Will the Virus Trigger a Second Arab Spring?Breaking News
tags: Middle East, Syria, Yemen, Arab Spring, Libya, coronavirus
On a recent visit to Libya, I met a family living in an improvised shelter in a displaced persons camp east of Tripoli. One of the tens of thousands of Libyan families uprooted by war, the family of seven was living in a room barely 20 paces long and half as wide. A clothesline, a pile of mattresses, a hot plate and the stench of body odor filled the room. Outside, they faced a shortage of potable water and abusive taunts from locals.
The spread of the novel coronavirus will have a devastating effect on the Middle East’s communities of refugees and migrants. The pandemic may also bring into focus the legitimacy and governance deficit of increasingly troubled Middle Eastern regimes.
A swift public health and economic response could strengthen authoritarian rule by these regimes, but not indefinitely. A critical lesson of the 2011 Arab uprisings and the protests that erupted last year is that without more inclusive governance, less corruption and greater economic equity, technocratic and coercive tools are only stopgap measures. The demands for citizen buy-in are likely to grow in the Middle East in the pandemic’s aftermath.
The pandemic’s most immediate and ruinous impact will be felt in the region’s active civil wars: Libya, Yemen and Syria.
comments powered by Disqus
- What Happens When SCOTUS is This Unpopular?
- Eve Babitz's Archive Reveals the Person Behind the Persona
- Making a Uranium Ghost Town
- Choosing History—A Rejoinder to William Baude on The Use of History at SCOTUS
- Alexandria, VA Freedom House Museum Reopens, Making Key Site of Slave Trade a Center for Black History
- Primary Source: Winning World War 1 By Fighting Waste at the Grocery Counter
- The Presidential Records Act Explains How the FBI Knew What to Search For at Mar-a-Lago
- Theocracy Now! The Forgotten Influence of L. Brent Bozell on the Right
- Janice Longone, Chronicler of American Food Traditions
- Revisiting Lady Rochford and Her Alleged Betrayal of Anne Boleyn