chapter  21
26 Pages

In the Season of Arab Discontent

WithArthur Goldschmidt, Aomar Boum

Beginning in 2010 the Arab world entered a new phase popularly called the Arab Spring. There were echoes of the Arab Spring elsewhere in the region, notably in Israel, Iran, and Turkey. It is too early to speak of a revolution, and the Arab Spring has turned to bitter winter in countries like Bahrain, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Despite having taken in more than a million refugees from neighboring Syria and Iraq, Jordan's government has skillfully managed its political and economic crisis. It has avoided becoming involved in the politics of its Arab neighbors, at least publicly, and continues to silently suppress political dissent. As in other Arab countries, the events of 2011 were preceded by sporadic protests and recent rebellions. In the Arab states where uprisings have succeeded in changing leadership, such as Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, the forces of authoritarianism, militarism, and tribalism persist and may negate the democratic demands of some of the demonstrators.