Syria; February 2, 2014: Demonstration against the Syrian regime in the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood in the city of Aleppo. (Photo Credit: Jalal Almamo)
In January 2011, a revolutionary chain of uprisings shook the Middle East and reverberated across the rest of the world. Five years later, the results of the so-called Arab Spring have been uneven. While authoritarian regimes were overthrown in Tunisia and Egypt, the latter has reverted to a military dictatorship. In Libya, and especially Syria, protests morphed into brutal civil wars. And in Yemen, the regime was able to successfully remain in power. Today the optimism that accompanied the Arab Spring has given way to a pessimism about its long-term effects. Yet the Arab Spring has also raised important questions about political phenomena such as the internal dynamics and resilience of authoritarian regimes, of the spread of protest movements, and on the relationship between the military and civil government. To allow for further reflection on these events, the Perspectives on Politics editorial staff has gathered a number of research articles, symposia, and reflections published in our pages over this time, and which have been ungated with complimentary access by Cambridge University Press. We hope that these pieces will help continue the discussion and provide further insights on the significance of the uprisings.