Courtesy Reuters

Inside the Arab State

In this useful synthesis, Kamrava reviews the best empirical studies and theoretical analyses of political transitions in middle-income countries to illuminate the recent trajectory of the Arab world. The uprisings of 2011 marked a “critical juncture,” he argues, in which citizens called into question entrenched institutional arrangements. The possibility for revolutionary change was real, Kamrava claims. But he offers no all-encompassing explanation for why such change mostly failed to arrive. He argues that the era of larger-than-life leaders in the Arab world has ended and presents interesting data from a 2016 public opinion survey of Arab citizens that showed a strong preference for …

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