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We would like to thank the Network for Social Change, Fritt Ord and the National Endowment for Democracy for their generous support of our work.

Bahrain on North Africa West Asia

For those countries undergoing social upheaval, the Arab Spring has had a direct impact, but what about the ‘others’? The "Spring" of other Arab nations has shaped regional policy and had an impact far beyond what is readily apparent. Syrian unrest has allowed Lebanon to finally play a role in the Arab uprisings. Saudi Arabia must struggle to cope with interests at home and abroad. Israel is witnessing the birth of a middle class movement in the form of J14. This section will map the hidden shoots of the spring. Return to Arab Awakening

Social movements and unrest in Mauritania since the Arab Uprisings

During those rare moments when western media attention is turned to the country, it is usually with a focus on these security issues rather than on the democratic struggles of Mauritanian citizens. 

No prospects for an Iranian spring?

With two weeks left before the presidential election, is there any hope for systemic change in Iran?

Who’s heard of the ‘African Spring’?

If the under or mis-reported uprisings, protests, revolts and changes of regime in many parts of Africa over the past few years have told us anything, it is that politics on the continent does not always, or mostly, take place at the point of a gun.

Palestine: the precarious present

The Palestinian Authority is gazing into an abyss, and it is beating people in the streets.

A Chinese spring?

While Chinese petitioners and dissidents hold protest rallies every day in defiance of unaccountable officials, few of them question the necessity of upholding a strong executive authority. Thoughts on revolution and reform by a Chinese student in Cairo.

Is the specter of the Arab Spring haunting Ethiopia?

Although Ethiopia has never been a breeding ground for Islamism, the government has started to interfere in religious affairs in order to preempt radicalization. This strategy will most likely backfire, sowing the very seeds of political Islam that it seeks to keep at bay.

J14 and the movement for social justice in Israel

Israel's J14 protest movement is a new breed of movement in search of a society which has a mature accommodation with its diversity. The priority given to social problems over cultural issues can be traced back to anthropological and moral principles that lie at the heart of Zionism. But its critique of the many distortions created by the pull of national sovereignty has thrown up a new definition of occupation. 

February 20 movement: reflections of a young activist

The 20th February movement was seen by some as elitist and too focused on political demands, while the people were more concerned with daily economic hardship. The main challenge for young activists now is to re-establish a social dialogue within Moroccan society, says Sarra El Idrissi

Democracy imperilled in the Maldives

The United States and much of the international community has understandably been focused on increasingly violent conflict in Syria. However, attention also needs to be given to the Muslim people of this Asian nation and their commitment to the power of nonviolent action

Fighting to remain relevant? The PKK in 2012

The AKP has gained the support of 50 percent of the Kurdish population via cooption rather than coercion. That means that its recent crackdown on Kurdish civil society in general - and the PKK in particular - risks making the latter more popular than it actually is in the eyes of the Kurdish general public.

Lessons from the Maldives for the Middle East

The coup d’état in the Maldives doesn’t augur well for democracy in the Middle East and North Africa. Andrew Wigley argues that the process of detoxifying a nation after dictatorship may take decades

Algeria: reform or securitization of civil society?

While most of the world attention has been focused elsewhere, the early days of 2012 have seen a series of strikes and protests in Algeria. Is this the long awaited Algerian awakening?

Morocco's silent revolution

Morocco’s experience of the Arab spring of 2011, including constitutional reform and a parliamentary election, exemplifies the country’s political distinctiveness within the region. The events of 2012 will demonstrate how far hopes of real change can be sustained, says Valentina Bartolucci.

Lebanon: calm before the storm?

The momentous events of 2011 in the Arab world have widely overshadowed Lebanon. With neighbour Syria continuing to be embroiled in unrest and growing sectarian civil conflict, Lebanon's future is full of opportunities and risks.

Why the ‘Arab Spring’ hasn’t reached Sudan

What is it about the nation in Libya and Egypt’s own backyards, which in the face of poorer and worsening conditions, continues to be characterised by a culture of complacency?

Lebanon: The 'Lee-Side' of the Arab Spring

Lebanon’s sectarian political system is a well-founded reason to start a revolution, as those from the Arab Spring, but their lack of national collectivity and common identity is an obstacle to unity.

Revolutionary change in the Arab world: what prospects for Palestinians?

