The Arab Awakening

America and the Transformation of the Middle East

"The events began in Tunisia in January 2011 . . . shook the political, social, and intellectual foundations of the Middle East. The tremors can still be felt, and no one is quite certain when the aftershocks will end, or when another shock wave of popular unrest might occur. Nevertheless, enough time has passed to try to make sense of what has happened so far and, perhaps, gain an inkling of where the region is headed."—from the Introduction by Kenneth M. Pollack

About the Book | Contents | Author Commentary | Events | About the Authors

About the Book

The Arab Awakening brings the full resources of Brookings to bear on making sense of what may turn out to be the most significant geopolitical movement of this generation. Coauthored by 18 of the leading experts on the Middle East, it is essential reading for anyone looking to understand these developments and their consequences.

Even the most seasoned Middle East observers were taken aback by the events of early 2011. Protests born of oppression and socioeconomic frustration erupted throughout the streets; public unrest provoked violent police backlash; long-established dictatorships fell. How did this all happen? What might the future look like, and what are the likely ramifications for the United States and the rest of the world? In The Arab Awakening, experts from the Brookings Institution tackle such questions to make sense of this tumultuous region that remains at the heart of U.S. national interests.

The Arab Awakening offers broad lessons by analyzing key aspects of the Mideast turmoil, such as public opinion trends within the "Arab Street"; the role of social media and technology; socioeconomic and demographic conditions; the influence of Islamists; and the impact of the new political order on the Arab-Israeli peace process.

The authors also look at the countries themselves, finding commonalties and grouping them according to the political evolutions that have (or have not) occurred in each country. They offer insight into the current situation, and possible trajectory of each group of countries, as well as individual nation studies.


Part I: The Dynamics of the Arab Spring
Part II: Countries in Transition
Part III: The Imperative of Reform
Part IV: States in Crisis
Part V: Other Regional Actors
Part VI: The External Powers

Author Commentary