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Adam Roberts: The Fate of the Arab Spring

Professor Sir Adam Roberts FBA, Senior Research Fellow in International Relations, University of Oxford

‘The Fate of the Arab Spring’

Recorded at the British Academy Soirée, Tuesday 28 June 2016

The Arab Spring movements of 2011, and the grim subsequent events in the region, raise questions that are of wider international concern. Why, in the 21st century, is there so much conflict in post-colonial societies? Why did the opposition to several regimes take the form of civil resistance, to the extent that this became the symbol of the Arab Spring? Why was civil resistance followed by war in Syria, Yemen and other cases? Did civil resistance constitute a serious challenge to more radical elements that supported political violence and terrorism? With the fragile exception of Tunisia, why was democratization so difficult to achieve? Did the Arab Spring contribute unintentionally to a revival of authoritarian ideas in the region and elsewhere? What lessons can be drawn about how we understand foreign countries; and about the role that democracies can play in assisting democratization in such challenging settings? Drawing on his jointly-edited book Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring: Triumphs and Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2016), Adam Roberts initiates a discussion of these questions.

List of speakers at the British Academy Soirée 2016