It may be that the era of Palestinian nationalism as it was born, post-1948, is coming to an end. Instead we may be heading in a new direction of unity and common identity across boundaries; 1948, 1967, Diaspora - a form of unity of ‘condition’.

The economic basis of indignation in Israel

The J14 protest movement that started in Tel Aviv was sparked by the anger of young Israelis over the cost of living. Angel Martin looks at why the cost of living is so high in Israel and describes a corporatist economy in the grip of powerful interest groups

Will the Israelis listen to the clock ticking?

In this eventful month of September, the Israeli (Arab) spring has to decide: where does it stand, first and foremost, in regard to Palestine, but also in regard to Turkey and Egypt.

Lebanon and the "Spring" of others

Syria’s unrest has allowed Lebanon to finally play a role in the Arab uprisings, with potentially dangerous effects, argues Fatima Issawi

Don't say working class, say families

The J-14 movement in Israel and the Wisconsin Cheddar Revolution raise similar issues of security, social welfare and democracy. Both are challenged by a newly potent, yet de-classed Middle Class.

Will Iraq play to the US tune in Syria?

Obama wants Assad gone, but can US ‘ally’ Iraq be persuaded to turn on the Syrian regime?

Arab Spring and the Turkish model

The idea of democracy in Turkey suffers from an ethno-centric definition of citizenship and rejects the more inclusive understanding of ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural diversity.

Israeli Summer

This remarkable movement needs to strengthen its democratic decision-making processes, including marginalized groups in the negotiations, ensuring welfare for the poor, not only for the middle classes.

Arab risings and the Israel-Palestine conflict: from national to human rights

An Independent Jewish Voices panel discussion suggests that the most important lesson of the Arab Spring may be the introduction of public will and opinion into the debate, and that this applies as much to inter-state diplomacy as domestic governance.

What Iran must learn from Turkey

What the Iranian elite needs to learn from Turkey is how to rescue Islam from the state

Sharia and Egypt’s Constitution: an Iraqi blueprint

The constitutional debates that took place in the run-up to the formation of the current Iraqi constitution provide a blueprint for the questions Islamic parties must address if they are to be insiders to the process of consolidating democracy.

Democracy in the Middle East: watch the Kurdish issue

Democratic transformation in the Middle East will need a recognition and resolution of legitimate Kurdish claims. The Arab Spring provides a new setting for the challenge

Bonfire of the experts: the Arab uprisings and the Israeli-Palestinian question

We need to understand that patience on the Palestinian side has almost completely run out after many fruitless years of aimless negotiations and feeble international mediation. The Palestinians – exasperated by US reluctance or impotence - see the shelf-life of the long-running but deeply flawed peace process expiring later this year.

Turkey as a model of democracy and Islam

Democracies are about more than elections and majorities: they require genuine separation of powers, autonomous institutions and associations, all regulated by the rule of law. The current Turkish situation is the product of social and institutional patterns, now in question, in which multiple centres of institutional power confronted and checked one another, unlike the centralised and personalised regimes of much of the Arab world.

"Beka!" ("enough"). Will Ethiopia be next?

Meles Zenawi has been protecting himself from any Arab-spring copy-cat movements in Ethiopia. On balance, it is unlikely that the opposition is strong enough to mount the kind of challenge seen in Egypt and Tunisia. Conditions are not seen to be as brutally unjust in Ethiopia, and no one doubts that the army would be loyal to the Tigray-dominated regime. But there may be surprises yet

The Arab revolutions and al-Qaida

The democratic wave in the Arab world confirms the emptiness of al-Qaida’s ideology, strategy and rhetoric. The death of Osama bin Laden can be seen as part of this wider process, says Khaled Hroub. 

Iraq and the April Spring: Maliki’s last chance

Just as Iraq’s Prime Minister was putting the finishing touches on an authoritarian edifice in the best Arab tradition, the whole model comes crumbling down.

The Hamas-Fatah unity deal: regional and international power dynamics

Despite the best efforts of the US and its European and regional allies to ignore them, international and regional factors that enabled the domestic power structures to remain in place for so long have also been the focus of protesters’ grievances and demands.

Gulf States: studious silence falls on Arab Spring

New demands for political reform in the Gulf are meeting a repressive response by regimes especially panicked when pro-democracy protests swell into cross-sectarian movements for meaningful political reform. This brutality polarises opinion between advocates of reform and proponents of repression. It also poses a dilemma for western policy makers in their engagement with their strategic partners in the region.
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