Up Front

Transitions of Power in the Middle East: What the Past Means for the Future of the Region

Shadi Hamid and Stephen R. Grand

The political uprisings in the Middle East shook the world, but their political transitions have also been tumultuous. As the Middle East changes, it is important to look to the past—whether at other countries having gone through political upheaval or at Islamist movements throughout history—to understand how democracy can be successful in the region. In our new books, we discuss the future of political transitions in the Middle East by looking at the issue through different lenses.




Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East
examines how Islamist movements have changed over time and what democratization means for the future of the Middle East—arguing that it could lead to greater illiberalism.

Understanding Tahrir Square: What Transitions Elsewhere Can Teach Us about the Prospects for Arab Democracy studies past transitions to democracy around the world and uses those changes to offer insight on prospects for Arab democracy.


We recently engaged in a series of short conversations about main issues in the region. In a series of videos, we discuss the tensions between democracy and liberalism, political Islam and its role over time, successful constitutional drafting, and how culture and ideology affect political transitions, among other topics.

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