Middle East and North Africa

This category covers Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, and subjects around the 2011 Arab Spring.

default Bahrain’s Re-Reform Movement

Title: Bahrain’s Re-Reform Movement
Author: Jane Kinninmont
Institution: Foreign Affairs 
Publication Date: 28 February 2011
Keywords: Middle East and North Africa; Political Settlement; Conflict


This paper provides a useful overview of civil society in Bahrain and sets a historic picture of the political economy leading up to recent demonstrations in February 2011.  The paper clarifies how recent growth in an opposition movement has been due to a growing frustration in the lack of constitutional reform conducted by the country’s Sunni Monarch.  The subsequent growth in sectarian divides between the country’s Shia and Sunni Bahrainis have resonated from a sense of impingement of democracy, with widespread belief of an Iranian movement on the one hand, and a sense of betrayal of the constitutional monarchy on the other.  The paper would be of interest to policy-makers, actors and observers from the wider international community as it helps to clarify some of the key issues underlying the uncertainty that the country faces in the future.

default Caught in History's Crosswinds

Title: Caught in History’s Crosswinds
Author: Michele Dunne
Institution: Journal of Democracy
Publication Date: October 2015
Keywords: Middle East and North Africa; Conflict; Governance; Stabilisation  


This introductory paper provides a comprehensive and broad overview of the five years that have passed since the dawn of the Arab Spring in 2011. The author offers a series of snapshots into competing explanations for why democratic transition has been largely unsuccessful in this region. This is relevant to policy makers, academics and anyone who has an interest in learning about the aftermath of the Arab Spring and the difficulties of democratic transitions.  

default Developing Civil Society after the ‘Arab Spring’: Lessons Learned from the EU Delegation to Tunisia

Title: Developing Civil Society after the ‘Arab Spring’: Lessons Learned from the EU Delegation to Tunisia
Michel Mouchiroud
Institution: European Union
Publication Date: 6 March 2012
Related Categories: Community Engagement; Governance; Political Settlement; Stabilisation


The Arab Spring has resulted in the emergence of space for civil society across the region.  This brief article focuses on Tunisia.  However, it has relevance for any of the contexts where governments have fallen and there is an opportunity for democracy to take root. Actors within civil society hold the key to the formation of a democratic state, for without their political participation there can be no dialogue between civilians and the state.

default One year later: three lessons from the Arab Spring

Title: One year later: three lessons from the Arab Spring
Author: Stefan Wolff
Institution: Reuters
Publication Date: 25 November 2011
Related Categories: Libya; Peacebuilding; Political Settlement


The author highlights it takes time for the full consequences of an uprising to become apparent.  Readers may think this is a statement of the obvious.  However, the author makes this point in order to remind us the international community has a responsibility to remain committed.  In his view this is essential in order to ensure the result is that the living conditions of the people improve, rather than the establishment of a different brand of self-serving rulers.  This would be useful to those working specifically on Libya, or any country which has recently undergone political change as a result of popular uprising.  More generally it would useful to those working on governance and peacebuilding issues in fragile and conflict affected states.

pdf Popular Protest in North Africa – Egypt Victorious?

Title: Popular Protest in North Africa – Egypt Victorious?
Institution: International Crisis Group
Publication Date: February 2011
Keywords: Governance, Political Settlement, Rule of Law


This article was written in the early days of the Arab Spring and acknowledges the story is still unfolding.  However, there are key points contained which will remain relevant for some time to come.  Readers who are particularly interested in the Egyptian context will find it comprehensive.  There are also inferences that can be made when considering other North African situations, not least all of the uprisings have their roots in expressions of revulsion against forms of governance defying justification.

default The Crisis of the Arab Nation-State

Title: The Crisis of the Arab Nation State
Author: Yezid Sayigh
Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Publication Date: 2015
Keywords: Middle East and North Africa, Stabilisation, Political Settlement


Through a firmly historical lens, the author traces the evolution of nation-states in the Levant, noting that their current transitional phase, following the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, is inherently dangerous. This in-depth analysis would be of interest to historians, academics and policy makers, as it uses lessons from the past to try to shed some light on the current problems facing Arab states.  

default Tunisia: Combatting Impunity, Restoring Security

Title: Tunisia: Combatting Impunity, Restoring Security
Author: International Crisis Group
Publication Date: 9 May 2012
Related Categories: Governance, Human Rights, Peacebuilding, Political Settlement, Stabilisation


Anyone who is following the developments of the Arab Spring/Arab Awakening will find this article of interest, not least because it was in Tunisia that one of the key triggers for the uprisings took place in the form of the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi.  Tunisia is also the first to have held elections and commenced transition, and there may be parallels to be drawn with other situations.

pdf We want to embrace modern values - A White Paper on the Findings of the Arab Youth Survey 2014

Title: We want to embrace modern values - A White Paper on the Findings of the Arab Youth Survey 2014
Institution: ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
Publication Date: April2014
Keywords: MENA General, Culture and Ideology. 


This is the 6th Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey.  The aim of this document is to present evidence-based insights into the attitudes of Arab youth, providing public and private sector organisations with data and analysis to inform their decision-making and policy formation.  The polling company conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews between December 2013 and January 2014 with Arab men and women in the age group of 18 to 24.  The polling covered urban centres in 16 countries - Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen. The survey did not include Syria due to the civil unrest in the country.  Full details of the methodology can be found on pages 4-5. 

Page Feedback