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

This is the fifth 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 the geopolitical implications of and foreign interests in the uprisings.


How Saudi Crackdowns Fail to Silence Online Dissent

By: Jennifer Pan, Alexandra A. Siegel

Published in American Political Science Review Volume 114, Issue 1 (2020)

Abstract: Saudi Arabia has imprisoned and tortured activists, religious leaders, and journalists for voicing dissent online. This reflects a growing worldwide trend in the use of physical repression to censor online speech. In this paper, we systematically examine the consequences of imprisoning well-known Saudis for online dissent by analyzing over 300 million tweets as well as detailed Google search data from 2010 to 2017 using automated text analysis and crowd-sourced human evaluation of content. We find that repression deterred imprisoned Saudis from continuing to dissent online. However, it did not suppress dissent overall. Twitter followers of the imprisoned Saudis engaged in more online dissent, including criticizing the ruling family and calling for regime change. Repression drew public attention to arrested Saudis and their causes, and other prominent figures in Saudi Arabia were not deterred by the repression of their peers and continued to dissent online.

The Development of British Public Diplomacy in the Arab World

By: Ahmed Al-Rawi

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 29 (2020)

Abstract: This paper attempts to map the major changes and developments of British public diplomacy in the Arab world. I argue here that the BBC and the British Council have greatly assisted British public diplomacy efforts and can be regarded as effective because exerting influence in an indirect way can often be more effective than the direct advocacy approach followed by the British government during the colonial periods. In the beginning, the policy was focused on spreading propaganda, while today it is related to soft power and cultural diplomacy with the active use of social media. The paper concludes with a brief reference to social media use by British embassies in the region following the major Arab Spring events, indicating little audience engagement with them.

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.

Challenging the anocracy model: Iran’s foreign policy in Iraq as an obstacle to democracy?

By: Ronen A. Cohen

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 47, Issue 2 (2020)

Abstract: Since America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the consequent partial collapse of the state Iraq has been undergoing a process of deterioration and disintegration mainly because America’s vision of establishing a new, more democratic political order there encountered a lack of readiness to understand what the structure of a democratic state should be. The political process that Iraq has been going through – that is the transition from autocratic dictatorship to adopting a kind of democratic system is called anocracy, which means a political system that is neither fully democratic nor fully autocratic.
Furthermore, the Iranian intervention into Iraqi politics that took place after 2003 has led to the creation of a virtually imperial model of regional power (Iran’s) that has turned Iraq into a kind of informal protectorate in ethnic and religious issues. This article wishes to offer a better understanding of the anocratic political shift that Iraq has been going through by adding the component of Iran’s influence and foreign policy upon it as an ambivalent factor that is both accelerating yet also preventing the process of democratization from properly establishing itself in Iraq.

Jordan’s solution to the refugee crisis: idealistic and pragmatic education

By: Judith Ann Cochran

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 47, Issue 2 (2020)

Abstract: Syrian refugees are causing upheavals in Jordan’s economy and education. Unemployment of Jordan’s native youth is 29.9% without the addition of unemployed refugees further threatening the stability of the country. The cost of educating, sheltering, feeding and integrating them into the cities with resulting school congestion creates resentment in citizens paying 60% of their national budget for refugees. To alleviate educational pressures alone, Jordan solicited funding from the European Union, United Kingdom, Germany, United States and Norway. Together, they pledged 81.5 million in May 2016 to expand education for Jordan’s refugee children. From the refugees’ perspective, all face similar challenges in gaining access to classrooms, adapting to the culture taught in the schools and catching up academically as they try to prepare for and seek employment to survive. Jordan’s government has implemented two 5-year educational reorganization programmes Educational Reform for Knowledge Economy (ERfKE) I, II that are in many cases unknowingly shifting instruction from idealism to pragmatism. This philosophical movement towards pragmatism is less expensive and more effective for future employment of all students in contrast to the existing idealistic system. Jordan’s transitioning changes in educational philosophies and programmes provide visions for Jordan’s future. Their educational adaptations provide suggestions for other refugee host countries.

The Role of Religion in the Politics of Saudi Arabia: The Wahhabi Concept: ta’at wali al-amr

By: Faisal Mukhyat Abu Sulaib

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 13, Issue 3 (2020)

Abstract: This article examines factors that influence the stability of the Saudi political regime. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has faced serious threats that have had impacts on the country; however, none of them has threatened the survival of the Saudi royal family in the Kingdom. The Arab uprisings, the well-known Arab Spring, led to the collapse of political regimes in the Arab region surrounding Saudi Arabia, as in Egypt and Yemen. However, the Saudi political regime was able to overcome this wave of popular revolutions and changes. Thus, this study attempts to answer a major question: why is it difficult to topple the Saudi political regime? Whereas the country’s oil wealth or external protection by great powers, Great Britain in the past, and currently the United States, are seen as main factors in the stability of the Saudi political regime, it is suggested here that the key factor that has helped the Saudi political regime successfully confront all internal and external threats rests on the influence of the religious Wahhabi concept, called “ta’at wali al-amr.”

Bitter Years: Qatari Crisis and the Future of GCC Countries

By: Ahmad M. Abozaid

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 13, Issue 4 (2020)

Abstract: Since the outbreak of the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, the regional system in the Middle East, as well as in the sub-regional system of the Arabian Gulf, has been in flux. Under these new circumstances, the order of the status quo has started to unravel, and a new order is being imposed, accompanied by new regional dynamics and security arrangements. Given their smallness, possession of significant resources, and geostrategic location, most of the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were always vulnerable, because of either the disparity of their capabilities compared with stronger, larger, and aggressive neighbors or the demographic deficiency and general regional imbalance of power. Traditionally, and to preserve their security and stability, these states seek protection from external powers. This article investigates how small, rich states, such as the GCC countries interact, through the lens of structural realism.

Egyptian National Security and the Perils of Egyptian–Libyan Border Management: Military Strength versus International Assistance

By: Mona Farag

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

Abstract: In this post-9/11 age, marked by international terrorism, militant non-state actors have created a world of insecurity, challenging international borders by constructing numerous national security issues. These international demarcation lines have been upheld by international conventions and treaties that have been established over the past decades. However, the fluid movement of people and goods, specifically jihadi militants and weapons, through borders in recent years has created both national and transnational security concerns. Nowhere is this problem more relevant than in the Middle East, and more so at the Libyan–Egyptian border. This research paper assesses the current security and policy problems of the Egyptian–Libyan border from Egypt’s national security perspective and the movement of ISIS militants across this border, which inevitably impacts Egypt’s Eastern border in the Sinai Peninsula. The present actions of international assistance of the United Nations and European Union member states are discussed regarding their negotiation initiatives in Libya. Egypt’s alternative approach is discussed, whereby it is taking charge, whether multi- or unilaterally, of the security predicament by effectively policing this porous border. In effect, this paper analyzes Egypt’s insistence on implementing its traditional notions of security, thereby ensuring it remains in a position of power.

Roles, identity, and security: foreign policy contestation in monarchical Kuwait

By: Sean Yom

Published in European Journal of International Relations Volume 26, Issue 2 (2020)

Abstract: The 2011–2012 Arab Spring posed an existential threat to the Gulf Cooperation Council’s six monarchies. A major response was the 2012 GCC Internal Security Pact, an innovative project to enhance cross-border repression of domestic opposition and thus bolster collective security. Yet despite its historic weakness, ongoing domestic unrest, and initial enthusiasm for the agreement, Kuwait’s monarchy did not ultimately ratify the accord. Building on theories of foreign policy roles and identity, this article presents an ideational explanation for this puzzle. The Security Pact failed because it sparked identity contestation. For many Kuwaitis, the prospect of the Sabah monarchy imposing this scheme for greater repression was incompatible with the regime’s historical role of tolerating domestic pluralism and protecting Kuwait from foreign pressures. This role conception of a tolerant protector flowed from historical understandings and collective memory and was cognitively tied to a national self-conception of “Kuwaiti-ness.” The mobilizational scope and symbolic power of this popular opposition convinced the regime to acquiesce, despite possessing the strategic incentive and resources to impose the treaty by force. The Kuwaiti case therefore exemplifies how domestic contestation over regime identities and roles can constrain foreign policy behavior, even in authoritarian states facing severe crises of insecurity.

Explaining the Kurdish Democratic Union Party’s Self-Governance Practices in Northern Syria, 2012–18

By: Burcu Özçelik

Published in Government and Opposition Volume 55, Issue 4 (2020)

Abstract: On 17 March 2016 the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (Partîya Yekîtî ya Dêmokrat, PYD) unilaterally proclaimed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria in three cantons, Afrin and Kobane in northern Aleppo province, and Jazira in Hassakeh. The party’s ideology claims to endorse the participation of civilians and certain Arab tribes and minorities in its governance councils. However, the PYD and its armed militia, the People’s Protection Units (Yekîneyên Parastina Gel, YPG), have been accused of committing human rights violations against civilians and installing one-party rule. Given its stated normative commitments and ideas on democracy, this ideology–practice gap begs the question: what factors facilitated the PYD to conform to its democratic pronouncements on power-sharing and inclusivity under certain conditions and, conversely, what factors permitted their abandonment or violation? By analysing the PYD’s governance record and strategies in northern Syria between 2012 and 2018, this article argues that the PYD displayed a mix of democratic adherence and transgression in its governance practices. This has meant that the PYD engaged hybrid mechanisms of democracy-building, coercion, displacement and violence in order to consolidate territorial control and assert ideological hegemony. I argue that complex networks of local, state and third-party interests complicate Kurdish self-rule in Syria, requiring a multilevel approach to understand the interrelated challenges to democratization in the post-war transition. I identify four major types of relations that have influenced the PYD’s hybrid governance practices: intra-organizational factionalism; civilian–rebel relations, especially in mixed demographic areas; international sponsors and rivals; and rebel–regime relations.

The Ascent of Saudi Arabia to a Regional Hegemon: The Role of Institutional Power in the League of Arab States

By: Maximilian Felsch

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

Abstract: After the Arab upheavals that began in 2011, Saudi Arabia became the most dominant power in the Arab world. While most of its Arab rivals experienced political and economic crises and disintegration, the Gulf monarchy began an unprecedented active and even interventionist foreign policy and increased its regional influence tremendously. Remarkably, most of this activism was not exercised unilaterally but within regional institutional frameworks, mainly of the League of Arab States (LAS) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This article investigates how Saudi Arabia gained institutional power within the LAS. The analysis is based on the LAS decisions at the Summit level before and after the Arab uprisings with regard to Saudi Arabia’s main foreign policy interests. The purpose of the article is to examine the essence of Saudi Arabia’s regional power. It also looks at the unforeseen revitalization of the LAS and allows predictions of the future of Arab regionalism in a changing Arab world.

Transformation of Turkish Foreign Policy Toward Syria: The Return of Securitization

By: Hasan Kösebalaban

Published in Middle East Critique  Volume 29, Issue 3 (2020)

Abstract: Since 2015, Turkey gradually has been moving toward a more nationalist discourse and direction in its foreign policy. This sharply contrasts with the liberal foreign policy orientation that Turkey implemented during the first decade of the Justice and Development Party government, as well as its idealistic assertiveness during the Arab Spring. In the Syrian conflict, Turkey has turned away from its initial goal of helping the anti-Assad opposition to a strategy that aims to restrain the territorial gains of separatist Kurdish groups. This transformation of strategic orientation is a product of emerging security threats, as well as changes in domestic politics including Turkey’s new presidential system. Rather than representing a return to rationality and realpolitik, the new orientation rests upon the traditional fears of disintegration and the culture of insecurity that the AKP governments had attempted to overcome. The Kurdish question has returned to its traditional position as the primary foreign policy challenge, and in reversing its original reformist agenda the AK government has embraced a military response to cope with this challenge, as demonstrated through numerous military land operations it has conducted in Syria. This new orientation has caused major frictions in relations with the United States and Europe, whereas it has led to a strategic rapprochement with Russia.

Syria‐Russia and the “Arab Spring“: A Reassessment

By: Udi Blanga

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 27, Issue 4 (2020)

Abstract: After a decade of civil war, hundreds of thousands of casualties and immense destruction is now clear that Bashar al‐Assad won the war in Syria. Assad’s victory in the war is the result of a variety of reasons, one of them is the military and economic assistance he received from Russia, his close ally. The present article follows the Russian involvement in Syria and examines what are Russia’s interests in Syria? Has the Kremlin taken a uniform and consistent diplomatic position towards Syria and the Middle East, both in the Soviet era and after the fall of the USSR, or has its policy changed over the years? Why did Moscow see fit to intervene in the internal Syrian conflict in 2015, considering that until then the United States seemed to have been dominant in the Middle East? Finally, did Russia take this action out of global motives that go beyond the regional context? In this context, the main argument of this article is that the Syrian civil war gave Moscow a one‐time opportunity to penetrate the Middle East more deeply and further its ambitions in the region. Moscow identified an outstanding opportunity to restore its status as a superpower and promote its regional and global objectives, at the expense of the United States.

