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Arab spring

Analysis and Comment (41)

Is new Qatari emir as keen on World Cup as predecessor Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani? Is new Qatari emir as keen on World Cup as predecessor Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani? EPA

The rise was stunning, but Qatar has plenty of other worries besides football

The highly visible role played by Qatar in spearheading the Arab Spring uprisings in north Africa and Syria in 2011 focused world attention on this tiny Gulf emirate. It capped a remarkable year that began…
Khalid Abdalla and Ahmed Hassan in The Square. Khalid Abdalla and Ahmed Hassan in The Square. Netflix/Noujaim Films

Cultural responses to the Arab spring are helping keep it alive

In 2011, as one popular uprising after another swept across Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and beyond, the Arab spring (more commonly referred to in Arabic as al-thawrat al-arabiyya, “the…
Firefighters clean up after an explosion in Tripoli. Firefighters clean up after an explosion in Tripoli. EPA/STR

NATO must take responsibility for spiralling violence in Libya

Libya has drifted out of our news recently, swamped and obscured by other conflicts. But the repercussions of the NATO intervention, and the subsequent failure of any credible central government to control…
Hands up if you’re on Twitter. Hands up if you’re on Twitter. EPA/Al-Masry Al-Youm

When the town square is online, power lies with the people

In the age of information, we no longer need to leave the house to shape democracy. We’re heading towards a world in which the traditional sites of protest are sitting alongside online forums, which are…
Silencing dissent: al-Jazeera journalists in a court cage during their trial. Silencing dissent: al-Jazeera journalists in a court cage during their trial. Al-Masry al-Ayoum/EPA

Opinions are dangerous as Egypt cracks down on dissent

As I write this, 20 journalists – including several al-Jazeera reporters – are on trial in Cairo on charges of spreading disinformation and abetting terrorists. Their alleged crime includes operating without…
Egyptian women waiting to vote in January’s constitutional referendum. Egyptian women waiting to vote in January’s constitutional referendum. Khalil Hamra/AP

Egyptian sexual harassment activists battle growing acceptance of violence

Many colleagues and friends have asked me about the surge and intensity of sexual harassment in Egypt, which has already received plenty of attention within academia and the international media. They ask…
The Arab Spring marked a shift in news-gathering methods used by journalists. But how reliable was the information, and what problems did it pose for traditional journalists? The Arab Spring marked a shift in news-gathering methods used by journalists. But how reliable was the information, and what problems did it pose for traditional journalists? EPA/Julien Warnand

Arab Spring: new media, new journalism, same old tensions?

The Arab Spring protests have presented interesting examples of the complex power relations between traditional and new methods of social media reporting in times of crisis. Traditionally, global crisis…
Martin E Dempsey warns the fallout of the Arab Spring will take a long time to clear. Martin E Dempsey warns the fallout of the Arab Spring will take a long time to clear. Glenn Fawcett

Recovery from the Arab Spring will take a generation or more

At a meeting at the Wall Street Journal this week, Martin E Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that the United States' ability to exercise influence in the Middle East had significantly…
International women’s day in Egypt. International women’s day in Egypt. Al Jazeera English

Ranking violence against Arab women feeds tired stereotypes

The release of a Thomson Reuters poll on women’s rights in the Arab world has been greeted with incredulity by many in Egypt, the country that ranked at the very bottom. When polls such as this emerge…
Morsi supporters after the savage crackdown. Morsi supporters after the savage crackdown. Wikimedia Commons

Egyptians pay for democracy in blood

The violent deaths of hundreds and the injury of thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protesters in a few short hours yesterday is tragic. What is the more tragic is that it could have been avoided. In…
Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at the 2012 elections. Kuwait is passing through an unprecedented period of instability, bringing relentless elections. Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at the 2012 elections. Kuwait is passing through an unprecedented period of instability, bringing relentless elections. Kuwaitelections2012

Explainer: Kuwait elections

Parliamentary elections for the 65 member Kuwait’s National Assembly (Majlis al-Umma) are set for this Saturday. Over 410 candidates are contesting the 50 seats elected by popular vote in the oldest and…
A new generation is raising a fist in anger. A new generation is raising a fist in anger. Gert Bruininkx

An indignant generation is raging around the world

Foundation essay: This article on the indignant generation by Simon Hallsworth, head of the School of Applied Social Sciences at University Campus Suffolk, is part of a series marking the launch of The…
With uprisings continuing to take place in Turkey, questions must now be asked over whether the ‘Turkish model’ for democracy is the way forward for the Arab world. With uprisings continuing to take place in Turkey, questions must now be asked over whether the ‘Turkish model’ for democracy is the way forward for the Arab world. EPA/Evrim Aydin

As uprisings continue, what happened to the ‘Turkish model’ for democracy?

