Rethinking the „Arab Spring“: Winners and Losers

by Hillel Frisch
Middle East Quarterly
Summer 2021 (view PDF)

„Assessing outcomes of revolutions is a precarious business, especially with a mere ten years of hindsight. Even more difficult is the assessment of revolutionary waves for the simple reason that there have been so few of them in modern history. Bearing in mind these clear limitations, it can still be assessed that the „Arab Spring“ accelerated the plight of regional losers without producing clear winners. The Sunni Arab states weathered the storm but remain geostrategically weak, whereas Iran has been able to destabilize some Arab states yet has clearly failed to export its revolutionary Islamist ideology. Israel has benefitted from reduced Arab interest in the Palestinian cause and from its intensifying relations with the Sunni states but has been adversely affected by the penetration of these states by Tehran’s proxies. And while ordinary Arabs have benefitted from the growing focus on domestic affairs at the expense of the traditional „pan“ ideologies, they have often paid a price in terms of infringement on civil and human rights by the incumbent regimes.“ (…)

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