Winners and Losers in the Arab Awakening

Issue & Policy Briefs January 25, 2012, No. 84

On January 25, 2012, one year has passed since the protests began on Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Events in the Middle East and North Africa over the past year have altered many previously held beliefs about the political dynamics of the region, and it is still difficult to assess the full meaning of the Arab awakening. But as the dust begins to settle, it is possible to
perceive the direction in which these post-revolutionary states are headed. While in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, dictators have been deposed and in two of these states elections have been held, there is little progress toward true democracy. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Arab awakening has created winners and losers. Paradoxically, the losers include both the liberal forces who spearheaded the revolutions, and the deposed dictators; the winners are the Islamist forces, who contributed little to the overthrow of the old regimes but certainly are reaping the benefits of their demise.

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