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 sixth 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 regional/international networks and systems.


Before constitution-making: the struggle for constitution-making design in post-revolutionary Egypt

By: Başak Can

Published in Acta Politica Volume 55, Issue 4 (2020)

Abstract: Scholars have recently become attentive not only to the institutional designs that constitutions set up, but also to the constitutional change processes. Most authors, who are concerned with the effects the design of constitution-making processes have on outcomes, have focused on the main constitution-making bodies and their characteristics, leaving aside the question of what happens before members of constituent assemblies meet to deliberate. This article makes the point that to better understand constitution-making and its outcomes, we need to take into account the overlooked early stage of constitutional change when political actors debate and set the rules for how a constitution will be made. Building on various political science perspectives and the case study of the 2011–2012 constitutional reform in Egypt, it underscores the inevitably contentious nature of the design of a constitution-making process. It also highlights the impact that unresolved conflicts over the design can have for the agreement on a constitution between political opponents in the context of a democratic transition. In Egypt, adoption of a broadly accepted constitution was hindered by on-going struggles between Islamists and non-Islamists over their preferred constitution-making designs. The article also outlines the factors that make the settlement on constitution-making rules unlikely.

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.

The military and the state in Egypt: class formation in the post-Arab uprisings

By: Angela Joya

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

Abstract: Since the revolution of 2011, the Egyptian military has emerged as agent of capital accumulation, engaging with international financial institutions and global investors, and simultaneously reorganizing the various fractions of the ruling class inside Egypt. While the military had established a significant degree of influence in the economy prior to the revolution, it has become increasingly active in the political realm raising alarms about the democratic possibilities in Egypt. While these concerns have been highlighted in the literature, there is still a lack of research that examines how the military has evolved into a dominant economic and political actor in the context of the current global economy. Using class analysis, I reinterpret the military’s role as an emerging dominant fraction of the ruling class under the contemporary phase of neoliberal development. As such, its ascension to power does not signify a threat to economic liberalization, but is rather an attempt to secure the conditions of its further expansion.

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.

Launching Revolution: Social Media and the Egyptian Uprising’s First Movers

By: Killian Clarke, Korhan Kocak

Published in British Journal of Political Science  Volume 50, Issue 3 (2020)

Abstract: Drawing on evidence from the 2011 Egyptian uprising, this article demonstrates how the use of two social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter – contributed to a discrete mobilizational outcome: the staging of a successful first protest in a revolutionary cascade, referred to here as ‘first-mover mobilization’. Specifically, it argues that these two platforms facilitated the staging of a large, nationwide and seemingly leaderless protest on 25 January 2011, which signaled to hesitant but sympathetic Egyptians that a revolution might be in the making. It draws on qualitative and quantitative evidence, including interviews, social media data and surveys, to analyze three mechanisms that linked these platforms to the success of the January 25 protest: (1) protester recruitment, (2) protest planning and coordination, and (3) live updating about protest logistics. The article not only contributes to debates about the role of the Internet in the Arab Spring and other recent waves of mobilization, but also demonstrates how scholarship on the Internet in politics might move toward making more discrete, empirically grounded causal claims.

Threat Perception and Democratic Support in Post-Arab Spring Egypt

By: Shimaa Hatab

Published in Comparative Politics Volume 53, Issue 1 (2020)

Abstract: The article examines the reasons why Egyptian elites and masses withdrew their support for democracy only two years after they staged mass protests calling for regime change in 2011. I draw on basic tenets of bounded rationality and recent advances within the field of cognitive heuristics to demonstrate how cues generated from domestic and regional developments triggered stronger demands for security and stability. Drawing on elite interviews and public opinion surveys, I show how both elites and the masses paid special attention to intense and vivid events which then prompted a demand for the strong man model. Fears of Islamists pushed both elites and masses to update their preferences, seek refuge in old regime bargains, and reinstate authoritarianism.

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

By: Rasha S. Mansour

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

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

The “Arab Exceptionalism” Re-examined from the Legal Perspective of Human Rights

By: Antonio-Martín Porras-Gómez

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

Abstract: The study re-examines the phenomenon of “Arab exceptionalism” from the perspective of human rights’ recognition. The formal changes introduced since 2004 in the new Arab bills of rights (comprising the Arab Charter on Human Rights plus the bills of rights of the new constitutions of Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt) are presented and analyzed with the purpose of answering the following questions: From a descriptive–analytical perspective, are the new Arab bills of rights adopting similar designs? From a formal perspective, do these new designs imply a shift with respect to previous patterns of Arab exceptionalism? Finally, from an explanatory perspective, is there an evolutionary rationale accounting for the specific designs adopted in the new Arab bills of rights?

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.

Hopes and disappointments: regime change and support for democracy after the Arab Uprisings

By: M. Tahir Kilavuz, Nathanael Gratias Sumaktoyo

Published in Democratization Volume 27, Issue 5 (2020)

Abstract: What happened to citizens’ support for democracy after the Arab Uprisings? Did the support increase, stay the same, or actually decrease after all the protests, regime changes, and reforms? Which theories of citizens’ political attitudes best explain these dynamics? Analysing two waves of the Arab Barometer surveys and employing an item-response method that offers methodological improvements compared to previous studies, this article finds that support for democracy actually decreased in countries that successfully overthrew their dictators during the Uprisings. Following the arguments that emphasize the rational evaluations of citizens, it argues that in countries that had an experience with a freer political system, such as Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen, challenges of democratization and the poor political and economic performances of the governments left citizens disappointed. Despite the hopes that people had at the onset of the Uprisings, the disappointments generated by the unmet expectations eventually led to a decline in support for democracy.

The role of digital media in the 2011 Egyptian revolution

By: Shingo Hamanaka

Published in Democratization Volume 27, Issue 5 (2020)

Abstract: The Egyptian uprising in January 2011, widely known as the 25 January Revolution, was initially claimed to have been caused by the internet. However, the relationship between social media and participation in the anti-regime demonstrations is contested and opaque. This article explores this relationship through both a theoretical and empirical approach. More concretely, by using two survey data sets, we examine a hypothesis derived from a diffusion model of information and social movement theory. The two key findings are: (1) vanguards of the demonstrations were more active on social media than followers during the revolution, and (2) active bloggers tended to participate in demonstrations against the Mubarak regime. These findings contradict previous findings of social media’s limited effect and indicate that social media diminishes the collective action problem in anti-government protests. They also indicate that the concept of political opportunity structure is useful for understanding the revolution.

Autocracy login: internet censorship and civil society in the digital age

By: Chun-Chih Chang, Thung-Hong Lin

Published in Democratization Volume 27, Issue 5 (2020)

Abstract: This study discusses whether the internet contributes to the rise of civil society or provides the state with a means to suppress civil society. By examining cross-sectional time-series data of 153 countries from 1995 to 2018, this study demonstrates that internet censorship is a reactive strategy used by autocracies to suppress civil society. Although rapid internet diffusion might undermine internet censorship in autocracies, since the Arab Spring, the use of censorship as a political reaction to technological diffusion and contentious politics worldwide has damaged the development of civil society. The autocratic reactive approach contributes to our understanding of information and communication technology, civil society, and authoritarianism. A more nuanced illustration of internet politics delivers a warning of technological threats to civil society.

Mobile emergency rule in Turkey: legal repression of protests during authoritarian transformation

By: Mert Arslanalp, T. Deniz Erkmen

Published in Democratization Volume 27, Issue 6 (2020)

Abstract: One of the challenges of autocratizing governments in regimes with nominally democratic institutions is how to repress fundamental democratic rights while claiming to uphold the rule of law. Post-9/11 socio-legal debates point to the emergency rule as a legal framework within democratic constitutions that can be potentially used to hollow out citizens’ rights. But the study of emergency rule is often limited to its enactment under extraordinary situations. This article takes the crucial case of Turkey’s authoritarian transformation and develops the concept of mobile emergency rule to argue that emergency-like suspensions of rights also occur in highly localized and temporary forms in the absence of an officially declared state of emergency. Based on an original dataset, it examines all legal bans on protests issued by authorities between 2007 and 2018 in the name of maintaining order and security. The results illustrate how the use of this tool dovetailed with key turning points of authoritarian transformation in Turkey and reflected the changing needs of the regime as it tried to build and sustain a new hegemonic project. In effect, mobile emergency rule created a highly ambiguous terrain for protest rights even before the declaration of state of emergency in July 2016.

Supporting the Tunisian transition? Analysing (in)consistencies in EU democracy assistance with a tripartite nexus model

By: Elisabeth Johansson-Nogués, Adrià Rivera Escartin

Published in Democratization Volume 27, Issue 8 (2020)

Abstract: This article puts forth a new heuristic model for analysing the EU’s democracy assistance to non-accession countries. The EU’s democracy assistance has predominantly been scrutinized in academia through the so-called democratization-stability dilemma, whereby allegedly the EU is found to single-mindedly promote regime stability to the detriment of democracy. Nevertheless, we argue that this conceptualization falls short of analysing the full dynamics of EU democracy assistance. Our contribution provides an alternative to the traditional conceptualization of EU democracy assistance, by proposing three alternative nexuses of analysis: formal/substantive democracy, elite/non-elite engagement and security/stability. We apply this new analytical framework to the study of EU’s democracy assistance to Tunisia from 2011 to date. While EU’s political and financial investment in the transition has been considerable in the three nexuses, negative interaction effects have generated several inconsistencies that affected several areas of EU’s democracy assistance.

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.

Democratic disillusionment? Desire for democracy after the Arab uprisings

By: Niels Spierings

Published in International Political Science Review Volume 41, Issue 4 (2020)

Abstract: Have the Arab uprisings influenced the desire for democracy in the Middle East and North Africa? This study presents a systematic explanation of the different impact the uprisings had on people’s desire for democracy across the region. It applies the relatively new consequence-based theory of democratic attitudes, and integrates the notion of deprivation into it. The expectations derived from this framework are tested empirically by examining data from 45 public opinion surveys in 11 Middle East and North Africa countries (2001–2014) and combining them with a systematic country-level case comparison. The study shows that the desire for democracy drops mainly in countries of major protest and initial political liberalization, but no substantial democratization (e.g. Egypt, Morocco) indeed, and that a lack of major protest or initial reform (e.g. Algeria, Yemen) ‘prevents’ disillusionment. The seemingly exceptional Lebanese and Tunisian cases also show the mechanism holds for specific groups in society: Lebanese Sunnis and the poorest Tunisians.

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.

Algeria: When Elections Hurt Democracy

By: Frédéric Volpi

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

Abstract: The massive mobilization known as the Hirak (movement) which gathered millions of protesters in weekly demonstrations against the Algerian regime throughout 2019, underscores the strengths and weaknesses of both leaderless protests and electoral authoritarianism. Leaderless grassroots movements are effective in disrupting the pseudodemocratic tools that authoritarian elites use to remain in power, but they are less efficient at proposing institutional alternatives. The deeply flawed Algerian elections of December 2019 illustrated how a military-backed regime could ensure continuity in the ruling elite, at a cost to its legitimacy. The Hirak highlights the democratic evolution of societies in the Arab Muslim world and the slow but not yet decisive weakening of electoral authoritarianism.

NGO laws after the colour revolutions and the Arab spring: Nondemocratic regime strategies in Eastern Europe and the Middle East

By: Leah Gilbert, Payam Mohseni

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 25, Issue 2 (2020)

Abstract: How significant were popular mobilizations like the colour revolutions and the Arab Spring in raising legal regulatory barriers for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Eastern Europe and the Middle East? How do different types of nondemocratic regimes approach NGO laws and state-society relations? This paper investigates and provides a comparative analysis of the NGO regulatory environment of nondemocratic regimes in Eastern Europe and the Middle East from 1995 to 2013, based on an original dataset measuring the severity of laws for the registration and operation of civic groups. We examine whether the uprisings instigated the passage of legal initiatives designed to curb NGO activism in each region, and assess whether patterns emerge based on differences in nondemocratic regime types. We determined that while NGO regulations have largely increased in Eastern Europe, they have actually declined in the Middle East on average. Moreover, greater NGO regulations exist in authoritarian and closed regimes that approach civil society by erecting clear legal blockades to civic activism. In contrast, hybrid regimes employ more-intricate legal strategies in order to raise the costs of entering and working in the NGO sector without necessarily overtly stifling civic activism.

Decentralization in the Arab world: Conceptualizing the role of neopatrimonial networks

By: Thomas Demmelhuber , Roland Sturm, Erik Vollmann

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 25, Issue 4 (2020)

Abstract: Since the early 1990s, government-led decentralization strategies have emerged in the Arab world, with an additional surge after the Arab uprisings in 2011. Western donors and Arab civil society activists expected an increase in participation and autonomy. Yet the outcome of the reforms varies considerably. We develop a new conceptual approach for the analysis of decentralization processes in the Arab world. We suggest that decentralization is guided, inspired, and used by informal neopatrimonial elite networks on the national, regional, and local levels of government. Fiscal and budgetary policies are suggested as empirical tools to investigate the gap between normative claims connected with formal decentralization and the much more complex reality of decentralization.

Egypt’s unbreakable curse: Tracing the State of Exception from Mubarak to Al Sisi

By: Lucia Ardovini, Simon Mabon

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 25, Issue 4 (2020)

Abstract: This paper uses Giorgio Agamben’s State of Exception as a theoretical approach that allows us to see how emergency legislations operate in the region as mechanisms of control and dominant paradigms of governance. Relying on Egypt as a case study, this paper traces the significance of emergency rule throughout Mubarak’s era up until Al Sisi’s 2014 Constitution. It applies a four-stage analytical framework to investigate whether or not Egypt was indeed ruled by the exception throughout its turbulent recent history, while under the guise of Emergency Rule. In doing so, we aim to provide an analysis of the legal structures that shape Egyptian politics, while also adding to debates on the State of Exception, particularly on its application in the non-Western world.

The changing scope of intercultural dialogue in EU Mediterranean policy

By: Pietro De Perini ORCID Icon

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 25, Issue 5 (2020)

Abstract: This article provides an integrative analysis of European Union efforts to promote intercultural dialogue in the framework of its Mediterranean policy from the early 1990s up to the present day. Over this period, EU promotion of intercultural dialogue has been characterized by vagueness and change. With a view to shed light on the fuzziness surrounding this concept, this article aims to understand why and how the EU has periodically changed its understanding of intercultural dialogue within its Mediterranean policy. It argues that the scope and goals of this cultural tool have gone through three different phases – ‘emergence’, ‘consolidation’, and ‘professionalization’. The main factor that determined this three-phase development is identified in the preferences of EU foreign policymakers in approaching the changing sociocultural divide in Euro-Mediterranean relations following three major turning points for EU policy therein: a) the conclusion of the cold war; b) the 9/11 terror attacks; and c) the outbreak of the Arab uprisings.

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.

“In the Name of the People?” Understanding the Role of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court in Times of Political Crisis

By: Noura Hamdan Taha, Asem Khalil

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 12, Issue 2 (2020)

Abstract: Constitutional transformations frequently introduce and open up political spaces for new actors, as was shown during the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ when national movements emerged to demand the removal of long-established authoritarian regimes and instigated a series of institutional power struggles. Subsequent analysis of these events by academics has tended to overlook struggle conducted through and by legal institutions. This article directly addresses this oversight by considering the role of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (scc) in the 2011 uprisings, with specific attention to its influence on the country’s political transformation/s. It seeks to apply new analytical tools that will assist understanding of the position of judicial institutions in the Arab world, their institutional limits and expected functions. It demonstrates how this can be achieved through a closer analysis of the scc’s structure and the factors that shape its current role.

Electoral and Constitutional Transitions: Tunisia and Egypt

By: Ayfer Erdoğan

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 27, Issue 2 (2020)

Abstract: The Arab spring of 2011, as many analysts termed it, led to renewed interest in democratization studies. The popular protests toppled governments and forced long-entrenched auto or ats out of office in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. The uprisings caught many political analysts by surprise, as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region was long considered resistant to democratic change, an exception in terms of democratic transitions. Nine years in retrospect, the initial euphoria surrounding the potential for democratic governance in the MENA has faded away as autocratic governments reganed power and cracked down on civil liberties. Worse still, the region is plagued by political chaos, insta bility, civil wars and violence perpetrated by various state and nonstate actors Today, with the exception of Tunisia, the Arab Spring has given way to alongstanding Arab winter.

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.

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.

The war and the economy: the gradual destruction of Libya

By: Matteo Capasso

Published in Review of African Political Economy Volume 47, Issue 166 (2020)

Abstract: This article questions dominant analyses about Libya’s present ‘war economy’ and ‘statelessness’, which are often deployed to explain the country’s ongoing destruction. By reinterpreting the history of the past as the failure of Libya to implement neoliberal reforms, these accounts trivialise its anti-imperialist history. The article reflects on the role that war and militarism play in the US-led imperialist structure, tracing the gradual unmaking of Libya from the progressive revolutionary era, towards its transformation into a comprador state and an outpost for global class war. In doing so, it moves the focus away from Libya’s ‘war economy’ to examine the war and the economy, linking Libya’s fate to the geo-economic and geopolitical forces at the core of US-led imperialism.

How and Why Has the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan Changed since 2011?

By: Mohamed Abu Rumman, Neven Bondokji

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

Abstract: In the wake of the Arab Spring, many younger members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan left the movement, especially after 2015, establishing new political parties due to ideological shifts over the nature of the state and questions of civil liberties. Four factors influenced this transformation: identity crisis, the movement’s organizational rigidity, members’ personal experiences during and after the uprisings, and a growing desire to separate political campaigning from religious outreach.

