Sigma: Journal of Political and International Studies


Jonah Phillips


Qatar, Arab Spring, Arab world, Muslim Brotherhood, Democratic revolution


When the wave of revolutions commonly referred to as the Arab Spring engulfed the Arab world in the early 2010s, regional powers were suddenly presented with a potentially complete restructuring of the Arab world’s political and social structure. In the years leading up to the uprisings, rising food prices, soaring unemployment, and widespread political corruption had converged to make the Middle East and North Africa a fertile ground for revolution. The mounting pressure came to a head in December of 2010 when demonstrations broke out across Tunisia following the self-immolation of a street vendor protesting police corruption. The following months saw mass protests demanding political reform in most Arab states, the overthrow of the Tunisian and Egyptian governments, and the start of ongoing civil wars in Syria, Libya, and Yemen. This upheaval presented global and regional powers with worrying instability in one of the world’s most volatile regions, but also with the opportunity to intervene on behalf of the factions—governmental or revolutionary—most likely to protect their interests in a re-ordered Arab world.