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In this chapter, I examine the evolution of US democracy aid in Egypt through the eyes of the diplomats, practitioners, and bureaucrats engaged with such efforts in Egypt. I focus on the practical construction of democracy aid on the ground and the struggles undertaken by different actors to implement aid programs in an authoritarian state. I examine how ideas, interests, and institutions engaged in such aid evolved since 1990s to shape a kind of reform more attuned to the commercial and economic interests of the US and Egyptian governments rather than those of citizens in the country. In the first section, I focus on the nature of authoritarianism in Egypt, tracing its origins since the Nasser era to describe how power has since been exercised and maintained. In the second section, I examine how US democracy aid evolved in Egypt, focusing on the debates and discussions at the inception of USAID’s programs.
Given the relative dominance of positivist epistemologies in political science, the most common mode of comparison is that of variation finding. Although such models can take many forms, the objective is to identify what factors or variables differ across the cases as a means to explain that variation. But other modes of comparative analysis are available. In particular, Charles Tilly’s notion of encompassing comparisons – examining similarities and differences across cases while recognizing that they are inextricably connected or related to some larger whole – may be a better model for explaining long-term political processes, such as state formation, colonialism, capitalism, or even the spread of massive protests across a large number of cases. In this chapter, I develop an encompassing comparison of the Arab uprisings. The approach does not see the uprisings as individual cases whose diverse outcomes yearn for explanation but rather as instances of mass resistance to larger, transnational processes, notably including securitization and neoliberalism. This is not to suggest that these processes caused the uprisings. But the idea is to explore the ways in which the different governments were connected to these larger processes and networks and the extent to which those supranational factors help explain the outcomes of the individual cases.
Why were some, but not all the Arab mass social protests of 2011 accompanied by relatively quick and nonviolent outcomes in the direction of regime change, democracy, and social transformation? Why was a democratic transition limited to Tunisia, and why did region-wide democratization not occur? After the Arab Uprisings offers an explanatory framework to answer these central questions, based on four key themes: state and regime type, civil society, gender relations and women's mobilizations, and external influence. Applying these to seven cases: Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, Valentine M. Moghadam and Shamiran Mako highlight the salience of domestic and external factors and forces, uniquely presenting women's legal status, social positions, and organizational capacity, along with the presence or absence of external intervention, as key elements in explaining the divergent outcomes of the Arab Spring uprisings, and extending the analysis to the present day.
The revolutions that began to sweep across countries in North Africa and the Middle East in December 2010 – like other revolutions in diverse modern historical contexts – have often been articulated, internally and externally, in black and white terms of success or failure, liberation or constraint, for or against, friend or enemy. These internal and external clichés are perpetuated by what Jellel Gasteli has called 'icons of revolutionary exoticism'. Paying particular attention to works from the Tunisian Revolution of 2011, this book examines a diverse body of art including photography, sculpture, graffiti, performance, video and installation by over twenty-five artists. Examining how art can evoke the idea of revolution, Art and the Arab Spring reveals a new way of understanding these revolutions, their profound cultural impact, and of the meaning of the term 'revolution' itself.
This chapter gives an overview of the book in how it deals with dignity in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution in the context of the Arab Uprisings. Dignity or karama in Arabic is a nebulous concept that challenges us to reflect about various issues such as identity, human rights, and faith. This chapter shows that the research to write this book was prompted by the complexity of dignity demands at a time when the region of North Africa and the Middle East was drifting in the socio-political event of the “Arab Spring” or Arab Uprisings. The main motivation in the research was to investigate understandings of karama in the specific context of Egypt during the 2011 protests. To do so, the focus was on interviews with participants in the 2011 protests and analysis of art forms that emerged during protests and in which there was an explicit expression of dignity/lack of dignity. The chapter presents the argument and contribution of the book, the importance of terminology and layers of meanings, and finally the wider context for dignity slogans. The chapter ends by presenting the book structure and the thematic chapters.
This chapter focuses on the theme of dignity as identity and particularly Arab identity. One of the important components in the construction of nationality is consolidating a sense of identity. Karama/dignity – in the sense of being an image of God with inherent worth – has supported for millennia a sense of identity for humans. In the discussion of karama as identity in the slogans of the 2011 Arab Uprisings in Egypt, the chapter shows that there is a widespread understanding of the lack of dignity in Arab contexts, mostly due to oppressive political regimes in a postcolonial setting, which can be seen through various expressions of karama as identity in arts and in the interviews. The chapter also highlights how identity politics are also essential to increasingly globalized societal contexts around the world.