The Development and Fragmentation of Kuwait’s al-Jama’a al-Salafiyya: Purity over Pragmatism

By: Zoltan Pall

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

Abstract: This article argues that the pragmatism displayed by Salafi politicians after the 2011 Arab uprisings might not apply to the larger networks of the movement. Such pragmatism contributed to organizational dysfunction in Kuwait’s largest Salafi group, al-Jama’a al-Salafiyya. The ideological foundations of the group stood at odds with its extensive institutional structures, impeding it from functioning effectively. To explain this, the article draws on a comparison with the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait, whose ideology and disciplinary practices facilitated the establishment of tight-knit, highly efficient organizations.

The Moroccan system of labour institutions: a class-based perspective

By: Lorenzo Feltrin

Published in Third World Quarterly Volume 41, Issue 7 (2020)

Abstract: The relevance of workers’ mobilisations in the 2011 Arab uprisings and – more recently – in the Algerian movement for democracy and social justice has encouraged a renewed interest in labour–state relations in the region. This article presents a class-based perspective on labour institutions, taking Morocco as a case study. In contrast to institution-based approaches, this research argues that it is problematic to treat the trade unions as analytical proxies for the working class, because this heuristic move conceals how class struggles – from below and from above – can transcend and transform labour institutions. The article proposes a framework to study labour–state relations, highlighting the relative autonomy of union officials from workers and vice versa. In this way, it shows how, in the neoliberal phase, the Moroccan state increased inducements to the unions while decreasing those to the workers and maintaining significant constraints on workplace organising. To use a simplified formulation, the regime included the unions to exclude the workers. In such a context of low union representativeness, the dangers of reducing the working class to the trade unions emerge clearly.

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.

Networks, Informal Governance, and Ethnic Violence in a Syrian City

By: Kevin Mazur

Published in World Politics Volume 72, Issue 3 (2020)

Abstract: In cross-national studies, ethnic exclusion is robustly associated with the onset of violent challenge to incumbent regimes. But significant variation remains at the subnational level—not all members of an excluded ethnic group join in challenge. This article accounts for intra-ethnic group variation in terms of the network properties of local communities, nested within ethnic groups, and the informal ties that regimes forge to some segments of the ethnically excluded population. Mobilization within an excluded ethnic group is most likely among local communities where members are densely linked to one another and lack network access to state-controlled resources. Drawing on a case study of the Syrian city of Homs in the 2011 uprising, this article demonstrates how the Syrian regime’s strategies of managing the Sunni population of Homs shaped patterns of challenge. On the one hand, the state’s toleration of spontaneous settlements on the city’s periphery helped to reproduce dense network ties. On the other hand, the regime’s informal bargains with customary leaders instrumentalized those ties to manage local populations. These bargains could not withstand the regime’s use of violence against challengers, which meant that these same local networks became crucial factors in impelling and sustaining costly antiregime mobilization.

The Syrian conflict and public opinion among Syrians in Lebanon

By: Daniel Corstange

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 46, Issue 1 (2019)

Abstract: Whom do ordinary Syrians support in their civil war? After decades of repression, the Syrian uprising unleashed an outpouring of political expression. Yet the study of Syrian public opinion is in its infancy. This article presents survey evidence from a large, diverse sample of Syrian refugees in neighbouring Lebanon, one of the first of its kind, and examines their support for the different factions fighting in the civil war. In so doing, it demonstrates that many conventional narratives of the conflict are oversimplifications of a more complex reality. The survey shows that the majority of Syrian refugees support one faction or another of the opposition, but a large minority sympathizes with the government. In line with existing accounts of the war, the government draws its popular support base from wealthier and less religious Syrians, as well as minorities. Nonetheless, large numbers of Sunni Arabs also side with the government, belying sectarian narratives of the war. The survey also finds that supporters of the opposition Islamists and non-Islamists are similar in many regards, including religiosity. The main distinction is that the non-Islamist support base is far more politically attentive than are Islamist sympathizers, in contrast to existing narratives of the war.

Tunisia’s youth: awakened identity and challenges post-Arab Spring

By: Zouhir Gabsi

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 46, Issue 1 (2019)

Abstract: This paper examines Tunisian youths’ sense of identity and how it is influenced by the economic malaise that the country has experienced since the revolution; this is despite the relative success of the Arab Spring at inciting the country’s political transition to democracy. Although young people appreciate new-found freedoms of expression and association in post-Arab Spring Tunisia, the economy, acquiescent to the neoliberal model and weighed down with corruption and political marginalization, has deprived many of a dignified existence. The research reported in this paper surveys over 100 youth chosen from northern, coastal, central and southern parts of Tunisia. It examines how Tunisian youth view the Arab Spring in the context of unstable socio-economic and political environments. To most surveyed youths, the Arab Spring is a failure in socio-economic terms, but it is also an occasion to reassert their Tunisian identity.

Party competition in the Middle East: spatial competition in the post-Arab Spring era

By: Ali Çarkoğlu, André Krouwel, Kerem Yıldırım

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 46, Issue 3 (2019)

Abstract: This paper charts the nature of political cleavage between major parties in post-Arab Spring elections in five Mediterranean region countries, with data from online opt-in surveys. We compare the Moroccan elections, held under a consolidated authoritarian regime, with the transitional cases of Tunisia and Egypt as well as the more mature democracies of Turkey and Israel. Voter opinions are obtained on 30 salient issues, and parties and voters are aligned along two dimensions. We trace country-specific cleavage patterns and reflections of party system maturity in these five countries. The cases of Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco reveal that in less settled cleavage structures there is little congruence between vote propensities for parties and agreement levels with policy positions compared to the more institutionalized democracies of Israel and Turkey where voters exhibit a higher likelihood to vote for a party as the distance between the voter and the party in the policy space gets smaller.

Syria, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and Qatar: the ‘sectarianization’ of the Syrian conflict and undermining of democratization in the region

By: Line Khatib

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 46, Issue 3 (2019)

Abstract: Understanding the Syrian conflict only in terms of sectarian politics amounts to dismissing a very modern effort at emancipation within the context of the country’s populace fighting for its civil, political and economic rights, and in the process robs Syrians of their agency and diminishes their humanity. A closer look at events and political alignments in Syria reveals a more complex picture better understood through the lens of regimes’ desire to counteract the dissident and reformist dynamics that emerged with the Arab Spring. And while this paper is most certainly not minimizing the fact that the sectarian discourse and animosity, once activated, acquired its own dynamic, it underlines that this is not a case of so-called ancient sectarian rivalries emerging unprompted and of their own accord. As a result, the Syrian crisis and the regional ramifications of it can be appreciated as not simply identity politics writ large, but as an example of the authoritarian resilience paradigm in action. In making these arguments, this paper examines the interplay of the domestic and regional policies of three actors involved directly in the Syrian conflict: the Syrian regime, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. (considered as a unitary actor within the context of the Syrian crisis), and Qatar.

A Manifesto, in 140 Characters or Fewer: Social Media as a Tool of Rebel Diplomacy

By: Benjamin T. Jones, Eleonora Mattiacci

Published in British Journal of Political Science  Volume 49, Issue 2 (2019)

Abstract: Can rebel organizations in a civil conflict use social media to garner international support? This article argues that the use of social media is a unique form of public diplomacy through which rebels project a favorable image to gain that support. It analyzes the Libyan civil war, during which rebels invested considerable resources in diplomatic efforts to gain US support. The study entails collecting original data, and finds that rebel public diplomacy via Twitter increases co-operation with the rebels when their message (1) clarifies the type of regime they intend to create and (2) emphasizes the atrocities perpetrated by the government. Providing rebels with an important tool of image projection, social media can affect dynamics in an ever more connected international arena.

Is there a Conflict between Security and Democracy in Morocco?

By: Ahmed El Morabety

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

Abstract: This article explores the relationship between security and democracy in Morocco. It discusses the state’s behavior towards the popular uprisings, how it responds to the social movements demands, and how it manages the security unrests. Throughout, the discussion throws a light on the democratization process of the security sector, in particular, and on the trajectory of democratic transition in the kingdom, in general.

The Transformation of the Power Structure and Security in LibyaFrom a Unified to a Fragmented Security Sector

By: Laura Feliu, Rachid Aarab

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

Abstract: The Libyan security sector has undergone a profound transformation since the 17 February Revolution in 2011. The Jamahiriya experience gave way to a period in which violence ceased to be predominantly a state monopoly, and a series of armed conflicts took place with important consequences for the security sector. This article applies the Sociology of Power to an analysis of the security sector as a complement to other theoretical focuses. This approach helps to explain the transformation of the sector from a personal, unified system to a fragmented system with territorial divisions associated with different competing power centers.

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.

Social Media and Urban Social Movements: The Anatomy of Continued Protest in Authoritarian Contexts

By: Magdalena Karolak

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 12, Issue 2 (2019)

Abstract: The goal of this research is to explore the opportunities brought about by the use of new media in urban protests. Specifically, it investigates the use of the Internet in modern protest movements that failed to bring about the changes they sought, using Bahrain as a case study. The focus is put on urban movements that continue revolutionary activism off- and online in the sixth year after the failure of the Bahraini uprising. This research assesses the need to maintain an online presence for these cities and explains the goals of their online presence. The paper also aims to understand what type of variations exist within these urban movements; and analyzes the interplay between such online manifestations and online censorship. This research is based on the critical discourse analysis of web content and graphic representations produced by Bahraini activists on particular online sites pertaining to each city in question.

Social Media and Urban Social Movements: The Anatomy of Continued Protest in Authoritarian Contexts

By: Magdalena Karolak

Published in Contemporary Arab Affairs Volume 12, Issue 2 (2019)

Abstract: The goal of this research is to explore the opportunities brought about by the use of new media in urban protests. Specifically, it investigates the use of the Internet in modern protest movements that failed to bring about the changes they sought, using Bahrain as a case study. The focus is put on urban movements that continue revolutionary activism off- and online in the sixth year after the failure of the Bahraini uprising. This research assesses the need to maintain an online presence for these cities and explains the goals of their online presence. The paper also aims to understand what type of variations exist within these urban movements; and analyzes the interplay between such online manifestations and online censorship. This research is based on the critical discourse analysis of web content and graphic representations produced by Bahraini activists on particular online sites pertaining to each city in question.

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

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

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

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

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

By: Javier García-Enríquez, Cruz A. Echevarría

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

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

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.

Not the only game in towns: explaining changes in municipal councils in post-revolutionary Tunisia

By: Janine A. Clark, Emanuela Dalmasso, Ellen Lust

Published in Democratization Volume 26, Issue 8 (2019)

Abstract: This study sheds light on the relationship between local and national elites during political transitions. Examining local councils in post-revolutionary Tunisia (2011–2013), it examines why and when the composition of councils changed in the absence of local elections. The study yields two important lessons. First, changes in councils resulted from a power struggle between national and local elites. Councils were more likely to remain in place when local parties and unions helped council members resist pressures from above. The interplay of local and national actors, and not the council’s competencies, explains when changes took place. Second, all councils became politicized in the process. Far from being caretaker councils impartially addressing local needs, the councils were institutions playing important roles in the struggles between local and national political elites. Councils were arenas in which political power, and notions of legitimate representation, were contested in the absence of elections. The argument is supported by quantitative analyses of original data and four comparative case studies based on qualitative fieldwork. The findings highlight the importance of local councils in transition processes and provide a basis for further work exploring local-national engagement in democratization.

Is there difference in democracy promotion? A comparison of German and US democracy assistance in transitional Tunisia

By: Leonie Holthaus

Published in Democratization Volume 26, Issue 7 (2019)

Abstract: Since the 1990s, comparative scholars and constructivists have recognized the universally liberal character of democracy promotion and yet continued the analysis of difference in this area. Mainly in studies of German and US democracy promotion, constructivists have demonstrated the recurring and difference-generating impact of ideational factors. In this article, I hence assume the likeliness of difference and address the question of how we can analyse and explain those differences through a comparison of German and US democracy assistance in transitional Tunisia. I conceive of Germany and the US as a dissimilar pair and adopt a broad perspective to uncover differences at the diplomatic level and between and within the respective approaches to democracy assistance in Tunisia. Theoretically, I argue that national role conceptions hardly impact democracy assistance in a clear manner, and that roles are renegotiated in the process. I rather focus on liberal and reform liberal conceptions of democracy, which shape perceptions of the local context, and democracy assistance agencies different organizational cultures, which impact civil society support. Finally, I account for transnational dialogue and coordination as a factor mitigating differences in democracy promotion.

Negotiating democracy with authoritarian regimes. EU democracy promotion in North Africa

By: Vera van Hüllen

Published in Democratization Volume 26, Issue 5 (2019)

Abstract: In order to better understand the dynamics of international cooperation on democracy promotion with authoritarian regimes, this article looks into the processes and results of negotiations on democracy (promotion) between the European Union (EU) and two of its North African neighbours (Morocco, Tunisia) in the decade leading up to the Arab uprisings. Asking if, how, and to what effect the EU and its Mediterranean partners have negotiated issues related to democracy promotion, it analyses official documents issued on the occasion of their respective association council meetings in 2000-2010. It shows that partners have indeed addressed these issues since the early 2000s, however, without engaging in substantive exchanges. Most of the time, conflicts have been neither directly addressed nor resolved. Where there are traces of actual negotiations leading to an agreement, these are clearly based on a logic of bargaining rather than arguing. These findings challenge the picture of harmony and cooperation between the EU and Morocco. Furthermore, they point to the low quality of these exchanges which reinforces the dilemma of international democracy promotion in cooperation with authoritarian regimes.

Songs from Egyptian Slums to Media

By: Dina Farouk Abou Zeid

Published in Global Media Journal  Volume 17, Issue 32 (2019)

Abstract: Mahraganat is a new genre of songs in Egypt with Arabic and Western music besides strange lyrics. This genre is influencing and being influenced by cultural, social, economic, political and technological changes especially after 2011 revolution. It has started in slums in Cairo and has gone viral among Egyptians especially the youth even between high and middle social classes. Mahraganat is considered a new phenomenon that needs to be studied and understood. The research study applied Bordieu’s cultural capital theory and Peterson’s cultural omnivore theory to explain the popularity of Mahraganat songs. The researcher conducted a survey of 100 Egyptian university students from rich districts in Cairo. The results show that Mahraganat is an example of the shift from univore taste to omnivore taste among youth from high social classes. Also, mass media and new media have been playing an important role in its widespread and popularity.

Citizen Journalism via Blogging: A Possible Resolution to Mainstream Media’s Ineptitude

By: Heba Elshahed, Sally Tayie

Published in Global Media Journal  Volume 17, Issue 33 (2019)

Abstract: Throughout the past years, the emergence of the Egyptian Blogosphere has been a definitive phenomenon. The Egyptian Blogosphere went through fluctuations and evolutionary phases, resulting in it becoming a powerful platform for cyber space political activism and citizen journalism, in attempts to compensate for the mainstream media’s inadequacy. This paper explores previous studies conducted on this topic. It is supported by a study that gives an insight on the extent at which Egyptian youth/citizens regard blogs as credible and reliable sources of their news, and more generally, as a source of news that can replace mainstream media. By conducting 101 online surveys with a random sample, this study investigates four hypotheses: Before January 25 revolution: H1: Politically active/interested internet users rely on blogs as a source of news After January 25 revolution: H2: Politically active/interested internet users rely on blogs as a source of news H3: Politically active/interested internet users perceive blogs as a credible source of news/updates H4: Politically active/interested internet users regard blogs as more truthful and inclusive than mainstream media because it is a form of citizen journalism Findings reveal hypothesis 1 is unsupported, hypotheses 2 and 3 are partly supported, and hypothesis 4 is strongly supported.

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).

Social Brokers and Leftist–sadrist Cooperation in Iraq’s Reform Protest Movement: Beyond Instrumental Action

By: Benedict Robin-D’Cruz

Published in International Journal of Middle East Studies Volume 51, Issue 2 (2019)

Abstract: This article develops a concept of social brokerage to explain leftist–Sadrist cooperation during Iraq’s 2015 protest movement. Conventional understanding holds that Iraq’s secular-leftist civil trend and Shiʿi Islamist factions have been mutually isolated, and at times fierce antagonists, in Iraq’s post-2003 politics. This view has been challenged by an emergent political alliance between a faction of the civil trend and the Shiʿi Islamist Sadrist movement. By comparing this alliance with the failure of another Shiʿi Islamist group, ʿAsaʾib Ahl al-Haq, to involve itself with and exploit the protest movement, this article isolates the conditions which determined the dynamics of leftist–Islamist interactions. Shifting the focus away from elite politics and structural-instrumental explanations favored by rational choice models, this article reveals a longer backstory of social and ideological interactions between less senior actors that transgressed leftist–Islamist social boundaries. From this context, potential brokers emerged, capable of skilfully mediating leftist–Sadrist interactions.

United Nations electoral assistance: More than a fig leaf?

