against their own populations and insurgents, are responsible for the persistence of the Middle East’s post-cold war authoritarianism. The recent uprisings and reform movements can be explained from the perspective of historical grievance, based on social inequality and ethnic, sectarian, tribal or sectional disparities, as well as by advancements in communications technology and economic globalisation that have undermined long-standing national authoritarianism in favour of Middle Eastern civil rights and civil society movements. A global democratic consciousness has played a decisive role in providing ideological cohesiveness and (uneven) global political support to safeguard the collective action of the new civil rights movements. Recognising that democracy itself may have characteristic regional forms with greater and lesser tinges of recurrent authoritarianism, Middle Eastern democratic transformation hinges on the ability of these burgeoning movements to achieve a civic state and overcome authoritarian counter-resistance and international suspicion and fear.

Will The Real Tunisian Opposition Please Stand Up? Opposition Coordination Failures Under Authoritarian Constraints

By: Rikke Hostrup Haugbøllea, Francesco Cavatortab

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 38, Issue 3 (2011)

Abstract: This contribution examines the reasons behind the failure of Tunisia’s opposition to forge effective coordination and collaborative links during Ben Ali’s reign, focusing specifically on the inability and unwillingness of political parties to act in concert in order to challenge his authoritarian rule. Focusing on two attempts at opposition coordination in the 2000s (Rencontre Démocratique and 18 October Collectif), it demonstrates that a number of interconnected explanations are at the heart of this failure, ranging from ideological differences and strategic divergence to personal rivalries among opposition leaders. The key contention of this study is that divisions within the political opposition were as important as regime repression in sustaining the Ben Ali regime for over 20 years. In addition, the present study contends that these intra-opposition divisions and past coordination failures explain the absence of political parties at the helm of the 2011 uprising.

The Arab Revolution Is Marching On: Arabs Recover their Dignity

By: Ziad Hafez

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 4, Issue 2 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

On The Arab ‘Democratic Spring’: Lessons Derived

By: Khair El‐Din Haseeb

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 4, Issue 2 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

The Revolutions of The Arab Spring: Are Democracy, Development and Modernity At The Gates?

By: Michael Sakbani

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 4, Issue 2 (2011)

Abstract: The paper places in historical perspective the current Arab uprisings. It argues that the reasons behind them lie in the comprehensive political, social, economic and educational failures of the Arab regimes. It documents these failures statistically and analytically. It goes on to provide analysis of the current developments in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the rest of the affected states. It concludes by drawing up the implications on the Arab future of these uprisings.

Views from The Arab Gulf On The ‘Arab Spring’ and Its Repercussions

By: Mohammed Iben Sunitan, Jasem Khaled Al-Sadoun, Ali Mohammed Fakhro

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 4, Issue 4 (2011)

Abstract: This opinion piece of different Arab views and perspectives on the ‘Arab Spring’ and its significance and repercussions in the Arab Gulf region comprises three papers: ‘Repercussions of the Arab movements for democracy on the Saudi street’, by Mohammed Iben Sunitan; ‘Arab Spring … fleeting or perpetual?’, by Jasem Khaled Al-Sadoun; and ‘Repercussions of the Arab movements for democracy in Bahrain’, by Ali Mohammed Fakhro. Iben Sunitan posits a framework for a reading of the repercussions of the current movements on the Arab street in Saudi Arabia in a brief but highly informative account of the various Saudi opposition groups since the inception of the state under King ‘Abd al-’ Aziz bin Sa’ud. The author details the various strategies that have been employed by Saudi monarchs for dealing with or assimilating various opposition groups that have appeared and he examines the new dynamics of a situation in which the youth figure prominently and the house of Al Sa’ud is at a crossroads where it must successfully adapt to the new objective conditions and atmosphere engendered by the climactic and momentous events of 2011. Al-Sadoun deals with numerous issues that pertain to the Gulf region in general such as age demographics, unemployment, economic issues, and the question of what he terms the dichotomy of ‘projects of rule’ as opposed to modern ‘projects of state’, where the former have tended to characterize the Arab world at the expense of both efforts to modernize and democratize. In the global context al-Sadoun sees hope for democratic transition provided that various Gulf rulerships and governments arrive at the conclusion that voluntary democratic reform is considerably less costly than suppression of the popular will. With regard to Tunisia and Egypt – despite serious socio-economic challenges in the latter – he sees promise in the models of Malaysia and Turkey. Fakhro deals with the particular situation in Bahrain characterized by ‘missed opportunities’as well as regional military intervention, where peaceful demonstrations with initial moderate, legitimate demands pertaining to parliamentary representation and housing concerns that started in public areas such as the Pearl Roundabout were handled ineptly by the government, which chose to deal with them by force from the outset. Both sides crossed ‘red lines’ as demands escalated and demonstrators were gunned down not far from the royal palace. The King has called for an unconditional national dialogue; and while the situation has apparently calmed down for the moment, there remains grave concern over the future course of events. All three articles provide useful information and insight into the sociopolitical and economic dynamics of opposition movements in the Arab Gulf and the nature of their interaction with different types of political authority where it remains to be seen whether or not the prevailing climate of the ‘Arab Spring’ will persist in bringing about structural and genuine democratic reforms or whether protests will ultimately dissipate or assimilated through traditional means.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries and The Triangle of Autocracy, Oil and Foreign Powers