This chapter focuses on the theme of dignity as a human right. There is first a brief general review of a few relevant philosophical debates about human dignity and human rights that are concerned with societal progress in the way karama as a human right, was sometimes interpreted by protesters. Then, the chapter moves on to a closer look at a postcolonial review of similar debates. After reviewing some relevant passages from interviews and other expressions of karama as a human right in Egypt, the chapter ends with an overall analysis of this specific theme in light of the material previously presented.
This chapter summarizes the overall structure of the book and reiterates how it deals with dignity in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution in the context of the Arab Uprisings. Overall, this concluding chapter looks at how the politics of dignity are used to uphold authoritarianism. This has been a blind spot in social and political theories whose authors and practitioners often speak from within a Western cultural framework that often does not understand the relevance of such politics in contexts like Egypt. The need to study karma is timely and the book brought some compelling conclusions for that end particularly regarding understanding dignity as a traumatic experience.
This chapter focuses on the theme of dignity as materialism. In this chapter, the relationship between materialism and dignity/karama suggested in the interviews and in some of the protesters’ demands during the 2011 uprisings in Egypt is first set in the context of the political and economic project of development in today’s modern and global societies. Then, the chapter provides a review of some of the critiques of this political and economic project of development in modern societies and in structural adjustments exposed in new models for socioeconomic progress, particularly to provide for an alternative to strict materialism. The chapter points to the context of a rise of human rights and human dignity discourses that support nonmaterial dimensions of wellbeing and confront it to the representations of karama related to materialism seen in the study. This rise has been seen not only in different societies but also in designing new development models that are precisely concerned with more egalitarian economic conditions for more social justice.
This chapter is not a thematic one, but a general review of the main findings from the different themes and an analysis of the suggested framing of “dignition,” which is a demand for dignity recognition. The chapter begins by showing the language dimension in articulating political demands to see how protesters may use a form of dignition at a particular time and for particular needs. The chapter presents the suggestion of dignition as one linked to dynamics of revolutionary change and populist demands. Then, the chapter looks at how discussions of identity in the Arab and Egyptian contexts have political drivers particularly in the processes of modernizing Arab states after the colonial period. This leads to emotional discussions of articulating the demand of dignity which reveals issues of identity for protesters. Lastly, the chapter exposes the dynamics of modernity and development in the context of accelerated globalization, which increase the precarity of dignity perceptions.
This chapter focuses on the theme of dignity as faith. First, the chapter attempts to clarify the use of the term “faith” as opposed to “religion.” The notion of dignity/karama is not just related to Islam, but also to a social condition that is embedded in one’s religious status and the accompanying process of socialization. The discussion of a human’s worth, central to understanding dignity/karama, is often related to religious studies. Given the broad context of this relationship, the focus here is to look only at the scholarship suggested from the interviews: notably dignity for Spinoza, for Pico della Mirandola, and for the secularists versus Islamists and in their debate with each other. The chapter gives milestones for the understanding of the discussion of karama and faith/religion in the interviews presented in this chapter.
Dignity, or karama in Arabic, is a nebulous concept that challenges us to reflect on issues such as identity, human rights, and faith. During the Arab uprisings of 2010 and 2011, Egyptians that participated in these uprisings frequently used the concept of dignity as a way to underscore their opposition to the Mubarak regime. Protesting against the indignity of the poverty, lack of freedom and social justice, the idea of karama gained salience in Egyptian cinema, popular literature, street art, music, social media and protest banners, slogans and literature. Based on interviews with participants in the 2011 protests and analysis of the art forms that emerged during protests, Zaynab El Bernoussi explores understandings of the concept of dignity, showing how protestors conceived of this concept in their organisation of protest and uprising, and their memories of karama in the aftermath of the protests, revisiting these claims in the years subsequent to the uprising.
This chapter is a conversation between book editor Sonja Mejcher-Atassi and Mohammad Al Attar, one of the Arab world’s most celebrated younger playwrights. It is based on a talk Al Attar gave at the American University of Beirut in April 2015. In the conversation, Al Attar offers valuable insights into the significance of Sa’dallah Wannous’ plays and their legacy for a younger generation of playwrights in and from the Arab world. He shares his views about how Wannous’ language, style of writing, and ideas on the politicization of theatre impacted him as a student at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus and later as a renowned playwright. Al Attar also attempts to read Wannous’ influence on the political, cultural, and literary scene of the 2011 Arab uprisings, especially the Syrian revolution.