By: Anna Lührmann

Published in International Political Science Review Volume 40, Issue 2 (2019)

Abstract: Between 2007 and 2014 the United Nations (UN) assisted more than one-third of all national elections worldwide. Its experts routinely provide substantial technical advice on election management, logistical support such as the procurement of ballot papers and financial assistance. However, it remains doubtful if, and under which conditions, such assistance contributes to free and fair elections or has a positive long-term impact on democratization. This study assesses the impact of UN electoral assistance (UNEA) in Sudan, Nigeria and Libya. It finds that such assistance contributed to election quality in the presence of regime elites prioritizing electoral credibility in Nigeria (2011) and Libya (2012). In Nigeria, it seems plausible that UNEA had a medium-term impact on democratization. However, if regime elites undermine electoral freedom and fairness – as in Sudan (2010) – such positive effects are unlikely. Furthermore, in such contexts, the involvement of the UN may legitimize authoritarian practices.

Friends will be friends? External–domestic interactions in EU-Tunisia and EU-Morocco security cooperation after the uprisings

By: Federica Zardo, Francesco Cavatorta

Published in International Politics Volume 56, Issue 5 (2019)

Abstract: The article moves beyond the debate about the continuity and change in EU policy-making towards post-uprisings North Africa to explain the way in which the relationship evolved in the case of functional areas and notably security cooperation. Specifically, this article argues that persistence in the EU’s approach did not necessarily entail continuity in EU-Tunisia and EU-Morocco interactions on security. Rather, there have been changes in the continuity and continuity in the changes that took place. It is often assumed that the relationship is unidirectional and that target countries can simply choose either acquiescence or resistance. The post-uprising reality shows that domestic events in Tunisia and Morocco had an impact on how they approached the EU and how, in turn, the EU reacted to them. There is therefore what can be called a feedback loop that makes relationships more complex and ‘individualised’ than previously assumed.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Egyptian Youth’s Digital Dissent

By: Adel Iskandar

Published in Journal of Democracy Volume 30, Issue 3 (2019)

Abstract: Young people were at the forefront of the millions-strong 2011 uprising against the corrupt and authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Eight years since this uprising, many of these young people find themselves besieged, disengaged, and disgruntled amid a resurgence of militarized authoritarianism. This article examines the state of Egypt’s youth and argues that through the dynamics of dissociation, disenchantment, and desecration, these youth are creatively confronting and deflating the state’s propaganda using digital artistic productions such as suggestive caricatures, sarcastic memes, and video pranks. Although such expressions are often seen as lacking political resonance or outcomes, they take on a particular import against the backdrop of a stark and resilient youth boycott of invitations to state-sponsored electoral and political participation. Given that many scholars were blindsided by the rapid and sustained revolutionary mobilizations of 2010 and 2011, it would be wise not to overlook the effects of low-grade humorous online dissent on the long-term development of political culture, and particularly a burgeoning grassroots culture of democracy, in Egypt and other countries affected by the Arab Spring.

Do they know something we don’t? Diffusion of repression in authoritarian regimes

By: Roman-Gabriel Olar

Published in Journal of Peace Research Volume 56, Issue 5 (2019)

Abstract: The use of repressive strategies by authoritarian regimes received a great deal of attention in the literature, but most explanations treat repression as the product of domestic events and factors. However, the similarity in repressive actions during the Arab Spring or the intense collaboration in dissident disappearances between the military regimes of Latin America indicate a transnational dimension of state repression and authoritarian interdependence that has gone largely understudied. The article develops a theory of diffusion of repression between autocracies between institutionally and experientially similar autocracies. It proposes that the high costs of repression and its uncertain effect on dissent determines autocracies to adjust their levels of repression based on information and knowledge obtained from their peers. Autocracies’ own experience with repression can offer suboptimal and incomplete information. Repression techniques and methods from other autocracies augment the decisionmaking regarding optimal levels of repression for political survival. Then, autocracies adjust their levels of repression based on observed levels of repression in their institutional and experiential peers. The results indicate that authoritarian regimes emulate and learn from regimes with which they share similar institutions. Surprisingly, regimes with similar dissent experience do not emulate and learn from each other. The results also indicate that regional conflict does not affect autocracies’ levels of repression.

Crafting a business Umma? transnational networks of ‘Islamic businessmen’ after the Arab Spring

By: Marie Vannetzel, Dilek Yankaya

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 24, Issue 3 (2019)

Abstract: This article focuses on the transnational project, led by Turkish Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association (Müsiad), of crafting a community of Islamic businessmen. The Arab Springs opened new opportunities to further this project, especially in Tunisia and Egypt where Islamist groups rose to power after 2011. In both countries, Müsiad supported the creation of two Islamic business associations, exporting its own organizational model. Examining this circulation process, we question the classical dichotomy between economic and advocacy transnational networks. We also show how this transnational activism is constrained by divergent domestic patterns of relationships between Islamists, business and states in each country.

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.

Women, information ecology, and political protest in the Middle East

By: Nadya Hajj, Patrick J. McEwan, Rebecca Turkington

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

Abstract: Does internet usage increase the likelihood of political protest, and is the effect larger among women than men? Using data from three waves of the Arab Barometer Survey, historical research and interviews with women activists, this paper contributes to the growing body of literature on information ecology and contentious politics in the Middle East. We hypothesized that the internet increases public protest for all individuals but differentially enhances women’s involvement in public protest in the Middle East. We find that there are substantial gender gaps in internet usage and political protest, and that internet usage increases political protest of adults, on average, regardless of gender. However, internet usage does not differentially increase public protest among women (including during the Arab Spring). Our paper problematizes the notion that the internet is a low-cost and safe space for women’s political activism.

Outsourcing state violence: The National Defence Force, ‘stateness’ and regime resilience in the Syrian war

By: Reinoud Leenders, Antonio Giustozzi

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

Abstract: This article engages with and contributes to a nascent debate on state-sponsored militias by way of an analysis of the formation and deployment of the Syrian regime’s National Defence Force (NDF). This militia emerged from the regime’s rich repertoire in outsourcing violence and allowing ‘heterarchical orders’ to serve regime maintenance purposes at home and abroad. During the Syrian war (2011–…), the key rationale for using such militias is primarily to address manpower shortages. For an important but limited period, the NDF served this goal well as it contributed to the regime’s military advances. The regime’s devolution of its violence to militias including the NDF brought about a sharp contraction of its ‘stateness’ but this did not constitute ‘state failure’ or its collapse. In this context, the regime’s elaborate measures to manage or counter the risks and downsides of deploying non-state militias such as the NDF underscore its general adaptability in its authoritarian governance.

Social Media Activism in Egyptian Television Drama: Encoding the Counter-Revolution Narrative

By: Gianluca P. Parolin

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

Abstract: Egyptian Ramadan TV series have explored the relationship between law and television in a number of iterations over the past few years. In 2017, the most watched production (115 million views on YouTube), Kalabsh, went one step further by examining the interaction between television broadcasting and social media in affecting the course of justice. Even though its events revolve around the framing and wrongful incrimination of a ‘good’ police officer, the dynamics suggest a not-so-subtle reference to the January 25, 2011 uprising. It portrayed social media actors as naïve agitators, outsmarted and used by those same dark networks of business and politics that they intend to expose and ultimately to unseat. This representation strengthens the counter-revolution’s narrative of the January 25 uprising as the making of some ‘Facebook kids’ [ʿiyāl bitūʿ il-face]. With Kalabsh, Egyptian TV series recalibrate the representation of the role of television broadcasting in affecting the course of justice and thus produce a new narrative that includes social media. This representation challenges as ‘optimistic’ the reading of the ‘democratic’ nature of social media by showing how its actors are even more prone to falling prey to mystifications and networks of corruption. The centrality of television broadcasting in affecting the course of justice clearly recedes in Kalabsh, but television broadcasting itself seems to regain some reputation.

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.

From the Fragments Up: Municipal Margins of Maneuver in Syria and Tunisia

By: Lana Salman, Bernadette Baird-Zars

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 11, Issue 2 (2019)

Abstract: Most studies of the Arab uprisings and their aftermaths focus on national-level political processes, neglecting changes at the municipal level. The few studies of municipalities that do exist tend to treat municipalities either as corruption-prone institutions exploited by local elites, or else as areas in need of intervention to make them function properly. We argue that municipalities are an overlooked site of political change—both spatially and temporally—that began prior to the uprisings but accelerated in their aftermath. Drawing on original empirical material from Tunisia and Syria between 2007 and 2014, we highlight two changing dimensions of municipal governance: how municipalities have sought to expand their power by stretching into new areas; and how, since the uprisings, municipalities have taken up new regulatory and enforcement roles in the wake of central state retreat.
To support this analysis, we utilize on-the-ground interviews and fieldwork in Tunisia and off-site interviews and aerial analyses of urban growth in northern Syria. We find that, first, city governments are moving into the spaces where national actors are absent, transforming municipalities into spaces for meaningful political engagement (Tunisia) and the allocation of resources (Syria). Second, municipalities have gained greater autonomy in the arenas of service delivery and planning. This increase in municipal power does not represent a break from pre-uprising practices, but rather a continuation and perhaps acceleration of the politicization and expansion of municipal authority that began pre-2011.

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

By: Colin Powers

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

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

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

By: Colin Powers

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

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

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

By: Mirjam Edel

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

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

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.

Regional Authoritarians Target the Twittersphere

By: Alexei Abrahams

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

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

Authoritarian resilience and regime cohesion in Morocco after the Arab Spring

By: J. N. C. Hill, Francesco Cavatorta

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

Abstract: This article argues that Morocco’s competitive authoritarian regime is more resilient today in certain key respects than it was when the Arab Spring began. Drawing on Levitsky and Way’s dimension of organisational power, the article contends the regime was sufficiently unnerved by the unrest to resort to the use of high intensity coercion as part of its response to the 20 February Movement. The article maintains that, in employing this force successfully, the regime has turned the protests into an important source of non-material cohesion for its security apparatus and thereby enhanced its ability to defend itself from similar challenges in the future.

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

By: Pietro Marzo

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

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

The politics of security reform in post-2011 Tunisia: assessing the role of exogenous shocks, domestic policy entrepreneurs and external actors

By: Ruth Hanau Santini, Giulia Cimini

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

Abstract: In post—2011 Tunisia, the reform of the security sector has proceeded haphazardly, hindering security efficiency and lowering the overall effectiveness in countering threats. Since 2015, the combination of three factors — external shocks, international actors’ pressures and domestic configurations of political power — have paved the way for a progressive overhaul of the efficiency of security agencies. Following the 2015 terrorist attacks, that destabilized the political system and risked derailing the trajectory of democratic consolidation, European powers exerted pressure to improve efficiency in the security sector. Lastly, these push factors needed an enabling condition, a strong presidency of the republic, to make the changes happen. The measures adopted reflect a technical and supposedly depoliticized view of reforms, in line with a broader post‐interventionist trend in Security Assistance. Based on process-tracing, the analysis of primary documents and several in‐depth interviews carried out between 2015 and 2017, the article illustrates the workings of the policy process in the security arena. It sheds light on the conditions that made possible the adoption of reforms, the role external actors played in pushing for change and in creating a new multilateral mechanism, the G7+, which produced an unintended set of domestic consequences.

Repression, Cooptation, and Movement Fragmentation in Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from the Youth Movement in Egypt

By: Nadine Sika

Published in Political Studies Volume 67, Issue 3 (2019)

Abstract: How do authoritarian regimes fragment protest movements in the aftermath of mass protests? How do protest movements deal with these authoritarian measures in return? Based on qualitative fieldwork with 70 young people in Egypt from April until November 2015, I demonstrate that regimes which face major contentious events and transition back to authoritarian rule, utilize two main strategies for fragmenting protest movements: repression and cooptation. The main literature on protest movements contends that regimes respond to protest movements through a combination of repression and concession to offset movement gains and eliminate their motivations for further protests. More concessions are believed to be effective in democratic regimes, while more repression is effective in authoritarian regimes. However, the results of this fieldwork demonstrate the importance of repression in addition to cooptation in authoritarian regimes, which is largely ignored in the literature on protest movements. Cooptation is an instrumental tactic for the regime in two manners: first it creates internal struggles within the movements themselves, which adds to their fragmentation. Second, it facilitates a regime’s repression against protest movement actors. This creates more fragmentation in addition to deterrence to the development of new protest movements and protest activities.

Social Network Analysis of German Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq

By: Sean C. Reynolds, Mohammed M. Hafez

Published in Terrorism and Political Violence Volume 31, Issue 4 (2019)

Abstract: Why do Westerners become foreign fighters in civil conflicts? We explore this question through original data collection on German foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, and test three sets of hypotheses that revolve around socioeconomic integration, online radicalization, and social network mobilization. We conduct link analysis to map the network of German foreign fighters prior to their mobilization, and marshal evidence to assess the validity of competing explanations. We find only modest support for the integration deficit hypothesis, and meager support for the social media radicalization theory. Instead, the preponderance of evidence suggests that interpersonal ties largely drive the German foreign fighter phenomenon. Recruitment featured clustered mobilization and bloc recruitment within interconnected radical milieus, leading us to conclude that peer-to-peer networks are the most important mobilization factor for German foreign fighters.

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.

The ICC indictment against Al-Bashir and its repercussions for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Darfur

By: Allard Duursma & Tanja R. Müller

Published in Third World Quarterly Volume 40, Issue 3 (2019)

Abstract: The impact of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on peace processes has received much scholarly attention. We argue, based on the ICC arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, that ICC indictments against government officials not only can be detrimental to the prospects for peace, but can also negatively affect everyday practices of peacekeepers and humanitarian workers. We draw on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data in order to develop our argument. We interrogate some measurable consequences of the indictment in relation to the work of the United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as well as humanitarian actors in Darfur. We do so using a data set compiled to support the work of UNAMID. We also draw on interviews with UN and UNAMID staff, aid workers, and representatives of the conflict parties. Our analysis shows that the indictment of President al-Bashir was perceived by the Sudanese government as the continuation of a confrontational approach pursued by the international community. We further show that the indictment accelerated patterns of obstruction and intimidation of peacekeeping actors, other third-party actors, and local staff associated with these. This complicated the everyday activities of peacekeepers and humanitarian efforts.

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s transnational advocacy in Turkey: a new means of political participation

By: Shaimaa Magued

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 45, Issue 3 (2018)

Abstract: This study examines the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s transnational media advocacy as a shift in the Islamists’ political participation in general and the Brothers’ in particular. The article argues that the Brothers created their own TV channels in order to challenge the new regime’s legitimacy after 3 July 2013 by taking advantage of a sympathetic political environment in Turkey. Their media advocacy embraced a collective Islamic identity in its denunciation of the Sisi regime and called for a democratic restitution as a common Egyptian cause. Based on interviews conducted with TV presenters and a content analysis of the expatriates’ TV channels, this study presents transnational advocacy as a novelty in the Islamists’ repertoire of action.

Islamic Law, Truth, Ethics: Fatwa and Jurisprudence of the Revolution

By: Youssef Belal

Published in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East Volume 38, Issue 1 (2018)

Abstract: This article is devoted to the study of questions of knowledge, law, and ethics in Islamic context. Starting with a discussion of assumptions about Islamic ethical practices in recent anthropological and historical works on the fatwa, it explores procedures of truth seeking and modes of reasoning in legal opinions authored by Islamic scholars, notably Yusuf al-Qaradawi, at the time of the Egyptian Revolution (2011). This text analyzes also the relationship between interiority and exteriority in ethical practices enabled by these legal options and exemplified by the assessment of the ruler’s faith. It studies the extent to which the very revolutionary gesture informs Islamic scholars’ own legal and ethical practice and enlightens anew the relationship between the inner and the outer as well as between the self and others. Finally, it explores the articulation between Islamic law and revolution in the Egyptian context and the ways in which the former’s authoritativeness and ethical performativity is reenacted, in contradistinction to Western liberal revolutions instituting a new legal order declaring its rupture with the past law and indifferent to the individual’s morality.

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

By: Riadh Béchir

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

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

Podcasting Public Service in the Arab World:Rupture and Continuity

By: Jamel Zran, Moez Ben Messaoud

Published in Global Media Journal  Volume 16, Issue 30 (2018)

Abstract: A large proportion of the media around the world, especially those related to radio and television, belong to the state. In principle at least, there are three different terms to talk about these types of media: • The public media that draws on the treasury to present programming that is in the interest of the general population. They do not support any political party, not even the party in power. • National media owned by the state and using the treasury money are also controlled directly by the state. • Government media that is owned by the ruling party and uses the treasury money, are also controlled by the ruling party. These three models coexist already in the Arab world since independence. This phenomenon almost removed the clear distinction that existed in principle between the government media and the public media. After the Arab Spring in 2011, however, this distinction remains important. The public broadcaster model was based on a principle that is still justified for most of the world and that the private media alone cannot guarantee the pluralism of broadcasting. The problem, however, is that the government media have also largely failed. In several countries, the arrival of private media has pushed governments to exercise editorial control of the public media. The discussion of media regulation is aimed primarily at ensuring that the media financed by the Public treasury exercise their profession with the full independence of the government of the day to which they are entitled, rather than aiming to restrict the freedom of the media that already enjoy full editorial independence. In the Arab world, there have been some attempts to recover and modernize the ideal model of public media, as for example the case of Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan. This study aims to search if the Arab podcasting meet the recognized standards and the requirements of the concept of public service?

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.

