Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

The Transition towards Revolution and Reform: The Arab Spring Realised?

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

The Transition towards Revolution and Reform: The Arab Spring Realised?

Article excerpt

The Transition towards Revolution and Reform: The Arab Spring Realised? By Sonia L. Alianak. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014. 224 pp. $120.

Transition is a readable and useful addition to the literature on a momentous period that addresses a fascinating question: How did some Arab regimes successfully ride the wave of change that hit the Middle East in early 2011 while others fell? The seeming greater durability of Arab monarchies compared to republican regimes is perhaps the most interesting phenomenon noted by Alianak, and the one she examines most closely.

The author, an associate professor in political science at the University of Texas, focuses on four case studies-Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. The middle two states are republics that saw the toppling of their authoritarian leaders as a result of internal unrest in 2011. The other two are monarchies that experienced widespread unrest and agitation but emerged intact through a judicious combination of reform and repression (different amounts in each case, as the author notes).

Choosing Morocco and Jordan as her case studies of monarchies permits Alianak to avoid the easiest explanation offered for monarchical survival-namely, the fact that many of them have small citizen populations and great, energy-based wealth. …

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