By: Yousef Khalifa Al‐Yousef

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 4, Issue 1 (2011)

Abstract: This article is based on an executive summary of a forthcoming Arabic‐language book to be published by the Centre for Arab Unity Studies. It examines the reasons underlying the failure of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to achieve stability and realize their developmental goals, despite their concerted endeavours to do so since the oil boom of the 1970s. This failure is attributable to the fact that these countries have fallen prey to a vicious cycle of autocratic governments, using the oil wealth of their people to stay in power, and which are being supported and maintained by foreign governments – especially the United States and its allies – in return for a share of the oil booty and other concessions. Accordingly, and on the basis of the experiences of these countries over four decades, any change in current conditions is not foreseeable unless the unholy alliance of autocracy, oil, and foreign powers is dismantled and replaced by a system that is more conducive to both prosperity and stability; where autocracy is replaced by a democratic form of government; where the role of oil is transformed into what will engender productive citizens; and where regional integration and co‐existence with neighbours replaces foreign presence and the ‘protection’ or destruction that comes in tandem with it.

Transgovernmental networks as catalysts for democratic change? EU function cooperation with Arab authoritarian regimes and socialization of involved state officials into democratic governance

By: Tina Freyburg

Published in Democratization Volume 18, Issue 4 (2011)

Abstract: With the European Neighbourhood Policy, the European Union (EU) intensified functional cooperation in a wide range of sectors. This contribution investigates whether this kind of transnational exchange can trigger subtle processes of democratization. It argues that third state officials become acquainted with democratic governance by participating in transgovernmental policy networks implementing functional cooperation between state administrations of established democracies and authoritarian regimes. In this vein, it enriches the governance model of democracy promotion by adding a new level, the micro-level of democratic socialization. Empirically, the argument is tested taking two Twinning projects that the EU has set up in Morocco, that is, the projects on competition policy and on the environment. The conclusion is that in some non-politicized policy fields, such as the environment, EU transgovernmental policy networks can successfully yield processes of democratic socialization in the context of a stable authoritarian regime, like that in Morocco.

The Arab Spring – and Winter – in Syria

By: David W. Lesch

Published in Global Change, Peace and Security Volume 23, Issue 3 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

The Failure of Democracy in Turkey: A Comparative Analysis

By: Lauren Mclaren, Burak Cop

Published in Government and Opposition Volume 46, Issue 4 (2011)

Abstract: Although Turkey took its initial steps toward establishing democracy in 1950, it has thus far failed to become a fully functioning democracy. Using the comparison cases of Spain and Greece, this article discusses two related variables that are likely to have thwarted the development of full democracy in Turkey: the country’s experience with authoritarian rule, and the lack of elite settlement or convergence towards acceptance of the democratic rules of the game. The article ultimately contends that despite the EU’s attempt to push Turkey towards full democracy in the modern day it is unlikely that it will become a fully functioning democracy unless it manages to achieve civilian elite agreement regarding the rules of the Turkish democratic game, and that Turkey’s experience with authoritarian rule may, in turn, have hindered the development of such rules.

