Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring: Triumphs and Disasters

Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring: Triumphs and Disasters

By: Rory McCarthy (editor), Timothy Garton Ash (editor), Adam Roberts (editor)Hardback

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Civil resistance, especially in the form of massive peaceful demonstrations, was at the heart of the Arab Spring-the chain of events in the Middle East and North Africa that erupted in December 2010. It won some notable victories: popular movements helped to bring about the fall of authoritarian governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. Yet these apparent triumphs of non-violent action were followed by disasters-wars in Syria, anarchy in Libya and Yemen, reversion to authoritarian rule in Egypt, and counter-revolution backed by external intervention in Bahrain. Looming over these events was the enduring divide between the Sunni and Shi'a branches of Islam. Why did so much go wrong? Was the problem the methods, leadership and aims of the popular movements, or the conditions of their societies? In this book, experts on these countries, and on the techniques of civil resistance, set the events in their historical, social and political contexts. They describe how governments and outside powers-including the US and EU-responded, how Arab monarchies in Jordan and Morocco undertook to introduce reforms to avert revolution, and why the Arab Spring failed to spark a Palestinian one. They indicate how and why Tunisia remained, precariously, the country that experienced the most political change for the lowest cost in bloodshed. This book provides a vivid illustrated account and rigorous scholarly analysis of the course and fate, the strengths and the weaknesses, of the Arab Spring. The authors draw clear and challenging conclusions from these tumultuous events. Above all, they show how civil resistance aiming at regime change is not enough: building the institutions and the trust necessary for reforms to be implemented and democracy to develop is a more difficult but equally crucial task.

About Author

Adam Roberts is Senior Research Fellow in International Relations, University of Oxford, and Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He has written on many aspects of international relations, including on civil resistance against authoritarian regimes, and on foreign military occupations in the Middle East. He served as President of the British Academy, 2009-13. He was born in Penrith in 1940, and educated at Westminster School and at Magdalen College Oxford, where he read Modern History. He was Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at Oxford University, 1986-2007. He is married with two grown-up children, and lives in Oxford. His interests include mountaineering and cycling. Dr Michael J. Willis is Fellow in Moroccan and Mediterranean Studies at St Antony's College, the University of Oxford. Before taking up his current post in Oxford he taught politics at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco for seven years from 1997 to 2004. He was Director of the Middle East Centre at St Antony's College from 2011 to 2014. He has a BA in Modern History and International Relations from Reading University, an MA in International History from the LSE, and a PhD in Middle Eastern Politics from Durham University. His research focuses on the politics, modern history, and international relations of the central Maghreb. Rory McCarthy is completing a DPhil in Oriental Studies at St Antony's College, University of Oxford, where he researches Islamism in contemporary Tunisia. He was formerly a foreign correspondent of the Guardian and was posted in Islamabad, Baghdad, Beirut, and Jerusalem. He studied History at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and Modern Middle Eastern Studies at St Antony's College, Oxford, and he is the author of Nobody Told Us We Are Defeated: Stories from the New Iraq (Chatto & Windus, 2006). Timothy Garton Ash is Professor of European Studies in the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of nine books of political writing or 'history of the present' including The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, & Prague, The File: A Personal History, In Europe's Name and, most recently, Facts are Subversive. He writes a widely syndicated column on international affairs in the Guardian and is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, amongst other journals. He is currently working on a book about free speech in the age of mass migration and the internet and leads the 13-language Oxford University research project Awards he has received for his writing include the George Orwell Prize.


1. The Background to Civil Resistance in the Middle East ; 2. Revolt for Dignity: Tunisia's Revolution and Civil Resistance ; 3. Egypt's Unfinished Revolution ; 4. Revolution and Counter-revolution in Bahrain ; 5. Civil Resistance in Libya during the Arab Spring ; 6. The Change Squares of Yemen: Civil Resistance in an Unlikely Context ; 7. Hirak! Civil Resistance and the Jordan Spring ; 8. Morocco: Obedience, Civil Resistance, and Dispersed Solidarities ; 9. Civil Resistance in the Syrian Uprising: From Democratic Transition to Sectarian Civil War ; 10. Palestine and the Arab Uprisings ; 11. Civil Resistance and the Fate of the Arab Spring

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780198749028
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 360
  • ID: 9780198749028
  • weight: 780
  • ISBN10: 0198749023

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