In This Review

Revisiting the Arab Uprisings: The Politics of a Revolutionary Moment
Revisiting the Arab Uprisings: The Politics of a Revolutionary Moment
Edited by Stéphane Lacroix and Jean-Pierre Filiu
Hurst, 2019, 288 pp.

This collection of essays on the 2011 Arab uprisings ranges from overviews of the process of writing constitutions to fine-grained explorations of transitional justice. Three chapters exploring efforts to address past abuses, by Kora Andrieu, Frédéric Vairel, and Nathalie Bernard-Maugiron, portray the results as an act of political fragmentation in Tunisia, a well-rehearsed drama in Morocco, and a farce in Egypt, respectively. Filiu, meanwhile, examines what he calls the “modern Mamluks” in Algeria, Egypt, Syria, and Yemen, referring to the Middle East’s praetorian slave dynasties of the Middle Ages. He describes a bleak landscape but nonetheless wagers that those countries will liberalize, placing his hopes on “popular steadfastness.” Steven Cook and Tarek Masoud each compare the military establishments in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Turkey. It would be useful to compare these militaries with those of Jordan, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia, all of which are monarchies. It is hard not to conclude that these experiments in liberalization, save, perhaps, Tunisia’s, have landed the countries back on square one, with the important caveat, noted by Marc Lynch, that the Mamluks now have digital media to play with.