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Thirteen years have elapsed since the Arab Spring. The great hope aroused in 2011 and renewed at much lower expectation in 2019 has been overwhelmed by the adverse winds of counter-revolution and/or horizontal civil war between ethnic, religious or regional groups instead of vertical opposition of the people versus the power elite. And yet, the region is anything but restabilised in reactionary mode: the regional destabilisation proved to be for the long haul, confirming that 2011 was but the beginning of a long-term revolutionary process set in motion by a deeply rooted structural socioeconomic crisis. The lecture will assess these dynamics, discuss the factors hampering regional sociopolitical change, and ponder the regional political prospects in this light.
Gilbert Achcar grew up in Lebanon, researched and taught in Beirut, Paris and Berlin and has been Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at SOAS, University of London, since 2007. His many books include: The Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder; Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy, with Noam Chomsky; The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives; The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising; and The New Cold War: The United States, Russia and China, from Kosovo to Ukraine.