This chapter focuses on The Rape, Sa’dallah Wannous’ 1989 play in which he broke his literal silence after almost a decade of not writing plays. It reads Wannous’ work in tandem with Frantz Fanon’s analysis of violence in postcolonial societies in The Wretched of the Earth--which appears in Arabic translation among the books in Wannous’ personal library housed at the American University of Beirut--as a means of assessing Wannous’ significance now, after the uprisings that began in 2011 in a number of Arab countries that led to violent state repression and war. The chapter argues that, like Fanon, Wannous warned that authoritarianism and “blind nationalism” would severely undermine the development of a self-critical and realistic national consciousness as a basis for a democratic postcolonial future.
The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria raised the prospect of a Turkish-led regional order, backed by Qatari economic power, and based upon the regional ideological co-dependencies of the AKP. At the same time, the renewed potential for a grand bargain between the United States and Iran held out the possibility that empowered Iranian reformists might substitute integration into Western economic and security frameworks for the Axis of Resistance. This chapter first examines the ways in which Turkey and Qatar sought to consolidate a new regional order based on alignment with Western-friendly Islamist governments. It then elaborates upon the counterrevolutionary forces within the region, emanating from both pro-Western and Axis of Resistance actors, that militated against the realisation of a new regional order. The final section of the chapter sketches the main features of a restored regional order based on authoritarian resurgence and sectarianised antagonisms across all pivotal powers in the region.
The Epilogue accounts for Israeli foreign policy since the return to power of Binyamin Netanyahu in 2009. It focuses on Israel’s response to the Arab uprisings, its conflict with Iran, wars with Hamas, rejection of the peace initiatives presented by the Obama administration, Israel’s emerging covert relations with Arab Gulf countries, and Israel’s endorsement of the 2020 Trump peace plan. The chapter traces and explains the concentration of power within the hands of Binyamin Netanyahu, whose premiership has been the main element of continuity in an otherwise changing decision-making forum. The chapter also accounts for the shift of the centerground of Israeli domestic politics and society to the right, and explores the implications of this change for Israeli foreign policy. The chapter ends with a critical evaluation of why Israel’s foreign policy reverted to entrenchment during the previous decade, 2009-2020, and explores its implications for Israel’s foreign relations.
This chapter reviews the book's central questions and arguments, then summarizes the key findings, including the most notable features of each first interim government and how each one influenced later phases of transition. It then situates the study in a larger framework of political transitions. Finally, the chapter proposes a research agenda for examining the role of first interim governments more broadly, arguing that a more systematic compiling of evidence could provide additional insight into the precise parameters of this role: that is, the areas in which first interim governments can have the most influence and the actual extent to which they can shape the transition once they have completed their tenure.
Examining the factors that shaped the first interim governments of Tunisia and Libya, which formed in the immediate aftermath of the 2011 uprisings that brought down their governments, Managing Transition analyses each interim government to enhance our understanding of how political transition occurred within two North African countries. Tracing the importance of the key decisions made during these transition periods, Sabina Henneberg demonstrates the importance of these decisions taken during the short phase between authoritarian collapse and first post-uprising elections, including decisions around leadership, institutional reform, transitional justice, and the electoral processes themselves. By documenting, in close detail, the important events of the 2011 Arab Uprisings, and the months that followed, this study shows that while pre-existing structures strongly influence the design and behaviour of first interim governments, actors' choices are equally important in shaping both immediate and longer-term phases of transition.
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.
This chapter explores the foreign policy discourse of the old Anglosphere coalition during the first phase of the crisis and civil war in Syria, from early 2011 to mid 2012. First, the chapter considers the Anglosphere response to the Arab Uprisings, as protests spread to Syria. Second, it analyses the evolution of Anglosphere foreign policy discourse, as Assad’s crackdowns intensified. Third, it analyses calls for regime change and support for regional allies, amidst a policy of not intervening militarily. In all three cases, the USA is shown to lead, within a nevertheless intimately interconnected old Anglosphere coalition. This analysis sets the ground for shifting Anglosphere foreign policy from August 2012, as chemical weapons concerns rapidly overtook a policy of democracy promotion at a distance.