Decentralization in Libya after the Arab Spring

By: Leonid Issaev, Andrey Zakharov

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

Abstract: Not available

Arabs Across Syria Join the Kurdish-Led Syrian Democratic Forces

By: Amy Austin Holmes

Published in Middle East Report Issue 295 (2020)

Abstract: A Profile of Arab Recruits from Aleppo, Al-Hasakah, Deir Ezzor, Homs, Ras al-Ayn and Raqqa.

Watching television while forcibly displaced: Syrian refugees as participant audiences

By: Katty Alhayek

Published in Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies Volume 17, Issue 1 (2020)

Abstract: In this article, I explore how Syrian refugees and internally displaced people are using social media to reshape interpretations of their own status through their engagement with quality TV texts that tackle the refugee crisis. I focus on the discourse surrounding the Syrian Television Drama series Ghadan Naltaqi (GN) [We’ll Meet Tomorrow] which is particularly interesting because of the dialogue that has developed between the forcibly displaced segment of its audience and the writer/creator of the show, Iyad Abou Chamat. Methodologically, this research is based on 26 semi-structured interviews conducted in Arabic language: one interview with Chamat, and 25 interviews with members of his audience who friended Chamat on Facebook after GN aired. I demonstrate that Facebook serves as an outlet for interactivity between displaced drama producers and audiences in a way that imitates the dynamics of live theater. While such interactivity is facilitated by technology, the emergence of this interactive relationship is owned to the desires for (re-)connection of both drama creators and audiences stemming from the alienation of war, violence and displacement. The particularity of the Syrian war-related topic in GN and its applicability to both the creator of the series as well as to audiences’ lived experiences evoked a significant level of online participation with Chamat. I use the term ‘participant audiences’ to describe the interactive, emotional responses of displaced audiences and their online engagement with TV content that address the disconnections they experience because of conflict and displacement while offering them possibilities for coping with violence, marginalization, and suffering. I show how the entertainment interventions of drama creators help displaced people both to mitigate the traumatic effects of a highly polarizing conflict, and to find a healing space from violent and alienating dominant media discourses.

Can non-democracies support international democracy? Turkey as a case study

By: Senem Aydın-Düzgit

Published in Third World Quarterly Volume 41, Issue 2 (2020)

Abstract: In recent years, there has been a rise of interest in the concept of autocracy promotion, with scholars questioning whether the efforts by authoritarian governments to influence political transitions beyond their borders are necessarily pro-authoritarian. An extension of this question is whether some authoritarian governments may at times find it in their interest to support democracy abroad. This article aims to answer this question by focusing on the case of Turkey. It argues that, despite its rapidly deteriorating democracy since the late 2000s, Turkey has undertaken democracy support policies with the explicit goal of democratic transition in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region during the Arab Spring and, while not bearing the intention of democratic transition, has employed democracy support instruments in the form of state-building in sub-Saharan Africa since 2005 to the present day. Based on original fieldwork, the article finds that non-democracies can turn out as democracy supporters, if and when opportunities for strategic gains from democratisation abroad arise. The article further suggests that even in those cases where strategic interests do not necessitate regime change, a non-democracy may still deploy democracy support instruments to pursue its narrow interests, without adhering to an agenda for democratic transition.

Intended and Unintended Consequences of Security Assistance in Post-2011 Tunisia

By: Ruth Hanau Santini, Giulia Cimini

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 12, Issue 1 (2019)

Abstract: In Tunisia, the notion and understanding of security, while no longer focused on regime security, remains a top-down, state-security understanding, rather than a societal one. Further, while the 2014 democratic Constitution devised significant checks and balances between the branches of government, even in the security field, external security assistance facilitated the centralization of security decision-making in the hands of the President of the Republic.

The evolution of authoritarian rule in Algeria: linkage versus organizational power

By: J. N. C. Hill

Published in Democratization Volume 26, Issue 8 (2019)

Abstract: This article draws on the Algerian regimes of Chadli Benjedid and Abdelaziz Bouteflika to critically evaluate Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way’s dimension of linkage. The paper shows that, despite the intensification of the country’s ties to the European Union (EU) from one regime to the other, the willingness and ability of Brussels to put democratizing pressure on Algiers decreased rather than increased. This development challenges Levitsky and Way’s thesis and the importance they place on linkage in relation to their other dimensions of leverage and organizational power. The article concludes that: strengthening linkage does not always result in greater EU or Western democratizing pressure; the balance of importance Levitsky and Way strike between their dimensions is open to question; and, the EU has grown less willing to press for political change in Algeria.

Iran’s Syria strategy: the evolution of deterrence 

By: Hassan Ahmadian; Payam Mohseni

Published in International Affairs Volume 95, Issue 2 (2019)

Abstract: Iran has been a critical player in the Syrian war since 2011, crafting a complex foreign policy and military strategy to preserve its Syrian ally. What have been the drivers of Iranian decision-making in this conflict? And how has Iranian strategy evolved over the course of the war? This article argues that the logic of deterrence has been fundamental not just for shaping the contours of Iran–Syria relations since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, but also for determining the overall trajectory of Iranian strategy in the Syrian war. The authors outline Iran’s decision-making calculus and divide the country’s strategy on Syria after the Arab Spring into four primary phases: 1) a ‘Basij’ strategy to establish local militias in Syria; 2) a regionalization strategy to incorporate transnational fighters and militias in the war effort; 3) an internationalization strategy to incorporate Russia and balance the United States; and 4) a post-ISIS deterrence strategy to balance against the United States, Turkey and Israel. Iran’s Syria strategy progressively escalated in response to the possible defeat of its ally and the deterioration of its forward deterrence capacities against the United States and Israel. Today, the potential for direct inter-state conflict is rising as proxy warfare declines and Iran attempts to maintain the credibility of its forward deterrence.

Regional maritime security in the eastern Mediterranean: expectations and reality

By: Aviad Rubin, Ehud Eiran

Published in International Affairs Volume 95, Issue 5 (2019)

Abstract: Recent developments in the eastern Mediterranean, such as significant gas finds; disagreements over the demarcation of maritime boundaries; large-scale violence and political instability following the Arab Spring; mass migration via sea routes; Great Power dynamics in the region; and environmental hazards, make the political entities along the shores of the eastern Mediterranean part of a regional security complex and create strong incentives for regional coordination on maritime security. Material international relations theories predict that growing security challenges (realism) coupled with expected gains (liberalism) will facilitate regional cooperation. Yet, the political entities in the region rely mainly on unilateral actions, or limited quasi-alliances in response to these challenges. The article shows the puzzling gap between the theoretical expectation and practical outcome in the region and explains why regional cooperation in the maritime domain fails to occur. It argues that cooperation on a regional scale fails to take place due to three complementing reasons: 1) lack of shared ideational features like cultural traits, set of values and regime type; 2) enduring rivalries between political entities in the region (Israel–Palestine; Turkey–Greece–Cyprus) coupled with internal strife within other regional political entities (Libya; Syria); and unequal political standing and lack of sovereignty of some of the political entities in the region (Northern Cyprus; the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip).

Understanding Russia’s return to the Middle East

By: Roland Dannreuther

Published in International Politics Volume 56, Issue 6 (2019)

Abstract: Over recent years, there has been a significant resurgence of Russian power and influence in the Middle East, which has been evident in the diplomatic and military intervention into Syria. This article identifies the principal factors behind Russia’s return to the region. First, there are domestic political influences with the coincidence of the uprisings in the Middle East, the so-called ‘Arab Spring,’ with large-scale domestic opposition protests within Russia during the elections in 2011–2012. Second, there is the role of ideas, most notably the growing anti-Westernism in Putin’s third presidential term, along with Russia’s own struggle against Islamist terrorism. These ideational factors contributed to Russia’s resolve to support the Assad government against both Western intervention and its domestic Islamist opposition. Third, Russia has benefited from a pragmatic and flexible approach in its engagement with the region. Moscow seeks to ensure that it is a critical actor for all the various states and political movements in the Middle East.

Narratives and the romantic genre in IR: dominant and marginalized stories of Arab Rebellion in Libya

By: Alexander Spencer

Published in International Politics Volume 56, Issue 1 (2019)

Abstract: The article shows how the rebellion against Gaddafi in Libya in 2011 was romanticized in the British newspaper media and among the political elite. Combining insights from literary studies and employing a method of narrative analysis which focuses on the elements of setting, characterization and emplotment, it illustrates the process of narrative romanticization by emphasizing story elements which constitute the rebellion in an emotional setting in which the rebel is characterized as a young and brave underdog fighting against a brutal and oppressive regime for an ideal such as democracy, freedom and a better future. While romantic narratives were dominant in the discourse on Libya at the time, other less positive narratives which for example emphasize human right violations by rebels were marginalized through a strategy of silencing, denial, ridicule and justification. While the dominance of romantic narratives of rebellion aided the legitimation of British military intervention, the marginalization of negative counter-narratives contributed to the ignorance of extremism and set a bad precedent for the role of human rights in post-conflict Libya.

The Obama administration and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab Revolutions. Taming political Islam?

By: Mohamed-Ali Adraoui

Published in International Politics Volume 56, Issue 4 (2019)

Abstract: This article deals with US policy towards the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. How has the leading world state power been dealing with the main Islamist movement, especially in the aftermath of the Arab upheavals? What is the intellectual approach to political Islam, specifically within the Obama administration? Has the anti-US potential been tamed or not? In light of the discourse held by US leaders and diplomats, I highlight the difficulties in addressing the Muslim Brotherhood. More specifically, I shed light on the way US policy of engagement towards the Islamist movement has been conducted.

Framing and Foreign Policy—Israel’s Response to the Arab Uprisings 

By: Amnon Aran, Leonie Fleischmann

Published in International Studies Review Volume 21, Issue 4 (2019)

Abstract: The eruption of the 2010 Arab uprisings has generated a great deal of academic scholarship. However, the foreign policy of Israel, a key power in the Middle East, amid the Arab uprisings, has received limited attention. Furthermore, as we demonstrate, the conventional wisdom purported by the current debate, which is that Israel adopted a “defensive, non-idealist” realist foreign policy posture (Magen 2015, 114) in the wake of the Arab uprisings, is wrong. Rather, utilizing an innovative approach linking foreign policy analysis (FPA) and the literature on framing, we demonstrate that Israel adopted a foreign policy stance of entrenchment. This posture is predicated on peace for peace not territory, reinforcing Israel’s military capabilities, and granting limited autonomy to the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Thus, the article demonstrates how framing can usefully be operationalized to uncover how binary discourse does not merely reflect foreign policy but is, in fact, constitutive of it. We demonstrate that diagnostic and prognostic frames helped to create a direct connection between the images held by a leader, his/her worldview, ideas, perceptions and misperceptions, and foreign policy actions. These frames constituted action-oriented sets of beliefs and meaning that inspired and legitimated certain foreign policy options and instruments while restricting others.

The Druzification of Arab Christians in Israel in The Wake of the “Arab Spring”

By: Yusri Hazran

Published in Israel Studies Volume 24, Issue 3 (2019)

Abstract: Examining the implications of the “Arab Spring” for Arab Christians in Israel, this paper argues that Israel has sought to exploit its chaotic and anarchic effects in order to promote, not only a recruitment project among Arab-Christians, but to iterate the “Druzification policy” toward Arab Christians. Since the erupting of the popular uprisings, the Israeli establishment has been applying a three-dimensional policy towards Arab-Christians; composed of voluntary conscription, definition of Arab-Christians as a separate category in public service, and recognition of new national identity for Christian citizens.

The boundaries of acceptability: France’s positioning and rhetorical strategies during the Arab uprisings

By: Philippe Beauregard, Arsène Brice Bado, Jonathan Paquin

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 24, Issue 1 (2019)

Abstract: Why did French leaders adopt vastly different positions during the Arab uprisings? Building on recent studies that emphasize the importance of rhetoric to understand states’ behaviour, this article argues that France’s inconsistent positioning results from decision-makers trying to remain within political boundaries that are acceptable both to their domestic audiences and to foreign partners. Through a chronological content analysis of France’s top decision-makers’ responses to the crises in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Bahrain, the article provides evidence that acceptability-enhancing rhetorical strategies contribute to explaining foreign policy positioning.

