Fear and Learning in the Arab Uprisings

Issue Date January 2020
Volume 31
Issue 1
Page Numbers 182-192
file Print
arrow-down-thin Download from Project MUSE
external View Citation

Read the full essay here.

Massive and sustained popular uprisings in Sudan, Algeria, Iraq, and Lebanon in 2019 have shown that the discouragement and fears bred by events since the 2011 Arab Spring have put only a temporary brake on the efforts of publics in the Arab world to push for change. As the movements in Sudan and Algeria in particular illustrate, many participants seem to believe that they can improve their odds by drawing on the experiences of neighboring countries, as well as the histories of their own societies. Among the most important lessons cited by protesters so far are these: Popular pressure for change must be massive and sustained to be effective; transition plans designed by the military—particularly proposals for quick elections—can be a trap; protesters should be wary of involvement by Arab state “frenemies”; and going forward requires moving beyond fear.

About the Author

Michele Dunne is senior fellow and director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She was the founding director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, and has served as a specialist on Middle East affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

View all work by Michele Dunne