At the Tipping Point? Al-azhar’s Growing Crisis of Moral Authority

By: Masooda Bano

Published in International Journal of Middle East Studies  Volume 50, Issue 4 (2018)

Abstract: Routinely required to lend religious legitimacy to contentious state policies, al-Azhar’s moral authority has been under pressure since its nationalization in 1961. This article outlines how Shaykh al-Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyib’s recent alliance with President ʿAbd al-Fattah al-Sisi has, however, exposed al-Azhar’s moral authority to unprecedented risks. This is for three reasons. First, the tactics used by al-Sisi’s government to quell the Muslim Brotherhood have been more extreme than those used by previous regimes. Second, the al-Azhari establishment’s defence of these violent tactics has been more unqualified than in the past. Third, current state-led reforms of al-Azhar’s curriculum are more controversial than prior efforts along these lines. As I show, these recent developments are not a complete break from the past; rather, they are a natural outcome of incremental shifts that have been occurring within al-Azhar since its nationalization over fifty years ago.

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.

A master institution of world society? Digital communications networks and the changing dynamics of transnational contention

By: Tobias Lemke, Michael W Habegger

Published in International Relations Volume 32, Issue 3 (2018)

Abstract: In English School theory, the putative change from an international society of states to a world society of individuals is usually associated with the diffusion of a benign form of cosmopolitanism and the normative agenda of solidarism. Consequently, the notion that world society might enable alternative expressions of transnational politics, independent from international society, remains underdeveloped. Drawing on the literature of contentious politics and social movements, this article challenges orthodox accounts and suggests that the global proliferation of digitally mediated linkages between individuals and nonstate actors constitutes a fundamental challenge to traditional dynamics of interstate communication in the form of the diplomatic system. This provides an opportunity to reconceptualize world society as an alternative site of politics distinct from mainstream international society and generative of its own logic of communication, mobilization, and action. The 2011 events in Egypt and the ongoing digital presence of the so-called Islamic State are used to demonstrate how massive increases in global interaction capacity are transforming the pathways for political contention and collective mobilization worldwide.

Labor Migrants as Political Leverage: Migration Interdependence and Coercion in the Mediterranean

By: Gerasimos Tsourapas

Published in International Studies Quarterly  Volume 62, Issue 2 (2018)

Abstract: How do states attempt to use their position as destinations for labor migration to influence sending states, and under what conditions do they succeed? I argue that economically driven cross-border mobility generates reciprocal political economy effects on sending and host states. That is, it produces migration interdependence. Host states may leverage their position against a sending state by either deploying strategies of restriction—curbing remittances, strengthening immigration controls, or both—or displacement—forcefully expelling citizens of the sending state. These strategies’ success depends on whether the sending state is vulnerable to the political economy costs incurred by host states’ strategy, namely if it is unable to absorb them domestically and cannot procure the support of alternative host states. I also contend that displacement strategies involve higher costs than restriction efforts and are therefore more likely to succeed. I demonstrate my claims through a least-likely, two-case study design of Libyan and Jordanian coercive migration diplomacy against Egypt in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. I examine how two weaker Arab states leveraged their position against Egypt, a stronger state but one vulnerable to migration interdependence, through the restriction and displacement of Egyptian migrants.

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.

Justice and Development Party’s Understanding of Democracy and Democratisation: Cultural Relativism and the Construction of the West as the ‘Other’

By: Birgül Demirtaş

Published in Iran and the Caucasus Volume 22, Issue 3 (2018)

Abstract: The perception of Turkey as a model of attractive country in the region has started to change in the recent years. In the first decade of the JDP rule Turkey was seen as an emerging power with its strong economy, improving democracy and inspiring foreign policy. However, the developments since the Arab Uprisings in the neighbourhood, Gezi movement at home, end of the Kurdish peace process, as well as coup attempt and subsequent de-democratisation harmed the soft power of Turkey. This study argues that the JDP’s understanding of democracy and democratisation has been full of flaws from the very beginning of its rule. The Turkish example shows that countries can experience subsequent processes of de-democratisation and de-democratisation if governing parties did not endogenise the basic norms of democracy. Therefore, it is argued that the reverse wave of de-democratisation characterises Turkey more than the “selective” processes of democratisation. It is also argued that JDP elite via its discourse has been constructing the West as the ‘Other’.

The EU and Islamist parties in Tunisia and Egypt after the Arab uprisings: A story of selective engagement

By: Benedetta Voltolini, Silvia Colombo

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

Abstract: This article argues that the new EU’s selective engagement with Islamist parties in its Southern neighbourhood following the Arab uprisings is the result of a partial shift in the EU’s frame used to understand political Islam, combined with a form of pragmatism that puts a premium on finding interlocutors in the region. Using the case studies of Tunisia and Egypt, it shows that the EU has replaced its previous monolithic conception of political Islam with an understanding that is more sensitive to differences among Islamists. This opens the door to some forms of engagement with those actors that renounce violence and demonstrate their commitment to work within the confines of democratic rules, while violent strands of political Islam and conservative groups remain at arm’s length.

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.

‘Dégage RCD!’ The rise of internal dissent in Ben Ali’s Constitutional Democratic Rally and the Tunisian uprisings

By: Anne Wolf

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

Abstract: This article examines the historical evolution of Tunisia’s Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) from its beginnings in 1987, when President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali took power, until his ousting in 2011 when the party was outlawed. I argue that the RCD evolved from a political force with wide popular support during a short democratic era (1987–89) into a repressive interest group in the 1990s, when the regime cracked down on political dissidents and popular freedoms whilst rewarding party members with lucrative benefits. In the 2000s the RCD adopted a quasi-mafiosi structure that profited the Ben Ali family, which increasingly monopolized economic and political power. Tunisia’s transformation into a near dynasty marginalized many RCD members and its wider networks, a central dynamic to understand Ben Ali’s ousting in 2011.

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.

Changing the path? EU migration governance after the ‘Arab spring’

By: Andrew Geddes, Leila Hadj-Abdou

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

Abstract: This article shows how understandings amongst policy élites of a ‘new normal’ form the basis for current and future EU action on migration in the Mediterranean region. This new normality centres on the understanding that Europe faces significant migratory pressures at its Mediterranean borders. By opening the ‘black box’ of European and EU migration governance, the article seeks to provide fresh insight into how framing and frame enactment shape policy responses. Rather than detailing the ‘outputs’ or ‘outcomes’ of European migration governance systems – such as laws and policy approaches – this paper adopts a different approach by exploring the underlying perceptions and understandings of migration held by actors within migration governance systems.

Social Media in Turkey as a Space for Political Battles: AKTrolls and other Politically motivated trolling

By: Erkan Saka

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 27, Issue 2 (2018)

Abstract: This article focuses on AKTrolls, defined as pro-government political trolls in Turkey, while attempting to draw implications about political trolling in the country in general. It examines their methods and effects, and it interrogates whether (and how) Turkish authorities have attempted to shape or counter politically motivated social media content production through trolling after the Gezi Park Protests that took place in 2013. My findings are based on an ethnographic study that included participant observation and in-depth interviews in a setting that is under-studied and about which reliable sources are difficult to find. The study demonstrates political trolling activity in Turkey is more decentralized and less institutionalized than generally thought, and is based more on ad hoc decisions by a larger public. However, I argue here that AKTrolls do have impact on reducing discourses on social media that are critical of the government, by engaging in surveillance, among other practices.

Negotiating Values in the Islamist Press after 2013

By: Michelanglo Guida

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 27, Issue 2 (2018)

Abstract: Turkey’s Islamist press has been influenced essentially by three contingencies: partisanship, lack of political autonomy, and lack of economic autonomy. These contingencies are reflected in the opinion pieces of Islamist columnists, five of whom are examined here in detail. To understand how their opinions are shaped, this article focuses on their interpretations of two dramatic events: the Gezi Park protests and the December 17–25 corruption scandals, both of which took place in 2013. This analysis provides a granular look at how the different Islamist columnists produced highly contrasting responses to government policies and choices, giving a unique insight on the intellectual dynamics within the Islamist community as the July 15, 2016 coup approached.

All is Flux: A Hybrid Media Approach to Macro-Analysis of the Turkish Media

By: Aslı Tunç

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 27, Issue 2 (2018)

Abstract: Since 2002, when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power, the media in Turkey have undergone significant transformation. Drawing on the historical background of Turkish media and including the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, this article focuses on the changing role of newspapers and television channels, as well as the journalism profession. In-depth interviews lead the way to an analysis of the media sector’s function at the intersection between clientelism, authoritarian tendencies, and capitalist market rules. The concept of ‘hybridity’ used for this study offers a theoretical framework for discussing how Turkey fits into the model of competitive authoritarianism and Andrew Chadwick’s hybridity media framework.

Bahrain’s February 14 Coalition: Deconstructing a Revolutionary Youth Movement

By: Kylie Moore-Gilbert

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

Abstract: This article examines Bahrain’s February 14 Coalition, an anonymous and decentralized youth movement that was formed during the small Gulf state’s 2011 Arab Spring–inspired uprising. Drawing on fieldwork interviews and a content analysis study of the group’s Facebook page, this article explores how the group uses its opaque organizational structure and strong social media presence to promote its off-line activities. In providing empirical data on the ideology, aims, and approach to activism of this important yet understudied group, this article questions prevailing sectarian narratives and makes the case for a more nuanced understanding of Bahrain’s ongoing civil unrest.

Egypt’s New Authoritarianism under Sisi

By: Bruce K. Rutherford

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

Abstract: While many have noted how the regime of ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi differs from that of Husni Mubarak, scholars have not yet conceptualized these differences’ significance. This article utilizes the literature on authoritarianism to argue that the Mubarak–Sisi transition was an attempt to shift from a provision pact, grounded in an extensive patronage network, to a protection pact in which elites back the regime because it protects them from internal and external threats. This transition is incomplete and, as the protection pact disintegrates, Egypt is left with a fragmented elite and a fractured state that renders the country more difficult to rule.

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.

Ctrl-Alt-Revolt? Online and Offline Networks during the 2011 Egyptian Uprising

By: Elizabeth R. Nugent, Chantal E. Berman2

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 10, Issue 1 (2018)

Abstract: Analyses of the 2011 Egyptian uprising assign a significant mobilizing role to the interpersonal networks created through Facebook and Twitter. However, these studies fail to investigate online networks in comparison with more traditional “offline” networks, which are similarly theorized to mobilize members to protest participation. In this paper, we analyze nationally representative Arab Barometer survey data from Egypt 2011 to compare the mobilizing effects of memberships in four different types of networks: online, union, community, and religious. We test whether these networks were distinct and operated in competition, or overlapping and operated in tandem to mobilize Egyptians to protest. We demonstrate that different networks mobilized different segments of the population, consistent with theories about the negative revolutionary coalition necessary for successful uprisings. We also show that multiple network membership increases protest propensity, and that individuals at the intersection of online networks and community group networks, such as those formed through membership in charity groups or sports clubs, are most likely to engage in revolutionary protest. These results speak to an important interactive effect between online and offline networks in terms of facilitating successful revolutionary uprisings.

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

By: Dina El-Sharnouby

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

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

Voting in Transition: Participation and Alienation in Egypt’s 2012 Presidential Election

By: Caroline Abadeer, Alexandra Domike Blackman, Scott Williamson

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 10, Issue 1 (2018)

Abstract: How does voter turnout change as countries transition to democracy? Using district-level data from Egypt’s 2012 presidential election, we show that turnout was higher in more educated and urban districts—a stark reversal from voting patterns under the authoritarian Mubarak regime, when less educated and poorer areas were more likely to participate. However, this pattern weakened in the second round of the 2012 election, when the choice was restricted to two candidates who reflected Egypt’s primary pre-revolution political divide. Urban and educated districts experienced a decline in turnout and a rise in protest voting during the second round relative to the first, suggesting that key political groups were alienated from the electoral process. These results indicate that who participates in elections can shift quickly as institutions change, but this is conditional on the choice of candidates available to voters.

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.

An Evolving ‘Fuzzy’ Islamic Public: The Case of Sheikh al-Amoud in Egypt

By: Dina Hosni

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

Abstract: The paper deconstructs the dichotomization of Islamic educational institutions into those run under the state’s purview and those operating as ‘parallel’ Islamic institutions usually as part of Islamic group activism. It argues for the existence of ‘fuzzy’ Islamic educational institutions that have merged dīn (religion) and dunyā (life) – without delving into the modern dawla (state). Focusing on contemporary Egypt, the paper uses Sheikh al-Amoud as a case study of these ‘fuzzy’ Islamic educational entities that have emerged as Islamic publics following the 2011 Egyptian uprisings attracting a wide array of Muslim youth in Egypt. The paper expects Sheikh al-Amoud to survive partly due to its non-political orientations and to its indirect connection with al-Azhar. Due to the novelty of the topic, the paper mainly depends on fieldwork through interviews and observation.

Syria vs. Iraq: Clash of Authoritarians

By: Amjed Rasheed

Published in Middle East Policy  Volume 25, Issue 4 (2018)

Abstract: Not available

Ambitions of a Global Gulf

By: Adam Hanieh

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

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

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

By: Tuba Turan

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

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

Institutional journalism in a revolutionary crisis: the press as an aide to the Muslim Brotherhood 2011–2012

By: Liad Porat, Alonit Berenson

Published in Middle Eastern Studies Volume 54, Issue 2 (2018)

Abstract: This article is based on the hypothesis that the Egyptian institutional media played an active role in the Egyptian ‘Arab Spring’ revolution in 2011 and analyzes how Egypt’s official newspapers constructed and presented a moderate and positive image of the Muslim Brotherhood (hereinafter the Brotherhood) despite the fact that they had labeled the Brotherhood ‘the outlawed movement’ a year earlier. In order to examine whether their attitudes changed after the downfall of the Mubarak regime, a critical discourse analysis of newspaper texts has been made of the news columns written throughout 2011 of two of the most popular Egyptian newspapers – al-Ahram (n = 115) and al-Gumhuriyya (n = 94) both of which identify with the Egyptian government’s official policy. In addition, an analysis made of three of the Brotherhood’s publications (n = 72) (N = 281) revealed that the Brotherhood exploited the printed media not only to replace the regime but also to gain control of its narrative. Ultimately, by controlling the shaping of public opinion, the media contributed to the drawing of a parallel between the motivation that formed the basis of the mass protest and the Brotherhood’s agenda.

When Do the Dispossessed Protest? Informal Leadership and Mobilization in Syrian Refugee Camps

By: Killian Clarke

Published in Perspectives on Politics Volume 16, Issue 3 (2018)

Abstract: Refugees are often considered to be among the world’s most powerless groups; they face significant structural barriers to political mobilization, often including extreme poverty and exposure to repression. Yet despite these odds refugee groups do occasionally mobilize to demand better services and greater rights. In this paper I examine varying levels of mobilization among Syrian refugees living in camps and informal settlements in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan in order to explain how marginalized and dispossessed groups manage to develop autonomous political strength. I explain the surprisingly high levels of mobilization in Jordan’s Za’atari Camp compared to the relative quiescence of refugees in Turkish camps and Lebanese informal settlements as the product of a set of strong informal leadership networks. These networks emerged due to two unique facets of the refugee management regime in Jordan: the concentration of refugees in the camp, and a fragmented governance system. In Turkey and Lebanon, where these two conditions were absent, refugees did not develop the strong leadership networks necessary to support mobilization. I develop this argument through structured comparison of three cases and within-case process tracing, using primary source documents from humanitarian agencies, contentious event data, and 87 original interviews conducted in the summer of 2015.

Humanitarianism, State Sovereignty, and Authoritarian Regime Maintenance in the Syrian War

By: Reinoud Leenders, Kholoud Mansour

Published in Political Science Quarterly Volume 133, Issue 2 (2018)

Abstract: Reinoud Leenders and Kholoud Mansour discuss the war in Syria. They argue that since 2011 the Syrian regime has used UN-led humanitarian assistance to bolster its claims on state sovereignty and to support its wider efforts of authoritarian regime maintenance.

Between feminism and unionism: the struggle for socio-economic dignity of working-class women in pre- and post-uprising Tunisia

By: Loes Debuysere

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

Abstract: Generally seen as a pawn in the identity struggle between so-called secular and Islamist political actors, the women’s question in Tunisia has received little attention from a class perspective since the 2010–11 uprising. Yet, over recent years, working-class women have been highly visible during protests, strikes and sit-ins of a socio-economic nature, implicitly illustrating how class and gender grievances intersect. Against the background of the global feminisation of poverty and a changing political economy of the North African region over recent decades, this article builds on Nancy Fraser’s theory of (gender) justice to understand if and how women’s informal and revolutionary demands have been included in more formal politics and civil society activism in Tunisia. The article finds that disassociated struggles against patriarchy (feminism) and neoliberal capitalism (unionism) fail to efficiently represent women workers’ own aspirations in Tunisia’s nascent democracy.

Regulating religious authority for political gains: al-Sisi’s manipulation of al-Azhar in Egypt

By: Masooda Bano, Hanane Benadi

Published in Third World Quarterly Volume 39, Issue 8 (2018)

Abstract: The shedding of blood is a serious matter in Islamic law; disregard for human life negates the very essence of just rule. By standing by General al-Sisi as he suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood, the popular legitimacy of al-Azhar – the oldest seat of Islamic learning – was called into question. This article shows how the al-Sisi government skilfully deployed the two other state-controlled religious establishments, the Ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) and Dar-ul-Ifta, to boost al-Azhar’s popular legitimacy in this context. Existing scholarship highlights the importance of competition within the Egyptian religious sphere to explain how the Egyptian state co-opts the al-Azhari official establishment. This article instead shows how the state, equally skilfully, uses state institutions to boost al-Azhar’s popular legitimacy – albeit to ensure that it remains useful for the purposes of political legitimisation. Political authority and religious authority in Egypt thus remain closely entangled.