Long Live the Neo-traditional Kings? The Gulf Cooperation Council and Legitimation of Monarchical Rule in the Arabian Peninsula

By: Leonie Holthaus

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 28, Issue 4 (2019)

Abstract: This article revisits prevailing ideas about the legitimation of monarchical rule through the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) by emphasizing the neo-traditional rule of the GCC regimes. It assumes that legitimacy claims often cross the local, national and (sub-)regional levels and analyzes them from a critical historical perspective and against the background of a global capitalist order. I show that the history of the sub-regional organization is wedded to legitimacy claims, referring to a common Gulf identity and good economic performance for the benefit of the members’ citizens. However, I focus on what often is marginalized in scholarly analyses: The common normalization of highly segregated labor markets on which the neo-traditional regimes depend. In effect, I criticize not only the international failures to oppose the GCC’s common repression of democratic revolt (2011). I also depict a bias in many scholarly analyses of autocratic legitimacy, as they neglect citizen-foreigner gaps. Finally, I argue that geopolitical and elite competition, as evident in the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, does not prepare the end of the GCC as we know it. Only substantive democratization could do so.

Regional Uprisings Confront Gulf-Backed Counterrevolution

By: Jonathan Fenton-Harvey

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

Abstract: Wealthy, ambitious and emboldened by US acquiescence, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have emerged as key protagonists in thwarting popular movements.

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.

Resurgent Protests Confront New and Old Red Lines in Jordan

By: Curtis Ryan

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

Abstract: In response to multiple waves of protests, including a surge of protests in 2019, the Jordanian state has worked hard to establish and enforce five red lines for the protests not to cross in order to rein in the potential impact of unified protests across the kingdom.

Sectarianized Securitization in Turkey in the Wake of the 2011 Arab Uprisings

By: Ceren Lord

Published in The Middle East Journal Volume 73, Issue 1 (2019)

Abstract: This article examines the growth of sectarianism in Turkish politics since the 2011 Arab uprisings, particularly when it comes to the government’s portrayal of the Alevi community as a security threat. Comparable to elsewhere in the Middle East, this “sectarianized securitization” of domestic politics was catalyzed by the overlap of external geopolitical competition and internal challenges to the government. These dynamics are situated within the context of longer-term processes of nation-building, the nature of Islamic authority, and the increasing prominence of Islamists.

The End of the Battle for Bahrain and the Securitization of Bahraini Shi’a

By: Simon Mabon

Published in The Middle East Journal Volume 73, Issue 1 (2019)

Abstract: Since protests shook Bahrain in 2011, the Saudi-backed regime there has embarked on a series of strategic moves, crushing dissent both at home and abroad. This article explores the methods the regime used to ensure its survival. It argues that by framing Bahrain’s Shi’i majority as a security threat within broader regional challenges, the regime was able to solidify its core bases of support.

Relations Between Qatar and Saudi Arabia After the Arab Spring

By: Abdul Rezak Bilgin

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

Abstract: The Arab Spring initiated a new era in the history of the Middle East and significantly shifted regional dynamics. It profoundly marked the history of the region and affected relations between Middle Eastern countries. Qatar–Saudi Arabia relations have likewise been profoundly impacted by it. This study focuses on how the Arab Spring affected relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and on how the regional power struggle and rivalry between Riyadh and Doha were exacerbated during that period when disagreements and clashes escalated and deepened between both countries. It also emphasizes the causes of tensions that emerged during the period of the Arab Spring between both states. Using classical realism as a theoretical framework in approaching the issues at hand, the study begins by outlining the historical background to Qatar–Saudi Arabia relations. It then describes the policies of Qatar and Saudi Arabia towards the Arab Spring and explores the problem areas in their bilateral relations. Finally, the sanctions imposed against Qatar are also discussed.

The intra-GCC crises: mapping GCC fragmentation after 2011

By: Cinzia Bianco; Gareth Stansfield

Published in International Affairs  Volume 94, Issue 3 (2018)

Abstract: If shared security perceptions were the foundation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), 2011 might be analysed as the watershed year in which the GCC began to fragment from within. Both the 2014 and 2017 intra-GCC crises were manifestations of conflicting security perceptions, formed across the GCC countries in and since 2011. Through an in-depth analysis of the events and of the subsequent reaction of the GCC governments in terms of discourse and foreign policy, we distinguish three different categories of conceptualization. First, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates perceived domestic protests as an ‘intermestic’ threat—triggered by the intersection of the international and domestic levels. Second, the leaders of Oman and Kuwait conceptualized protests in their countries as manageable domestic insecurity, rather than as fully-fledged externally orchestrated events—arguably because they did not perceive a direct danger to their stability and legitimacy. Finally, it can be argued that the government of Qatar did not see any real danger in the protests but instead viewed them as an opportunity to expand Doha’s regional influence, arguably at Riyadh’s expense. Unpacking the fundamental factors shaping such perceptions is the key to finding the appropriate framework for analysing GCC security in the future.

Resonance of the Arab Spring: Solidarities and youth opinion in the Global South

By: Adam K Webb

Published in International Political Science Review Volume 39, Issue 2 (2018)

Abstract: The Arab Spring exemplifies to many a kind of globalisation from below. It cuts across borders and challenges liberal and technocratic élites. But how far does its global resonance really go? Are publics still largely corralled within national political spaces? Are waves of revolt confined by civilisational breakwaters? Or is the cosmopolitan space that many leftists envision taking shape? Based on a three-country survey of university students, this article probes these assumptions. It finds far-reaching solidarity with the aspirations of the Arab Spring, driven by the rise of a cross-border global society. But on probing the bases of such solidarity, it also finds that the cosmopolitan cohort emerging in the Global South does not fit a simple liberal or leftist mould. The Arab Spring resonates on multiple frequencies at the same time. This complex cosmopolitanism has implications for layers of common ground as global political opportunity structures emerge.

US Democracy Aid and the Authoritarian State: Evidence from Egypt and Morocco 

By: Erin A Snider

Published in International Studies Quarterly  Volume 62, Issue 4 (2018)

Abstract: A recent study commissioned by the United States Agency for International Development to assess the effectiveness of its spending on democracy in its programs worldwide found that such aid works—with the sole exception of programs in the Middle East. What explains this exception? I argue that previous studies on democracy aid pay insufficient attention to the fact that such programs often develop as negotiated deals. Because authoritarian regimes may choose how to accept assistance, democracy aid may reward economic interests tied to incumbent regimes. I explore these dynamics through case studies of US democracy programming in Egypt and Morocco.

Counterterrorism and democracy: EU policy in the Middle East and North Africa after the uprisings

By: Vincent Durac

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 23, Issue 1 (2018)

Abstract: This paper explores European Union (EU) counterterrorism (CT) policy in relation to the Southern Mediterranean in the aftermath of the Arab Uprisings. A number of themes may be observed in the recent literature on Euro-Mediterranean relations. Firstly, the rhetoric of the EU repeatedly lays stress on its commitment to democracy and human rights. However, secondly, and equally repeatedly, the actions (or inaction) of the Union in its dealings with Southern Mediterranean regimes demonstrate that when the perceived security interests of the EU or its member states are threatened by its normative commitments, concern for the latter is readily sacrificed. Thus, while the formal responses of the EU to the Arab Uprisings have, once more, invoked its concern to promote economic development and build democracy, critics have focused on their incoherence as reflecting an underlying concern to restore the pre-2011 ‘stability’ that characterized the region. This framing of the core interests and priorities of the Union carries through to its CT policy and practices with respect to the Southern Mediterranean, and determines the nature of its engagement with key actors in the region in ways that carry the potential for counter-productive outcomes.

EU democracy promotion and the dominance of the security–stability nexus

By: Assem Dandashly

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 23, Issue 1 (2018)

Abstract: The article analyses the EU’s approach for democracy promotion in Tunisia and Egypt in the wake of the Arab uprisings. Contrary to arguments that focus either on the EU institutions and member states or on the domestic policies of the targeted countries and see the post-2010 EU democracy promotion strategies as a continuation of previous programs, the article follows a more eclectic approach. By considering changes both at the EU and the international level, it argues that the EU appears as a pragmatic yet more flexible and reactive international actor. After 2010, the EU frames for democracy promotion have changed and are differentiated in the two MENA countries. Crucial to this cognitive change is the EU Global Strategy (EUGS) and the role that domestic elites have played in the two case studies.

Thinking energy outside the frame? Reframing and misframing in Euro-Mediterranean energy relations

By: Anna Herranz-Surrallés

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 23, Issue 1 (2018)

Abstract: The EU’s initial reaction to the Arab uprisings in the field of energy cooperation was yet another proposal for creating an integrated Euro-Mediterranean energy market, despite the moot success of previous efforts. This paper investigates the policy frame underpinning the EU’s persistent focus on market-regulatory harmonization since the late 1990s and enquires into whether it has experienced any change in the post-uprising context. While the paper finds an enduring dominance of the market-liberal frame, it also identifies signs of its erosion through processes of reframing and misframing, affecting also the EU’s practical engagement with the region.

EU religious engagement in the Southern Mediterranean: Much ado about nothing?

By: Sarah Wolff

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 23, Issue 1 (2018)

Abstract: Since the Arab uprisings, religious engagement is central to EU relations with the Southern Mediterranean. Given that the EU is a liberal-secular power, this article investigates why and how the EU is practising religious engagement and whether it is a rupture with past EU modalities of engagement in the region. The main finding is that EU religious engagement constitutes both a physical and ontological security-seeking practice. This is illustrated in three steps. First, EU’s physical security is ensured by the promotion of state-sponsored forms of religion in Morocco and Jordan that aim at moderating Islam. Second, the framing of religion as an expertise issue in the EEAS and European diplomacies reinforces EU’s self-identity narrative as a secular power. This self-identity is, however, subject to politicization and framing contestation through the case of Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of Christian minorities in the Arab world. Overall, this article finds that EU religious engagement is conducive to selective engagement with some religious actors, which could potentially lead to more insecurities and polarization in the region.

The French foreign policy U-turn in the Arab Spring – the case of Tunisia

By: Laura-Theresa Krüger, Bernhard Stahl

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 23, Issue 2 (2018)

Abstract: As for many, the Arab uprisings of 2010–11 came as a surprise for France. After initial inactivity, followed by last minute support of the Tunisian regime, President Sarkozy took a U-turn by spearheading the military intervention in Libya and both Sarkozy and his successor Hollande announced a re-launch in the Franco-Tunisian relations. Starting from the assumption that France’s drastic foreign policy changes cannot be sufficiently explained by presidential change, we draw upon social-constructivist discourse-bound identity theory and provide a model for discursive legitimations of foreign policy changes. When the “permissive consensus” between the three discursive formations of the French foreign policy identity breaks up, drastic foreign policy turns may occur. By analysing the French policy actions and rhetoric towards Tunisia between 2007 and 2015, we show, however, that the sudden change tends to be rather ephemeral and that French foreign policy seems to be gradually returning to its pre-revolution approach.

When the Present Sends Back to the Past: Reading the Kurdish Issue in the 2010s

By: Hamit Bozarslan

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 27, Issue 1 (2018)

Abstract: Since 2011, the emergence of the Islamic State (IS) and its anti-Kurdish violence, the new cold war of Iran and Russia versus Turkey, and the Tayyip Erdogan regime’s coercive policies against the Kurds both in Turkey and Syria, entirely have redefined the century-long Kurdish issue in the Middle East. It also has affected deeply the Kurdish political elite and constrained it to remilitarize the Kurdish conflict and society. How does this elite define the Kurdish issue after years of stasis in Iraq and in Syria? Which senses does it give to the crisis of the previously strong Westphalian states in the region? How does the Kurdish trans-border space reconfigure itself amid heavy external and internal tensions? This article, which takes note that a long historical cycle starting with Mustafa Barzani’s rebellion in 1961, and a shorter one, that started with the 1991 Gulf War, will discuss the issue of the reconfiguration of the Kurdish political elite after the Arab revolutionary uprisings of 2011.

Iran and Russia in the Middle East: Toward a Regional Alliance?

By: Clément Therme

Published in Middle East Journal  Volume 72, Issue 4 (2018)

Abstract: This article sheds light on the converging interests between Iran and Russia in the Middle East as well as persistent points of friction between the two countries. There is an internal debate in Iran about defining a new regional and foreign policy in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and during the administration of United States president Donald Trump. As there are no purely bilateral relationships in the international system, the Tehran-Moscow relationship is, to a certain extent, influenced by US foreign policy.