Resistance Movements, The State, and National Identities

By: Malika Zeghal

Published in International Journal of Middle East Studies Volume 43, Issue 3 (2011)

Abstract: The uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) were primarily centered on profound economic grievances, which protestors addressed directly to state institutions, thereby making the grievances political. As a political scientist, I ask: under what conditions does economic protest transform into political demands? How and why did this happen in the MENA region, and why now? A deep exploration of authoritarian state institutions will be necessary to understand how a young generation that graduated from public educational institutions was unable to find economic opportunities and eventually lost all trust in an inefficient and corrupt state. Workers’ protests and resistance movements had started to organize in the decade before the uprisings and need to be studied as well.

The Role of Digital Media

By: Philip N. Howard, Muzammil M. Hussain

Published in Journal of Democracy Volume 22, Issue 3 (2011)

Abstract: During the “Arab Spring,” young tech savvy activists led uprisings in a dozen countries across North Africa and the Middle East. At first, digital media allowed democratization movements to develop new tactics for catching dictators off guard. Eventually, authoritarian governments worked social media into their own counter-insurgency strategies. What have we learned about the role of digital media in modern protest? Digital media helped to turn individualized, localized, and community-specific dissent into structured movements with a collective consciousness about both shared grievances and opportunities for action.

The Political Economy of The Arab Spring

By: Robert Springborg

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 16, Issue 3 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

‘Let them Have Some Fun’: Political and Artistic Forms of Expression in The Egyptian Revolution

By: Farida Makar

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 16, Issue 2 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

The Unbearable Lightness of Authoritarianism: Lessons from The Arab Uprisings

By: Andrea Teti

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 16, Issue 2 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

The Monarchy Vs. The 20 February Movement: Who Holds The Reins of Political Change in Morocco?

By: Irenefernández Molina

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 16, Issue 3 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

Aesthetics and Transcendence in The Arab Uprisings

By: Ebrahim Moosa

Published in Middle East Law and Governence Volume 3, Issue 1-2 (2011)

Abstract: Politics is regarded as a science for it tells us what to do, when it deals with measurable concepts. But politics is also an art—a form of practice, telling us how and when to do things. Lest we forget, the arts of persuasion and inspiration are part of politics. And, every art also produces an aesthetic. By aesthetics I mean, the ways by which we think about art: recall, art is what we do and how we do things. Those things and acts that become visible when we do and produce certain actions—jubilation, conversations, speeches, greetings, protests, banners, deaths, wounds and other expressions—all constitute the means by which thought becomes visible, effective, and sensible. These forms and visible expressions of the sensible constitute the aesthetics of politics. Only the patient will know where the momentum for change in the Arab world is heading. But, if the outcome of the Arab uprisings is unclear, then there is one certainty: the people have changed the order of the sensible. Thanks to peaceful protests in the face of regime brutality, tens of millions of people have performed change in myriads of expressions: aesthetics. Their feelings have cumulatively changed, and how people feel about governance is ultimately what politics is all about.

Neo-Mamluk Legitimacy and The Arab Spring

By: Richard W. Bulliet

Published in Middle East Law and Governence Volume 3, Issue 1-2 (2011)

Abstract: Many explanatory suppositions have been off ered to account for the civil disorder that struck so many Arab countries in the first six months of 2011. The popular term for this multi-nation upheaval is the Arab Spring. Most of these theories, however, have lacked a mechanism for linking the challenges to existing governments to the specific Arab societies that experienced them. The approach that will be advanced here is that the Arab Spring represented a failure of legitimacy on the part of a particular political formation —rule by military officers and their families, which bore the brunt of the popular uprisings of the Arab Spring. Why did the legitimacy of this system of rule suffer simultaneous collapse while other Arab regimes, in particular the monarchies, did not? I term this political formation neo-Mamluk rule to connect it to precursor regimes that go back to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Only by tracing the origins of neo-Mamluk rule can one discover the keys to the crisis of legitimacy that has been manifest in recent months.