Global international relations and the Arab Spring: the Maghreb’s challenge to the EU

By: J. N. C. Hill

Published in Third World Quarterly  Volume 39, Issue 10 (2018)

Abstract: This article contributes to the Global International Relations project by critically evaluating the roles ascribed to Europe and the EU by Levitsky and Way in their model for explaining regime transitions. Focusing primarily on their international dimensions of linkage and leverage, it assesses both the normative geopolitical underpinnings and explanatory power of their thesis, drawing on the North African cases of Tunisia and Mauritania at the start of the Arab Spring to illustrate and substantiate its observations and arguments. It concludes that the EU’s failure to discipline either country’s competitive authoritarian regime raises important questions about the validity of the privileged role in which they cast Europe.

Spontaneous Collective Action: Peripheral Mobilization During the Arab Spring

By: Zachary C. Steinert-Threlkeld

Published in American Political Science Review Volume 111, Issue 2 (2017)

Abstract: Who is responsible for protest mobilization? Models of disease and information diffusion suggest that those central to a social network (the core) should have a greater ability to mobilize others than those who are less well-connected. To the contrary, this article argues that those not central to a network (the periphery) can generate collective action, especially in the context of large-scale protests in authoritarian regimes. To show that those in the core of a social network have no effect on levels of protest, this article develops a dataset of daily protests across 16 countries in the Middle East and North Africa over 14 months from 2010 through 2011. It combines that dataset with geocoded, individual-level communication from the same period and measures the number of connections of each person. Those on the periphery are shown to be responsible for changing levels of protest, with some evidence suggesting that the core’s mobilization efforts lead to fewer protests. These results have implications for a wide range of social choices that rely on interdependent decision making.

The Arab Spring in Israeli Media and Emergent Conceptions of Citizenship

By: Dana Caplan & Gal Levy

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 24 (2017)

Abstract: This article returns to 2011 and the beginning of the Arab Spring in order to ask how the Israeli middle class came to draw similarities between their conditions and those of the Arab citizens who had risen against authoritarian rule. This question is also about the movement of ideas through the media and their incorporation into a dominant culture, or what Raymond Williams saw as the emergent elements of culture. Specifically, it examines the way the conception of citizenship traverses national boundaries. Whereas most studies of citizenship in this context focus on the imaginary of citizenship of the Other, and on ‘Western’ perceptions of citizens of the ‘South,’ we inverse our outlook. By offering a textual analysis of Israeli media coverage of the uprisings, we seek to shed new light on the cultural conceptions of citizenship in Israeli society.

Al-Jazeera’s relationship with Qatar before and after Arab Spring: Effective public diplomacy or blatant propaganda?

By: Zainab Abdul-Nabi

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 24 (2017)

Abstract: Since its foundation in 1996 until the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, the Qatar-based and funded channel, Al-Jazeera, was considered by many media and politics scholars as a major element of a “pan-Arab public diplomacy” and even a “virtual state.” The main reasons behind Al-Jazeera’s success as an effective public diplomacy tool before the Arab Spring can be attributed to its popularity, credibility, critical coverage, and relative independence from Qatar’s politics. However, after 2011, Al-Jazeera, especially the Arabic channel, has “degenerated to a propagandistic agent” serving Qatar’s policy and agenda. Based on scholarly work and interviews conducted by the author, this article argues that the dramatic change in Qatar’s foreign policy from a neutral mediator to an aggressive militarily interventionist during the Arab uprisings, has been followed by a similar shift in Al-Jazeera’s editorial policy. More specifically, Al-Jazeera’s “dual standard coverage” of the uprisings in Bahrain and Syria has been entirely consistent with Qatar’s propaganda, interests, and politics at the time.

The Birth and Death of 25TV: Innovation in Post-Revolution Egyptian TV News Formats

By: Dina Ibrahim

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 23 (2017)

Abstract: This case study highlights an experiment that aimed to disrupt traditional television news production and presentation models in post-revolution Egypt. It is a snapshot of a brief moment in Egyptian television history when an attempt was made at innovating news production and content, but much like the Egyptian revolution, ultimately failed to change the status quo. The case study of 25TV examines how political, social, and economic dissatisfaction among Egyptian youth inspired innovation in news formats that gave more content production power to younger and less experienced news presenters and producers. Through the brief lifespan of 25TV, this article will discuss the role of social media and television in the immediate aftermath of the revolution, the contentious relationship between freedom of speech and military rule, and the innovative ways in which television formats in Egypt were nurtured, grew and perished in the post-revolution era.

Middle Eastern Minorities in Global Media and the Politics of National Belonging

By: Elizabeth Monier

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 24 (2017)

Abstract: Since the Arab uprisings began in 2010, some communities have experienced increased levels of violence or insecurity on the basis of their ethnic, religious, or linguistic identity. This article examines how such communities have mobilized and developed their media strategies in order to protect themselves and adapt to their changing circumstances. Through investigating the cases of Coptic Christians in Egypt and Ezidis in Iraq, this article demonstrates that both of these communities have begun to connect their community interests with international political concerns and narratives through engaging with global media. Recent scholarship on indigenous media shows globalizing trends in media production and consumption have led indigenous media to increasingly tap into both national and global media to support their advocacy. In my case studies, the move to engage global media has particularly flourished since 2014 but the emphasis is on direct engagement with international political discourses through global media. Most notable is the mobilization of a campaign to recognize violence against Christians and Ezidis in the Middle East as genocide. The aims in engaging the international level differ between the Coptic and Ezidi cases. For Copts, there is a balance between raising the profile of violence against Copts in global media while employing narratives that support Egyptian state policies and strengthen pre-existing Coptic discourses of national belonging. Ezidi diaspora activists seek international protection and potentially an autonomous area in Iraq. This article argues that the differences in the terms and aims of global media engagement stem partly from the way the community perceives its status within the home nation, particularly with regards the notion of being a minority, as well as experiences of national belonging.

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.

Unity on Palestine Without Arab Unity? US Policy and the Post-Maksoud Arab World

By: Khalil Mousa Marrar

Published in Arab Studies Quarterly  Volume 39, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: Taking off from Clovis Maksoud’s idea about the centrality of the Palestinians to Arab unity, this article traces out the historic struggle between secular nationalism and Islamism throughout and after the Arab Spring-turned-Winter and the complex interactions with American foreign policy. The trajectory of Middle Eastern and North African countries and politicized identity within them are analyzed in relation to that unsettled context. The article concludes with an evaluation of the possibilities for moving beyond the violence and authoritarianism in the Arab world using the lessons imparted by Maksoud.

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.

Political parties in MENA: their functions and development

By: Raymond A. Hinnebusch

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 44, Issue 2 (2017)

Abstract: This article provides an overview of the development of parties and party systems in the MENA region from early oligarchic pluralism to the mass single-party systems of the populist era and the limited multi-party experiments of the 1990s era of political liberalization. The survey shows how parties develop in parallel with the deepening of politicization and become nearly indispensable adjuncts in the construction of political order. The article then examines parties in the post-2010 period, with case studies of Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia demonstrating how very different configurations of party development dramatically impact on regime trajectories, ranging from democratization to hybrid regimes.

Repression and Activism among the Arab Spring’s First Movers: Evidence from Morocco’s February 20th Movement

By: Adria K. Lawrence

Published in British Journal of Political Science Volume 47, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: Why are some people willing to initiate protest against authoritarian regimes? How does repression affect their willingness to act? Drawing on data from the Arab Spring protests in Morocco, this article argues first that activism is passed down from one generation to the next: first movers often came from families that had been punished for opposing the regime in the past. Secondly, repression during the Arab Spring was also counterproductive: those connected to first movers via Facebook supported renewed pro-democracy protests when informed of the regime’s use of repression in 2011. A regime that jails and beats political dissidents creates incentives for its citizens to oppose it; these abuses can come back to haunt the regime long after repression occurs.

Ties to the Rest: Autocratic Linkages and Regime Survival

By: Oisín Tansey, Kevin Koehler, Alexander Schmotz

Published in Comparative Political Studies Volume 50, Issue 9 (2017)

Abstract: The relationship between international linkages and the nature and survival of political regimes has gained increasing attention in recent years, but remains one that is poorly understood. In this article, we make three central contributions to our understanding of international linkage politics and autocratic regime survival. First, we introduce and develop the concept of “autocratic linkage,” and highlight its importance for understanding the international politics of autocratic survival. Second, we use event history analysis to demonstrate that autocratic linkage has a systematic effect on the duration of authoritarian regimes. Finally, we complement our quantitative analysis with a focused comparison of autocratic linkage politics in the Middle East. We show that variation in Saudi Arabian support for autocratic incumbents in the wake of the Arab Spring protests can be explained in significant part by variation in linkage relationships.

“Conventional” and “Virtual” Civil Societies in Autocratic Regimes

By: Mark R. Beissinger,

Published in Comparative Politics Volume 49, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: In recent years many non-democracies have witnessed the rapid growth of new social media that have, in a number of instances, become vehicles for civic activism, even in the presence of anemic “conventional” civil society association. Using evidence from Russia, Tunisia, Egypt, and Ukraine, this article explores the implications of “virtual” civil society for opposition politics in autocratic regimes. The rise of “virtual” civil society potentially presents autocratic regimes with new challenges for control over the streets. But a robust “virtual” civil society combined with a weak “conventional” civil society has a series of less positive consequences for oppositional politics, reinforcing weak political organization, breeding a false sense of representativeness, diluting collective identities within oppositions, and rendering mobilization over extended periods of time more difficult.

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.

Reforms in Morocco: monitoring the orbit and reading the trajectory

By: Mohamad al-Akhssassi

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

Abstract: Since 2011, Morocco has been undergoing a series of political, constitutional and institutional reforms, including the issue of rights. These reforms were a response to the February 20 movement that emerged against the background of the Arab Spring. Prompted by this movement and its nationwide protests, the King of Morocco delivered a speech in March 2011 on reform and modernization, resulting in the rapid drafting and adoption of a new Moroccan constitution in June 2011. After a referendum on the constitutional reforms in July 2011, parliamentary elections were held in which a coalition government led by the Justice and Development Party (JDP) came to power. This paper analyzes the context of the 2011 constitution and assesses the trajectory of the constitutional reforms up to 2015.

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

By: Gianni Del Panta

Published in Democratization Volume 24, Issue 6 (2017)

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

Online clustering, fear and uncertainty in Egypt’s transition

By: Marc Lynch, Deen Freelon, Sean Aday

Published in Democratization Volume 24, Issue 6 (2017)

Abstract: Does the uncertainty associated with post-authoritarian transitions cause political and social polarization? Does ubiquitous social media exacerbate these problems and thus make successful democratic transitions less likely? This article examines these questions in the case of Egypt between the 11 February 2011 fall of President Hosni Mubarak and the 3 July 2013 military coup, which overthrew President Mohamed el-Morsi. The analysis is based on a Twitter dataset including 62 million tweets by 7 million unique users. Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods, we demonstrate how clusters of users form and evolve over time, the density of interactions between them, and the flow of particular types of information through the clustered network structure. We show that the Egyptian Twitter public developed into increasingly isolated clusters of the like-minded which shared information unevenly. We argue that the growing distance between these clusters encouraged political conflict and facilitated the spread of fear and hatred, which ultimately undermined the democratic transition and won popular support for the military coup.

Associations and democracy in Algeria

By: Jessica Ayesha Northey

Published in Democratization Volume 24, Issue 2 (2017)

Abstract: What role does associational activism play in political life in the Middle East and North Africa? Have associations been largely co-opted, thus reinforcing authoritarian governance? Or are they part of drawn out democratization processes, emerging over the last two decades, exploding during the Arab Spring? Divergences in responses to these questions have been striking. From initial optimism about the potential of associations to contribute to democratization, much recent literature has been increasingly pessimistic, framing associations as part of the problem of failed political transformations. Algeria, in particular, despite minimal donor funding, has seen a surge in associations over the last 20 years. Yet, these 93,000 new associations have come under scrutiny. Building on extensive fieldwork, this article explores Algerian associations at grass-roots level, after the decade of violence in the 1990s. It analyses how associations challenged the state during the Arab Spring, how they question historical state narratives and challenge government policies. Despite political and structural obstacles, it is found that Algerian civic associations do not inhibit democratic society, indeed they enable it, not necessarily as transformative actors, but as meaningful democratic agents pushing for reform.

From the web to the streets: internet and protests under authoritarian regimes

By: Kris Ruijgrok

Published in Democratization Volume 24, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: This article systematically investigates the relationship between internet use and protests in authoritarian states and democracies. It argues that unlike in democracies, internet use has facilitated the occurrence of protests in authoritarian regimes, developing a theoretical rationale for this claim and substantiating it with robust empirical evidence. The article argues that whereas information could already flow relatively freely in democracies, the use of the internet has increased access to information in authoritarian regimes despite authoritarian attempts to control cyberspace. The article suggests this increased access to information positively affects protesting in authoritarian states via four complementary causal pathways: (1) by reducing the communication costs for oppositional movements; (2) by instigating attitudinal change; (3) decreasing the informational uncertainty for potential protesters; and (4) through the mobilizing effect of the spread of dramatic videos and images. These causal pathways are illustrated using anecdotal evidence from the Tunisian revolution (2010–2011). The general claim that internet use has facilitated the occurrence of protests under authoritarian rule is systematically tested in a global quantitative study using country-year data from 1990 to 2013. Internet use increases the expected number of protests in authoritarian states as hypothesized. This effect remains robust across a number of model specifications.

Conquering versus democratizing the state: political Islamists and fourth wave democratization in Turkey and Tunisia

By: Murat Somer

Published in Democratization Volume 24, Issue 6 (2017)

Abstract: What do we learn from Turkey and Tunisia regarding the relationship between political Islamism and democratization? Variables identified by current research such as autonomy, “moderation”, and cooperation with secular actors can cut both ways depending on various political-institutional conditions and prerogatives. Particularly, the article argues that preoccupation with “conquering the state from within as opposed to democratizing it” has been a key priority and intervening variable undermining the democratizing potential of the main Turkish and Tunisian political Islamic actors – primarily the AKP and Ennahda. These actors have prioritized acceptance by and ownership of their respective nation states over other goals and strategies, such as revolutionary takeover or Islamization of the state and confrontations with state elites. This has led to a relative neglect of designing and building institutions, whether for Islamic or democratic transformation. Hence, while contributing to democratization at various stages, these actors have a predisposition to adopt and regenerate, reframe and at times augment the authoritarian properties of their states. Research should ask how secular and religious actors can agree on institutions of vertical and horizontal state accountability that would help to address the past and present sources of the interest of political Islamists in conquering rather than democratizing the state.

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.

Cleansing the Nations of the “Dogs of Hell”: ‘Ali Jum’A’s Nationalist Legal Reasoning in Support of the 2013 Egyptian Coup and its Bloody Aftermath

By: David H. Warren

Published in International Journal of Middle East Studies  Volume 49, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: This article contributes to an emerging scholarly debate over the support displayed by key Azhari ʿulamaʾ for the 3 July 2013 coup in Egypt and the subsequent massacres of anticoup protesters. I focus on the Islamic legal justifications articulated by the former grand mufti of Egypt ʿAli Jumʿa, which academics have contextualized primarily in relation to quietist precedents from late medieval Islamic political thought or his Sufi background. By contrast, I consider Jumʿa’s justifications as representative of a nationalist discourse that has its historical origins in the protonationalism of Rifaʿa al-Tahtawi (d. 1873). My argument has wider implications for our conceptualization of the contemporary Islamic tradition. If, as scholars have argued, the Islamic tradition is a framework for inquiry rather than a set of doctrines, then in the 19th century a concern for the nation and its future became a key part of that framework. I contend that these additions came to redefine the worldview and politics of the ʿulamaʾ in terms of national progress and its horizon of expectations.

Political militaries in popular uprisings: A comparative perspective on the Arab Spring

By: Kevin Koehler

Published in International Political Science Review Volume 38, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: What determines whether militaries will defect from authoritarian incumbents during regime crises? Variance in military behavior in the Arab Spring has given rise to a debate around this issue. This article highlights weaknesses of the dominant explanation and develops an alternative account of military behavior in ‘endgame scenarios’. If militaries are politicized institutions that play a major role in regulating access to power under authoritarianism, they are more likely to intervene during normal times, but less likely to defect during mass uprisings. I quantitatively test this argument against data on military coups between 1975 and 2000 drawing on a new variable that allows me to explicitly model the impact of major regime crises. I illustrate the emergence of different forms of political–military relations and their consequences in the Arab Spring by drawing on evidence from Syria, Egypt, and Tunisia.

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.

Religious Freedom, the Arab Spring, and US Middle East Policy

By: Nilay Saiya

Published in International Politics Volume 54, Issue 1 (2017)

Abstract: This article examines the critically important but often neglected topic of religious freedom in the Middle East and North Africa in the context of the Arab Spring. While conceding that the Arab world generally suffers from a dearth of religious freedom, it argues that religious freedom is both achievable and necessary for regional peace and stability. The article concludes with some recommendations for American policymakers, proposing that one of the key ways the USA can foster climates conducive to American security interests is by taking religious freedom seriously as an instrument of foreign policy.

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.