Saudi Arabia and Israel: From Secret to Public Engagement, 1948–2018

By: Elie Podeh

Published in Middle East Journal  Volume 72, Issue 4 (2018)

Abstract: Media reports have recently indicated that Israel and Saudi Arabia have been cooperating behind the scenes against their common enemies, Iran and jihadist groups. This article sets to explore the rationale behind and essence of this cooperation, while putting it in proper historical perspective. The article shows that Saudi policy toward Israel was consistently dictated by pragmatism rather than ideology, while Israel’s suspicions toward the kingdom disappeared only following the 2006 Lebanon War and the Arab Spring.

Karamet Watan: An Unsuccessful Nonviolent Movement

By: Hamad H. Albloshi, Michael Herb

Published in Middle East Journal  Volume 72, Issue 3 (2018)

Abstract: This article seeks to explain the failure of the 2012–14 Kuwaiti reform movement Karamet Watan. We compare Karamet Watan with two previous reform movements in Kuwait: Nabiha Khamsa in 2006 and Irhal in 2011. All three movements were nonviolent, which Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan have shown to be associated with the success of reform movements. We argue that Karamet Watan differed from the earlier movements in its choice of goals; its choice of tactics, especially the boycott of parliamentary elections; and the regional context. Our findings help illustrate the challenges facing political reform movements in Kuwait, the obstacles to further movement toward greater political participation, and the conditions under which reform might succeed in the future.

The ‘Third Hand’ in Egypt: Legitimation and the International Dimension in Political Transformations

By: Sarah Wessel

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

Abstract: This article seeks to complement current research on the international dimension of the recent transformations in the Arab world by focusing on the subjective domestic political debates on external actors in Egypt. Approaching political transformations in post-revolutionary Egypt (2010–2014) as dynamic and reciprocal processes of claim making and receiving, I explore how the representations of external actors served as an important source for the military to legitimize the continuous expansion of its political powers. By doing so, I hope to illuminate on a period that was celebrated as a departure towards democracy, yet regressed into the re-emergence of a military regime three years later. Drawing from empirical findings gained in a multi-sited long-term field study from 2010 to 2014, I show that the ‘third hand’ – a concept that is commonly used in the streets, the media and in political speeches to designate external interventions as attempts to undermine the stability of the country – had a major impact on the transformations. The article shows how the exploration of domestic public debates is key to a better understanding of the international dimension in political transformations.

More of the Same: Discursive Reactions of Members of Knesset to the 2011 ‘Social Protest’ in Israel

By: Amit Avigur-Eshel

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

Abstract: The 2011 ‘Social Protest’ in Israel was motivated by discontent with the outcomes of neo-liberal economic policies. Moreover, during rallies protest leaders used explicit counter-neo-liberal ideas and discourse. Nonetheless, this article shows that Members of Knesset (the Israeli parliament) used neo-liberal ideas and discourse more following the protest than they had done before its outbreak. Relying on recent theoretical developments emphasizing the importance of ideas and discourse in social and political analysis, I account for Members of Knesset’s ideas and discourse through analyzing explanation clauses accompanying private member bills. The article concludes by suggesting that the protest may have turned neo-liberal ideas from a means used by economic experts to promote economic liberalization to a means used by politicians to demonstrate their democratic responsiveness to citizens’ economic demands.

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 struggles of precarious youth in Tunisia: the case of the Kerkennah movement

By: Lorenzo Feltrin

Published in Review of African Political Economy Volume 45, Issue 155 (2018)

Abstract: This article analyses the origins and the dynamics of the social movement against the energy corporation Petrofac that took place in the Tunisian archipelago of Kerkennah between 2011 and 2016. The Kerkennah movement is seen as part of a broader cycle of mobilisations for social justice that started in 2008 and continues to the present day. The main subjects of these mobilisations are young people lacking sources of regular income and their core demands are secure employment and local development. It is argued that communal solidarities were key in compensating for the lack of occupational cohesion among the protesters.

Creative Insurgency and the Celebrity President: Politics and Popular Culture from the Arab Spring to the White House

By: Marwan M. Kraidy

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 23 (2017)

Abstract: Not available

Travelogue of the Israeli Protest: A Dialogue with Contemporary Street Poetry

By: Cynthia Gabbay

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 23 (2017)

Abstract: The article deciphers the symbolic deconstruction of the Israeli Indignant Protest (2011–2012) on behalf of the local cultural simulacrum—based on Zionist narratives of Judaism. It presents, through the subjective eye of a participant observer, the symbolic paradigm by which the protest opened its way through street poetry’s contemporary representation, including in this concept poetry, prose, songs, pictures, memes, graffiti, and other social media and street phenomena.

Israel, the Arab Spring, and the unfolding regional order in the Middle East: a strategic assessment

By: Philipp O. Amour

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 44, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: Since 2011, geo-strategic interactions have exerted pressure on various political communities. In particular, uncertainty over the foreign policy intentions of new leadership elites and the nature of the unfolding regional security system in the Middle East have impacted the strategic questions Israel must answer: how can Israel rationally assess the new environment? What foreign policy approach would best serve Israel’s distinct national interests? Using insights from the levels-of-analysis framework and from the realist theory of International Relations, this article aims to explore Israel’s reading of recent regional developments and its attitudes and behaviours towards the attendant and emerging strategic challenges. The analysis reveals that the Arab Spring uprisings exacerbated the already anarchic Middle East environment, aggravating mistrust and antagonism in Israel. The urgency of the attraction of protectionism and militarism in Israel was an expression of the realist approach to Israel’s primary strategic consolidation. With time, the regional dynamic has evolved into a more predictable—but still complex—structure than it was during its early phase (2010–2013). Although there have been signs of potential regional political eruptions, other developments have promoted continuity in the Middle East, which plays to Israel’s strategic advantage.

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.

Limiting violent spillover in civil wars: the paradoxes of Lebanese Sunni jihadism, 2011–17

By: Tine Gade

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 10, Issue 2 (2017)

Abstract: Research on violent spillovers in civil war has often exaggerated the potential for conflict contagion. The case of Lebanon is a counter-example. Despite the massive pressure of the horrific war in next-door Syria, it has, against all odds, remained remarkably stable – despite the influx of more than 1 million Syrian refugees and almost complete institutional blockage. This paper, based on ethnographic research and semi-structured interviews from Lebanon, studies the determination to avoid a violent spillover into Lebanon from the perspective of the country’s Sunni Islamists. Recent trends in the scholarly literature have shown that Islamists are not inherently revolutionary, nor always dogmatists, and often serve many social purposes at home. The main argument is that the Syrian war has not been imported into Lebanon; instead, the Lebanese conflict is externalized to Syria. Lebanon’s conflicting factions, including the Islamists, have found the costs of resorting to violence inside Lebanon to be too high. Even those Lebanese Sunnis who have crossed the borders to fight in Syria do so because of domestic reasons, that is, to fight against Hezbollah on Syria soil, where they can do so without risking an explosion of the Lebanese security situation. Sectarianism, in the sense of opposition to Hezbollah and the Lebanese Shia, is the main driver of radicalization for Lebanese Sunnis.

Creating the enemy, constructing the threat: the diffusion of repression against the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East

By: May Darwich

Published in Democratization Volume 24, Issue 7 (2017)

Abstract: On 25 December 2013, the military-backed government in Egypt declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization. A few months later, the Saudi Kingdom followed suit and attempted to build a regional coalition to counter this constructed enemy. Although the Saudi Kingdom, acting as an aspiring regional autocratic power, exerted pressure to compel other regimes to follow its lead, the recipient states varied in their willingness to converge. Whereas the United Arab Emirates followed the Saudi lead, Jordan, Kuwait, and Bahrain resisted the diffusion of repression against the Muslim Brotherhood to their domestic spheres. This article examines this variation in the (non-)convergence of repressive policies as an outcome of diffusion. While most explanations of how autocratic policies diffuse focus on either ideology or interest as drivers of state behaviour, this article provides a nuanced understanding of this phenomenon. Based on a neoclassical realist approach, I explore the variation in the convergence with fellow autocrats as the result of interaction between regional interests and regime autonomy vis-à-vis societal groups. By looking at autocratic diffusion of repression as a process lying at the intersection of regional and domestic spheres, this article contributes to the literature on the international diffusion of authoritarianism.

Contentious Borders in the Middle East and North Africa: Context and Concepts

By: Raffaella A. Del Sarto

Published in International Affairs Volume 93, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: The recent upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have exerted pressure on the regional state system and its borders. Exploring the altered nature and function of borders in a comprehensive and theory-informed manner, together with their domestic, regional and international implications, is long overdue. As a starting point to this endeavour, this article provides the historical context to the problem of contested borders in the MENA region since the formation of the modern state system in the region until today. While problematizing a number of key concepts, the article proposes to analyse the currently contentious nature of many MENA borders by considering the often deeply conflicting configuration of state authority, legitimacy and territoriality over time; the Arab uprisings mark the most recent of a series of critical junctures. Developments at the international, regional and domestic levels are considered while attention is paid to their intersection. The article concludes by raising the question of whether prevailing conceptualisations of the state and its borders are adequate for a real understanding of past and present developments in the region, suggesting that alternative or additional approaches may be helpful.

States and Sovereignty in the Middle East: Myths and Realities

By: Louise Fawcett

Published in International Affairs Volume 93, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: To many observers the Middle East state system since the Arab uprisings stands at a critical juncture, displaying contradictory patterns of fragility and durability. The uprisings, which started late in 2010, were revolutionary in their initial impact, but beyond Tunisia, it is the counter-revolutionary movement which has proved more durable. However, the region has witnessed regime changes alongside intense levels of popular mobilization, violence and transnational activism. The results have been highly destabilizing, resulting in challenges, not only to regimes, but to the very sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. This, in turn, has contributed to a shifting regional power balance and repeated episodes of external intervention. Some commentators have argued that the whole regional system, always fragile and contested, is finally undergoing radical transformation; others point to its resilience. This article evaluates the latest wave of instability and its consequences for Middle Eastern states, their sovereignty and regional order, introducing themes and discussions taken up in other articles in this special issue. It argues that despite recent upheavals (and multiple predictions to the contrary), the Middle East system of states and borders will likely remain intact—at least in the medium term. This does not mean that states are necessarily ‘strong’ in a Weberian sense or that sovereignty at different levels is uncontested, but that continuity—state survival and border preservation—is likely to prevail over major change.

The changing borders and borderlands of Syria in a time of conflict

By: Leila Vignal

Published in International Affairs Volume 93, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: This article aims at a better understanding of the changing nature of borders in warring Syria. Contrary to much media commentary, the Syrian uprising and the subsequent conflict have not been about territorial claims. In 2011, the borders of Syria were de facto pacified and, with the important exception of the border with Israel, were accepted as the legitimate boundaries of the Syrian state. This, however, does not contradict the fact that the unfolding of the Syrian uprising has had deep transformative effects on the borders of the country. Their nature, functions and management have significantly evolved since the uprising first broke out. In 2017, these borders no longer delineate a coherent territory under the control of a unique and somehow cohesive actor: the state. The ongoing territorial and political fragmentation of the country into territories controlled by different armed parties has given rise to multiple forms of control over the Syrian border that reflect the outcome of the armed confrontation. This article analyses the transformations of the borders from the outer boundaries of a state that exercises its sovereignty over its territory and delivers state functions and public goods to its citizens to a spatial envelope in which competing internal legitimacies operate. It also explores the new dynamics of the borders in relation with Syria’s neighbours and the international order.

Turkey’s post-2011 approach to its Syrian border and its implications for domestic politics

By: Asli S. Okyay

Published in International Affairs Volume 93, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: This article examines the implications of the post-2011 conflict in Syria for the relationship between Turkey’s shifting border politics and its domestic politics, focusing on the period until mid-2015. The analysis demonstrates that two factors explain the shifts in Turkey’s border management modalities in this period. These factors were: first, Turkey’s aspiration to enhance its regional influence through a power reconfiguration in post-conflict Syria, in which the Assad regime would be replaced by a predominantly Islamist power elite; second, its concern about its territorial integrity and centralized nation-state model, which it tried to safeguard by impeding the emergence of a Kurdish state, or governance structure with increased autonomous powers and expanded territorial control. Power reconfigurations over the course of the conflict and newly arising threats emanating from the neighbouring civil war also had significant implications for Turkey’s border management patterns. Embedded within a highly interconnected region that has also been increasingly structured in ethno-sectarian terms, instrumentally shifting border politics gave rise to a high degree of contestation in the domestic sphere, and contributed to the reinforcement of ethnic and sectarian identity boundaries permeating society and politics in Turkey. The case of Turkey is significant in understanding the overall impact of the post-2011 political transition processes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on border politics, on the degree of interdependence between domestic and international politics, on the links between state borders and identity boundaries, and on state-society relations.

