Some experts predicted that the Arab rebellions which began in spring 2011 would widen the strategic and political gap between Arab states undergoing dramatic change and those defending the status quo. Dr. Adeed Dawisha argues that in fact, sectarian tensions and economic constraints have dampened the demonstration effect of the Arab uprisings on regional politics and transformation.

Read the event coverage, USIP-Wilson Center Series on Arab Spring Impacts Concludes

This meeting wass co-sponsored by the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center and the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Some experts predicted that the “Arab spring” rebellions would widen the strategic, political, and even ideological gap between Arab states undergoing dramatic change and those defending the status quo.  In fact, no such clear breach has occurred. Instead, Dr. Adeed Dawisha, distinguished professor of political science at Miami University, argues that sectarian tensions and economic constraints have dampened the potentially “incendiary” effect of the Arab political revolts. On June 12, from 10:00am to 11:300am, USIP hosted an engaging off-the-record discussion on these dynamics in the Middle East with Dr. Dawisha, the State Department’s Dafna Rand, and USIP’s Daniel Brumberg.

This event was the fifth in a series of five papers and presentations on “Reshaping the Strategic Culture of the Middle East.”

Speakers

  • Adeed Dawisha, Presenter
    Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Miami University

  • Dafna Rand, Discussant
    Member of Policy Planning Staff, U.S. Department of State        

  • Daniel Brumberg, Moderator
    Senior Adviser, Center for Conflict Management, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

What’s Next for Tunisia’s Transition?

What’s Next for Tunisia’s Transition?

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun;  Leo Siebert

Long heralded as the sole success story of the Arab uprisings, Tunisia was thrown into political tumult on July 25 when President Kais Saied dismissed the prime minister, suspended parliament and removed politicians’ immunity from criminal prosecution. The decision followed days of protest and long-term malaise, with Tunisians angered over the government’s COVID response, endemic corruption, a lagging economy and, more broadly, the inability of the post-Ben Ali political system — particularly political parties — to deliver for citizens. While many Tunisians supported Saied’s move, they and the international community await what comes next and how it will impact the North African country’s long-term political and economic trajectory.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Where Does Tunisia’s Transition Stand 10 Years After Ben Ali?

Where Does Tunisia’s Transition Stand 10 Years After Ben Ali?

Thursday, January 14, 2021

By: Leo Siebert

The story by now is well known. Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in December 2010 sparked an unprecedented wave of protests across Tunisia and the broader region. Less than a month later, the country’s longtime dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, fled to Saudi Arabia. That was 10 years ago today. And while Tunisia is often lauded as the “lone success story” of the uprisings that swept across the region, its democratic transition remains in limbo. A decade later, Tunisians have seen hard-won improvements in political freedoms, but a lagging economy and sclerotic politics have stunted the realization of many of the protesters’ demands—and kept them in the streets.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

The Current Situation in Tunisia

The Current Situation in Tunisia

Monday, October 12, 2020

As the Arab Spring’s birthplace and its sole fledgling democracy, Tunisia represents an encouraging yet incomplete victory against authoritarian rule and violent extremism. Tunisia’s progress since the revolution in 2011 makes it an important democratic partner in a volatile region. However, a persistent economic crisis, political disaffection, and the inherent difficulties of a major political and social transition continue to threaten the country’s stability. Elections in late 2019 swept in a new mosaic of smaller political movements reflecting the public’s deep dissatisfaction with the status quo and the stalled transition. This broad array of new parties has struggled to form a cohesive government capable of overcoming complex partisanship.

Type: Fact Sheet

View All Publications