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The Arab Uprising: The Wave of Protest that Toppled the Status Quo and the Struggle for a New Middle East

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Barely a year after the self-immolation of a young fruit seller in Tunisia, a vast wave of popular protest has convulsed the Middle East, overthrowing long-ruling dictators and transforming the region's politics almost beyond recognition. But the biggest transformations of what has been labeled as the "Arab Spring" are yet to come. An insider to both American policy and the Barely a year after the self-immolation of a young fruit seller in Tunisia, a vast wave of popular protest has convulsed the Middle East, overthrowing long-ruling dictators and transforming the region's politics almost beyond recognition. But the biggest transformations of what has been labeled as the "Arab Spring" are yet to come. An insider to both American policy and the world of the Arab public, Marc Lynch shows that the fall of particular leaders is but the least of the changes that will emerge from months of unrest. The far-ranging implications of the rise of an interconnected and newly-empowered Arab populace have only begun to be felt. Young, frustrated Arabs now know that protest can work and that change is possible. They have lost their fear--meanwhile their leaders, desperate to survive, have heard the unprecedented message that killing their own people will no longer keep them in power. Even so, as Lynch reminds us, the last wave of region-wide protest in the 1950s and 1960s resulted not in democracy, but in brutal autocracy. Will the Arab world's struggle for change succeed in building open societies? Will authoritarian regimes regain their grip, or will Islamist movements seize the initiative to impose a new kind of rule? "The Arab Uprising" follows these struggles from Tunisia and Egypt to the harsh battles of Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and Libya and to the cautious reforms of the region's monarchies. It examines the real meaning of the rise of Islamist movements in the emerging democracies, and the longterm hopes of a generation of activists confronted with the limits of their power. It points toward a striking change in the hierarchy of influence, as the old heavyweights--Iran, Al Qaeda, even Israel--have been all but left out while oil-rich powers like Saudi Arabia and "swing states" like Turkey and Qatar find new opportunities to spread their influence. And it reveals how America must adjust to the new realities. Deeply informed by inside access to the Obama administration's decision-making process and first-hand interviews with protestors, politicians, diplomats, and journalists, "The Arab Uprising" highlights the new fault lines that are forming between forces of revolution and counter-revolution, and shows what it all means for the future of American policy. The result is an indispensible guide to the changing lay of the land in the Middle East and North Africa.


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Barely a year after the self-immolation of a young fruit seller in Tunisia, a vast wave of popular protest has convulsed the Middle East, overthrowing long-ruling dictators and transforming the region's politics almost beyond recognition. But the biggest transformations of what has been labeled as the "Arab Spring" are yet to come. An insider to both American policy and the Barely a year after the self-immolation of a young fruit seller in Tunisia, a vast wave of popular protest has convulsed the Middle East, overthrowing long-ruling dictators and transforming the region's politics almost beyond recognition. But the biggest transformations of what has been labeled as the "Arab Spring" are yet to come. An insider to both American policy and the world of the Arab public, Marc Lynch shows that the fall of particular leaders is but the least of the changes that will emerge from months of unrest. The far-ranging implications of the rise of an interconnected and newly-empowered Arab populace have only begun to be felt. Young, frustrated Arabs now know that protest can work and that change is possible. They have lost their fear--meanwhile their leaders, desperate to survive, have heard the unprecedented message that killing their own people will no longer keep them in power. Even so, as Lynch reminds us, the last wave of region-wide protest in the 1950s and 1960s resulted not in democracy, but in brutal autocracy. Will the Arab world's struggle for change succeed in building open societies? Will authoritarian regimes regain their grip, or will Islamist movements seize the initiative to impose a new kind of rule? "The Arab Uprising" follows these struggles from Tunisia and Egypt to the harsh battles of Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and Libya and to the cautious reforms of the region's monarchies. It examines the real meaning of the rise of Islamist movements in the emerging democracies, and the longterm hopes of a generation of activists confronted with the limits of their power. It points toward a striking change in the hierarchy of influence, as the old heavyweights--Iran, Al Qaeda, even Israel--have been all but left out while oil-rich powers like Saudi Arabia and "swing states" like Turkey and Qatar find new opportunities to spread their influence. And it reveals how America must adjust to the new realities. Deeply informed by inside access to the Obama administration's decision-making process and first-hand interviews with protestors, politicians, diplomats, and journalists, "The Arab Uprising" highlights the new fault lines that are forming between forces of revolution and counter-revolution, and shows what it all means for the future of American policy. The result is an indispensible guide to the changing lay of the land in the Middle East and North Africa.

