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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a broad perspective and a comprehensive view about the origins and causes of the New Arab Awakening. In order to understand the Arab Spring—or New Arab Awakening—it needs to be placed within the long historical context of political and economic developments at least since the 1950s, the post-independence era. It reviews the various phases of Arab development going from the initial post-independence authoritarian bargain, to the modified social contract from the 1980s to the end of the 1990s, and the accumulation of vulnerabilities of the authoritarian regimes in the 2000s. An analogy is used with financial crises and distinguishes between fundamental vulnerabilities and immediate triggers as a means to understand recent events. Also provided is a short review of the economic and political reasons behind the failures of the Arab development model which led to the demise of the authoritarian political regimes.

Keywords: Arab Spring and Awakening, Arab authoritarian bargain, Arab development model, vulnerabilities, triggers, regional contagion

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