Rethinking Global Civil Society and the Public Sphere in the Age of Pro-democracy Movements

By: Ramón A. Feenstra

Published in Journal of Civil Society Volume 13, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: Pro-democracy movements have recently emerged in various places worldwide. The Pots and Pans Revolution (Iceland), Arab Spring, 15M and the Occupy movement, Yo Soy132, and the Gezi Park, Hong Kong, and Nuit Debout protests are all movements which, despite their differences, share a number of dynamics, links, frames, and repertoires. Paradoxically, in the academic field, we have witnessed a strong critical positioning against the concept ‘global civil society’. The objective of this article is to reflect on the utility of this concept once again in light of recent developments and to respond to some sceptical positions. To meet this objective, a dialogue is established between civil society theories and progress made in the study of social movements. The public sphere notion (particularly its transnational dimension) becomes especially relevant for our discussion.

The Gezi Protests and the Europeanization of the Turkish Public Sphere

By: Isabel David, Gabriela Anouck Côrte-Real Pinto

Published in Journal of Civil Society Volume 13, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: This article investigates the extent to which Turkish civil society organizations (CSOs) represented at the 2013 Gezi Park protests reflect a Europeanization of the Turkish public sphere. The methodology consists of 14 semi-structured interviews conducted with leaders of CSOs that participated in the protests and one questionnaire sent to a member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Istanbul Youth board (and member of the Istanbul Bar Association). The findings of our research reveal differentiated patterns of Europeanization of the Turkish public sphere, depending on CSOs’ history, ideology, and multi-level relations with the European Union and the Turkish state. Conversely, pro- and anti-AKP CSOs converge on growing criticism of EU institutions.

Neoliberalism, the State and Economic Policy Outcomes in the Post-Arab Uprisings: The Case of Egypt

By: Angela Joya

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 22, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: Despite the radical upheavals during the revolution of 2011 whereby the Egyptian public rejected neoliberalism and authoritarianism, Egypt has reverted back to the neoliberal model of economic development. This paper discusses the reasons behind the resilience of neoliberalism focusing on the role of dominant economic ideas, the influence of international financial institutions in policy making and the challenging domestic political environment, which has so far precluded a break from the neoliberal model. The paper ends with a critical assessment of current policies and their broader social implications for different classes and groups in Egypt.

Between social contention and takfirism: the evolution of the Salafi-jihadi movement in Tunisia

By: Fabio Merone

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 22, Issue 1 (2017)

Abstract: This article analyses the evolution of the international jihadi movement during the Arab uprisings. It is based on the case study of Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia, which emerged in 2011 and disappeared in 2013, after it went through a process of failed institutionalization. I argue that, under certain circumstances, the jihadi movement can be institutionalized, i.e. transformed into a radical social movement in which violence is an undesirable option. In analysing the Tunisian case, I examine the ideology and social practices of the movement, showing how within the jihadi movement there coexists two tendencies: a social-political movement (social and popular consensus/ nationally based/ political strategy of the Islamic front) and a takfiri tendency (apocalyptic/ internationalist/ non-compromising). I finally use Hafez’s political process approach to show how the prevailing of one tendency over another depends on political opportunities.

Democratization in the Middle East and North Africa: A More Ambidextrous Process?

By: Philippe C. Schmitter, Nadine Sika

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 22, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: Democratization is always an ambidextrous process. On the one hand, it triggers a universalistic set of norms, events, processes and symbols. On the other hand, democratization involves a much more particularistic set of ‘realistic’ adaptations to the structures and circumstances of individual countries. In analysing the structures and conjunctures of countries in the Arab World during the past decades, scholars looked at them from the perspective of persistent authoritarianism. This essay exploits democratization theory – as well as its converse ‒ by analysing the universalistic set of events, processes and symbols of democratization elsewhere in the world, and then identifying the particularistic characteristics of timing, location and coincidence that seem likely to affect the political outcome of regime change in the countries affected by recent popular uprisings in the Arab World.

Beyond Structure and Contingency: Toward an Interactionist and Sequential Approach to the 2011 Uprisings

By: Mounia Bennani-Chraïbi

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 26, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: Taking as its starting point the mental earthquake produced by the 2011 uprisings, this article tackles the epistemological questions of causality and contingency in an effort to foster dialogue between comparative political regime studies, the sociology of revolutions and social movement literature. Based on a comparative analysis of three ‘positive cases’ (Egypt, Syria and Tunisia), and a ‘negative case’ (Morocco), it follows an interactionist and sequential approach to revolutionary situations. Its main objective is to expand the scope of the attempts aimed at reconciling structure and contingency, by focusing on the formation of large coalitions and the spread of mobilization on division or defection from within the repressive apparatus, and on the impact of crisis management by the incumbents. More specifically, the article highlights the fact that uncertainty affects not only the ‘actors from below,’ but also all the actors present: the challengers as much as the incumbents and their international allies, the ordinary citizens as well as the officers and the recruits.

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

By: Miriyam Aouragh

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

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

The Tunisian Revolution & Governance of Religion

By: Teije Hidde Donker, Kasper Ly Netterstrøm

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

Abstract: This article examines how the Tunisian revolution and subsequent political transition has influenced the relationship between state power and Islam. It aims to provide an in-depth and historically informed analysis of these relations through an exploration of one specific case: The attempts by successive Ministers of Religious Affairs to reform the state’s management of Tunisian religious institutions after January 2011. The article builds on multiple fieldwork visits to Tunisia by both authors, in addition to an extensive set of primary and secondary sources. The authors argue that relations between state and religious authority have changed considerably throughout the 2011–2015 period, and that a wide variety of actors, interests and political conflicts intersected with the question of state-religion relations. The fact that non-Islamist actors played such a crucial role in shaping the governance of Tunisian religious institutions underlines the necessity for scholars to give more attention to the role non-Islamist actors play in the institutionalization of public religion in Arab and Muslim majority countries.

Compressing Scales: Characters and Situations in Egyptian Internet Humor

By: Chihab El Khachab

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 26, Issue 4 (2017)

Abstract: This article examines common political assumptions made in Egyptian internet comics, mainstream television discourse, and everyday conversation in Cairo. These assumptions compress local, national, and global scales of analysis into a manageable set of characters (e.g., the President, the People) interacting in everyday situations. Arguing against psychological interpretations, the article highlights the social and historical context within which humor is ‘entextualized’ on par with television and everyday discourse, based on an analysis of a selection of Egyptian internet comics, television moments, and political talk in Cairo between 2013 and 2015.

Territory, Sovereignty, and New Statehood in the Middle East and North Africa

By: Ariel I. Ahram

Published in Middle East Journal Volume 71, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: This article examines the interaction between territory, sovereignty, and statehood in the Middle East and North Africa. Various groups have aspired — and have failed — to become states since the contemporary regional system’s inception after World War I. Since the 2011 uprisings, movements claiming territory and sovereignty have emerged or become more viable throughout the region, including the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Rojava, Cyrenaica, Azawad, and the Kurdistan Regional Government. Each poses different challenges to the regional system and holds out different hopes for rectifying historical missteps in state-building.

Aiding Activism? Humanitarianism’s Impacts on Mobilized Syrian Refugees in Jordan

By: Rana B. Khoury

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 9, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: A common narrative of the Syrian conflict suggests that it began with a grassroots uprising and devolved into a violent war between armed actors, leaving civilians to become victims or warriors. A more careful consideration of developments in and around Syria uncovers evidence of continued unarmed mobilization among civilians. Indeed, refugees in neighboring countries like Jordan are deeply engaged in humanitarian, developmental, and political endeavors. In this study, qualitative research and a unique survey together demonstrate that Syrians in Jordan have engaged in abundant activism on behalf of the Syrian cause. Still, the overwhelming militarism and humanitarianism that have characterized the Syrian crisis have had their impacts: activist organization is constricted and configured by security imperatives and, paradoxically, by the aid regime assisting civilians in the conflict. In turn, activism has evolved from grassroots mobilization to a formal and aid-based response to a humanitarian crisis.

The Southern Transitional Council: Implications for Yemen’s Peace Process

By: Robert Forster

Published in Middle East Policy Volume 24, Issue 3 (2017)

Abstract: This paper addresses the emergence of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) in Southern Yemen and assesses how to understand its significance in the current attempt to end the conflict. Providing background and an analysis of the Council and the cause of its emergence, the paper argues that the STC case is useful for considering, more generally, how sub-state political settlements emerging during conflict can help or hurt conflict resolution attempts at the national level.

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.

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

By: Pete W. Moore

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

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

The “Enemy Within”: Citizenship-Stripping in the Post–Arab Spring GCC

By: Zahra Babar

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

Abstract: This article reviews the impact of the Arab Spring on citizenship rights throughout the Gulf states, drawing on both internal and external dimensions of security that have become inextricably linked with notions of who has the right to maintain their citizenship. In particular, the article focuses on the phenomenon of citizenship revocation as a mode of disciplining behavior considered to be inconsistent with established norms of state-citizen relations in this region.

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.

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

By: Hannes Baumann

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

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

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

By: Billie Jeanne Brownlee

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

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

Policing neoliberalism in Egypt: the continuing rise of the ‘securocratic’ state

By: Maha Abdelrahman

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

Abstract: This article examines the increasing power of the police, their centrality to the reproduction of the neoliberal global order and their dynamic relationship with various elements of the ruling elite. It focuses on the case of the post-2011 uprising in Egypt to examine how the police institution has taken advantage of the uprising to increase its power and relative autonomy. The article demonstrates the centrality of the police to the Sisi regime’s efforts at reducing political discourse to an inflated and simplistic concept of ‘security’ in an attempt to establish its long-term legitimacy.

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.

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.

Foreign Policy as a Source of Legitimation for “Competitive Authoritarian Regimes”: The Case of Turkey’s AKP

By: Cengiz Günay

Published in Georgetown Journal of International Affairs Volume 17, Issue 2 (2016)

Abstract: Turkey’s ruling party, AKP, has used foreign policy as one of its primary instruments for consolidating domestic political support and monopolizing power in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Defiance of Western hegemony and references to the imperial Ottoman past have helped to replace Kemalist narratives and to override growing social divides within the country. As a result, Erdoğan’s hold on power is strengthened, since the AKP’s political contestation has been almost exclusively limited to elections.

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

By: Amir M. Kamel

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

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

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.

Mobilized publics in Post-Qadhafi Libya: the emergence of new modes of popular protest in Tripoli and Ubari

By: Rafaa Tabib

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

Abstract: As the formal transformation process in Libya faltered and political and local elites were locked in contestation over shares of power and resources, spaces opened for non-formal movements of citizens pushing to exert influence on the political sphere, and to pursue their interests vis-à-vis state institutions with hitherto unknown forms of contentious action. This article investigates two distinctively different examples of such initiatives: on the one hand, the movement against militia rule and the extension of the mandate of the General National Congress (GNC) that emerged in Tripoli in the fall of 2013 and organized demonstrations for new elections throughout the spring of 2014. On the other, a movement for more equitable access to resources and citizenship rights that emerged in the provincial town of Ubari in the Fezzan region and gained momentum in late 2013 through the (largely peaceful) disruption of oil production. The chapter argues that through their mobilization capacities and innovative forms of contentious action, both movements compelled political and institutional actors to recognize mobilized publics as a force to reckon with, and modify the ways they interact with citizens and the general public.

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.

The feminist movement during the AKP era in Turkey: challenges and opportunities

By: Melinda Negrón-Gonzales

Published in Middle Eastern Studies Volume 52, Issue 2 (2016)

Abstract: This article explores women’s rights activism in Turkey during the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) time in power (2002–present). A comparative analysis of three feminist campaigns for policy reform shows that in a context in which majority public opinion and the policy preferences of the ruling party militate against feminist policy proposals, a strong political ally (the European Union) was necessary to generate a policy change. The article also argues that the political opportunity structures within which feminists are embedded have been reconfigured over the course of the AKP’s three terms in power, leaving the AKP in a stronger position to resist feminists’ demands. This explains the paradox of an internally stronger and more dynamic social movement that, nevertheless, appears to have weakened vis-à-vis the state. Furthermore, because some recent legal reforms do not significantly reflect the AKP’s or much of the public’s preferences, the movement has been less able to generate implementation of recent policy changes.

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.

The Project of Advanced Regionalisation in Morocco: Analysis of a Lampedusian Reform

By: Raquel Ojeda García, Ángela Suárez Collado

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

Abstract: This article examines the project of advanced regionalisation in Morocco, in which the King Mohammed VI plays a key role. Through a comparative analysis of the adjustments and resiliencies of the project, contrasted with previous regionalisation reforms, the article contends that contention dynamics in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt have had a relevant impact on the way in which the project made its way in the Moroccan institutional sphere. The article finds that the eruption of the Arab Uprisings in North Africa and protests in Morocco has been a key factor in paradoxically fostering the king’s power, allowing him to consolidate himself as the unique driving force behind the reform of regional administration.

Enduring Class Struggle in Tunisia: The Fight for Identity beyond Political Islam

By: Fabio Merone

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

Abstract: This article examines the emergence of Salafism and the post-Ben Ali process of institution-building through the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion that have their origin in the Bourguibian period. While Al-Nahda compromised with opposition secular parties accomplishing the integration of a moderate Islamist middle-class excluded from power since independence, continuous political mobilisation and urban revolt in parallel with the liberalisation of the public space gave birth to a new radical Islamic subject, Ansar al-Sharia, which represents disenfranchised lower classes that remain excluded from enjoying the benefits of the revolution. The article highlights how this exclusion is in continuity with Tunisia’s modern history, where the threat of radical Islamism has often been deployed to mystify social class exclusion.

Shifting Priorities or Business as Usual? Continuity and Change in the post-2011 IMF and World Bank Engagement with Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt

By: Adam Hanieh

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

Abstract: Following the popular uprisings that erupted across North Africa in 2010 and 2011, international financial institutions have embarked on a significant re-engagement with governments in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. New lending arrangements and project initiatives by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, in particular, have emphasised a supposed turn towards pro-poor policies, social inclusion and public engagement with economic decision-making. This article analyses the content and logic of IMF and World Bank lending to these three countries, examining whether this re-engagement represents a substantive shift away from the neoliberal policies that characterised pre-2011 IFI relationships with the region.

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

By: Raymond Hinnebusch

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

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

From Reform to Resistance: Universities and Student Mobilisation in Egypt and Morocco before and after the Arab Uprisings

By: Florian Kohstall

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

Abstract: University students played a pivotal role in the Arab uprisings in 2011. This article explores the link between reform policies and social mobilisation through a comparison of university reforms and student protests in Egypt and Morocco. It argues that both—the fabrication of social policies and the formation of protest—are rooted in the specific political configuration of authoritarian regimes. Egypt and Morocco have both embarked on internationalising higher education, but the monarchy was more successful in embracing change through a more pluralistic type of governance. Hence, Morocco was able to escape the disruptive dynamics of the uprising, unlike Egypt, which was more reluctant to establish a new type of governance.

Labour Demands, Regime Concessions: Moroccan Unions and the Arab Uprising

By: Matt Buehler

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

Abstract: This article investigates how public employee unions mobilised to take advantage of Morocco’s Arab uprising. Leveraging their positions as operators of public institutions, these unionists exploited the unrest to strategically advance their interests. Two points emerge from this account of state—labour relations in Morocco. First, a spike in labour contestation began in early 2010, presaging the unrest that rocked Moroccan cities in 2011. Second, the unions secured their demands through traditional tactics of labour mobilisation—joining street protests, exaggerating material demands, and threatening negotiation walkouts. This strategy, however, became more efficacious during the Arab uprising. Fearing urban riots that had historically grown from labour protests since the 1980s, regime elites conceded to union demands, many of which they had previously rejected in the 2000s.

The New Landscape of Jordanian Politics: Social Opposition, Fiscal Crisis, and the Arab Spring

By: Sean L. Yom

Published in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 42, Issue 3 (2015)

Abstract: The absence of regime change in Jordan during the Arab Spring obscured two critical trends transforming political order in this authoritarian kingdom. First, new opposition forces demanding democratic reform mobilized, within not only the youth population but also East Bank tribal communities long assumed to be citadels of loyalty. Second, worsening fiscal dysfunction and budgetary pressure have amplified the state’s institutional weakness, and precluded the possibility that increased foreign aid could buy off dissent. Such possibilities require a serious reassessment about the foundations of stability in this kingdom. This double bind presents a nascent opportunity with profound ramifications: in the near future, the Hashemite monarchy may be forced to initiate credible political reform, because even a diminished autocracy is superior to a collapsing regime mired in mass insurrection.

Journalism in Jordan: A comparative analysis of press freedom in the post-Arab spring environment

By: Matt J. Duffy, Hadil Maarouf

Published in Global Media Journal (2015)

Abstract: Not available

Multiplicities of Purpose: The Auditorium Building, the State, and the Transformation of Arab Digital Media

By: David Faris

Published in International Journal of Middle East Studies Volume 47, Issue 2 (2015)

Abstract: Digital media played a key role in a number of uprisings that later became known as the Arab Spring. Now that this moment of resistance has largely given way to a tumultuous and unsettled regional order, we can ask what role these media forms are playing in the new ecology of the postuprisings Middle East. I would argue that we are witnessing a period of experimentation—journalists are attempting to generate both revenue and dissent under circumstances that range from unsettled (Tunisia) to increasingly repressive (Jordan), while proto-state actors and transnational jihadis are exploiting social media to attract supporters and influence diverse audiences. What is clear is that in many states the digital arrangement that characterized the 2000s—activist bloggers squaring off openly with recalcitrant and often clueless states—is gone. States are now more aware of and careful about the strategies they employ vis-à-vis digital dissent. In places such as Egypt, some of the most vocal activists are in prison. In Jordan, they have returned to producing journalism that skirts the line between tolerated and forbidden. Across the region digital media activists are grappling with disillusionment about the trajectory of the Arab Spring, while digital spaces are sites for transnational contestation, including by the most successful challenger to the state system since Jamal ʿAbd al-Nasir in the 1950s, the Islamic State (IS). ʿAbd al-Nasir famously used radio to breach the information firewalls erected by new Arab states. IS has similarly employed the technologies of the day to execute a plan of even greater ambition and reach—far from reaching out only across national boundaries within the subsystem, IS militants have crafted a transnational media operation of remarkable scope, one that has drawn tens of thousands of recruits not only from the Middle East but also from Europe, the United States, and Asia.