30 review for The Arab Uprising: The Wave of Protest that Toppled the Status Quo and the Struggle for a New Middle East

  1. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Marc Lynch does a fine job in The Arab Uprising providing much needed clarity and context to events that have largely taken the world by surprise. His expertise and behind the scenes insights are evident throughout and will serve those who wish to better understand what has happened and what may yet happen in Middle East politics, as well as the implications for United States foreign policy in the region. I do feel though that this was a book published too quickly. It would have benefited from th Marc Lynch does a fine job in The Arab Uprising providing much needed clarity and context to events that have largely taken the world by surprise. His expertise and behind the scenes insights are evident throughout and will serve those who wish to better understand what has happened and what may yet happen in Middle East politics, as well as the implications for United States foreign policy in the region. I do feel though that this was a book published too quickly. It would have benefited from the author permitting more time for the events to play out and for his own thoughts to form. Too often, the book is descriptive and repetitive. There's a need for informed analysis of the events of the Arab Spring and The Arab Uprising serves the purpose for now. However as further volumes come out benefiting from waiting for events to settle down and for their authors to more fully develop their work, I think the importance of this book will quickly decline. Until then, it's a valuable work and an ideal primer for those wishing to make sense of a fundamental shift in the Middle East.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    For a short read, this book is incredibly dense! Lynch outlines the entirety of the Arab Spring and how the uprisings have manifested themselves in each country. As an adviser to President Obama, Lynch is able to give the reader perspective and insight into the President's thought process and how the United States' relationship with the Middle East will evolve over time. As a reader of Lynch's Foreign Policy blog, I appreciate the consistent message he delineates in this book, the book does not For a short read, this book is incredibly dense! Lynch outlines the entirety of the Arab Spring and how the uprisings have manifested themselves in each country. As an adviser to President Obama, Lynch is able to give the reader perspective and insight into the President's thought process and how the United States' relationship with the Middle East will evolve over time. As a reader of Lynch's Foreign Policy blog, I appreciate the consistent message he delineates in this book, the book does not jump around a lot, and is a very manageable way to digest the information. I would definitely suggest this book to anyone who wants to learn a lot about the Arab Spring in a short amount of time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Betty Ho

    A quick overview of the Arab Spring with interesting insights from Obama's point of view - a good read for anyone who didn't follow those events on news.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    This was immensely disappointing. The writing jumped all over the place, made a number of lofty claims with little analysis or evidence to back it up, and would be a poor text for anyone without a decent understanding of the Arab Spring, as is. Lynch was rather arrogant throughout the book and hard to follow. The last chapter, while drastically better than the rest of the book, failed to truly bring home its main point. Lynch does a great job of criticizing current policy models - i.e. realism a This was immensely disappointing. The writing jumped all over the place, made a number of lofty claims with little analysis or evidence to back it up, and would be a poor text for anyone without a decent understanding of the Arab Spring, as is. Lynch was rather arrogant throughout the book and hard to follow. The last chapter, while drastically better than the rest of the book, failed to truly bring home its main point. Lynch does a great job of criticizing current policy models - i.e. realism and neoconservative models don't apply - but fails to actually suggest alternatives. Very poorly done, especially considering Lynch's reputation and intellect.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    This is an excellent overview of the Arab Spring (or whatever you want to call it) for anyone who hasn't been following it. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that knows nothing about current events in the region and wants to know more. For someone who has been following the Arab Spring closely, it is a good refresher, and its good to hear the perspective of a well respected academic on the subject.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Essential information but painful to read due to repetition of key points and an overall sluggishness in its style. Foreign policy texts are not known for being gripping page-turners but this one was more difficult to slog through than most. It's a pity, because the writer could have illuminated the minds of millions with better prose but instead will engage only subscribers to Foreign Policy and The Economist (me among them).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    This book is really just an overview of recent history, a good bit of which will seem already familiar to one who reads the news regularly. The speculative insight and predictive capabilities of the book are quite shallow. There is a well presented overview of recent history; but this book was not enough to keep me interested. I found this book to be slow to develop and essentially boring.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Faiz Alas

    If the U.S. hopes to navigate the new Arab world, it needs to make fundamental changes. Above all, it must recognize the reality that the empowerment of the Arab public forces it to do things differently.

  9. 4 out of 5

    False

    A good overview focusing on individual countries. I've been focusing so much lately on Afghanistan and Pakistan, that this was a nice diversion.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andy Field

    Interesting take on the Arab Spring and both the domino effect and the impact of social media. A good read and thought provoking as well.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Doyle

    An object lesson in why one should be careful before writing a sweeping history just after an event occurred

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    For anyone looking to better understand the Arab uprisings, I highly recommend this book. Although the subject matter covers a lot of ground, the book is highly readable.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    If you're interested in the Arab Spring and its fallout, read this book. It is simply indispensable.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jim Angstadt

    Gave up after 20 pages. Seemed to ramble; a jumble of works, that I could not tie to anything solid.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I was pretty disappointed by this. The last chapter is strong, but the others have numerous problems in both content and style.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Zimmer

  17. 5 out of 5

    JD

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eli

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marwa Abdallah

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Todd

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  23. 5 out of 5

    Craigie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Moeed Ahmad

  25. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Blauser

  26. 4 out of 5

    Al Mas

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Perez-jenkins

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nate

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tony

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