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26 February 2021

Why the 2011 Arab Spring won’t be the last Middle East revolution

Sir John Jenkins, former ambassador to Libya, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia, joins Emily Tamkin and Ido Vock on the World Review podcast

It’s ten years since the self-immolation of Tunisian street-seller Mohamed Bouazizi sparked an uprising against oppressive regimes that spread to much of the Middle East and northern Africa. The Arab Spring deposed leaders in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, and ultimately contributed to the past ten years of conflict and unrest in the Middle East. 

On this week’s episode of World Review from the New Statesman, Emily Tamkin in Washington, DC and Ido Vock in Berlin are joined by Sir John Jenkins, formerly the UK’s ambassador to Iraq, Libya and Saudi Arabia, to look at the decade that’s passed since the Arab Spring, and whether any lessons have been learned in both the region and the wider international community.

Further reading

Sir John Jenkins’ piece, The lights that failed, discusses why the cause of liberal democracy collapsed in the Middle East.

The BBC Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, has written for the New Statesman to explore how the dream of the Arab Spring died.

Amnesty International has stripped Alexei Navalny of his status as a “prisoner of conscience”. Emily asks if this was the right decision by the human rights organisation.

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