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What Happened To The "Arab Spring," And What's Next

Hossam el-Hamalawy

Three years after what was dubbed the “Arab Spring”, Egypt is preparing for its first election since a military coup last summer. The candidate presumed to win is Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who led the coup against Islamist President Morsi last July.  Since then, he’s been the de facto leader of Egypt, and has engineered mass crackdowns on dissent. It’s not the type of reform many imagined, when the fabled Tahrir Square uprisings began – and now, Egyptians are wondering if their revolution has left them any better off than before. Meanwhile, other countries that seemed poised to buck authoritarian rule have also faced setbacks: Syria’s civil war only seems to get worse, and in Yemen, reports are of rising danger – amid widespread objections to U.S. drone strikes and increased al Qaeda activity.  In fact, looking across North Africa and the Middle Wast, analysts only find one success story: Tunisia, where it all began.


  • Shadi Hamid – fellow at the Brooking Institute’s Saban Center for  Middle East Policy and author of “Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in the Middle East.”
  • Jeannie Sowers – associate professor of political science at University of New Hampshire and author of “The Journey to Tahrir: Revolution, Protest and Social Change in Egypt, 1999-2011.”


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