British Foreign Policy and the Arab Spring

This article aims to understand the UK government’s varied responses to the Arab Spring. The UK was criticised for its inconsistent and/or selective responses to popular uprisings in the Arab world. These ranged from providing substantial military support for the rebels in Libya to offering notably muted reactions to government suppression of protests in Bahrain. On assuming office, the Foreign secretary, William Hague, suggested that Britain would have a networked approach to foreign policy with a greater awareness of the bilateral interests that Britain had with other countries around the world. What this article aims to do is offer a provisional analysis of the security, economic and societal networks that the UK holds with states in the Arab world and in doing so to test whether these have any correlation with the British government’s policy towards protests in the region.

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