The Arab Spring in North Africa: origins and prospects
The insurgencies in Tunisia and Egypt ? the Jasmine and the Tahrir Revolutions ? seemed to offer great hope of the outbreak of democratic change in the Middle East and North Africa in what has come to be called the ?Arab Spring?. However, the civil war in Libya and the ongoing crises in Yemen and Syria suggest that overall regional change may prove to be more difficult to achieve. In fact there are quite specific reasons why insurgencies occurred in three North African states and not in the remaining two states and why their outcomes have been so different. The causes for the insurgency are similar ? they lie in the global economic crisis and in the neo-patrimonial political natures of regional states ? but the outcomes differ because two of the states concerned were liberalising autocracies and the third ? Libya ? had resolutely rejected any political or social domestic competitors to its hegemonic political discourse and practice. Even the liberalised autocracies face very different futures for, in Tunisia a whole system has been removed whilst in Egypt, the regime rejected its figurehead in order to preserve the regime itself. Ironically enough, the authorities in Tunisia attempted a similar course of action but were unable to impose themselves on the revolution that had occurred.