chapter  7
Iraq and the Arab Spring: From Protests to the Rise of ISIS
ByIbrahim Al-Marashi
Pages 18

The nuance Gelvin provides elucidates how the term "Arab Spring" conflates protests with uprisings. Protests and uprisings are not ahistorical phenomena in the Middle East, and the past provides interpretative schemata for those enduring hardships as of January 2011. The 2013 unrest in the Anbar province as well as the Ninawa province, where Mosul is located, made it difficult for Iraqi forces to police these areas, providing Iraqi Arab Sunnis with a space in which to rearm. The protests in 2013 created the grievances that paved the way for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to ride the wave of Arab Sunnis' discontent and push into their areas of Iraq. The Syrian civil war allowed ISIS a space to operate from and begin infiltrating Falluja and later Mosul with a network of sympathizers. The protests also proved embarrassing to Abadi as he battled for the "hearts and minds" of Iraqis under ISIS rule.