The Second Arab Awakening: Revolution, Democracy, and the Islamist Challenge from Tunis to Damascus

Overview

An eye-opening survey of the recent Arab revolutions and their political consequences, comparing them to those of a previous generation.
When Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, in December 2010, sparking a wave of popular uprisings that would topple dictatorial regimes across North Africa and the Middle East, observers hailed the onset of a great “Arab Awakening.”
But this wasn’t the first time people in Tunisia, ...

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The Second Arab Awakening: Revolution, Democracy, and the Islamist Challenge from Tunis to Damascus

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Overview

An eye-opening survey of the recent Arab revolutions and their political consequences, comparing them to those of a previous generation.
When Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, in December 2010, sparking a wave of popular uprisings that would topple dictatorial regimes across North Africa and the Middle East, observers hailed the onset of a great “Arab Awakening.”
But this wasn’t the first time people in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere across the region had taken to the streets demanding fundamental change. An earlier generation, in the 1950s and 1960s, rose against Arab governments that were doing the bidding of colonial powers. A generation later, many of these revolutionary heroes and their inheritors had themselves become murderous tyrants, leading the people to rebel a second time.In The Second Arab Awakening, distinguished academic and writer Adeed Dawisha brings a deep historical perspective to the recent Arab uprisings, tracing the fledgling and uncertain progress so far of these revolutions and the Islamist challenge that has emerged in their wake. Elegantly written, detailed yet concise, Dawisha’s illuminating exploration of the threats and opportunities facing the victorious revolutionaries provides necessary perspective on a fast-changing political landscape.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Many question whether the blossom of democracy after 2011’s Arab Spring remains viable, or if indeed the new normal will prove even worse than what preceded it. In his latest, Iraqi political scientist and Middle East specialist Dawisha (Iraq: A Political History) surveys the political situation in 10 Arab countries, focusing on how recent developments in each have strengthened, or subverted, democracy, and how these changes compare to the Arab nationalist struggles of the 1950s and ‘60s. He sagely warns that the decline of “authoritarian rule by corrupt and inefficient regimes, built around the hegemonic presence of one man” does not imply a consequent outbreak of liberty. Dawisha bases his analysis throughout on Hannah Arendt’s theory that any revolution worthy of the name must necessarily lead to freedom. While Dawisha’s knowledge of the area and its politics is deep, the studies of countries presented basically recap the news. When he does offer his own opinions, he is sometimes glib, as when he characterizes the Salafists as “seem to believe that the persistent chanting of al-Islam huwal hal (“Islam is the solution”) the remedy for solving all of the world’s problems.” Those seeking a basic overview of the last two years in the Middle East will find the book useful, but readers well versed in the situation may be disappointed. (Apr.)
Seth G. Jones
“Adeed Dawisha has written a masterful account of the Arab awakening and its historical roots. His assessment of the prospects for democracy and the challenge from Islamists is both insightful and deeply sobering.”
Robert D. Kaplan
“Adeed Dawisha has provided both a fluent overview and a useful historical background to the Arab Spring. It will be a book that all concerned with the Middle East need to read.”
Vali Nasr
“The call for change that has swept across the Arab world since January 2011 is one of the most significant and historical transformations of our time. Adeed Dawisha provides a wonderful account of why and how this tumult happened and what to expect of it in the years to come. Insightful and well-written this book is one of the most thoughtful analyses of the Arab Spring.”
Kirkus Reviews
A solid overview of the Arab revolutions, country by country, from the first nationalist stirrings of the 1950s that put the dictators in place to the snowballing events in recent years. Dawisha (Political Science/Miami Univ., Ohio; Iraq: A Political History) lends his insight into recent upheavals in the Arab world prompted by the staggering oppression of the many by the venal, rich few that has gone on for far too long. There is a satisfying sense of fatal payback in the Baghdad-born author's narrative of the spreading "virus of liberation" catching on from Tunis to Cairo to Tripoli and beyond. The people of these oppressed lands demanded greater political rights from their leaders and were not going to back down in 2011, thanks to greater numbers, social media and the inability of police forces to keep news of insurrection from spreading. Flooding the streets with security police and offering the people a few cosmetic reforms worked in some hot spots, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Morocco, but the same tactics quickly led to the toppling of dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. In Libya and Syria, however, the leaders did not hesitate to use shocking force against the demonstrators. While Gadhafi died by the same sword, Syria's Bashar al-Assad continues to butcher his own people with impunity, convinced perversely that they love him. Dawisha steps back to examine Nasser's role as galvanizer of the first Arab Revolution, tapping into the humiliation Arabs felt at Western imperialism by the mid-1950s--followed by the "predatory authoritarianism" of the young, idealistic leaders who took the helms and were never really interested in "freedom." A knowledgeable survey for students and a glimpse into what the Islamist future might offer.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393240122
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/8/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 784,334
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Baghdad, Adeed Dawisha is a University Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Miami University in Ohio. His many books include Iraq: A Political History and Arab Nationalism in the Twentieth Century: From Triumph to Despair.

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