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Arab Spring
April 10, 2014

The Arab Spring: An Assessment Three Years On

by
Olivier Guitta
,
Hannah Stuart
,
Emily Dyer
,
Robin Simcox
and
Rupert Sutton

A new Henry Jackson Society Report – The Arab Spring: An Assessment Three Years On – examines the ways in which the Arab Spring has affected the citizens of countries across the Middle East and North Africa, and assesses the impact on countries three years later.

The Arab Spring: An Assessment Three Years On, launched today by The Henry Jackson Society, provides an urgently-needed examination of the impact of the Arab Spring uprisings. Surveying the economic, social, political and security arenas of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, the report finds that despite high hopes for democracy, human rights and long awaited freedoms, the overall situation on the ground is worse off than before the Arab Spring uprisings.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Economy: Libyan oil production has dramatically fallen by 80% as neighbouring Tunisia’s economy is now dependent on international aid. Egypt’s economy, suffering from a substantial decrease in tourism, has hit its lowest point in decades, at the same time Yemen’s rate of poverty is at an all-time high.
  • Democracy: Whereas Tunisia has been progressing towards reform, Libya’s movement towards democracy has failed with militias now effectively controlling the state. Egypt remains politically highly-unstable and polarized, as Yemen’s botched attempts at unifying the government has left many political schisms.
  • Social: Egypt’s human rights, especially those of women and minorities, have deteriorated to the point of regular physical attack; in Libya, arbitrary detention, torture and attacks against religious groups have become common; and Yemen’s social freedoms have been ranked as progressively worse every year since the Arab Spring. Only Tunisia represents hope with a new constitution providing freedom of press and increased rights for women.
  • Security: Extremist and fundamentalist activity is rising in all surveyed states, with a worrying growth in terror activities across the region: Tunisia has suffered from an unheard number of terror attacks from al-Qaeda; Libya‘s southern provinces have been taken over by jihadist groups; Egypt has seen a spread of insurgent activity in the Sinai as well as the state’s capital; and in Yemen, the influence of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the north is expanding, leading to confrontation with government troops.

Olivier Guitta, Research Director at the Henry Jackson Society and co-author of the report, said:

“Contrary to popular perception, there is insufficient analysis of the impact of the Arab Spring revolutions on the lives of those it most directly affected.  This report presents an accurate picture of what is actually happening, providing Western states with a deeper understanding of the security threats coming out of these countries.”

Download the full report here

Access the infographic here.

Olivier Guitta

About Olivier Guitta

Olivier Guitta is the Director of Research at the Henry Jackson Society, responsible for setting the strategic agenda for the research department and overseeing the Society’s academic focus, as well as conducting his own research on geopolitics in the MENA region. He is an expert on security and counter-terrorism, having briefed the UK Home Office, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the European Union, the United States Congress and NATO, as well as US presidential candidates, SOCOM and Europol. He is a regular speaker at international security conferences and has lectured at the National Defense University and the Joint Special Operations University.

Full profile  |  See all of Olivier Guitta's work

Hannah Stuart

About Hannah Stuart

Hannah Stuart is a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and has authored reports on extremism, terrorism and jihadist ideology as well as religious law and the role of religion in the public sphere. Hannah has a strong research record and her work has informed UK government policy. She gave testimony to the UK Home Affairs Select Committee on radicalisation. She has written analysis for the Wall Street Journal, The Times, Foreign Policy, Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, and the Guardian, among others. Hannah has a MA in International Studies and Diplomacy (with Distinction) from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and a BA in English Literature from the University of Bristol.

Full profile  |  See all of Hannah Stuart's work

Emily Dyer

About Emily Dyer

Emily joined the Henry Jackson Society as a researcher in January 2012. She is currently researching women’s rights in Egypt having recently co-authored Al-Qaeda in the United States: A Complete Analysis of Terrorism Offenses. Emily previously worked as a Higher Executive Officer for the Preventing Extremism Unit at the Department for Education, where she wrote several papers on extremism within educational settings. Beforehand she was based at the Policy Exchange think tank. Emily has written for a broad range of publications including The Observer, The Telegraph, The Huffington Post, City AM, The Atlantic, CTC Sentinel and Standpoint magazine, largely on women’s rights in the Middle East, extremism, and human rights. Emily studied International Relations from the University of Birmingham, where she produced a First class dissertation on Islamic feminism in Iran, and has travelled widely within Syria and Turkey.

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Robin Simcox

About Robin Simcox

Robin Simcox is a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, where he specialises in al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda inspired terrorism. He is the co-author of both editions of 'Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections' and several other reports broadly focussed on national security, terrorism and al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda affiliated movements across the world. Simcox has written for the likes of the Wall Street Journal, New Republic, Guardian, Weekly Standard, Spectator, Huffington Post and Daily Telegraph and regularly appears across a broad variety of media outlets, including the BBC, Fox News, Sky News, Channel 4 and al-Jazeera. He has spoken on a variety of platforms, including the British Parliament, US Special Operations Command and the European Parliament.

Full profile  |  See all of Robin Simcox's work

Rupert Sutton

About Rupert Sutton

Rupert Sutton is a Researcher at Student Rights and the co-author of 'Challenging extremists: Practical frameworks for our universities'. He is originally from Maidstone and holds a BA in War Studies from the University of Kent, and an MA in Terrorism and Security from King’s College London where he wrote his thesis on Loyalist paramilitarism. He previously interned at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation as well as spending two years with the NHS.

See all of Rupert Sutton's work