Struggles for Political Change in the Arab World

Regimes, Oppositions, and External Actors after the Spring

Struggles for Political Change in the Arab World cover

The advent of the Arab Spring in late 2010 was a hopeful moment for partisans of progressive change throughout the Arab world. Authoritarian leaders who had long stood in the way of meaningful political reform in the countries of the region were either ousted or faced the possibility of political if not physical demise. The downfall of long-standing dictators as they faced off with strong-willed protesters was a clear sign that democratic change was within reach. Throughout the last ten years, however, the Arab world has witnessed authoritarian regimes regaining resilience, pro-democracy movements losing momentum, and struggles between the first and the latter involving regional and international powers.

This volume explains how relevant political players in Arab countries among regimes, opposition movements, and external actors have adapted ten years after the onset of the Arab Spring. It includes contributions on Egypt, Morocco, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, and Tunisia. It also features studies on the respective roles of the United States, China, Iran, and Turkey vis-à-vis questions of political change and stability in the Arab region, and includes a study analyzing the role of Saudi Arabia and its allies in subverting revolutionary movements in other countries.


Lisa Blaydes is Professor in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University.

Amr Hamzawy is the Director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Hesham Sallam is a Research Scholar at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law in the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University.

Praise / Awards

“With analytical distance now possible, the contributors to this volume show something more subtle than the simply failed revolutions. Instead, they probe ways in which regimes have significantly evolved but also how politics and contestation continue in ways that seem to compensate in persistence what they may sometimes lack in drama.”
—Nathan Brown, George Washington University

“A spectacular and timely volume that is both theoretically rigorous and empirically rich. Drawing on sophisticated case studies from across the Middle East, this volume systematically analyzes developments ten years after the Arab Spring.”
—Amaney A. Jamal, Princeton University

”This is an outstanding collection of essays on the post-2011 political struggles across the Arab world. The chapters feature first rate work by top notch scholars, with empirically rich and sharply analytical examinations of the region's turbulent politics.”
—Marc Lynch, George Washington University