Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 October 2020
Chapter 5 focuses on the 2011 uprisings. In the complex interplay of factors involved, armies have played a crucial role, either by keeping cohesive or by disappearing or by fracturing. When the Ben Ali system crumbled, the small Tunisian military revealed itself as the only institution keeping afloat, until other dynamics of civil society took back the upper hand in channeling political transition. The veiled and unspoken power of the armed forces in the Egyptian political system came back to open light and might. The Yemeni model of enduring authoritarian power was severely shaken by the uprising that also unleashed parallel power struggles. The 2011 transition revealed how crucial the Libyan army was, with its specificities, furthermore in a transition eased out by an eight-month civil war and international intervention. The use (and abuse) of the Syrian army was pushed further as it was pulled by the (Bashar al-Assad) regime into heavy-handed repression then full-scale civil war.