Revolution in The Arab World: Egypt and Its Challenges

By: H.A. Hellyer

Published in Middle East Law and Governence Volume 3, Issue 1-2 (2011)

Abstract: Egypt is being watched closely from far beyond its borders, in both the Arab world and elsewhere, such as Europe. This country is at the heart of the Arab world, and its geo-strategic importance should not be underestimated. If Egypt is successful in transitioning to a stable postrevolutionary phase, there will be lessons for the entire region. If it fails, it will not only be Egyptians who feel the pain. A European scholar and policy analyst reflects on his first hand experience of the Egyptian revolution and the state of civil society in Egypt.

The Making of A Revolution in Tunisia

By: Laryssa Chomiak

Published in Middle East Law and Governence Volume 3, Issue 1-2 (2011)

Abstract: In their search for explanations for the so-called Tunisian paradox under Ben Ali –a country with comparatively high levels of socio-economic development, yet plagued by the absence of a civil society that could push for political liberalization–analysts primarily investigated the gradual co-optation of political institutions and actors. As research and analytical agendas were consumed by the robustness of Ben Ali’s authoritarian state, little attention was paid to the development of informal and extra-institutional political activities that existed even under deepening political repression. In hindsight, many of these informal activities clearly contributed to the December 2010-January 2011 nation-wide campaign, which eventually led to the Arab World’s first bottom-up revolution ousting an unpopular and illegitimate ruler. This article will engage two stories about the Tunisian Revolution that later inspired protests and contentious activities across the Middle East and North Africa. First, it will tell a back-story of contentious activities preceding the January 2011 events that surprised observers, scholars and analysts–even those familiar with the Tunisian case. Second, this article will discuss some of most pressing political dynamics that have emerged in the post-revolutionary (and pre-October 2011 election) environment. The concluding section will subsequently identify avenues for short and long-term research on the subject of contestation, resistance, and the construction of a new political order.

Egypt’s Path to Transition: Democratic Challenges Behind The Constitution Reform Process

By: Nathalie Bernard-Maugiron

Published in Middle East Law and Governence Volume 3, Issue 1-2 (2011)

Abstract: This article will focus on the constitutional and legal developments that have taken place in Egypt since February 11, 2011, the date Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down, to show that behind technical and theoretical issues lay fundamental political challenges. It will start with a general chronological analysis of the developments, before focusing on the debate around the sequence of institutional events, and on the criticisms addressed to the army. It will conclude with an analysis of the major challenges that the country will face in drafting a new constitution.

Iran and The Democratic Struggle in The Middle East

By: Ramin Jahanbegloo

Published in Middle East Law and Governence Volume 3, Issue 1-2 (2011)

Abstract: Many commentators in the West have referred to the uprisings sweeping the Middle East and the Maghreb as the “Arab Spring”. If we take a closer look at the young Middle Easterners who launched these democratic demands, it is clear that the Arab Spring started in Iran back in June 2009. As such, the Arab Uprising had a non-Arab beginning in Iran’s Green Movement, and in what was known as the “Twitter Revolution” of young Iranians. Furthermore, the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have reenergized Iranian civil society, helping it become fi rmer and more outspoken in its demand for democratization in Iran

Revolutionary Blind-Spots: The Politics of Electoral System Choice and The Egyptian Transition

By: Amel Ahmed

Published in Middle East Law and Governence Volume 3, Issue 1-2 (2011)

Abstract: The Egyptian revolution has swept away the Mubarak dynasty, it has begun dismantling an elaborate state security apparatus, and it has enacted constitutional reforms that put the country on the way to a democratic form of government. What have received little attention, however, are the electoral laws that will govern the new democratic order. Like many democratizing countries, Egypt has experienced elections under authoritarianism. Although this provides some advantages, the experience also holds many pitfalls, as the existing electoral system bares the mark of the previous regime, designed with many safeguards to help preserve the power of pre-democratic elites. An electoral system with a great deal of malapportionment, heavily gerrymandered electoral districts, and biased quotas provides the foundation for elections in post-revolutionary Egypt. Though these issues may be a part of normal politics in established democracies, in the context of an emerging democracy they can be a powerful counterrevolutionary force helping to strengthen pre-democratic elites vis-à-vis new democratic challengers.

