Upheavals in the Arab World

Since December 2010, when the "Arab Spring" protests first began, the Arab world has been embroiled in dramatic and dynamic change. In four countries (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen) mass protests led to the removal of long-established authoritarian leaders and initiated processes of political transformation. To date, only Tunisia has successfully progressed towards a markedly more liberal and participatory order. Yet, even if its transition officially concluded with the first free parliamentary and presidential elections in 2014, the country is still a long way from consolidating a democratic order. In Egypt a 2013 military coup initiated the restoration of authoritarian rule. Power struggles have dragged both Yemen and Libya into civil wars with external intervention.

In other countries (Jordan, Morocco) reform processes were launched that deflated the protest movements. Yet, they did not fundamentally alter the character of the political order and only marginally restricted the prerogatives of autocratic rulers. In Syria originally peaceful protests escalated into armed struggle and then a civil and proxy war. Bahrain's protest movement was suppressed with the help of an intervention by the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The SWP dossier on »Upheavals in the Arab World« supplies an overview of current dynamics, illuminating the politics and society of individual countries, examining regional developments, and analysing international politics towards the region. Each section contains current SWP publications as well as other publications by SWP authors. The short bibliography lists contributions by SWP and external authors, and provides links to web sources in English, German and French. 


This dossier is regularly updated in the frame of the project on »Elite Change and New Social Mobilization in the Arab World« which is located in the Research Division Middle East and Africa. The project is funded by the German Foreign Office in the framework of the transformation partnerships with the Arab World and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and cooperates with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung as well as with the PhD grant programs of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung and the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung.

SWP Comments

Matthias Schulze
Cyber Deterrence is Overrated

Analysis of the Deterrent Potential of the New US Cyber Doctrine and Lessons for Germany’s “Active Cyber Defence”


Oliver Geden, Felix Schenuit
Climate Neutrality as Long-term Strategy

The EU’s Net Zero Target and Its Consequences for Member States


SWP Research Papers

Marco Overhaus
A Matter of Credibility

Conventional and Nuclear Security Commitments of the United States in Europe


Christian Wagner
India’s Africa Policy