The practice and culture of smuggling in the borderland of Egypt and Libya

By: Thomas Hüsken

Published in International Affairs Volume 93, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: This article looks at smuggling among the Awlad ‘Ali Bedouin in the borderland of Egypt and Libya. Smuggling is understood as a transgressive economic practice that is embedded in the wider social, political and cultural connectivity of the Awlad ‘Ali. This connectivity transgresses state borders, collides with conceptions of state sovereignty, territory and citizenship. In addition, it has a greater historical depth than the respective post-colonial states, and is in many respects more vital than these. During the regimes of Gaddafi and Mubarak the economic productivity and political stability in the borderland was based on the shared sovereignty between politicians and cross border traders of the Awlad ‘Ali and the Egyptian and Libyan state. During and after the Arab spring and particularly in the subsequent civil war in Libya local non state sovereignties that operate across borders have gained significant empowerment and relevance. The article argues that shared sovereignty between state and non-state formations, between centres and peripheries, and between the national and the local level, is a central feature of the real practice of African governance and borderland economies.

Europe and the Arab world: neighbours and uneasy partners in a highly conflictual context

By: Cilga Harders, Annette Jünemann & Lina Khatib

Published in International Politics Volume 54, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: This article investigates the dramatically changed context for Europe’s relationship with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The authors base their analysis on the “Logics of Action” approach, which helps to identify structural and ideational patterns of behaviour against the background of an evolving regional and global order. They argue that, since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and especially after the Arab uprisings of 2011, the logics of stability and bilateralism have become dominant drivers of policy on both shores of the Mediterranean. Europe started to increasingly securitize the MENA region and on both shores multillateral approaches were pushed aside. The EU has seen its influence in the MENA decline, and its long-standing desire to promote liberal and democratic values in the Arab world, a logic of action in its own right, has ultimately lost momentum. Arab regimes themselves are intensely focused on the logic of regime survival and have also prioritized bilateralism, both of which increasingly chime with European priorities. Harders, Jünemann and Khatib conclude with a critical reflection on the EU’s new global strategy of 2016, which they find to lack convincing answers to the challenges that the Arab world poses. Instead of offering a viable strategy of “principled pragmatism”, it is pragmatism without principles that, according to the authors, inform the EUGS.

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.

The Saudi State as an Identity Racketeer

By: Ben Rich, Ben MacQueen

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 26, Issue 2 (2017)

Abstract: Although substantial research has examined the Saudi state’s symbiosis with the Islamic revivalist movement commonly known as ‘Wahhabism’, few studies have considered how the dynamics of state formation underpin this relationship. This article argues that a continuous and circular political logic lies behind the Saudi state’s patronage of the revivalist movement since 1744 and proposes a four-stage model that explains how and why the regime has maintained its support for the revivalist movement over such a prolonged period. This article first outlines the model, then presents a detailed analysis of its persistent presence in the development of Saudi state authority in order to highlight the recurrent manner by which the state often has constructed the spiritual concerns of revivalists to counter challenges to its authority, a pattern demonstrated most recently during the Arab Spring and the war in Yemen. The effects of this model will continue to shape the decisions, policies and perceptions of the Saudi political elite for the foreseeable future.

Egypt Confronts Economic and Security Challenges as It Attempts to Regain Its Position in the Arab World

By: Seth J. Frantzman

Published in Middle East Review of International Affairs Volume 21, Issue 1 (2017)

Abstract: Six years after protests toppled Husni Mubarak, Egypt is still struggling with the aftermath of the “Arab Spring” and the chaos it unleashed.  The removal of the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013 and Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi’s ascension to the presidency is sometimes seen as returning Egypt to its pre-2011 political landscape. Egypt is continually wrestling with how to deal with the past as well as trying to cultivate stronger ties abroad.  This includes strengthening work with the new U.S. administration under Trump, securing Sinai with Israel’s cooperation, and walking a fine line on Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, and Russian influence in the region. This article, based on a research trip to Egypt and discussions and interviews with Egyptian insiders from various fields, provides an overview of the challenges facing Cairo and how its elites hope to meet them.

Oil and intra-state conflict in Iraq and Syria: sub-state actors and challenges for Turkey’s energy security

By: Pinar Ipek

Published in Middle Eastern Studies Volume 53, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: The continuing dependency on fossil fuels of the Middle East not only in Turkey’s energy mix but also in world energy demand requires further analysis of oil and conflict in the region since the fall of Mosul in Iraq to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in June 2014. This article addresses the relationship between oil and conflict. Then, it examines the case of Turkey’s increasing energy relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government to elucidate the implications of inter-state and intra-state conflict on regional interdependence in the region. The argument asserts that risks of an abrupt regime change or revolutionary regime formation in the aftermath of civil war in Syria and ethnic or sectarian violence in Iraq, which are highly associated with intra-state conflicts, present challenges for Turkey’s energy security and most importantly for human security in the region.

Strategies for Reviving the International Relations/Middle East Nexus after the Arab Uprisings

By: Morten Valbjørn

Published in PS: Political Science & Politics Volume 50, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: Not available

Framing through Paradox: Egypt and the “Obama Supports Terrorism” Campaign

By: Marco Pinfari

Published in Studies in Conflict & Terrorism Volume 40, Issue 2 (2017)

Abstract: This article presents and analyzes the “Obama supports terrorism” campaign, which was launched in Egypt in late June 2013 and was instrumental to the framing of some Islamist groups as terrorist both before and after the 3 July 2013 coup. The analysis of the visual material of the campaign highlights its reliance on various Western discourses from the War on Terror, including some whose religious and racial content is an odd fit for a non-Western, Muslim country like Egypt. Yet, despite the lack of a clear and unified causal narrative to justify such framing, the success of the campaign was crucially aided by the symbolic and rhetorical power its slogan, which provided a credible “schema of interpretation” for its supporters.

Qatar and the UAE: Exploring Divergent Responses to the Arab Spring

By: David B. Roberts

Published in The Middle East Journal Volume 71, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: During the Arab Spring, Qatar tended to support the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates, while the United Arab Emirates opposed them. This article argues that, despite these states’ ostensible similarities, their different political structures fostered contrasting experiences with an ascendant political Islam. Subsequently, the policies reflected each leader’s approach to statecraft: Abu Dhabi crown prince Muhammad bin Zayid Al Nahyan, who steers Emirati foreign policy, reacted with a security-focused check on such groups, while the former Qatari emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani sought to build relations with them.

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.

Libya and Europe: imperialism, crisis and migration

By: Lucia Pradella & Sahar Taghdisi Rad

Published in Third World Quarterly  Volume 38, Issue 11 (2017)

Abstract: This article examines the recent dynamics of European imperialism in Libya in the light of Marx’s theory of the global reserve army of labour. It analyses the limited advance of Western imperialism in Libya in the decade before the 2011 uprisings, the interactions between local, regional and international forces during and after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) intervention, and, finally, the evolving migratory patterns from Libya. In this light, the instability along the southern and eastern Mediterranean coastline – a product of the uprisings and the forms of political reactions they unleashed – is simultaneously a security threat and a channel of migratory movements to European capitalism.

Building ties across the Green Line: the Palestinian 15 March youth movement in Israel and occupied Palestinian territory in 2011

By: Guy Burton

Published in Third World Quarterly  Volume 38, Issue 1 (2017)

Abstract: In 2011 Palestinian youth joined together across the Green Line, demonstrating grassroots solidarity and a challenge to the elite consensus in favour of the two-state Oslo process. The movement drew inspiration from the concurrent Arab Spring and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, organising joint demonstrations in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. However, the movement struggled to develop as a result of challenges regarding its objectives, strategy and representation, and of external threats from Israel and Palestinian political elites.

Iran and Turkey: not quite friends but less than enemies

By: Shahram Akbarzadeh & James Barry

Published in Third World Quarterly  Volume 38, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: The rise and subsequent erosion of friendly relations between Iran and Turkey was a result of their regional ambitions. While Turkey had long seen its secular system as presenting an alternative to Iran’s Islamic ideology, the alignment of their regional interests facilitated a rapport between the two states in the first decade of the twenty-first century. However, the Arab Spring proved divisive for this relationship as each state sought to advocate its model of government and secure a leadership role in the Arab world. The war in Syria widened the divide, as Iran’s long-standing support for the Bashar al-Assad regime could not be reconciled with Turkey’s desire to see President Assad out of office. Using a close reading of Persian and Turkish sources, the authors will analyse the Iran–Turkey divide, focusing specifically on how the Iranians have portrayed it as a clash of civilisations, citing Turkey’s so-called ‘neo-Ottoman’ ambitions as the primary cause.

One Swallow Does Not Make Spring: A Critical Juncture Perspective on the EU Sanctions in Response to the Arab Spring

By: Andreas Boogaertsa, Clara Portelab, Edith Drieskens

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 21, Issue 2 (2016)

Abstract: This article examines to what extent the Arab Spring constitutes a critical juncture – a major turning point – for the EU’s sanctions policy towards Egypt, Libya, Syria and Tunisia. Based on a multidimensional critical juncture operationalization, we find that the Arab Spring only constitutes such a turning point for the EU’s sanctions policy towards Syria. Both the level and nature of measures differ substantially from previous years. By contrast, the EU’s sanctions practice towards Libya, Egypt and Tunisia shows more resilience. More generally, changes in the nature of the measures are prominent, whereas changes in the level of the policy instruments and in underlying norms and goals are limited.

Proto-State Realignment and the Arab Spring

By: Ora Szekely

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 23, Issue 1 (2016)

Abstract: Not available

Syrian Refugees in the Media

By: Katty Alhayek

Published in Middle East Report Volume 46, Issue 278 (2016)

Abstract: It was September 2, 2015 when the Syrian refugee crisis abruptly came to dominate the English-language media. On that day broadcast and print outlets led with the iconic image of Alan Kurdi, 3, lying lifeless on a Turkish beach after his family’s failed attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. The shocking picture prompted solemn pronouncements from Western leaders regarding the world’s responsibility to care for refugees, even as actual policy in most Western countries got worse.

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.

An Enduring ‘Touristic Miracle’ in Tunisia? Coping with Old Challenges after the Revolution

By: Rosita Di Peri

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

Abstract: By the end of the 1960s Tunisia had developed a very aggressive tourism policy designed to encourage foreign private investment in the sector. In fact tourism became one of the flagships of Tunisian development, strongly contributing to re-invent the international reputation of Tunisia as an open, ‘democratic and liberal’ country. Even if the political scenario has changed after the ‘Jasmine revolution’, continuity seems to prevail in the tourism sector. This paper focuses on this continuity, examining two specific dimensions: the persistence of Tunisia’s tourist model and the continuity in the representation of Tunisian tourism as the pillar of an everlasting process of change.

Russia’s Foreign Policy Towards North Africa in the Wake of the Arab Spring

By: Tobias Schumachera*, Cristian Nitoiu

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

Abstract: Since coming to power in 2000, Russian president Vladimir Putin has tried to construct a narrative of regaining Russia’s status as a major global power. However, in practice the Kremlin has yet to create a coherent strategy or achieve a sense of a co-ordinated foreign policy. While North Africa has not been at the forefront of this narrative, recently Moscow has intensified its diplomatic links and cooperation with the regimes in the region. The Arab Spring presented Russian policy makers with a series of challenges regarding the uncertainty of the developments in the region, but also with renewed economic opportunities. This profile analyses Moscow’s relationships with the countries in North Africa (Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria) in the wake of the Arab Spring. In each case the Kremlin aimed to take advantage of the new opportunities without really being guided by an overarching strategy for the region. However, Russia increasingly seems to be keen to position itself in the region as an alternative to the EU or the US, not least in light of the current war in Ukraine.

Hybrid Hegemonic Masculinity of the EU before and after the Arab Spring: A Gender Analysis of Euro-Mediterranean Security Relations

By: Ali Bilgic

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 20, Issue 3 (2015)

Abstract: In the academic literature on EU–southern Mediterranean relations, a focal point of neglect has been the gendered dimension of Euro-Mediterranean relations. This article argues that the Euro-Mediterranean space has been formed within the gendered global West/non-West relations with the purpose of promoting the West’s security interests. Euro-Mediterranean security relations, thus, embody a gendered power hierarchy between the hybrid hegemonic masculinity of the EU (bourgeois-rational and citizen-warrior) and the subordinate (both feminized and hypermasculinized) southern neighbourhood. In addition, it shows that following the Arab Spring the EU has been determined to maintain the status quo by reconstructing these gendered power relations. This gender analysis contributes to the literature on Euro-Mediterranean relations through its specific focus on the (re)construction processes of gendered identities within the West/non-West context in tandem with the EU’s competing notions of security.

