Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World
in partnership with
the Al-Saba Programme
Event Date: 12-13 March 2012
Durham University, United Kingdom
The Arab Spring: Between Authoritarianism and Revolution
The recent uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) represent an unprecedented political shift in the Arab world. The long standing regimes in Tunisia and Egypt were toppled by massive popular protests; the regimes in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria are all experiencing popular challenges from below; and the NATO-backed revolt in Libya ended the rule of Muammar Qaddafi. At the same time, most of the regimes ruling the region contain many of the same actors that were part of the previous ruling elites.
This two day event has been organised to discuss the historical transformations in the MENA region and identify the nature and direction of social and political change in the region. The panels will discuss the factors leading to the revolts, the nature of social and political change underway in the MENA region, the consequences of domestic political changes for the regional balance of power and the responses of the international community, notably the European Union and the United States to these changes. An underlying theme is the role theory plays in both making sense of these changes, and in impeding our understanding.
Questions that would be considered by the speakers include the following:
Can the Arab Spring be understood as a singular phenomenon or should it be understood as a series of disparate struggles with different objectives, different structural drivers and different sources of material and ideological support?
What factors and processes enabled public dissent against the regimes in the MENA region to erupt so forcefully at this particular juncture? How can theories of social protest help us make sense of these events and how do these events challenge existing theories?
What has been the outcome of the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya?
What is the nature of the social and political conflict in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria?
What has been the response of the major regional powers such as Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey and Iran to the Arab Spring? How has the Arab Spring affected the balance of power among these regional players?
How have the major global actors reacted to the changes under way in the region, and what has been the role of the Western states in shaping and influencing developments in the region?
Day 1 (March 12)
08:30-09:15 Registration, Coffee/Tea
Welcome by Professor Anoush Ehteshami (Durham) .
Explaining the Arab Spring
Dr Angela Joya (York University, Canada/SGIA, Durham)
Understanding the Syrian Crisis
Dr Jeroen Gunning (SGIA, Durham)
Enabling a Revolution: Networks, structures and protest waves in the lead-up to the Egyptian Revolution
Dr Roel Meijer(Clingendael/Radboud University of Nijmegen)
The Transitional period in Egypt and Tunisia compared
Dr Noël Brehony (MENAS Consulting)
Yemen and the Arab Spring
Panel 1 discussion
Domestic Impact of the Arab Spring
Ahmed Tohamy (Durham)
Domestic Impact of the Arab Spring in Egypt
Dr Kristian Ulrichsen (London School of Economics)
Domestic Impact of the Arab Spring in Saudi Arabia
Professor Emma Murphy (Durham)
Domestic Impact of the Arab Spring in Tunesia
Dima Smaira (Durham)
Domestic Impact of the Arab Spring in Lebanon
Panel 2 discussion
Political Islam in Power
Dr Ewan Stein (University of Edinburgh)
Dynamics of Political Islam in the region
Khalil al-Anani (Durham)
Islamists in Power: Prospects and Challenges – The Muslim Brothers And Political Salafism In Egypt
Dr Maha Azam (Chatham House) – Egypt and the region
Panel 3 discussion
The Arab Spring and non-Arab Regional States
Dr Özlem Tür (Middle East Technical University, Ankara)
The Arab Spring and non-Arab Regional States: Turkey
Professor Anoush Ehteshami (Durham)
The Arab Spring and non-Arab Regional States: Iran
Professor Clive Jones (University of Leeds)
The Arab Spring and non-Arab Regional States:Israel
Panel 4 discussion
Day 2 (March 13)
Keynote Address (Chair – Professor John Dumbrell)
Professor Steven Heydemann (USIP and Georgetown University) – The End of Authoritarianism?
Discussant – Professor Jim Piscatori (Durham)
Balance of Power
(Chair – Anoush Ehteshami)
Dr Steven Wright (Qatar University) – Balance of Power: Qatar
Dr Chris Davidson (Durham) – Balance of Power: UAE
Dr Mahjoob Zweiri (Qatar University) – Transitional Shiíism
Dr Abdullah Baabood (Cambridge University)- Regional Perspectives
Panel 6 discussion
(Chair – Christopher Davidson)
Dr Christian Schweiger (Durham) – International Perspectives: the EU
Professor Rosemary Hollis (City University London) – International Perspectives: R2P
Professor Caroline Kennedy-Pipe (University of Hull) – International Perspectives: the US
Respondent: Professor David Held (Durham) – The Responsibility to Protect
Panel 7 discussion
Closing Remarks Professor Anoush Ehteshami (Durham) .