Unrest in the Arab World

February 1, 2013 • Volume 23, Issue 5
Will the Arab Spring lead to more change?
By Kenneth Jost


Rebel fighters prepare to battle Syrian forces near Aleppo (AFP/Getty Images/Ahmad Gharabli)
Rebel fighters prepare to battle Syrian forces near Aleppo on Aug. 2, 2012. The country's brutal civil war grew out of the peaceful anti-government protests known as the Arab Spring movement, which began in Tunisia in 2010. (AFP/Getty Images/Ahmad Gharabli)

The wave of popular uprisings that toppled dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya is still roiling the Arab world, but other governments have held on by cracking down on protests or instituting modest reforms. Meanwhile, Syria is engulfed in a bloody civil war that many experts predict will force President Bashar Assad from office but leave the country devastated and politically unstable. Some experts say the events have transformed political attitudes in Arab nations. Others stress that a majority of those countries still have authoritarian regimes. The political dramas are playing out against the backdrop of pressing economic problems, including high unemployment among Arab youths. In addition, the growing power of Islamist parties and groups is raising concerns among advocates of secular government and creating risks of sectarian disputes among different Muslim sects.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Feb. 01, 2013  Unrest in the Arab World
Aug. 07, 2012  Islamic Sectarianism
Dec. 2007  Future of Turkey
Nov. 2007  Radical Islam in Europe
Nov. 03, 2006  Understanding Islam
Mar. 24, 2000  Islamic Fundamentalism
Apr. 30, 1993  Muslims in America
Global Issues
Middle East Conflicts