Protests under Occupation: The Spring inside Western Sahara

By: Irene Fernández-Molina

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 20, Issue 2 (2015)

Abstract: The emergence and empowerment of Sahrawi civil protests and pro-independence activism inside the Western Sahara territory under Moroccan occupation have to be seen in the context of varying sets of opportunity structures which this peripheral movement has actively seized in the past two decades by symbiotically combining domestic non-violent resistance and international ‘diplomatic’ activities. Different forms of recognition received from the two reference centres – the Moroccan state and the Polisario Front – plus the international community have been crucial in this process, with the last representing the most significant achievement of the movement. The Arab Spring has been a particularly fruitful window of opportunity in this regard.

The Persistence of Autocracy: Jordan, Morocco and the Gulf

By: Hassan A. Barari

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

Abstract: Through the ebbs and flows of the Arab Spring, Arab monarchies have remained securely in place. In fact, for much of their history, the resilience of autocracy has been a key feature of the Arab monarchies’ survival. While the sudden eruption of the Arab uprisings may have shattered the dictatorial status quo in much of the Arab world, Arab monarchies unsurprisingly have been a pillar of stability. This article examines the genesis of monarchic exceptionalism and provides the context for this seemingly autocratic stability. During the Arab Spring, monarchies have devised different strategies to prop up the autocratic status quo. Thus far, they have fared significantly better than the region’s autocratic republics, or as famed historian Roger Owen wrote, ‘Presidents for life.’ Nonetheless, the tumultuous regional environment and the persistence of the ‘king’s dilemma’ among Arab monarchs shows that these regimes remain in a state of maneuvering.

Transitional Justice in Syria: The Role and Contribution of Syrian Refugees and Displaced Persons Policy Research on Syria’s Refugees

By: Rania Al Jazairi

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 7, Issue 3 (2015)

Abstract: To date, an estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the beginning of the conflict in 2011. While over 3 million have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, 6.5 million are internally displaced within Syria. Whereas most research has focused on examining Syrian refugees’ status and living conditions in host countries; few studies aimed to document their views and perceptions about transitional justice processes, including reparation issues and how they perceived a durable and sustainable peace in Syria. This paper focuses on Syrian refugees and displaced persons’ role and contribution to transitional justice processes. It explores their views and perceptions about a wide range of political, civil, social, economic and cultural issues, including accountability, reparation, the nature of the future governance system, Syria’s cultural identity, the rights of minorities and women, reconstruction and development priorities and Demilitarization, Demobilization and Reintegration (ddr) issues.

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.

Inter-state tensions and regional integration: could the Arab Spring initiate a virtuous circle?

By: Khalid Sekkat

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

Abstract: This paper draws on the economic and political sciences literature to examine the possibility that the Arab Spring could bring the region out of the past vicious circle by which regional integration is stalled by political tensions and the latter are exacerbated by the lack of integration. This analysis suggests that the outcome depends on a number of factors, among which democracy plays a major role. Arguments based on the relationship between human capital and the development of democracy are put forward to support the likelihood of a virtuous circle developing.

America’s Response to the Arab Uprisings: US Foreign Assistance in an Era of Ambivalence

By: Steven Heydemann

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 19, Issue 3 (2014)

Abstract: This article traces the impact of the Arab uprisings on US foreign assistance to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the period since 2011. Despite the Obama administration’s rhetoric in support of Arab protesters and their demands for political and economic change, and despite the US President’s commitment to place the full weight of the US foreign policy system behind political openings created by mass protests, US foreign assistance programs to the MENA region were largely unaffected by the dramatic political changes of 2011 and beyond. The article explains continuity in US foreign assistance as the result of several factors. These include the administration’s ambivalence about the political forces unleashed by the uprisings; domestic economic and political obstacles to increases in foreign assistance; institutional and bureaucratic inertia within the agencies responsible for managing foreign assistance programming, and institutional capture of the foreign assistance bureaucracy by implementing organizations with a vested interest in sustaining ongoing activities rather than adapting programs in light of the new challenges caused by the Arab uprisings.

Turkey as an ‘Emerging Donor’ and the Arab Uprisings

By: Meliha Benli Altunişik

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 19, Issue 3 (2014)

Abstract: The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which came to power in 2002, has increasingly been using aid as an instrument of foreign policy, including in the Arab world. This increased with the Arab uprisings and has peaked with the ongoing civil war in Syria, reaching $2 billion in 2012. Despite substantial changes in the amount and geographical coverage of aid after the ‘Arab Spring’, there are also substantive continuities in Turkey’s aid policy. The AKP has been focused on security and stability, and on consolidating power among new regimes. The direction of aid has thus followed that of regional foreign policy, and the government’s interests have been given an ideational framing through notions of historical and cultural affinity and responsibility.

International Assistance to Egypt after the 2011 and 2013 Uprisings: More Politics and Less Development

By: Khaled Amin

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 19, Issue 3 (2014)

Abstract: This article assesses the effect of the changes in the political and socio-economic context in Egypt as a result of the January 2011 and June 2013 uprisings on the trend and composition of technical assistance to Egypt. The article uses qualitative methodology based on reviewing literature; interviewing senior officials; and observing the operation of donor- funded development projects in Egypt. This article’s analysis shows that economic assistance between the two uprisings had a limited effect on the level of development in the country due to the growing role of politics, uncertain security, lack of a developmental vision, and interrupted process of transition.

Explaining the Patterns of the Gulf Monarchies’ Assistance after the Arab Uprisings

By: Sally Khalifa Isaac

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 19, Issue 3 (2014)

Abstract: This paper aims at empirically highlighting the centrality of the Gulf States’ role in Arab transitions, continuities and changes in trends of Arab Gulf aid to Arab MENA countries after 2011, and analytically explaining what seems to be contradicting Gulf roles in supporting or undermining certain transitions. It concludes that the Gulf monarchies have played a central role in MENA post-2011, showing a clarity and promptness in strategies and action. The various forms of support provided in several cases as well as the counterrevolutionary actions adopted in other cases boost the Gulf States as a main driver for political stability in the region. What further reinforces the motive of stabilization is the fact that Gulf assistance funds were not merely extended to the Arab spring countries. Rather, a significant share of their generosity went to ‘non-Arab spring countries’. Finally, the paper sheds light on two important dynamics in the flow of Gulf Aid: (1) funds channelled to non-state actors, which appears as an ordinary feature of Gulf aid flow to Arab MENA, and (2) the degree of divergence as regards the roles and motives of Qatar and Saudi Arabia in approaching various cases of Arab transition.

Unwilling to Change, Determined to Fail: Donor Aid in Occupied Palestine in the aftermath of the Arab Uprisings

By: Jeremy Wildemana, Alaa Tartir

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 19, Issue 3 (2014)

Abstract: Since 1993 the international community has invested more than $24 billion in ‘peace and development’ in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). That aid was meant originally to support the Oslo Peace Process through economic development. However, neither peace nor development has been realized, and both seem increasingly unlikely. While examining donor operations, priorities and the ‘aid-for-peace’ agenda, this article investigates whether patterns in oPt donor aid have changed following the Arab uprisings of 2011. Building on 28 original interviews with Palestine aid actors, it was found that patterns remain unchanged and that donors remain transfixed on a long failed ‘Investment in Peace’ framework that was designed for economic development by the World Bank back in 1993. By comparing these research findings with the literature on aid to Palestine, this article argues that donors are not ready to alter a framework dominated by policy instrumentalists who emphasize pre-determined normative values over actual results, quietly trading financial inducements to Palestinians to forgo political rights within a ‘peace dividends’ model. Meanwhile, critics of the existing aid framework remain largely ignored and have little influence on aid policy, in spite of two decades of instrumentalist failure to produce peace or economic growth using the existing model.

China’s Response to the Revolts in the Arab World: A Case of Pragmatic Diplomacy

By: Degang Suna, Yahia Zoubir

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

Abstract: China’s response to the Arab revolts demonstrates its pragmatic diplomacy. From the perspective of the ‘China–US–MENA triangle’, the Chinese leadership has perceived the revolts as an extension of China’s ‘strategic opportunity’ for its economic rise and political expansion abroad in the past two decades. The tactics of China’s pragmatic diplomacy are: ‘crossing the river by tossing the stones’, integrating diplomatic tools, implementing constructive intervention, quasi-alliance strategy, and smart economic aid. Through these tactics, China attempts to preserve its commercial interests, ensure the safety of its expatriates, prevent any single power from dominating MENA affairs, and achieve ‘zero problems’ with all parties in the MENA. Nevertheless, due to the changed conditions in the MENA and in reaction to varied domestic opinions on MENA policies, China’s pragmatic diplomacy is too elusive to be institutionalized, and will thus face the dilemma of either adhering to its traditional diplomatic principles or safeguarding its rising practical interests in the MENA.

Turkey and the Arab Revolutions: Boundaries of Regional Power Influence in a Turbulent Middle East

By: Ziya Öniş

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

Abstract: The recent Turkish involvement in the Middle East constitutes an important test case for establishing the boundaries of regional power influence in a changing global context. The AKP government in Turkey has become a major supporter of political change and democratization in the era of the Arab revolutions. Accumulating empirical evidence suggests, however, that the highly assertive and pro-active foreign policy of the AKP government in recent years has not been effective in terms of facilitating reform or regime change in Syria or helping to influence the direction of political change in Egypt towards a durable pluralistic order. Indeed, the policy might have been counter-productive in terms of undermining Turkey’s image of a benign regional power, by drawing it to sectarian conflicts and over-engagement in the domestic politics of key Arab states. Turkey has the potential to play an important role model in the highly uncertain world of the Arab revolutions. Its ability to perform this role, however, requires an improvement in its own democratic credentials, rather than being excessively involved in the domestic politics of individual states.

Foreign Aid and Security Sector Reform in Tunisia: Resistance and Autonomy of the Security Forces

By: Moncef Kartasa

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 19, Issue 3 (2014)

Abstract: Three years after the demise of the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia, the progress and state of security sector reform (SSR) is in limbo. What have been the main dynamics dragging the reform of the security sector? What role has foreign aid and assistance played in this process? By exploring these questions, this article makes the argument that the approach and vision of multi- and bilateral aid agencies is fundamentally flawed, producing effects at cross-purposes to their stated aims and values. The stalling of SSR reflects the ‘successful’ resistance of the security forces against oversight and accountability by instrumentalizing the deterioration of security and alleged rise of violent extremist threats. Against the backdrop of vocal calls for prioritizing security, the approach followed by foreign actors has thus far barely acknowledged that struggle, thereby unintentionally supporting the increasing autonomy of the security forces. Using the concept of military autonomy, the paper highlights the fact that in the current approach to reform, security risks to take precedence over the political.

EU Democracy Promotion in Tunisia and Morocco: Between Contextual Changes and Structural Continuity

By: Leila Mouhib

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 19, Issue 3 (2014)

Abstract: This paper offers an analysis of democracy promotion through the EIDHR in Morocco and Tunisia, before and after the Arab uprisings. It questions the effect of the Arab insurrections on the EIDHR and European Union democracy promotion. These policies are found to be shaped first and foremost by institutional determinants intrinsic to the EU but secondarily sensitive to the human rights realities in Morocco and Tunisia. Therefore, the Arab uprisings represent a contextual event that can trigger minor adjustments but certainly not truly challenge the essence of EU democracy promotion in the region.

The EU and Lebanon in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings

By: Tamirace Fakhoury

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

Abstract: Not available

Jordan since the Uprisings: Between Change and Stability

By: Nur Köprülü

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 21, Issue 2 (2014)

Abstract: Not available

Turkey after the Arab Spring: Policy Dilemmas

By: Yaşar Yakış

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

Abstract: Not available

Jordanian Foreign Policy and the Arab Spring

By: Curtis R. Ryan

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

Abstract: Not available

The International Relations of the Arab Spring

By: Mark N. Katz

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 21, Issue 2 (2014)

Abstract: Not available

Turkey and Iran after the Arab Spring: Finding a Middle Ground

By: Bulent Aras, Emirhan Yorulmazlar

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 21, Issue 4 (2014)

Abstract: Not available

The Egyptian Transition, 2011–13: How Strategic to Europe?