Back On Horseback: The Military and Political Transformation in Egypt

By: Holger Albrecht, Dina Bishara

Published in Middle East Law and Governence Volume 3, Issue 1-2 (2011)

Abstract: Though there are many expectations regarding the interim character of the current political order, the future of Egyptian democracy remains highly uncertain. A closer look at the take-over of power by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is imperative to an understanding of a political system at a decisive crossroads, but also of the path-dependent implications of the military’s engagement in politics. We project that, irrespective of the institutional framing and the results of the current political transformation, the military will play a decisive role in the country’s political future. In addressing its role during the current revolutionary events, we account for the reason for the military’s engagement in politics, the path of the take-over of political power, and the military’s management of politics. Thus, our analysis will attempt to provide preliminary answers to three questions: When and how did the Egyptian military intervene directly in revolutionary politics? Why did it intervene? And how does it manage the transformation?

Law in The Egyptian Revolt

By: Tamir Moustafa

Published in Middle East Law and Governence Volume 3, Issue 1-2 (2011)

Abstract: Among the protest movements sweeping the region in the Arab awakening of 2011, the Egyptian revolt is the movement that is perhaps most defi ned by a struggle over the Constitution and the rule of law more generally. I argue that this intense focus on law and legal institutions is a legacy of the prominent role that law played in maintaining authoritarian rule in Mubarak’s Egypt. Just as law and legal institutions were the principal mechanisms undergirding authoritarian rule, opposition activists know that democracy can only emerge through comprehensive legal reform. This article examines the struggle for constitutional power in three periods – before, during, and after the Egyptian revolt of 2011.

The Arab “Youth Quake“: Implications On Democratization and Stability

By: Mohammad Al-Momani

Published in Middle East Law and Governence Volume 3, Issue 1-2 (2011)

Abstract: The Arab Spring has advanced the prospects for democracy in the region. After years during which any democratic transition seemed implausible in the Arab World, masses across the region have risen to challenge the political status quo, inspired by the successful revolution in Tunisia. A major cause to the political unrest can be identified in the large number of unemployed youth in Arab nations, whose political frustrations were aggravated by their inability to express themselves in a tightly controlled police state, political corruption, and the incapability of the state to deal with social and economic problems. In addition, social media was a vital vehicle in both sustaining reform movements within single countries, and spreading the wave of demonstrations across the region. Yet, the events of the Arab Spring have challenged the stability of countries undergoing these transitions. The possibility for the creation of failed states or international interventions, and the necessity of governments to deal with large numbers of refugees, sectarian tensions, and deeply rooted economic problems threaten to derail the recent political transformations. In spite of these challenges, however, the recent political changes do provide encouraging opportunities for creating peace in the region and moderating Islamic parties

Egypt’s Spring: Causes of The Revolution

By: Ann M. Lesch

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 18, Issue 3 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

Beyond The Democratic Wave: A Turko-Persian Future?

By: Mohammed Ayoob

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 18, Issue 2 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

Not Your Parents’ Political Party: Young Sunnis and The New Iraqi Democracy

By: Katherine Blue Carroll

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 18, Issue 3 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

Tunisian Labor Leaders Reflect Upon Revolt

By: Chris Toensing

Published in Middle East Report Volume 41, Issue 258 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

The 18 Days of Tahrir

By: Ahmad Shokr

Published in Middle East Report Volume 41, Issue 258 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

Sudan’s Referendum Amidst Revolution

By: Edward Thomas

Published in Middle East Report Volume 41, Issue 258 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

Understanding The Political Economy of The Arab Revolts

By: Omar S. Dahi

Published in Middle East Report Volume 41, Issue 259 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

Food and the Arab Spring

By: David Rosenberg

Published in Middle East Review of International Affairs Volume 15, Issue 3 (2011)

Abstract: The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has been experiencing deteriorating parameters for both food production and consumption for some time. Agricultural output is constrained by limited water resources, diminishing arable land, and poor public policy. Consumption is driven by high population growth and subsidies that encourage waste. The region is food insecure, both on the level of the individual consumer (high rates of poverty) and on a national level (reliance on imports). Rising food prices played a role in fomenting Arab Spring unrest but appear to have been quickly overtaken by other grievances. Nevertheless, MENA regimes–both the transitional governments emerging from the turmoil and incumbents seeking to retain power–responded by increasing food subsidies and adopting other economically unsustainable policies, thereby exacerbating the policies that contributed to the Arab Spring.

Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt

By: Barry Rubin

Published in Middle East Review of International Affairs Volume 15, Issue 3 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

Lebanon Against The Backdrop of The 2011 Arab Uprisings: Which Revolution in Sight?

By: Tamirace Fakhoury

Published in New Global Studies Volume 5, Issue 1 (2011)

Abstract: Lebanon, one of the most highly politicized and divided societies in the Middle East, has watched the 2011 Arab Uprising nervously. Yet its own intricate legacy cross-communal compromise and the porous nature of its society have left it relatively unscathed. However, this could easily change.

Spring Confronts Winter

By: Mike Davis

Published in New Left Review Issue 72 (2011)

Abstract: Echoes of past rebellions in 2011’s global upsurge of protest. Against a backdrop of world economic slump, what forces will shape the outcome of contests between a raddled system and its emergent challengers?

Revolt in Egypt

By: Hazim Kandil

Published in New Left Review Issue 68 (2011)

Abstract: An Egyptian sociologist gives an in-depth account of Mubarak’s overthrow, from the social tensions of the dictatorship’s final years to the present ferment of transition. The old regime’s structures of rule, and the prospects for the new dispensation emerging from its shadow.

Arab Revolts and The Nation-State Crisis

By: Kees Van Der Pijl

Published in New Left Review Issue 70 (2011)

Abstract: The triple crisis—of Western hegemony, of capital and of the nationstate form—within which the Arab uprisings of 2011 have unfolded, and longer-run history of Anglo-American strategies for containing popular aspirations to sovereignty.

After Egypt: The Limits and Promise of Online Challenges to The Authoritarian Arab State

By: Marc Lynch

Published in Perspectives on Politics Volume 9, Issue 2 (2011)

Abstract: The uprisings which swept across the Arab world beginning in December 2010 pose a serious challenge to many of the core findings of the political science literature focused on the durability of the authoritarian Middle Eastern state. The impact of social media on contentious politics represents one of the many areas which will require significant new thinking. The dramatic change in the information environment over the last decade has changed individual competencies, the ability to organize for collective action, and the transmission of information from the local to the international level. It has also strengthened some of the core competencies of authoritarian states even as it has undermined others. The long term evolution of a new kind of public sphere may matter more than immediate political outcomes, however. Rigorous testing of competing hypotheses about the impact of the new social media will require not only conceptual development but also the use of new kinds of data analysis not traditionally adopted in Middle East area studies.

The Missing Link? US Policy and The International Dimensions of Failed Democratic Transitions in The Arab World

By: Lars Berger

Published in Political Studies Volume 59, Issue 1 (2011)

Abstract: In contrast to the hopes of some US observers, the so-called ‘Baghdad Spring’ of early 2005 did not mark the beginning of an era of sustained political reform in the Middle East. In an attempt to explain the resilience of authoritarian governance in the region, this article aims to demonstrate the insufficiencies of external democratisation efforts that rely on a crude reading of the ‘modernisation’ school of thinking and ignore the insights of the ‘transition’ school with regard to the international dimensions of democratisation. Case studies of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two countries sharing close strategic relationships with the United States yet differing in the socio-economic foundations of authoritarianism and experiences with managing external and domestic calls for political reform, demonstrate that the unwillingness of the United States to condition its support for regional partners on human rights concerns constitutes one of the main reasons for the Arab world’s ‘democratic exception’.

An Arab spring

By: Marion Dixon

Published in Review of African Political Economy Volume 38, Issue 128 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

Egypt: a permanent revolution?

By: Ray Bush

Published in Review of African Political Economy Volume 38, Issue 128 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

Labour protests in Egypt: causes and meanings

By: Rabab El-Mahdi

Published in Review of African Political Economy Volume 38, Issue 129 (2011)

Abstract: Egypt has experienced a wave of unprecedented labour protests since December 2006.
Refuting moral economy and rational choice arguments as a basis for understanding labour
unrest in Egypt, this paper argues that this wave of protests is an outcome of the rupture of
the hegemonic ruling pact governing Egypt since 1952. As such, this movement, which
includes both industrial workers as well as white-collar state employees, should be
interpreted beyond its immediate material demands. Rather, the paper argues, the changing
constituency, tactics, and internal organisation of the movement all pointto the potential role
that it can play in further coding the corporatist-authoritarian structure governing state-
society relations in Egypt. The paper concludes that this movement might be carrying the
potential for widerdemocratisation.