Does Coup-Proofing Work? Political–Military Relations in Authoritarian Regimes amid the Arab Uprisings

By: Holger Albrecht

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

Abstract: The popular mass uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) call into question the assumption, widespread prior to the “Arab Spring”, that militaries in these countries were subservient to civilianized and consolidated authoritarian regime incumbents. In most countries militaries have stepped in to suppress uprisings, replace incumbents, or cause civil wars. The analysis of political-military relations explains the immediate outcome of popular mass mobilization in the MENA region and helps re-conceptualize coup-proofing as an important authoritarian survival strategy. Accounting for variation in the degree of officers’ loyalty toward incumbents provides an opportunity to test the efficacy of coup-proofing. The article accounts for questions largely ignored in the theoretical literature: which coup-proofing mechanisms work best, and under which circumstances? In a qualitative comparison of Egypt and Syria, the article illustrates that authoritarian regimes have applied fundamentally different coup-proofing strategies. The Syrian regime has engineered integrative strategies to tie officers closer to the incumbent, provoking a greater degree of loyalty during regime crisis than in Egypt where officers were excluded from politics.

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.

Periphery Discourse: An Alternative Media Eye on the Geographical, Social and Media Peripheries in Egypt’s Spring

By: Khaled Elghamry

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

Abstract: The growing literature on the use of social media for social protests generally, and during the Arab Spring in particular, has generally failed to show a periphery-inclusive perspective. This article employs statistical data on the use of alternative media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube) in Egypt’s spring to show how an alternative media structure was expanding which not only empowered social and geographic peripheral actors but was, in turn, also empowered by their contributions. YouTube videos and Twitter messages from peripheral areas exposed police brutality towards protestors in the backstreets that could otherwise have been unnoticed and saved lives in isolated areas in Egypt. Social media thus gained critical mass and expanded to the point that it had an overflow effect from the virtual sphere to the real world. Contrasting the roles of alternative and state-run media machines in different phases of the revolution, the article traces how peripheries could challenge the existing opportunity structure through alternative media, but also how their role has contracted again after the revolution reached its peak.

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.

Territorial Stress in Morocco: From Democratic to Autonomist Demands in Popular Protests in the Rif

By: Ángela Suárez Collado

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

Abstract: This article analyses the evolution of popular protest in the Rif within the Moroccan context of contention. It considers the specificity of the demands expressed and the strategies for mobilization adopted as a result of a long-term process of regional activism. The article finds that protesters in the Rif have had agency to conduct their own strategies, using the opportunity structure opened at state level to advance their own agenda. The pre-existing mobilizing structures and the reproduction of patterns of centre–periphery tension in the course of the contention have fostered a progressive localization of protest in the region, which has strengthened regional identity and regionalist activism in the Rif.

Democracy Without Social Justice: Marginalization of Social and Economic Rights in EU Democracy Assistance Policy after the Arab Uprisings

By: Andrea Teti

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

Abstract: Although EU democracy assistance (DA) policy has been criticized both before and after the Arab Uprisings for reflecting a one-size-fits-all (neo) liberal script, there is little detailed exploration of how exactly EU policy is ‘liberal’. With this objective, this article examines the conceptual structure of ‘democracy’ in key policy documents. It finds that the ideas of democracy and its promotion remain virtually unchanged after the uprisings. Specifically, the analysis shows that, first, democracy is understood as involving a balance between state and civil society. Second, that while the indivisibility of human rights—particularly civil, political, social, and economic—is proclaimed, civil and political rights far outweigh social and economic rights in their importance vis-à-vis democracy in EU policy. Third, that the role of socio-economic rights progressively is being marginalized as individual policy documents develop. Fourth, that conceptions of civil society in these documents marginalize trade unions and other actors focusing on socio-economic rights. Finally, that socio-economic issues gradually are being redefined as matters not of rights but of trade and aid. This fundamentally reverses the moral economy of obligations attached to socio-economic issues: from a focus on would-be democratizing populations as right-bearers to their reconceptualization as morally and financially indebted recipients of charity.

Covering Libya: A Framing Analysis of Al Jazeera and BBC Coverage of the 2011 Libyan Uprising and NATO Intervention

By: Sumaya Al Nahed

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 24, Issue 3 (2015)

Abstract: This article examines the broadcast coverage by Al Jazeera and the BBC of the 2011 uprising in Libya and the ensuing NATO intervention in the country. Through a comparative analysis of Al Jazeera Arabic, Al Jazeera English, BBC Arabic, and BBC World News, the article evaluates the impact of these two networks’ political contexts on their coverage. Both Al Jazeera and the BBC are based in countries that were active participants in the 2011 NATO intervention, Al Jazeera in Qatar and the BBC in the UK. Thus, the 2011 Libyan uprising and NATO intervention presents a prime opportunity to evaluate how the political contexts of these two networks affected their coverage. The sample under study covered a period of roughly four weeks and was analyzed by means of a framing analysis, whereby framing refers to the way a news story is packaged, organized, and narrated. Ultimately, the study found that the coverage of both these networks was aligned with the national and foreign policy interests of their home countries, making their political contexts the main influence on their news agendas. News frames across the sample reflected coverage that was largely supportive of the aims of opposition and the intervention.

The European Mediterranean Policy after the Arab Spring: Beyond Values and Interests

By: Patricia Bauer

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

Abstract: The article attempts to combine findings from transition studies, Middle East Studies and European Studies in the framework of a historical institutionalist approach in order to explain political output and interaction in Euro-Mediterranean relations. Its focus is on the impact of domestic political structures and processes of transition in the Arab world as well as inside the European Union on the interaction structures in Mediterranean politics. The approach aims to explain change and persistence in the Euro-Mediterranean policy arena not by single incidents but by drawing a complex picture of the development of political and social institutions and introducing the concepts of path dependency and critical junctures. The objective of the article is to formulate a theoretical research program for Euro-Mediterranean relations that identify the institutional structures behind the phenomenological level of analyzing politics as the interactions of interests and values.

Regime Adaptability and Political Reconfigurations following the Arab Spring: New Challenges for EU Foreign Policies toward the Mediterranean

By: Peter Seeberg

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

Abstract: The article discusses the post-Arab Spring scenario in the MENA region and the EU policies in relation to the changing realities. I contend that the authoritarian states have demonstrated abilities to adapt to the new challenges. Through political reconfigurations the Arab states are able to maintain what some scholars have called a ‘recombinant authoritarian’ rule. The article analyzes how, faced with changes following the revolts in 2011 in the Maghreb and the Mashreq, the EU attempted a revitalization of former normative approaches but has not been able to develop strategies to deal with the situation. The article concludes that an EU consensus in connection with the recent significant developments in the Arab Mediterranean states is only partly a reality and that to some degree this can be explained by the constant changes in the situation of several MENA states, all of which effectively seem to prevent the EU from adopting long-term strategies vis-à-vis the Middle East.

Beyond Crisis Management: Governments, Academics, and Strategic Thinking about the Arab Uprisings

By: Jane Kinninmont

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

Abstract: The Arab uprisings prompted the promise of a grand rethink of Western policy towards the region, but four years on there is still a lack of new thinking about new Western strategic approaches to the region, as policymakers have been stretched by the need for immediate, emergency responses to the subsequent series of interconnected crises. This paper lays out some of the differences and overlaps between academic researchers and government policymakers in terms of their interests and approaches. It goes on to identify some of the research that helped to explain – and sometimes presage – the uprisings, and the gaps that became evident in policy analysis. It considers how research interactions have changed as a result, but also how changes to policymakers’ research approaches or analytical frameworks have been limited, as policymakers have been preoccupied with short-term responses to pressing conflicts and crises. Given the different timescales that governments and academic researchers work to, much of the research on the Arab uprisings is only being published now, at a time when the policy agenda has largely moved on to counterterrorism and stabilisation. Yet it remains vitally important to understand the causes of the 2011 unrest, especially as many of the same grievances persist and continue to drive challenges to the status quo, even if these now take different forms to the large-scale, coalition-based and largely peaceful mass protests seen in 2011.

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.

The Impact of the Arab Spring on the Political Future of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East: Jordan as a Case Study

By: Abdelmahdi Alsoudi

Published in Middle East Review of International Affairs Volume 19, Issue 3 (2015)

Abstract: The events of the Arab Spring have led to new political realities in the Arab world and paved the way for the Muslim Brotherhood to form short-lived governments in Tunisia and Egypt. Encouraged by these developments, the Brotherhood in Jordan played a leading role in the uprising there, adopted extreme positions, and boycotted the 2010 and 2013 parliamentary elections. The movement today is in open confrontation with the Jordanian regime and suffers from internal division and conflict. The disastrous outcome of the Arab Spring for Syria, Libya, and Yemen, as well as the banning of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE has weakened the movement’s political influence in the region, especially in Jordan. Its political future in Jordan now depends on government policy and the unfolding of internal crisis within the movement. This article argues that the Arab Spring has had a serious negative impact on the Brotherhood both in Jordan and in the region and that serious efforts would be required to restore its previous political role and influence.

Unexpected Brokers of Mobilization: Contingency and Networks in the 2011 Egyptian Uprising

By: Killian Clarke

Published in Comparative Politics Volume 46, Issue 4 (2014)

Abstract: Before 2011, Egyptian society was seen as weak and fragmented, capable only of mounting limited collective challenges to a powerful and repressive authoritarian state. The uprising of 2011 therefore came as a shock, raising profound questions about how such an ostensibly weak society could generate the kind of mobilization necessary to overwhelm the Egyptian regime’s feared security apparatus. In this article, I argue that this unexpected uprising was made possible by a sudden and ultimately contingent set of changes in the configuration of Egypt’s social structures. I show how the success of the revolution in neighboring Tunisia catalyzed a rapid shift in the perceptions and considerations of a set of strategically positioned actors, who began serving as brokers between three otherwise autonomous social sectors.

Libya’s Arab Spring: The Long Road from Revolution to Democracy

By: Larbi Sadiki

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

Abstract: This article presents a critical account of Libya’s incipient democratization, contextualizing it within the Arab Spring élan. This first line of inquiry is twofold: it critically assesses the meaning of democratization in the context of the Arab Middle East (AME), and briefly considers issues related to democratic knowledge and the Orientalist–Occidentalist inputs into this debate. Then, it situates this debate within the ‘Arab Spring’, looking at Western negative impressions of Arab revolts. A second line of inquiry is also twofold: While assessing the steps taken on the road to democratic reconstruction, it offers an unorthodox perspective on the North African country’s transition. To this end, the article concludes that even violence is part and parcel of the process of power redistribution and reconstitution of a new polity. From this angle, whilst Libya’s first election in nearly 50 years represents a step in the right direction along the path of political renewal, forms of unruliness—regional, religious or tribal—challenge Euro-American views of democracy as a single and fixed type of regime that precludes forms of disorder. In fact, unruliness has accompanied Libya’s long and arduous process of ousting Gaddafi from power; this continues and will mark the transition process for sometime in the foreseeable future.

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.

The Politics of Foreign Aid and the European Neighbourhood Policy Post-Arab Spring: ‘More for More’ or Less of the Same?

By: Federica Bicchi

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

Abstract: This contribution assesses the practices of EU aid to Arab countries in the Mediterranean in the post-Arab spring context, and in particular the role of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). It looks at the institutional practices relevant to EU foreign policy vis-à-vis Arab countries, the main ENP policy tenets (often summarized in the ‘more for more’ motto) and the financial practices of committing and disbursing funds on the ENP Instrument. It shows that while there has been a proliferation of institutional actors and a nominal increase in the amount of funds available, the policy tenets did not change and the rate of funds disbursed actually worsened – a situation better described as ‘less of the same’.

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.

Pluralism and Minorities in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia

By: Nadia Marzouki

Published in Middle East Law and Governance Volume 6, Issue 1 (2014)

Abstract: Not available

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

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

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

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

By: Hannah Bargawi

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

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

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.

From TUNeZINE to Nhar 3la 3mmar: A Reconsideration of the Role of Bloggers in Tunisia’s Revolution

By: Amy Aisen Kallander

Published in Arab Meda & Society Issue 17 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

Revolutionary Media on a Budget: Facebook-only Social Journalism

By: Yomna Elsayed

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 17 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

A Revolutionary Role or a Remnant of the Past? The Future of the Egyptian Journalist Syndicate after the January 25th Revolution

By: Miriam Berger

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 18 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

How Social Media Can Shape a Protest Movement: The Cases of Egypt in 2011 and Iran in 2009

By: Felix Tusa

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 17 (2013)

Abstract: This article will explore the effect of social media and Internet-based communication on social movements. It will do this by looking at two major processes of social movements—framing and organizing—in two case studies: the protests in Egypt from December 2010 to February 2011 (during the Arab Spring), and the post-election protests in Iran in 2009 that became known as the beginning of the Green Movement. The article will use this comparison and examination to determine how computer- mediated communication (CMC) was used in Iran in 2009 and in Egypt during the Arab Spring. These examples will also reveal whether CMC is most effective in framing a protest movement or organizing it; and to what extent this usage explains the success or failure of these protest movements

Is the Egyptian Press Ready for Democracy? Evaluating Newspaper Coverage as an Indicator of Democratization

By: Noah Rayman

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 17 (2013)

Abstract: If the Egyptian transition to democracy is to succeed, social institutions like the press will have to embrace their democratic responsibilities. In this paper, I look for signs of change in the post-Revolution press as an indicator of the progress of Egyptian democratization. During interviews conducted over the summer of 2011 with journalists and media experts in Egypt, I found that the press was still constrained by low journalistic standards and continued government interference. But the newspapers’ content tells a different story. Digitally combing through five years of coverage from the independent newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm’s online archives (comprising more than a quarter of a million articles), this study determined that coverage in the six months after the Revolution heavily converged on political topics that were formerly off limits. This newspaper replaced trivial reporting on culture and entertainment with coverage of the protests, political players like the Muslim Brotherhood, and the branches of government. These stories put pressure on the emerging government and set a precedent for political coverage under the new democratic regime. The evolution of Al-Masry Al-Youm’s coverage suggests that the newspaper is beginning to play a democratizing role, indicating that Egypt is progressing along the path to democracy

Online Mobilization in Times of Conflict: A Framing-Analysis Perspective

By: Mohamed Ben Moussa

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 17 (2013)

Abstract: The pro-democracy popular uprisings gripping the Arab world have ended or are seriously threatening long-entrenched dictatorships and repressive regimes. The uprisings have also been dubbed Facebook and Twitter revolutions, highlighting the role of the Internet in political advocacy and change. The use of the Internet in collective action in the Arab region is not a recent phenomenon, since the technology has marked mediated politics in the region during the last decade. However, scholarly research on the subject remains insufficient and more important, largely under-theorized. To address these lacunas, this article analyzes the role of the Internet in political advocacy in a Muslim majority society (the Moroccan one) through social movement theory and framing analysis.This article differentiates between various levels of mobilization to which the Internet contributes, and sheds light on its potential as a technology and political medium for collective action framing. Focusing on the case of Moroccan social movements and their framing of the 2009 Gaza war, the piece aims to analyze how the Internet contributes to the capacity of oppositional civil society groups to challenge political, social and cultural injustices at the local, regional and international levels. This article argues that as the Internet becomes the central medium of political advocacy in the region, it increasingly shapes the organizational structure, boundaries and tactics of oppositional social movements and thus contributes to determining the outcome of their struggles.

The Arab Spring and the Uncivil State

By: Jacqueline S. Ismael, Shereen T. Ismael

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

Abstract: This article examines the ongoing Arab Spring uprisings. The Arab Spring is characterized as a fundamental challenge to the postcolonial political order of the Arab world. The postcolonial Arab world has been defined by its oppressive nature and its subjugation within the international system. This autocratic and peripheral order represents the political legacy of colonial rule, where the postcolonial regimes inherited and refined the repressive techniques of the colonial regimes while, owing to international developments, reinforcing their subjugated status within the international system. The Arab Spring has, thus, represented an attempt to chart an independent path in Arab politics, marked by efforts towards democracy and civil rights. The successes and failures of the Arab Spring are critically evaluated, paying special attention to the role played by Islamist political actors. Beyond an evaluation of the domestic factors behind the various protests, the regional significance of the uprisings is evaluated, providing discussion of counterrevolutionary forces and political-sectarian developments.

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.

New Media, the “Arab Spring,” and the Metamorphosis of the Public Sphere: Beyond Western Assumptions on Collective Agency and Democratic Politics

By: Armando Salvatore

Published in Constellations Volume 20, Issue 2 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

News Coverage Analysis of SNSs and the Arab Spring: Using Mixed Methods

By: Chung Joo Chung, Sung-Ho Cho

Published in Global Media Journal Volume 12, Issue 23 (2013)

Abstract: This study evaluates the role of mass media messages and social network services (SNSs) in the Middle East, a region largely ingroed in this context, by considering four major U.S. newspapers covering the Arab spring and the issue of SNS-driven changes in authoritarian countries. It uses a mixed method approach combing the traditional content and the semantic network analyses. the results indicate a dramatic increase in recent years in attention to Facebook and Twitter as instruments for political revolution in the Arab world and several authoritarian countries in Asia and Africa. Newspaper varied in the presentation, but all framed the advents of SNSs as new media and technologies for information seeking and communication.

