October 3, 2013 - 12:00 am
Three years ago, the Arab Spring shook a region of the world already known for its instability. The events in Tunisia and Egypt demonstrated the people’s desire for freedom from the political indignities of the past. Regrettably, two further developments compromised any progress that might have been made. The first was the strong ideological polarization between secular and religious parties that is typical of politically immature states and often prevents significant change from occurring. The second development – the militarization of the uprising in Libya and subsequent foreign intervention – provided an opportunity for extremists to introduce themselves as key actors and, eventually, exacerbate civil unrest in Syria. But despite these obstacles, there is reason for hope: history shows that even successful transition processes are always uncertain, if not chaotic.
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