An end to authoritarianism, greater participation, and better economic policies – these were the central demands on the ruling dictatorships in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) during mass protests in 2010/2011. However, in most countries, the “Arab Uprisings” failed to realise the changes for the better that many observers and participants had hoped for. Today, a decade later, the region finds itself again faced with anti-regime mass protests. In Sudan, a civilian government came to power after the military staged a coup against long-term dictator Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. In Iraq and Lebanon, demonstrators have peacefully protested against corruption, unemployment, and their countries’ overarching sectarianism since October 2019.
This GIGA Forum analyses the 2019/2020 protests and compares them to the protest wave experienced a decade earlier. Are we witnessing the second coming of the Arab Uprisings, an “Arab Uprisings 2.0”? What are the commonalities between the two protest waves, and what are their differences? Which effects will the recent conflict escalation between Iran and the United States have on the protests’ prospects for bringing about change?
After an introduction by Dr. André Bank, Dr. Maria Josua will discuss the Algerian uprising of 2019 which successfully ousted President Abdelaziz Bouteflika but failed to bring about a transition to democracy. She will point out that after the presidential elections in December 2019, the country now is at the crossroads between an accommodation of the protest movement and a return to reconfigured authoritarianism.
Prof. Marc Lynch will compare the recent wave of protests across the MENA region with those of the 2010/2011 “Arab Uprisings.” Lynch will stress that while the current protest movements are much more coherent and persistent thanks to protesters’ previous experiences, authoritarian elites have also learned their lessons, too.
Dr. Maria Josua is Research Fellow at the GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies.
Marc Lynch, PhD is Professor of Political Science at the George Washington University, Washington D.C.
Dr. André Bank is Senior Research Fellow at the GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies.
Seating is limited; please register early to avoid disappointment.