Al-Jazeera, Advocacy and Media Value Determinism Re-conceptualizing the Network’s Coverage of the Arab Spring of Revolutions

By: Mahmoud M. Galander

Published in Global Media Journal Volume 12, Issue 22 (2013)

Abstract: This article uses a new theoretical perspective developed by an Arab scholar to investigate the news coverage of the Arab spring in Al-Jazeera (Arabic), in search of a style of coverage that may be qualified as socioreligiously based brand of advocacy journalism. Two news genres, news cast and news report are analyzed to demonstrate that the coverage does not fit “objective” news reporting as defined in journalism literature, but much resembles advocacy style. Rationale for the channel’s adoption of the style is discussed within the theory of “media value determinism,” (MVD).

Dynamics of Social media, Politics and Public policy in the Arab World

By: David C. Coulson

Published in Global Media Journal Volume 12, Issue 22 (2013)

Abstract: Not available

Disarming Libya? A reassessment after the Arab Spring

By: Nathan E. Busch, Joseph F. Pilat

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

Abstract: In 2011, several months after a popular revolt overturned the Gaddafi regime in Libya, Libya’s new National Transitional Council announced the discovery of what was later confirmed to be an undeclared stockpile of chemical weapons. This was a startling announcement to many observers, since Libya had publicly renounced its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programmes in 2003 and had apparently dismantled the programmes soon after. Although the Libyan case had repeatedly been referred to as a positive ‘model’ for nonproliferation—an instance where a country had voluntarily and peacefully rolled back its WMD programs—this recent discovery forces us to wonder whether the Libyan ‘model’ really was as successful as initially described. This article examines the successes, challenges and lessons that can be learned from the Libyan case of WMD renunciation and verification. As one model of cooperative verification, the Libyan case highlights not only the opportunities afforded by monitoring and verification regimes, but also some of the difficulties that any such regime will encounter in real-world circumstances, however positive.

From revolutions to constitutions: the case of Egypt

By: Anthony F. Lang Jr.

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

Abstract: This article explores the transition from revolutions to constitutions in Egypt. In order to understand the current transition, the article compares events since 2011 to the 1919 constitutional revolution and the 1952 Free Officers’ Movement. In comparing these three revolutionary periods and the constitutions they produced, the article makes two overarching claims: first, a constitution does not arise from the fiat of wise lawgivers or experts in the rule of law. Rather, it emerges from a contentious political process in which competing agents and institutions seek to promote their own interests. This competitive process, however, is actually beneficial to constitution-making, constitutional politics and political life more widely. Second, the article highlights that while the political dynamics of constitution-making in Egypt reveal domestic politics, the process of constitution-making also demonstrates how such dynamics take place in a global political context. Together, these two claims point up that constitutionalism is just as much a political movement as a legal doctrine.

Social Media in Egypt’s Transition Period

By: Yosra Abdel Sattar El Gendi

Published in Khamasin (2013)

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

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

By: Gerasimos Tsourapas

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

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

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.

A Digital Humanities Approach: Text, the Internet, and the Egyptian Uprising

By: Laila Shereen Sakr

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

Abstract: Can Twitter really bring a dictator to his knees? Does YouTube stream information that is more influential than traditional news providers such as the New York Times? In the mainstream media debate between Clay Shirky and Malcolm Gladwell about whether “the revolution will be tweeted,” both pundits make confidently totalizing arguments (see Malcolm Gladwell (2010) Small Change: Why the Revolutions Will Not Be Tweeted, The New Yorker (October 4), available online at:; and Clay Shirky (2011) The Political Power of Social Media, Foreign Affairs (Jan./Feb.). In contrast, this article presents a micro-study of the hashtag (#) Tahrir using an emergent method of cultural analytics and a repository developed by a digital Arabic knowledge management system—a body of work that coheres dissimilar elements not into a single idea, but rather into a heterogeneous network. It may be difficult to make direct correlations between the rise of revolutionary movements made manifest through large-scale street actions and the adoption of newly distributed communication practices around information technologies, but researchers can examine how verbal acts of protest can be conceptualized, facilitated, staged, ignored, negated, or thwarted in a culture of accelerated mediation and acknowledge the potential fragmentation of publics, the seeming disappearance of the civic, and, possibly, the dissolution of the nation-state in the shifts of globalization.

Music of Dissent and Revolution

By: Kerim Bouzouita

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

Abstract: Since January 2011, the world has witnessed, via the media, the Arab uprisings. The role of music, and art more broadly, in these political upheavals is undoubtedly subject to many debates. Yet, the focus on now well-known artists who came to prominence during the protests obscures the much deeper and more conflicted role of music in the wider protests, no more so than in Tunisia. This article explores the inner political practices of the Tunisian underground music in its prehistory vis-a`-vis the revolution and during the most important protests. It highlights the connection between music and the social web and discusses the implications of that dynamic while raising larger questions about the nature of social relationships, identities and new practices of power in what I term the ‘new public cyberspace.’

The Threat to Un-Moderate: Moroccan Islamists and the Arab Spring

By: Matt Buehler

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

Abstract: Across the Islamic world, Islamist groups have chosen to join popular protests stemming from the 2011 Arab Spring. In Morocco, however, an exception emerged. The country’s main Islamist opposition political party – the Justice and Development Party (hizb al-a’dala wa al-tanmia) – declined invitations to join demonstrations organized by the February 20th Movement for Change. Under what conditions do Islamist movements support Arab Spring uprisings? Why did the PJD choose to stay outside these protests demanding greater reform? The PJD, some scholars argue, did not support Arab Spring unrest because it is a co-opted Islamist movement. In contrast, I argue that the PJD refused to join the protests because it thought it could leverage them to its advantage. By threatening the Moroccan regime to leave formal party politics for the street, the Islamist party used the unrest to increase its bargaining power, sideline its rivals, and win its policy demands. This threat to “un-moderate” empowered the PJD to get what it wanted from the regime during the Arab Spring.

Hamas-PLO Relations Before and After the arab Spring

By: Dag Tuastad

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

Abstract: Not available

Between Grievances and State Violence: Sudan’s Youth Movement and Islamist Activism Beyond the “Arab Spring”

By: Khalid Mustafa Medani

Published in Middle East Report Volume 43, Issue 267 (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.

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

By: Ziad Khalil AbuZayyad

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

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

The Evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the Arab Spring

By: Jeffrey Avina

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

Abstract: Not available

Beyond Secular and Religious: An intellectual genealogy of Tahrir Square


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

Abstract: Competing visions of Egypt’s future have long been divided along secular versus religious lines, a split that both the Sadat and Mubarak regimes exploited to weaken political opposition. In this context, one striking feature of the Egyptian uprising that took place last spring is the extent to which it defied characterization in terms of the religious-secular binary. In this commentary, I explore how this movement drew sustenance from a unique political sensibility, one disencumbered of the secular versus religious oppositional logic and its concomitant forms of political rationality. This sensibility has a distinct intellectual genealogy within Egyptian political experience. I focus here on the careers of three Egyptian public intellectuals whose pioneering engagement with the question of the place of Islam within Egyptian political life provided an important part of the scaffolding, in my view, for the practices of solidarity and association that brought down the Mubarak regime.

Beyond Egypt’s “Facebook Revolution” and Syria’s “YouTube Uprising:” Comparing Political Contexts, Actors and Communication Strategies

By: Sahar Khamis, Paul B. Gold, Katherine Vaughn

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 15 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

Reconsidering the Robustness of Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Lessons from the Arab Spring

By: Eva Bellin

Published in Comparative Politics Volume 44, Issue 2 (2012)

Abstract: The events of the Arab Spring have suggested the necessity of rethinking the logic of authoritarian persistence in the Arab world. However, the internal variation in regime collapse and survival observed in the region confirms earlier analyses that the comportment of the coercive apparatus, especially its varying will to repress, is pivotal to determining the durability of the authoritarian regimes. At the same time, the trajectory of the Arab Spring highlights an empirical novelty for the Arab world, namely, the manifestation of huge, cross-class, popular protest in the name of political change, as well as a new factor that abetted the materialization of this phenomenon—the spread of social media. The latter will no doubt be a game changer for the longevity of authoritarian regimes worldwide from now on.

The Arab Digital Vanguard: How a Decade of Blogging Contributed to a Year of Revolution

By: Jillian York

Published in Georgetown Journal of International Affairs Volume 13, Issue 1 (2012)

Abstract: Not available

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.

The Egyptian Uprising and the Global Capitalist System

By: Ibrahim Aoude

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

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

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 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 EU’s First Response to the ‘Arab Spring’: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity

By: Andrea Teti

Published in Mediterranean Politics Volume 17, Issue 3 (2012)

Abstract: This paper uses critical discourse analysis (CDA) to analyse the EU’s first policy reassessment in light of the Arab uprisings. COM(2011)200 A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity (PfDSP) claims to outline a new framework for EU Democracy Assistance (DA) based on a new conception of democracy, and a new position for democracy in the EU’s external relations. The paper analyses PfDSP and one of its key antecedents, COM(2001)252, to assess this claim, focusing on the way two pillars of the debate on democracy – civil–political and socio-economic rights – are defined and how they are organized into a narrative about democracy and its promotion. This analysis suggests that the conceptual structure – and therefore policy implications – of PfDSP maintain unaltered the substantive vision of a liberal model for both development and democratization in the region. This continuity sets the EU up to repeat earlier mistakes, which resulted before 2011 in the poor reputation of the EU on democracy promotion among pro-democracy opposition groups – many of which were central to the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings.

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.

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

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

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Strike Oil

By: Ali Alfoneh

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

Abstract: Not available

Narratives of Resistance: Comparing Global News Coverage of the Arab Spring

By: Alexa Robertson

Published in New Global Studies Volume 6, Issue 2 (2012)

Abstract: A rapidly evolving media ecology is posing significant challenges to actors in the halls of power, on the streets of popular dissent, and in the global newsrooms that connect these sites to the imaginations of media users throughout the world. It is a complicated tangle of relations, and difficult questions arise about which theoretical instruments are most useful when trying to unpick it. Global news coverage of the “Arab Awakening” of 2011 is fertile terrain for an exploration of some of these questions. The article compares how popular resistance is narrated by newsrooms with different reporting traditions, and reflects on how global audiences are positioned in relation to such events. The theoretical discussion is organized around the notions of media witnessing and cosmopolitanism. The empirical analysis is based on reports from over 1000 news stories broadcast on Al Jazeera English, which claims to give a voice to the voiceless, and BBC World, which has a tradition of reporting the world from the vantage point of elites. The results indicate that the reporting gaze is gendered differently, and that there are also intriguing differences in the way audiences are situated by the two broadcasters.

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

Revolutions, Reforms and Democratic Transition in the Arab Homeland from the Perspective of the Tunisian Revolution

By: Azmi Bishara

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

Abstract: Not available

Prospects for Democracy in the Arab World

By: Jamil Rabah

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

Abstract: Scholarly opinions on the linkages between foreign military interventions and human rights promotions or violations are highly divided across the board. While many scholars see military interventions as effective means to save and promote human lives and rights from the clutches of repressive regimes, others reject such interventions as harmful to domestic reconciliations and rights promotions. The Arab Spring has renewed the debates between the liberal enthusiasts who staunchly supported NATO’s military intervention to free up the Libyans from the Gaddafi regime and the critics who saw creeping dangers in this new intervention, ostensibly inspired by the “responsibility to protect” doctrine. This paper investigates the issue of Arab Spring-led foreign direct and indirect military interventions in Libya, Bahrain and Syria and critically examines the consequences of interventions for improvements or decline in Arab human rights conditions. Its findings support the position of the anti-intervention scholars that foreign military interventions produce deleterious effects on human rights in the target states.

A hierarchy of struggles? The ‘economic’ and the ‘political’ in Egypt’s revolution

By: M. Abdelrahman

Published in Review of African Political Economy Volume 39, Issue 134 (2012)

Abstract: Egypt’s revolutionary process is facing serious challenges, not least of which is the absence of a broadly based movement that can harness the energy of the masses. The forces of the counter-revolution are using all means to derail the process especially by effecting a schism between ‘economic’ and ‘political’ demands where the former is portrayed as extraneous to the course of the revolution. The article demonstrates how this separation in any struggle is falsely conceived and in the case of Egypt is being used as a deliberate tactic to protect the interests of the capitalist state and its agents.

Cyberactivism in The Egyptian Revolution: How Civic Engagement and Citizen Journalism Tilted The Balance

By: Sahar Khamis, Katherine Vaughn

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 14 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

Rebuilding Egyptian Media for A Democratic Future

By: Ramy Aly

Published in Arab Media & Society Issue 14 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

The Transnational and The Local: Egyptian Activists and Transnational Protest Networks

By: Maha Abdelrahmana

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

Abstract: Egypt’s 2011 revolution will remain a landmark in the modern history of Arab politics as a model of peaceful political protest which succeeded in toppling one of the most resilient authoritarian regimes in the region. While the dramatic events astounded the world, what would be truly surprising is to assume that the 25 January revolution did not have its provenance within Egypt’s opposition politics prior to this event. This contribution examines one crucial aspect of Egyptian opposition politics during the first decade of the twenty-first century: the process of networking between informal protest groups and movements and the linkages a new generation of activists within them have forged with transnational protest networks. The contribution takes the case study of the Egyptian Anti-Globalisation Group (AGEG) and its links with the Global Justice Movement (GJM) as a starting point for understanding processes of ‘diffusion and brokerage’ in launching projects of political transformation.

The ‘Arab Spring’: Breaking The Chains of Authoritarianism and Postponed Democracy

By: Mohammed Noureddine Affaya

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

Abstract: While the events of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ constitute movements of vast social significance within the Arab world, they have at the same time raised as many questions as they have hopes and expectations. Among the most pressing causes for concern and further research are the roles that Arab audiovisual media and satellite broadcasting have played in not only covering events, but also in possibly even fomenting them through selectivity, timing, high-technology decoupage of images culled from the internet and new forms of social media, as well as the introduction of themes and slogans into various Arab public arenas even before the locals have taken such up themselves. The connection of Arab media to the political agendas of their sponsors as in the case of Aljazeera, for instance, has also been brought to the fore and writ large, leading to questions over whether or not media discourse is dialogic and genuinely responsive to multiple voices in the sense envisioned by Habermas or whether it is a Machiavellian enterprise directed towards very specific political ends. The political role of the media and individual newscasters has assumed new dimensions during the course of the upheavals of the ‘Arab Spring’ where it has been difficult if not impossible to characterize the media as strictly a passive observer of events and not also an active participant in initiatives for ‘democratic transition’ and other. Finally, while previous incarnations of state control and censorship of Arab media have been diminished or shed outright in a number of Arab countries – including Egypt and Tunisia – there are questions about what sort of conditionalities new corporate sponsorship may evolve. This article examines the philosophical and sociological dimensions of the Arab media of the ‘Arab Spring’, which like the events that it has covered have taken the Arab world into uncertain and uncharted territory

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.

The Role of Digital Media

By: Philip N. Howard, Muzammil M. Hussain

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

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

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

From Subjects to Citizens? Civil Society and The Internet in Syria

By: Roschanack Shaery-Eisenlohr

Published in Middle East Critique Volume 20, Issue 2 (2011)

Abstract: Not available

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

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

By: Marc Lynch

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

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

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

By: Lars Berger

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

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

The Egyptian revolution: crisis of neoliberalism and the potential for democratic politics

By: Angela Joya

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

Abstract: This paper argues that the Egyptian revolution of 25 January 2011 has to be understood in the context of neoliberal economic shift. The two decades of economic liberalisation policies were accompanied by authoritarianism while at the same time these policies opened up opportunities for crony capitalism. Post Mubarak Egypt has witnessed positive developments such as the rise of political parties, independent trade union federations and other social groups aiming to participate in rebuilding a democratic society. The paper explores the potentials for, and challenges against, building a democratic society in Egypt.

ReInterpreting Authoritarian Power: Syria’s Hereditary Succession

By: Joshua Stacher

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

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

Preserving Non-Democracies: Leaders and State Institutions in The Middle East

By: Mehran Kamrava

Published in Middle Eastern Studies Volume 46, Issue 2 (2010)

Abstract: Authoritarian elites often prolong their tenure in office by engaging in wholesale institutional change. Whether inherited or created from scratch, state institutions in non-democracies are meant to solidify elite cohesion and political control, pacify potential opponents, and create coalitions that support the state. Nevertheless, autocrats keep a watchful eye on these institutions, and if they change internally in directions that may seem threatening to state leaders, the institutions are changed or even disbanded. Change to the institutions of the non-democratic state is caused by a combination of deliberate decisions and institutional crafting by state leaders on the one hand, and by institutional layering and changes initiated from within the institutions rhemselves on the other. As the cases of the National Assembly in Kuwait, the Revolutionary Command Council in Egypt, and the Revolutionary Council in Iran demonstrate, when and if state institutions become inefficient or are seen as a threat by authoritarian leaders, then state leaders once again take control in determining their shape and configuration. Non-democracies are often preserved through purposive institutional change.