The ongoing protests across Turkey, stretching from May 28, show there is ample evidence of a flourishing culture of democracy in the country. They also highlight a worrying counter trend. Last week, the…
A US flag lies among the debris of the US consulate in Benghazi. A US flag lies among the debris of the US consulate in Benghazi. EPA

Death in Benghazi: the dark side of the citizens’ revolt in Libya

The American delegation in Benghazi has been left reeling by the deaths of four of its staff, amongst them Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The deaths occurred in an effort to evacuate the consulate…
A group of Iranian pilgrims captured by the Free Syria Army who claim are Iranian Revolutionary Guards. A group of Iranian pilgrims captured by the Free Syria Army who claim are Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Al Arabiya

Iran – Syrian ally to the bitter end

This week the Islamic Republic of Iran made a blunt statement, reiterating its position in relation to the on-going conflict in Syria. According to Saeed Jalili, a senior advisor to the Iranian Supreme…
Supporters of president-elect Mohammed Morsi celebrate his victory in Tahrir Square. Supporters of president-elect Mohammed Morsi celebrate his victory in Tahrir Square. EPA/Andre Pain

Egypt’s challenge: will Morsi deliver bread, freedom and social justice?

For the first time perhaps in all of Egyptian history, its citizens have chosen their own leader. The election of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammad Morsi as the president of Egypt is a major historical…
Mubarak’s demise may not mean the end of his regime for Egypt. Mubarak’s demise may not mean the end of his regime for Egypt. EPA

Farewell Mubarak? Death, power and politics in Egypt

Symbols are important, but often deceiving. This is certainly the case of Hosni Mubarak, whose inexorable decline acted as a metronome for the Egyptian political crisis. In early 2011, Mubarak’s political…
The field is varied and the stakes are high in Egypt’s upcoming presidential election. The field is varied and the stakes are high in Egypt’s upcoming presidential election. EPA/Khaled Elfiqi

Sheikhs and generals face off in a battle for Egypt’s soul

In the face of the largest mobilisation Egypt has ever witnessed, President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on February 12, 2011. Facing an unlikely coalition of disaffected youth, labour workers, Islamists…
Iraqi security forces inspect a taxi in the wake of a deadly attack on the city of Kirkuk last month. Iraqi security forces inspect a taxi in the wake of a deadly attack on the city of Kirkuk last month. EPA/Khalil Al A Nei

Iraqi-Australians on life after the American war

Last week in Baghdad, 17 men were executed. Nothing special to note here in the conflict ridden, post-US withdrawal landscape of Iraq, except that this time they were executed by an Iraqi court. This was…
Many Syrians prefer the stability of the Assad regime to the chaos they saw after dictators were deposed in Libya and Iraq. Many Syrians prefer the stability of the Assad regime to the chaos they saw after dictators were deposed in Libya and Iraq. EPA/Youssef Badawi

The Syria roulette wheel – where nobody wins

The stench of hypocrisy is a hard one to wash out for the West in the Middle East. We shook Gadaffi’s hand and pretended we liked his outfits when he coughed up for Lockerbie and we snuggled with Mubarak…
The Arab League has repeatedly failed to effect political change in the region. The Arab League has repeatedly failed to effect political change in the region. EPA/Amel Pain

Arab League mission to Syria was an exercise in duplicity

This weekend, Syria witnessed some of its bloodiest days since political agitation began last year. Dozens were killed after the government launched a new military offensive against rebel group the Free…
Protestor in Cairo’s Tahrir Square behind a flaming barricade. Protestor in Cairo’s Tahrir Square behind a flaming barricade. AAP/Mohamed Omar

Egypt: the Arab Spring 2.0

Recent days have seen a return to Cairo’s Tahrir Square by thousands of Egyptians concerned by what they see as a delay by the ruling military council in implement full democracy in Egypt. With reports…
We need to make sure quality is more important than quantity in our online engagement. We need to make sure quality is more important than quantity in our online engagement. Flickr/joshfassbind.com

Democracy drowned out by social media noise: bigger isn’t better online

Social media provokes some of the most voluminous and heated responses in two key areas of contemporary society – democracy and privacy. Promoting the first and threatening the second, social media is…
Gaddafi’s death raises moral questions about whether he should have been put on trial or not. Gaddafi’s death raises moral questions about whether he should have been put on trial or not. EPA/Rehan Khan

Should Colonel Gaddafi have been allowed to live?

Muammar Gaddafi met his end after being cornered in a Sirte drainage pipe, having fled from a NATO air-strike on his convoy. Questions about exactly how he died - whether caught in crossfire or summarily…
The first free elections borne from the Arab Spring were held in Tunisia. Over 90% of registered adults voted. The first free elections borne from the Arab Spring were held in Tunisia. Over 90% of registered adults voted. EPA/Zacarias Garcia

Tunisian hope and Greek despair: A week in the life of democracy

It has been a tumultuous week in the life and times of democracy in the Mediterranean. Seven days punctuated by joyous hope and its ugly opposite, sullen despair. The promising news came from Tunisia…
Colonel Gaddafi’s death presents a challenge to regional unity. Colonel Gaddafi’s death presents a challenge to regional unity. EPA/Alessandro di Meo

Gaddafi is dead: What now for the region?