ReInterpreting Authoritarian Power: Syria’s Hereditary Succession

By: Joshua Stacher

Published in The Middle East Journal Volume 65, Issue 2 (2011)

Abstract: When Hafiz al-Asad died in 2000, his son Bashar became Syria’s president. By examining an unresolved inconsistency in the leading accounts about Syria’s succession, this article reveals the limitations of single-person rule analysis as the causal explanation for Syria’s hereditary leadership selection. I provide an alternative explanation by emphasizing the role of senior elites in forming regime consensus around Bashar al-Asad’s candidacy. Hereditary successions, therefore, reveal an instance of authoritarian continuity rather than one likely to end in regime breakdown.

The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted

By: Jon B. Alterman

Published in The Washington Quarterly Volume 34, Issue 4 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

Islamism and Democracy in The Modern Maghreb

By: Jnc Hill

Published in Third World Quarterly Volume 32, Issue 6 (2011)

Abstract: This paper examines the legitimacy of the restrictions the Moroccan and Algerian governments have placed on democracy in their countries. In each case the democratic process is subject to a range of limitations. These controls are justified on the grounds that they help prevent Islamist parties from winning power and that, if in government, these parties would roll back many of the political and civil rights enjoyed by Moroccan and Algerian citizens. Yet is this the case? By looking at the PJD’s and MSP’s manifesto pledges from the most recent parliamentary elections, the paper uncovers a different attitude. Far from opposing democracy and the various rights and liberties commonly associated with it, the PJD and MSP are working to strengthen it. Their commitment to democracy has grown, not diminished, over the past decade.

Authoritarian Government, Neoliberalism and Everyday Civilities in Egypt

By: Salwa Ismail

Published in Third World Quarterly Volume 32, Issue 5 (2011)

Abstract: This contribution explores how authoritarian governmental practices come to inform everyday civilities—manners and forms of interaction among the subjects of government. With a focus on Egypt it examines how forms of government and rule deployed by the state give rise to particular modes of action, norms of interaction and socio–political dispositions among the citizenry. Central to this analysis is the examination of political subjectivities that develop in regular encounters with the agents and agencies of the state. These subjectivities generate understandings of self in relation to the apparatuses of power—out of intimate knowledge of their workings and of the multiple orders at which they operate. Integral to citizen subjectivities are civilities cultivated in interaction with the state and with fellow subject-citizens.

Leader Survival, Revolutions, and The Nature of Government Finance

By: Bruce Bueno De Mesquita, Alastair Smith

Published in American Journal of Political Science Volume 54, Issue 4 (2010)

Abstract: Leaders face multiple threats to their political survival. In addition to surviving the threats to tenure from within the existing political systems, which is modeled using Bueno de Mesquita and colleagues’ (2003) selectorate theory, leaders risk being deposed through revolutions and coups. To ameliorate the threat of revolution, leaders can either increase public goods provisions to buy off potential revolutionaries or contract the provision of those public goods, such as freedom of assembly, transparency, and free press, which enable revolutionaries to coordinate. Which response a leader chooses depends upon existing institutions and the structure of government finances. These factors also affect the likelihood and direction of institutional change. Tests of leader survival indicate that revolutionary threats increase the likelihood of deposition for nondemocratic leaders. Leaders with access to resources such as foreign aid or natural resource rents are best equipped to survive these threats and avoid the occurrence of these threats in the first place.

Modernization, Islam, or Social Capital: What Explains Attitudes Toward Democracy in the Muslim World?

By: Sabri Ciftci

Published in Comparative Political Studies Volume 43, Issue 11 (2010)

Abstract: This article explains the determinants of individual support for democracy in 10 Muslim-majority countries. Starting with economic and cultural interpretations of modernization theory, the author advances an argument exploring cross-linkages between macro- and micro-level implications of this theory as they relate to attitudes toward democracy. The author also provides a test of two alternative explanations: social capital and Islamic values. A series of cross-national and ordinary least squares regressions utilizing the fourth wave of the World Values Survey demonstrates that, 50 years later, modernization theory is still a powerful tool for explaining democratic attitudes. Particularly, perceptions of gender equality show strong associations with democratic orientations. Although some support is found for the positive effect of political trust, religiosity and Islamic values poorly predict support for democracy in the Muslim world.

