Ignited in Tunisia in late 2010, the Arab Uprisings quickly swept through a wider region better known for sectarian, ethnic and religious cleavages. In Tahrir Square and Benghazi, citizens – particularly millions of youth – rallied around common demands such as bread, freedom and social justice. Almost three years later, however, the revolutions that began with such high hopes are increasingly defined by ongoing political chaos. Revolution has led to counter-revolution and military coups.
For scholars interested in social movements, particularly religious-based ones, these ongoing events are historic. The evolving nature of the social movements has injected a great deal of uncertainty in the region, and especially the foreign ministries of key players like Iran, Turkey and Israel. While the outcome is unclear, the implications of the revolutions have permanently affected the daily lives and futures of the region’s peoples, not to mention global politics.
With the revolutions entering a new phase, it is now necessary to critically examine the causes, drivers and effects of these seminal events on the internal, regional and international politics of the Middle East and North Africa. While the specific conditions in each country are significant, the individual uprisings cannot be treated in isolation, nor separated from broader developments in the region.
With contributors from across academic disciplines, this blog series seeks to highlight connections between individual countries to better understand how systemic conditions led to a region-wide wave of revolutions.