The Promise and Peril of Middle Eastern Revolutions

History demonstrates that revolutions often result in new or renewed forms of despotism. One reason for caution regarding the future of the Arab Uprising is that few Middle Eastern countries have political pasts not dominated by monarchy, theocracy or the military. So previous rebellions ultimately enhanced rather than mitigated socio-political intolerance. After all, Iran’s activist mullahs and al-Qaida’s founders were the products of rebellions against monarchist totalitarianism, too. It remains to be seen whether Egypt will become more democratic or return to military rule, or if the turbulence of the post-Mubarak period will open the door for the Muslim Brotherhood […]

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