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Arab Hope Springs Eternal

Summary:
A decade after the start of the Arab Spring, the hope of securing democracy and human rights in the Arab world seems as far away as ever. But the counter-revolution of the intervening years cannot last forever, and the sooner that governments recognize the need for reform, the better off they will be. STOCKHOLM – The Arab Spring that began on December 17, 2010, is a somewhat uncomfortable subject a decade later. Seldom has such a vast outpouring of hope resulted in so much disappointment – and in such deep confusion about what lies ahead. How Might COVID-19 Change the World? PS OnPoint STR/AFP via Getty Images The Legacy of 2020

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A decade after the start of the Arab Spring, the hope of securing democracy and human rights in the Arab world seems as far away as ever. But the counter-revolution of the intervening years cannot last forever, and the sooner that governments recognize the need for reform, the better off they will be.

STOCKHOLM – The Arab Spring that began on December 17, 2010, is a somewhat uncomfortable subject a decade later. Seldom has such a vast outpouring of hope resulted in so much disappointment – and in such deep confusion about what lies ahead.

In 2002, the UN-sponsored Arab Human Development Report issued its stark initial findings, revealing a region that was falling behind the rest of the world, and where the aspirations of the young and the educated could no longer be met. Reform was obviously needed, but it would not be forthcoming. Eight years later, the conditions were ripe for revolution. When it came, it started in Tunisia, where a street vendor, fed up with the petty abuses of a corrupt system, immolated himself.

The focus soon shifted to the center of the Arab world, Egypt. When that country’s aging dictator, Hosni Mubarak, threw in the towel as hundreds of thousands demonstrated in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the prospect of a democratic revolution in the Arab world suddenly came into view. Egypt seemed ready for a genuine democratic transition, with...

Carl Bildt
Co-Chair European Council on Foreign Relations @ecfr. Among many other things. På svenska på @cbildt.

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