By: Sally Khalifa Isaac

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

Abstract: Not available

Morsi’s Failure in Egypt: The Impact of Energy-Supply Chains

By: Salem Y. Lakhal

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 21, Issue 3 (2014)

Abstract: Not available

Do Power-Sharing Systems Behave Differently amid Regional Uprisings?: Lebanon in the Arab Protest Wave

By: Tamirace Fakhoury

Published in The Middle East Journal Volume 68, Issue 4 (2014)

Abstract: This article examines Lebanon’s political dynamics in the context of the 2011 Arab protest wave, and seeks to integrate events in the small republic within the broader literature written on the contagion effects of the uprisings. It argues that the uprisings’ trajectories provide a terrain to better understand Lebanon’s politics of sectarianism and their interactions with the region’s upheavals. The article focuses on analyzing how power-sharing along sectarian lines exacerbates conflict while hampering collective action and democratic advances.

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 United States and the Arab Spring: The Dynamics of Political Engineering

By: Gamal M. Selim

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

Abstract: This article purports to examine the role of the United States in the outbreak of the Arab Spring and the course of its subsequent paths. The main argument of this article is that the Arab Spring represented a major strategic surprise to the United States. It did not plan or facilitate the Arab Spring as the Tunisian, Egyptian, Yemeni and Bahraini regimes were performing to the best satisfaction of American interests in the Arab world. As the Arab Spring carried with it threats to American regional interests, the United States moved to secure its interests by steering Arab uprisings towards courses of action which best suit these interests.

Bahrain’s Arrested Revolution

By: Stephen Zunes

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

Abstract: This article provides an overview and analysis of the 2011 pro-democracy struggle in Bahrain, focusing in particular on the role of strategic nonviolent action and the foreign policy of the United States. It argues that Bahrain’s progressive and pluralistic tradition would have made the possibilities of a democratic transition more promising than in many Arab states, but the ruthlessness and uncompromising posture of the government, combined with Saudi-led intervention and a refusal by the United States to support democratic forces, led to the movement’s suppression. The article also challenges exaggerated accounts of the sectarian dimension of the conflict and faults the United States for its ongoing support for the Bahraini regime as a major contributor to the failure of the pro-democracy struggle.

The Palestinian Spring that Was Not: The Youth and Political Activism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

By: Jacob Høigilt

Published in Arab Studies Quarterly Volume 35, Issue 4 (2013)

Abstract: This article explains the current political role of the Palestinian youth by comparing the period shortly before the First and Second Intifadas with the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). It critically interrogates the oft-repeated assertion that the Palestinian youth are characterized by political anomie, showing that the political role of the youth in the OPT is constrained by three factors: Israeli occupation, oppression by Fatah and Hamas, and the political paralysis resulting from the split between these two dominant political organizations. However, the present youth activism challenges the policies of both Fatah and Hamas, and draws strength from its utilization of international cooperation and its popular practices. While it is still small, this youthful activism displays a determination, clearheadedness and independence that contrast with the political culture in the dominant factions of Palestinian politics.

Situational Radicalism: The Israeli “Arab Spring” and the (Un)Making of the Rebel City

By: Daniel Monterescu, Noa Shaindlinger

Published in Constellations Volume 20, Issue 2 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

The Palestinians – lessons from the Arab Spring

By: As’ad Ghanem

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 6, Issue 3 (2013)

Abstract: This paper examines the implications of the Arab Spring for the Palestinians. The aim is to point out the basic lessons and implications of the transformations occurring in the Arab world for the Palestinians as an exceptional case, due to their situation under occupation and exile. Cause for optimism is discerned in the anticipated increase in broad and practical Arab support for the Palestinians. However, the contention here is that Palestinians themselves have derived too limited a lesson from the Arab revolutions by focusing only on the call for unity between the competing Palestinian factions. Their reconciliation is only about their self-preservation and that of the system which has served them hitherto. The recommendations posited here are for the Palestinians to embrace the full message of the Arab Spring and make peaceful protest en masse and across the whole Palestinian people their path to liberation.

The unravelling of the post-First World War state system? The Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the transformation of the Middle East

By: Gareth Stansfield

Published in International Affairs Volume 89, Issue 2 (2013)

Abstract: Ten years after regime change in Iraq, the Kurdistan Region has emerged as a transformative force in the international affairs of the Middle East. The Kurds have moved to being architects of the new Iraqi state, but have thereby forced an ideational contest between them—as visionaries of a decentralized Iraq—and successive Iraqi governments that favour a centralized authority structure. In addition to this first set of developments, the prominence of the Kurds is also explained by two additional sets of issues. The second concerns the interplay of federalism in Iraq and the management of the country’s oil and gas reserves. Kurdistan’s expansion of its hydrocarbons industry has been met with opposition from Baghdad that has furthered the polarization and enmity between the two sides. The third issue, which serves to make concrete the gains made by the Kurds, concerns regional geopolitical developments. For the first time in a century, the nationalist interests of the Kurds in Iraq are compatible with the sectarian interests of Turkey and Sunni Arab states. These three issues (domestic development, economic advancement and regional geopolitics) come together to explain the Kurdistan Region’s agency in a rapidly transforming regional complex and raise the possibility of an independent Republic of Kurdistan emerging in the near future as an idea that is no longer regarded as impossible.

An Arab ‘Spring’ of a Different Kind? Resilience and Freedom in the Case of an Occupied Nation

By: Michelle Pace

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

Abstract: Inspired by the on-going uprisings and revolutions across the Arab world, Palestinians used social media to call for mass protests throughout the Occupied Territory and their ‘host’ countries in the Arab world on 15 May 2011. Their underlying frustrations, however, have been of a different nature to those of their Arab brethren. The literature on the persistence of authoritarianism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the debates on transitions to democracy have failed to shed light on the emergence of the cleavage within the two main rival factions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and on the impact of the enduring Israeli occupation on the Palestinians’ political identity. This article aims to fill in this gap.

The EU and North Africa after the Revolutions: A New Start or ‘plus ça change’?

By: Susi Dennison

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

Abstract: Not available

The EU, Egypt and Morsi’s Rise and Fall: ‘Strategic Patience’ and Its Discontents

By: Marco Pinfari

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 18, Issue 3 (2013)

Abstract: The recent reversal of fortunes of Egypt’s first elected president, Mohammed Morsi, was accompanied by considerable activism by EU authorities that contrasted with their timid reaction to the 2011 revolution. The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, was the first non-Egyptian leader to meet Morsi in his secret detention facility; the EU Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean, Bernardino León, contributed to mediating a deal between the new transitional authorities and the ousted leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood that, according to the latest reports, was close to entering into force before being halted in the last minute by senior members of the government. These missions came after a year that saw EU authorities trying hard to build a good working relationship with Egypt’s Islamist leadership, while not sparing criticism of some of its decisions. Both before and after Morsi’s deposition, however, many questioned the extent to which increased EU aid actually translated into increased influence on the Egyptian regime.

Civic Life and Democratic Citizenship in Qatar: Findings from the First Qatar World Values Survey

By: Justin Gengler, Mark Tessler, Darwish Al-Emadi, Abdoulaye Diop

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 5, Issue 3 (2013)

Abstract: The present study examines the Arab nation that has remained least affected by the regional upheaval that has gripped much of the Middle East and North Africa since the beginning of 2011: the Gulf state of Qatar. Using previously unavailable data from the inaugural Qatar World Values Survey administered in December 2010, we explore the political orientations of ordinary Qatari citizens. Specifically, we extend several recent empirical analyses that suggest a conditional relationship between civic participation and democratic political orientations in Arab and other non-Western societies. As in other non-democratic contexts, we find, in Qatar citizen involvement in societal organizations is not associated with higher appreciation for democracy, nor again with those values and behaviors thought to be essential to it. Rather, associational life in Qatar is simply an extension of traditional society and the prevailing regime, with those most involved being those who derive the most benefit and who would thus stand to lose most from any revision of the political status quo.

The Arab Cold War Revisited: The Regional Impact of the Arab Uprising

By: Nabeel A. Khoury

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 20, Issue 2 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

Transition in the Middle East: New Arab Realities and Iran

By: Mahmood Sariolghalam

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 20, Issue 1 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

Hamas and the Syrian Uprising: A Difficult Choice

By: Valentina Napolitano

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 20, Issue 3 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

“Arab Spring”: Weather Forecast for Palestine

By: Basem Ezbidi

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 20, Issue 3 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

Hamas and the Arab Spring: Strategic Shifts?

By: Beverley Milton-Edwards

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 20, Issue 3 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

The Arab Spring: Implications for Chinese Policy

By: Mordechai Chaziza

Published in Middle East Review of International Affairs Volume 17, Issue 2 (2013)

Abstract:   The Arab Spring has created new centers of instability in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA). China now finds itself forced to alter attitudes and tactics and seek new opportunities. This article evaluates current Chinese foreign policy in the Middle East and the benefits and challenges to China’s policy by examining how recent events affected Beijing in four areas: economy and trade, social stability, welfare of Chinese citizens, and strategic rivalry with the United States.

Britain’s Return to Libya: From the Battle of al-Alamein in the Western Libyan Desert to the Military Intervention in the ‘Arab Spring’ Upheaval

By: Yehudit Ronen

Published in Middle Eastern Studies Volume 49, Issue 5 (2013)

Abstract: This study examines political, economic, and strategic relations between Libya and Britain from the Second World War to the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’ conflict in Libya. Analysing primary and secondary sources, this study attempts to determine if a connection exists between the British fighting in Libya during the Second World War and the British-led military intervention in the Libyan ‘Arab Spring’ revolt against Muammar Qaddafi’s regime. Britain retained a strategic and economic presence in Libya in the period following the country’s independence in 1951. The rise to power of Qaddafi in 1969, however, changed the course of bilateral ties. Qaddafi nationalized British assets in Libya, and implemented anti-Western policies. Ties with Britain were strained, reaching a low point during the 1980s and 1990s with Libya’s persecution of political dissidents in Britain. A brief rapprochement between Tripoli and London from 2001 to 2011 brought normalization of ties and renewed British investment in the Libyan oil sector. However, in February 2011, Britain and its western partners aided Libyan rebels in their fight against Qaddafi, successfully toppling his regime. Today, as the struggle for power continues in Libya – with Islamist groups representing a serious force vying for power – many questions remain concerning the future direction of the Libyan state and society.

Democratic Paradoxes: Women’s Rights and Democratization in Kuwait

By: Emily Regan Wills

Published in The Middle East Journal Volume 67, Issue 2 (2013)

Abstract: The 1999 decree by Kuwait’s emir granting women electoral rights, and its subsequent parliamentary rejection, is more than just an instance of women’s oppression in action. It also demonstrates a potential paradox between two axes of democratization: liberalization, the existence of a sphere of meaningful public contestation, and participation, that the right to participate in that sphere is extended to all. In Kuwait, 1999 represents an instance where those two axes were in direct competition. This article explores the 1999 enfranchisement as a way of understanding this democratic paradox and then follows these issues through the successful 2005 enfranchisement and the election of female Assembly members in 2007 and in the 2012, post-Arab Spring elections.

The Italian role in the Libyan spring revolution: is it a shift from soft to hard power?

By: Mustafa Abdalla A. Kashiam

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

Abstract: While France, Britain, Qatar and the United States played crucial political and military roles in the alliance of countries backing Libya’s ‘spring’ revolution from the beginning, Italy’s early stance towards the Libyan revolution was somewhat hesitant and vague. Its initial reticence was due to national security considerations, Italy’s calculation of its national interest and the complexity of contemporary international relations. However, as events unfolded, the Italian position became clearer and firmer, such that in time Italy played a leading role that helped the global efforts to rebuild the new contemporary democratic Libya post-Qadhafi.

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.

From Flying Carpets to No-Fly Zones: Libya’s Elusive Revolution(s), According to Ruth First, Hisham Matar, and the International Criminal Court

By: Barbara Harlow

Published in Journal of Arabic Literature Volume 43, Issue 2, 3 (2012)

Abstract: This article examines the complex and contested situation of Qadafï’s Libya within a changing international order, from the 1969 revolution as narrated by South African historian and antiapartheid activist Ruth First in Libya: The Elusive Revolution (1974) to its narrative reconstruction by exiled Libyan writer Hisham Matar in the semi-autobiographical novels In the Country of Men (2006) and Anatomy of a Disappearance (2011). Special attention is paid to contextualizing this historiography within the current debates emanating from international law—including international humanitarian and human rights law—regarding the disposition of multilateral forces, regional commitments, and the “responsibility to protect” (R2P) in responding to this latest of Libya’s “elusive revolutions.” Should Libya, that is, have been suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council? Referred by the Security Council to the International Criminal Court for investigation? What are the stakes? And what to make of the eventual historical and precedent-setting outcomes, the global implications—and yes, even the inevitable “unintended consequences”….?

