This important book looks at the tumultuous recent events in the Arab region in the context of long-term historical pressure to build societies that will respond to Arab citizens’ longing for freedom and opportunity. Only through the painstaking process of constructing an Arab world defined by pluralism and tolerance can this dream be realized.
Marwan Muasher, former foreign minister of Jordan, asserts that all sides—the United States, Europe, Israel, and Arab governments alike—were deeply misguided in their thinking about Arab politics and society when the turmoil of the Arab Spring erupted. He explains the causes of the unrest, tracing them back to the first Arab Awakening, and warns of the forces today that threaten the success of the Second Arab Awakening. Hope rests with the new generation and its commitment to tolerance, diversity, the peaceful rotation of power, and inclusive economic growth, Muasher maintains. He calls on the West to rethink political Islam and the Arab Israeli conflict, and he underscores the importance of efforts to strengthen education and expand traditional definitions of Arab citizenship for the long-term process of democratic transition.
“This powerful book is a manifesto for political pluralism in the Arab world—a liberating concept that has unfortunately been missing in much of the thus far disappointing ‘Arab Spring.‘ Marwan Muasher shows how badly the Arabs need a political culture that accepts diversity, tolerates dissent, and embraces different sectarian strains. If Muasher’s ideas about a pluralistic 'third force' can take hold, we’ll see the second Arab awakening that this book describes—and Muasher will be one of its wisest chroniclers.”
—David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist
“In this timely book, a seasoned statesman and scholar of the Middle East provides an astute and historically informed analysis of the Arab Spring and its origins, meaning, and implications for the future of the Middle East. Muasher delves into history and draws on his own personal experiences to produce a smart, balanced, and engaging account of the intellectual debates and political reality that shape the landscape of change. Anyone interested in the future of the Arab world should read this book.”
—Vali Nasr, author of The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat
The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, sociopolitical, and strategic interests in the Arab world. Through detailed country studies and the exploration of key crosscutting themes, the Carnegie Middle East Program, in coordination with the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, provides analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region. The program has special expertise in political reform and Islamist participation in pluralistic politics.
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