The death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Sirte highlights the remarkable impact a single individual can have on a whole country. Until he was captured or killed Libyans could not get on with the job of…
After 42 years in charge of the country, and surviving a violent uprising, Colonel Gaddafi was killed in his hometown of Sirte. After 42 years in charge of the country, and surviving a violent uprising, Colonel Gaddafi was killed in his hometown of Sirte. EPA/Khaled el-Fiqi

From dictatorship to democracy: The significance of Colonel Gaddafi’s death

The former Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been killed. He was caught in a firefight between his supporters, and rebels backing the National Transitional Council, following a Nato airstrike…
Saudi women are still segregated from men in many walks of life, but next year they will get the right to vote. Saudi women are still segregated from men in many walks of life, but next year they will get the right to vote. AFP/Fayez Nureldine

Vote now on a socially inclusive Saudi Arabia as women get to cast their ballot

While Saudi women celebrate their hard-earned right to vote in next year’s Municipal Council elections, the frenzy of international media interest highlights just how mysterious this country remains. Women…
Coptic Christians have long been discriminated against in Egypt, but the violence against them, and the government response to it, signals concerns for democracy in the country. Coptic Christians have long been discriminated against in Egypt, but the violence against them, and the government response to it, signals concerns for democracy in the country. EPA/Mohamed Omar

Democracy in peril: Egypt’s handling of Coptic unrest

The violence in Egypt involving Coptic demonstrators, military units and unidentified thugs shocked the country and rang alarms about prospects for transition to democracy. Egypt is going through a revolution…
Peace and stability will be crucial for Libya’s post-revolution development. Peace and stability will be crucial for Libya’s post-revolution development. AAP

After Gaddafi, will Libya’s ‘resource curse’ become a blessing?

With the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s autocratic regime, the transitional government in Libya is prompting hopes for a new era of democracy in the country. While a swift transition to democracy is certainly…
Protestors from the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City. Protestors from the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City. AAP

2011: the year of Facebook revolutions … some forgotten and ignored

The occupation of Wall Street began in the deserts of Western Sahara and on October 15th it will spread to our Australian cities. In El-Ayoun, Moroccan controlled Western Sahara, in the Gdeim Izik refugee…
Is it time for the world’s dictators to “friend” online communications? (Headdesk) Is it time for the world’s dictators to “friend” online communications? (Headdesk) AAP

Dictatorship 101: killing the internet plays into the hands of revolutionaries

In the euphoria following the downfall of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, Wael Ghonim, the so-called “hero” of the revolution proclaimed: “Technology played a great role here. You know, it helped keeping…
The capture of Colonel Gadaffi’s son was celebrated by crowds in Benghazi. The capture of Colonel Gadaffi’s son was celebrated by crowds in Benghazi. EPA/STR

The next big challenge for Libya

The effort to overthrow Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi appears to be reaching its climax with key elements of his military forces surrendering to the rebels and senior members of his regime* in rebel hands. While…
Syrian troops withdraw from the city of Hama where they were quelling pro-democracy protests. Syrian troops withdraw from the city of Hama where they were quelling pro-democracy protests. AFP/STR

Solving the crisis in Syria. Where will the unrest end?

The United States has stepped up sanctions against Syria, targeting President Bashar al-Assad’s financial resources. Syria claims to have withdrawn its troops from the city of Hama, which has played a…
A portrait of President Assad in Midan, Syria. A portrait of President Assad in Midan, Syria. Brian Stoddard

The situation in Syria: a first hand account

Emeritus Professor Brian Stoddart, former Vice-Chancellor at La Trobe University, returned recently from an extended assignment working with universities in Syria. Below is his account of his time in a…
Colonel Gaddafi is a brutal tyrant, but his arrest warrant is a political move. Colonel Gaddafi is a brutal tyrant, but his arrest warrant is a political move. EPA/Sabri Elmhedwi

Gaddafi arrest warrant tests credibility of International Criminal Court

Arrest warrants have been issued for the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam, and Libya’s intelligence chief Abdullah Sanussi. It follows a referral by the United Nations Security Council…
Still from a video showing Syrian anti-government protestors in Hama on June 3 2011. Still from a video showing Syrian anti-government protestors in Hama on June 3 2011. AFP/YouTube

Hama time for Syrian rebels?

As we watch the spot fires of democratic uprisings flicker across Syria it is worth remembering that the government’s response so far has been mild. The religious tensions of the country and disaffection…
Revolutions encourage people to see the world through different eyes. Revolutions encourage people to see the world through different eyes. AFP/STR

The Arab World: a new model for civilised revolution

The lives of millions of people in the Arab-speaking world are changing. Often for the first time, women and men have jumped, danced, kissed strangers and sung in the streets. There is talk of dignity…

Research Briefs (1)

Women vital to the Arab Spring

Women played a central role in the 2011 Arab Spring through their influential use of social media. Courtney Radsch of Rice…