Why Are There No Arab Democracies?

By: Larry Diamond

Published in Journal of Democracy Volume 21, Issue 1 (2010)

Abstract: The continuing absence of even a single democratic regime in the Arab world is a striking anomaly—the principal exception to the globalization of democracy. The reason for this lies with the “oil curse”: Most Arab states are so awash in cash that they do not need to tax their own citizens, and therefore the polity lacks the organic expectations of accountability that emerge with taxation. Where oil dominates, there is little wealth creation through investment and risk-taking. Oil distorts the state, the class structure, and indeed the entire incentive structure. Furthermore, external support for Arab regimes, historically coming in part from the Soviet Union but now mainly from Europe and the United States, confers on Arab autocracies crucial economic resources, security assistance, and political legitimacy.

Wither Arab ‘Republicanism’? The Rise of Family Rule and The ‘End of Democratization’ in Egypt, Libya and Yemen

By: Larbi Sadiki

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 15, Issue 1 (2010)

Abstract: The spectre of succession (or khilafah) seems to perennially haunt Arab polities. In the past it was succession that caused the most durable schism within the house of Islam. In the present, succession threatens many Arab polities with instability. A set of questions on political succession in Arab republics are in order. To what extent is the Arab Middle East (AME) witnessing the unmaking of Arab ‘Republicanism’ by way of transfer of power from father to son? How plausible is it to argue that a new brand of ‘dynastic republicanism’ is on the rise? What grounds are there for correlating the rise of ‘dynastic republicanism’ with a return of the family to political centre stage? Is family solidarity (or asabiyyah) sufficient or does it require the back-up of coercion (or jah as Ibn Khaldoun calls it)1 in order to secure its stranglehold over political power? These are the key questions that define this paper’s chief analytical agenda.

Analyzing Authoritarian Regime Legitimation: Findings from Morocco.

By: Julie E. Pruzan-Jørgensen

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 19, Issue 3 (2010)

Abstract: Not available

The Convergence of Governance: Upgrading Authoritarianism in The Arab World and Downgrading Democracy Elsewhere?

By: Francesco Cavatorta

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 19, Issue 3 (2010)

Abstract: Not available

Examining The ‘Post’ in Post-Democratization: The Future of Middle Eastern Political Rule Through Lenses of The Past

By: Morten Valbjørn, andre Bank

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 19, Issue 3 (2010)

Abstract: Not available

Opening Old Bottles in Search of New Wine: On Nondemocratic Legitimacy in The Middle East

By: Oliver Schlumberger

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 19, Issue 3 (2010)

Abstract: Not available

Status Quo Camouflaged: Economic and Social Transformation of Egypt and Jordan

By: Farah Choucair, Ibrahim Saif

Published in Middle East Law and Governence Volume 2, Issue 2 (2010)

Abstract: Examining reforms in Egypt and Jordan, this article calls for rethinking the relationship between economic reform and governance. Conventional analyses of economic and governance reforms overlook the complex relationships between social, political and economic factors within a country that affect reform success. This is quite evident by contrasting the extensive literature praising the “successful” reform progress achieved by countries such as Jordan and Egypt with the failure to achieve significant institutional and legislative reforms that would lead to more effective governance, as well as persistent inequality. Both countries have achieved high GDP growth over the last decade; however, no new social or political forces have been drawn into a new social contract. Instead of reforms being transformative, a complex interplay between political and economic agents has sustained a status quo based on weak governance institutions. The paper suggests that this is the outcome of the international community’s unwillingness to press real reforms, as well as cautious domestic elites. Consequently they maintain a Pareto Efficient balance, proclaiming reform while seeking to maintain political stability. The article aims not merely to provide evidence of a contradictory scenario of unsuccessful reforms, but rather to advocate for a more careful reading into governance indicators and deeper understanding of the context for governance reform in the Middle East.

Sponsored Corruption and Neglected Reform in Syria

By: Anna Borschevskaya

Published in Middle East Quarterly Volume 17, Issue 3 (2010)

Abstract: Not available