Perspectives on the Arab Spring

Over the past several years, I have been reflecting on the Arab Spring from the perspective of the international community’s response, its implications for international security, and the violent nature of most of the transition processes. These posts have become more broadly focused on the Middle East and (North) Africa and more irregular as time has passed…

Extremism must be a problem shared

We are witnessing more terrorist attacks that occur across more countries and kill more people (and, importantly, more Muslims than non-Muslims). It is pointless for world leaders to issue shared statements of condemnation while continuing to pursue otherwise nationally-centred responses to the problem.

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Recovery from the Arab Spring will take a generation or more

Predictions that may take a generation or more for the Middle East to recover from the turmoil that the Arab Spring are clearly a sobering assessment. But they are hardly surprising given that there has been no significant improvement in people’s living conditions, that political tensions and repression persist and that levels of violence are on the up.

Prepare for more drones, and less all-out war

As drone technology advances and proliferates ever further, national and international security interests will increasingly come to be seen being served better by drones than by expeditionary campaigns. That said, the temptation for more state (and non-state) actors to use drones and to do so more often, will not necessarily make the world a safer or less violent place.

Egypt: where turmoil comes with the constitution

Military coups are not a means of democratic politics, but democratic politics in societies as deeply divided as Egypt may not be possible with the kind of exclusive institutions and uncompromising political leaders that the country currently has. Temporarily suspending the constitution is a stop-gap measure that can work in the short-term. What Egypt may also need in the long-term is a more inclusive set of political institutions and leaders that put the interests of the country as a whole above their own.

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Making a difference? The US decision to supply military aid to Syrian rebels

The White House announced that the US would start providing military aid to some of the rebel groups, but it remains unclear whether arming rebel groups in Syria will contribute to achieving the stated aims of US and UK policy: to save lives, to pressure the Assad regime to negotiate seriously, and to prevent the growth of extremism and terrorism.

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