The Year of the Arab Uprisings

By: Arch Puddington

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

Abstract: The political uprisings that swept across the Arab world over the past year represent the most significant challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism. In a region that had seemed immune to democratic change, coalitions of activist reformers and ordinary citizens succeeded in removing dictators who had spent decades in power. Yet the continued pattern of global democratic backsliding—especially in such critical areas as press freedom, the rule of law, and the rights of civil society—is a sobering reminder that the institutions that anchor democratic governance cannot be achieved by protests alone.

The Road to Jerusalem through Tahrir Square: Anti-Zionism and Palestine in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution

By: Reem Abou-El-Fadl

Published in Journal of Palestine Studies Volume 41, Issue 2 (2012)

Abstract: This article addresses an aspect of Egypt’s 2011 revolution almost entirely ignored in most Western media accounts: Israel and Palestine as prominent themes of protest. In reviewing Egyptian mobilization opposing normalization and in support of the Palestinian cause starting from Sadat’s peace initiative of the mid-1970s, the author shows how the anti-Mubarak movement that took off as of the mid-2000s built on the Palestine activism and networks already in place. While the trigger of the revolution and the focus of its first eighteen days was domestic change, the article shows how domestic and foreign policy issues (especially Israel and Palestine) were inextricably intertwined, with the leadership bodies of the revolution involved in both.

The Political Geography of Protest in Neoliberal Jordan

By: Jillian Schwedler

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 21, Issue 3 (2012)

Abstract: Studies of protest activities predominantly have focused on police- protestor dynamics and the political opportunity structures of the regime. This article goes beyond those studies by examining two new perspectives about protest activities, using Jordan as a case study. First, I posit that Jordan is less a case of ‘resilient authoritarianism’ than it is an example of new forms of non-democratic governance, with economic rights advanced while political rights are restrained. In this context, Jordan remains a security state, ‘liberal’ economically but not politically. It is also a state in which the reach of security  is highly varied spatially. Second, protest activities in Jordan are affected not only by the non-democratic nature of the state, but also by the country’s physical changes that are the direct result of rapidly expanding neoliberal economic reforms. This article links these two insights to provide a new framework for understanding the political geography of protest in a neoliberalizing authoritarian state.

The Arab Spring: Its Geostrategic Significance

By: Mohammed Ayoob

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

Abstract: Not available

Syrian Revolt Fallout: End of the Resistance Axis?

By: Erik Mohns, André Bank

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

Abstract: The 2011 Arab revolt has shaken the authoritarian status quo of central Middle Eastern states and contributed to a transformation in the regional power constellation and the dynamics of alliance-making. From the mid- to late 2000s, Middle East regional politics had been characterized by a polarization between pro-Western status quo powers — mainly Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan — and an anti-Western resistance camp made up of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria as well as the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas. Turkey and Qatar, occupying a middle ground, made inroads as influential players in regional politics, particularly since 2008. The ousting of President Mubarak in Egypt, the fall of Colonel Qadhafi’s regime in Libya, and the uprising in Syria have unsettled the regional order. Since the beginning of social protests in March 2011 and the massive state repression against them, Syria, under the authoritarian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, has changed from a key regional actor to an arena of regional politics.1 The current situation is therefore reminiscent of the “struggle for Syria” in the late 1940s to early 1960s — the interplay between domestic turmoil and the fight for regional hegemony — that Patrick Seale so masterfully depicted in his classic study. As the “struggle for Syria redux” unfolds, analysts have paid relatively scant attention to the internal dynamics and developments of the resistance axis, the anti-Western alliance in which Syria has played such an integral part. The present article attempts to fill this lacuna by tracing the roots of the resistance axis and then examining how its constituents have responded to the Syrian revolt. We conclude by outlining potential scenarios for the future of this group, which, we argue, has been severely weakened by Hamas’s decision to withdraw from Damascus in late 2011.

Oman: The “Forgotten” Corner of the Arab Spring

By: James Worrall

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

Abstract: Not available

Economic Sanctions on Authoritarian States: Lessons Learned

By: Katerina Oskarsson

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 19, Issue 4 (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

Jordan’s Arab Spring: The Middle Class and Anti-Revolution

By: Sarah A. Tobin

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

Abstract: Not available

The UAE, the “Arab Spring” and Different Types of Dissent

By: Ingo Forstenlechner, Emilie Rutledge, Rashed Salem Alnuaimi

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 19, Issue 4 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

America and the Regional Powers in a Transforming Middle East

By: F. Gregory Gause III, Ian S. Lustick

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

Abstract: Not many people have ever called the United States “nimble” in dealing with change in the Middle East. During the Cold War, it was the locals who exploited both superpowers, playing them off against each other to advance their own interests, while Washington and Moscow stared each other down. The end of the Cold War freed America to act with fewer constraints in the region. Freedom from fear of the other superpower’s reaction bred recklessness under Bush II, producing the catastrophe of the Iraq invasion, from which the United States is still recovering.  But the end of the Cold War has meant something different during the Obama ad-ministration. The fexibility and nuance of its reactions to the Arab upheavals of 2011 reaect a focus on changes in the region itself rather than calculations in a game with the Soviets or leftover ideological commitments to American hegemony. As people-power with an Islamic face sweeps away regime after regime in the Middle East, and as the long-feared implications of nuclear proliferation pose direct, real time challenges to U.S. interests and allies, traditional American policies relying on “authoritarian stability” and Israeli military preponderance have come under serious strain. Fortunately, the current administration has demonstrated the savvy necessary to adapt to these transformations. However, Washington still faces challenges it may not know how to meet

The Arab Uprisings’ Impact

By: Efraim Inbar

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

Abstract: Not available

Revolution in Socotra

By: Nathalie Peutz

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

Abstract: At the beginning of 2012, as Egyptians and Syrians marked the second year of their revolts, protesters also took to the streets of Hadiboh, the tumbledown capital of Yemen’s Socotra archipelago (pop. approx. 50,000). Like demonstrators elsewhere, the Socotrans were calling for both local administrative change and national political reform. While the Socotran protests, occurring since March 2011, were small, they were no less significant than the more spectacular rallies in the epicenters of Arab revolution. Indeed, the spread of revolution to Socotra, the largest and most populated of the archipelago’s four islands, shows the extent to which the events of 2011 have resonated even at the very margins of the Arab world. Moreover, it demonstrates how socially and culturally empowering these events have been for a people who have long been politically subjugated, economically marginalized and, unlike many in mainland Yemen, unarmed.

Protest Song Marocaine

By: John Schaefer

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

Abstract: Not available

Turkish-Israeli Relations in the Shadow of the Arab Spring

By: Barry Rubin

Published in Middle East Review of International Affairs Volume 16, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

The Arab Spring, Its Effects on the Kurds, and the Approaches of Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq on the Kurdish Issue

By: Aylin Ünver

Published in Middle East Review of International Affairs Volume 16, Issue 2 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

The Arab Revolt — What Next?

By: Johan Galtung

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

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 Regional Implications of the Arab Uprising

By: Nikolas (Nicos) Panayiotides

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

Abstract: Not available

Impact of the Revolutions in the Arab World on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and Future Prospects

By: Samir Awad

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

Abstract: Not available

The Arab Revolutions from a Palestinian Perspective

By: Walid Salem

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

Abstract: Not available

Have the Arab Uprisings Lost Their Spring?

By: Tony Klug

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

Abstract: Not available

The Arab Spring and Its Implications

By: Ziad AbuZayyad

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

Abstract: Not available

Is the Arab Spring Israel’s Winter?

By: Menachem Klein

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

Abstract: Not available

A “Saudi Spring?”: The Shi’a Protest Movement in the Eastern Province 2011—2012

By: Toby Matthiesen

Published in The Middle East Journal Volume 66, Issue 4 (2012)

Abstract: Since 2011, Saudi Arabia experienced the largest and longest protest movement in its modern history. This article outlines how small protests inspired by the so-called “Arab Spring” and in solidarity with the uprising in neighboring Bahrain developed into a sustained youth protest movement with its own particular demands and frames of references. At the local level, the article shows how the emergence of this protest movement affected the political and social dynamics within the Saudi Shi’a community. The government reacted with repression and an anti-Shi’a sectarian rhetoric that ensured that the “Saudi Spring” in the Eastern Province failed to spill over to the rest of the country. The case study of the Eastern Province protest movement in 2011 and 2012 shows that, while new media are good organizational tools for protesters, personal networks, a semi-autonomous public sphere, and histories of political subversion facilitate a protest movement.

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.

From Brussels with love: leverage, benchmarking, and the action plans with Jordan and Tunisia in the EU’s democratization policy

By: Raffaella A. Del Sarto, Tobias Schumacher

Published in Democratization Volume 18, Issue 4 (2011)

Abstract: With the adoption of the European neighbourhood policy (ENP) in 2003, the European Union (EU) for the first time introduced benchmarking procedures in the realm of democracy promotion, while also establishing the principles of ‘positive conditionality’ and differentiation. In order to exploit its full potential, however, this strategy must be able to define how political development can effectively be measured and monitored, along with the benchmarks chosen for this purpose. Applying insights of democratic and transition theories to the Action Plans concluded with Jordan and Tunisia, the contribution shows that the ENP suffers from the absence of analytical depth as far as concepts and processes of democratization are concerned, along with an arbitrary and largely useless selection of pseudo-benchmarks. While undermining the effectiveness of the leverage model of democratization policies, the EU’s lack of clarity and determination seriously contradicts the declared objectives of its democracy promotion policy.

Wildfires and Ways forward: Egypt’s Transition to Democracy

By: Peter Khalil

Published in Global Change, Peace and Security Volume 23, Issue 2 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

Europe and The Arab Uprisings: EU Vision Versus Member State Action

By: Ana Echagüe

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

Abstract: Not available

A Turkish Model for The Arab Spring?

By: Aslı Bâli

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

Abstract: The revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests across the Arab world – known collectively as the Arab Spring – have ushered in a period of unprecedented change to the region. To what extent are non-Arab regional players relevant to this process? This essay considers two dimensions of the potential significance of Turkey to the events underway in the Arab world. Turkey has at times been invoked as a regionally appropriate example on which to model Arab democratization in a post-authoritarian context. This essay critically examines such claims, pointing out both the democratic deficits of the Turkish model and the intrinsic challenges of applying external models to indigenous democratization efforts. On the other hand, there is a second sense in which Turkey may have a role in the Arab Spring – namely, as an actor in its own right. With respect to this second dimension, this essay considers evolving Turkish policy towards the Arab world and examines the potential for Turkey to play a constructive role as a pro-democratic force in the region.

China and The Revolutions in The Middle East and North Africa

By: Randall Peerenboom

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

Abstract: The 2011 revolutions in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) led to considerable hope for some people that China would experience a similar political uprising, as well as considerable anxiety for the ruling regime. The government’s immediate response was to downplay the risk of a similar event occurring in China by distinguishing between China and MENA, while at the same time cracking down on activists and other potential sources of instability—including attempts to organize popular revolutionary protests in China. Although the government has so far managed to avoid a similar uprising, neither response has been entirely successful. Despite a number of significant diff erences between China and MENA countries, there are enough commonalities to justify concerns about political instability. Moreover, relying on repression alone is not a long-term solution to the justified demands of Chinese citizens for political reforms and social justice. Whether China will ultimately be able to avoid the fate of authoritarian regimes in MENA countries will turn on its ability to overcome a series of structural challenges while preventing sudden and unpredictable events, like those that gave rise to the Arab revolutions, from spinning out of control.

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

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

The Arab Spring: U.S. Democracy Promotion in Egypt

By: Erin A. Snider, David M. Faris

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

Abstract: Not available

The Praxis of The Egyptian Revolution

By: Mona El-Ghobashy

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

Abstract: Not available

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

Arab Democratic Uprisings: Domestic, Regional and Global Implications

By: Abdennour Benantar

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

Abstract: The 2011 Arab uprisings so far represent a mixed bag. Only those in Tunisia and Egypt have succeeded, while those elsewhere are in the process of being put down by force. Even in the two successful cases, the regimes themselves have remained in place, despite the departure of those in power at the very top. Nevertheless, the sheer courage and willpower of these uprisings on the part of the Arab people will have far reaching effects for a long time to come, particularly on their countries’ relations with the West.

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’.

Israel’s Pessimistic View of The Arab Spring

By: Daniel Byman

Published in The Washington Quarterly Volume 34, Issue 3 (2011)

Abstract: Not available