About Ahmed E. Souaiaia

Ahmed E. Souaiaia teaches at the University of Iowa. He is the author of the book, Contesting Justice (State University of New York Press, 2010) and his most recent book, Anatomy of Dissent in Islamic Societies, provides a historical and theoretical treatment of rebellious movements and ideas since the rise of Islam. Opinions are the author’s, speaking on matters of public interest; not speaking for any organization with which he is affiliated.

Articles by Ahmed E. Souaiaia

This week's editor

En Liang Khong

En Liang Khong is a submissions editor at openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Should western countries support Tunisia and if so how?

The new Tunisian leaders would prefer that westerners invest in Tunisia by building factories and processing plants, creating thousands of jobs for Tunisians at home and quality goods at fair prices.

Where is the outrage?

Europe’s hypocrisy and latent racism was also displayed after the Paris attacks.

This is what the Arab spring looks like

Tunisian voters seem to declare that they hold no indiscriminate prejudice. They simply have a problem with incompetence, corruption, cronyism, and abuse of human dignity.

Iran’s emerging institutional power and its effect on negotiations with the United States

It is now the US shift in institutional power that is threatening the process and undermining the President’s efforts. 

Ending religious and ethnic states will help prevent genocidal impulses

Political actors must address the place of religion and ethnicity, as defining identity markers, in the post-Arab Spring countries. The Arab Spring, after all, may have signaled the beginning of the end of exclusionary models of nationalism, and all the other isms that eventually lead to genocidal acts.

What is the US administration’s alternative to elections it does not particularly like?

It is in everyone’s long-term interest to stop purposefully undermining developing democratic processes. 

Tunisia’s Ennahda movement, maybe learning from Egypt and Turkey, compromises to remain relevant

Once again, the people have a chance to prove that the Arab Spring was not a fluke, that non-violence is the only constructive path for social change, that Islam is compatible with representative governance, and that authoritarianism is not the only guarantor of security and stability. العربية

Why are the rulers of Saudi Arabia losing their cool?

Every time the Gulf States’ rulers justify their support for violent rebels in Syria or the military regime in Egypt by appealing to the unalienable right of peoples to basic rights and representative governance, they legitimize the Arab Spring in the eyes of their own peoples, too.

The dangers of military intervention in Syria without UNSC authorization

The only way to start a war against another country without UNSC authorization is in self-defense. The President needs to make the case that the Syrian government is an imminent threat to United States’ national security. He needs to make that case to the American public and Congress.

Weapons are for war, not for a political solution

What would stop Iran, Russia, China or any other country from supplying weapons to opposition groups in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, or even Turkey, where legitimate protest movements have risen up and were met with brutal repression by government forces?

Syrian crisis now a global affair

The outcome of the Syrian crisis, no matter what that might be, will delimit the new Middle East in a way that will affect the entire world—not just Syria and the region

Why did Mouaz al-Khatib change his mind about talks with the Syrian government?

Relying on the regional and world powers has proven to be a costly participation in a proxy war that is devastating the country.

The failings of the process of adopting the Egyptian constitution

If the constitution is approved by a simple majority of voters, the opposition would have no reason to abandon protesting the outcome and instability will persist.

Recognizing the new Syrian National Coalition alone will not end the war in Syria

The peculiar enthusiasm of former colonizers of the Arab world, like France, for recognizing Syria’s representatives without waiting for the Syrian people to decide through ballots (not bullets), has delegitimized the Coalition in the eyes of many Syrians.

Why do Arab rulers want a ceasefire in Gaza but not in Syria?

The rulers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar insist that Bashar Assad step down or be removed by force because the Syrian people want him gone. Yet, they ignore the fact that the Arab peoples want them all gone, not just Assad.

Can non-violent resistance and armed rebellion co-exist?

The first and most important casualty of the militarization of the Syrian uprising is the non-violent movement.

Islamists bring religion down to earth: the end of religious idealism

The movement was in disarray until the historical revolution offered it a second life - a revolution that they did not plan and certainly did not start.

Proxy wars: could the US end up supporting al-Qaeda-like groups in Syria?

Syrian state-controlled media blames most of the deaths on armed groups (which it calls terrorists). These allegations have awakened Russia’s dormant–but not forgotten–memory of the Saudi-American alliance that created the Mujahidin networks in Afghanistan, which in turn defeated the Soviet Union.

Who are the 40%?

The Islamist win in Egypt confirms a trend. Religious absolutism is now out of the equation: people are empowered to determine their political leaders and their institutions.

Some politicians in the first democratic government of Tunisia

The three parties in the new coalition government of Tunisia have months, not years, to deliver on unemployment, political reform and economic growth.

Holding on to the status quo, Gulf States seek political unity

If the Gulf Cooperation Council wanted to support democracy and stability, they would have invested in Tunisia and Egypt. Instead, they are investing in regimes that mimic their own Umayyad model of governance.
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