From Arab Spring to Islamic Winter
The world is watching with uncertainity as the "Arab Spring" unfolds. Optimistically named by international media sources, the term "Arab Spring" associates the unrest with ideas of renewal, revival, and democratic thought and deed. Many hoped the overthrow of authoritarian leaders signaled a promising new beginning for the Arab world. Raphael Israeli argues that instead of paving a path toward liberal democracy, the Arab Spring in fact launched a power struggle.
Judging from the experiences of countries where the dust is settling—including Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and perhaps also Syria and Libya—it appears that Islamic governments will fill the vacuum in leadership. The hopes that swept the Islamic world with the Arab Spring have given way to a winter of lost hopes and aspirations, as it becomes increasingly clear that democratic outcomes are not on the horizon. What is worse is that the West seems to have abandoned its hopes for democracy and freedom in the region, instead making peace with the idea that Islamic governments must be accepted as the lesser of evil options.
Presenting a clear-eyed picture of the situation, Israeli examines thematic problems that cut across all the Muslim states experiencing unrest. He groups the countries into various blocs according to their shared characteristics, then discusses these groups one by one. For each country, he considers whether the liberal-democratic option is viable and examines what kind of regime could be considered legitimate and stable. This volume offers valuable insights for political scientists, Middle Eastern specialists, and the general informed public eager to comprehend the import of these momentous events.
"Israeli's smart groupings of countries by republican, tribal, Shi'ite and revolutionary models provide an easy way in for the novice to learn some historical context for whatever current conflict dominates the news. His chapter on Syria is enlightening in explaining the civil war between a dictator and his own people, as well as the effects on countries like Iran, Jordan and Israel."
— Publishers Weekly
“From Arab Spring to Islamic Winter is for any college-level reader who would better understand the latest changes in the Middle East, and provides a fine survey that begins with the early years of Islam and reviews the history and past and present obstacles to freedom in the region. From the Islamic idea that sovereignty belongs to Allah to the evolution of Arab thinking on religious and social issues in the region as a whole, this is a powerful presentation that is an important key to understanding evolving relationships and ideas within and outside the Middle East, and is a 'must' for any collection specializing in the area.”
— California Bookwatch
"[A] must for any American policy maker that wishes to understand the basics of the current Middle East."
— Professor Eliezer Tauber, "Book Notes," Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa website book review section
“From Arab Spring to Islamic Winter provides a unique background to those who wish to better understand the tectonic changes in the Middle East and their ramifications on regional and international security. With the tools of a historian, and as one of the world’s leading Middle-Eastern analysts, Israeli takes us on a voyage from the early years of Islam, through the current geopolitical aspects of the region. Israeli’s book is a must for academics, decision-makers, and the general interested public.”
—Boaz Ganor, founder and executive director, ICT—The International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, IDC, Herzliya
“A very sober and timely contribution to the complex issue of the so-called Arab Spring. Rather than the dawn of democratic nations, Israeli argues that it is the dawn of a dangerous regional Islamism.”
—Tudor Parfitt, Florida International University
“Fearless and ever insightful, Raphael Israeli provides a sobering antidote to ‘Arab Spring’ hagiographers. Redolent with doctrinal and historical realities—past and present—Israeli demonstrates the still intractable obstacle to genuine freedom-enshrining, democratic governance in Islamdom: the persistent Islamic notion that ‘sovereignty belongs to Allah,’ who has given humanity the ‘perfect’ governing code, i.e., the totalitarian, liberty-crushing Sharia.”
—Andrew G. Bostom, author, The Legacy of Jihad and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism
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Table of Contents
Introduction: The Transition from an Arab Spring to an Islamic Winter
1 The Structure of Arab Society: Tribes and Artificial States
2 The Ottoman Heritage
3 Authoritarian Rule in the Islamic World
4 The Caliphate and the Ideal of the Islamic State
5 The Globalization of Information and the World Media
6 Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, and the Republican Model
7 Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Morocco, Jordan, and the Monarchical Model
8 Syria, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Tribal Model
9 Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Shi’ite Model
10 Algeria, Mali, Sudan, Somalia, the Palestinians, and the Revolutionary Model
Summary: The Islamic Spring and Israel, and What Lies Ahead