The Arab Awakening: America and the Transformation of the Middle East

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Even the most seasoned Middle East observers were taken aback by the events of early 2011. Protests born of oppression and socioeconomic frustration erupted throughout the streets; public unrest provoked violent police backlash; long-established dictatorships fell. How did this all happen? What might the future look like, and what are the likely ramifications for the United States and the rest of the world? In The Arab Awakening, experts from the Brookings Institution tackle such questions to make sense of this tumultuous region that remains at the heart of U.S. national interests.

The first portion of The Arab Awakening offers broad lessons by analyzing key aspects of the Mideast turmoil, such as public opinion trends within the "Arab Street"; the role of social media and technology; socioeconomic and demographic conditions; the influence of Islamists; and the impact of the new political order on the Arab-Israeli peace process.

The next section looks at the countries themselves, finding commonalties and grouping them according to the political evolutions that have (or have not) occurred in each country. The section offers insight into the current situation, and possible trajectory of each group of countries, followed by individual nation studies.

The Arab Awakening brings the full resources of Brookings to bear on making sense of what may turn out to be the most significant geopolitical movement of this generation. It is essential reading for anyone looking to understand these developments and their consequences.


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The Dynamics of the Arab Spring
Countries in Transition
The Imperative of Reform
States in Crisis
Other Regional Actors
The External Powers
Political Social and Economic Indicators of the Middle East
About the Authors
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About the author (2011)

Kenneth M. Pollack is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he is Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. Previously, he was Director for Persian Gulf Affairs at the National Security Council and spent seven years in the CIA as a Persian Gulf military analyst.

Daniel L. Byman is Research Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings and a professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. Previously, he served as a staff member on the 9/11 Commission and worked for the U.S. government.