Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Before and After the Arab Uprisings

Springer
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Through a unique collection of essays drawn from rich case studies, Authoritarianism in the Middle East provides important insights into the ongoing instabilities of the Middle East, and the authoritarianism and democratisation processes that have led to dramatic socio-political transformations.
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About the author

Jülide Karakoç is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Gedik University, Istanbul. She received a MA in International Relations from Galatasaray University, and a PhD from Ankara University. Carrying out her postdoctoral research at Montreal University, she has authored scholarly articles in Middle Eastern Studies, Critique and Ethnic and Racial Studies.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer
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Published on
Mar 17, 2015
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Pages
204
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ISBN
9781137445551
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / International
Political Science / General
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / Human Rights
Political Science / International Relations / General
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Democracy
Political Science / World / Middle Eastern
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This content is DRM protected.
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Barely a year after the self-immolation of a young fruit seller in Tunisia, a vast wave of popular protest has convulsed the Middle East, overthrowing long-ruling dictators and transforming the region’s politics almost beyond recognition. But the biggest transformations of what has been labeled as the “Arab Spring” are yet to come.

An insider to both American policy and the world of the Arab public, Marc Lynch shows that the fall of particular leaders is but the least of the changes that will emerge from months of unrest. The far-ranging implications of the rise of an interconnected and newly-empowered Arab populace have only begun to be felt. Young, frustrated Arabs now know that protest can work and that change is possible. They have lost their fear—meanwhile their leaders, desperate to survive, have heard the unprecedented message that killing their own people will no longer keep them in power. Even so, as Lynch reminds us, the last wave of region-wide protest in the 1950s and 1960s resulted not in democracy, but in brutal autocracy. Will the Arab world’s struggle for change succeed in building open societies? Will authoritarian regimes regain their grip, or will Islamist movements seize the initiative to impose a new kind of rule?

The Arab Uprising follows these struggles from Tunisia and Egypt to the harsh battles of Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and Libya and to the cautious reforms of the region’s monarchies. It examines the real meaning of the rise of Islamist movements in the emerging democracies, and the longterm hopes of a generation of activists confronted with the limits of their power. It points toward a striking change in the hierarchy of influence, as the old heavyweights—Iran, Al Qaeda, even Israel—have been all but left out while oil-rich powers like Saudi Arabia and “swing states” like Turkey and Qatar find new opportunities to spread their influence. And it reveals how America must adjust to the new realities.

Deeply informed by inside access to the Obama administration’s decision-making process and first-hand interviews with protestors, politicians, diplomats, and journalists, The Arab Uprising highlights the new fault lines that are forming between forces of revolution and counter-revolution, and shows what it all means for the future of American policy. The result is an indispensible guide to the changing lay of the land in the Middle East and North Africa.

Why did Tunisian protests following the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi lead to a massive wave of uprisings across the entire Arab world? Who participated in those protests, and what did they hope to achieve? Why did some leaders fall in the face of popular mobilization while others found ways to survive? And what have been the lasting results of the contentious politics of 2011 and 2012? The Arab uprisings pose stark challenges to the political science of the Middle East, which for decades had focused upon the resilience of entrenched authoritarianism, the relative weakness of civil society, and what seemed to be the largely contained diffusion of new norms and ideas through new information technologies.

In this volume, leading scholars in the field take a sharp look at the causes, dynamics, and effects of the Arab uprisings. Compiled by one of the foremost experts on Middle East politics and society, The Arab Uprisings Explained offers a fresh rethinking of established theories and presents a new framework through which scholars and general readers can better grasp the fast-developing events remaking the region. These essays not only advance the study of political science in the Middle East but also integrate the subject seamlessly into the wider political science literature. Deeply committed to the study of this region and working out the kinks of the discipline, the contributors to this volume help scholars and policymakers across the world approach this unprecedented historical period smartly and effectively.

Taking to the Streets critically examines the conventional wisdom that the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings happened spontaneously and were directed by tech-savvy young revolutionaries. Pairing first-hand observations from activists with the critical perspectives of scholars, the book illuminates the concept of activism as an ongoing process, rather than a sudden burst of defiance. The contributors examine case studies from uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, evaluating the various manifestations of political activism within the context of each country's distinct sociopolitical landscape. The chapters include a country-specific timeline of the first year following the uprisings and conclude with lessons learned. First-hand observations include those of Libyan activist Rihab Elhaj, who reflects on how the revolution gave birth to Libyan civil society, as well as Syrian writer and human rights activist Khawla Dunia, who discusses how Syrians have tried to remain steadfast in their commitment to nonviolent resistance.

A foreword by Prince Hicham Ben Abdallah El Alaoui—third in succession to the Moroccan throne and consulting professor at Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL)—provides a historical overview of activism in the Middle East and North Africa. A postscript from CDDRL director Larry Diamond distinguishes the study of activism from that of democratization.

Taking to the Streets will be used in courses on Middle East politics and will be relevant to scholars and the general public interested in democratization, political change, and activism.

-- Amaney A. Jamal, Princeton University
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