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The Arab Spring is in its death spiral. Does the West still care?

By Kim Ghattas

04 Jun 2023 · 7 min read

informed Summary

  1. The Arab Spring has been crushed, with Tunisia, Sudan and Syria all sliding back towards autocracy.

The past few months have brought despair to millions of Arabs as they’ve watched the rapid and seemingly definitive restoration of an old, dictatorial order throughout a region that was not long ago full of promise. The end of the Arab Spring has been forecast many times already. Now the last stubborn buds have been crushed.

Tunisia, the country that started the wave of democratic uprisings in December 2010, served for more than a decade as a model for other states contemplating the transition from dictatorship to democracy. Now it’s sliding back toward autocracy, with President Kais Saied, elected in 2019, appearing to outdo the country’s previous dictator, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, in repression. Since assuming office, Saied has imposed an emergency regime, suspended Parliament, and rewritten the country’s constitution. In recent months, he’s taken to cracking down on any whiff of criticism of his rule by arresting journalists and union and political leaders.

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