Some five years on from the advent of the “Arab Spring”, the balance sheet of progress vs. setbacks is quite something to behold. With the qualified exception of Tunisia, it appears that in most cases the revolutionary processes did not achieve the kind of societal and government change that was hoped for.
According to many analyses, the “Arab Spring” is best interpreted as a threshold event demarking the end of the old order of stability and opening up a dark chasm between ancient hatreds. As I’ve discussed in an earlier article for MEMO, this hypothesis is not only flawed but is also deliberately misleading. Yet what are the alternatives to looking at the region through this lens? This is one of the essential questions explored in the forthcoming book Political Identities and Popular Uprisings in the Middle East (which I have co-edited with Dr Shabnam Holliday).