Arab Changes Yet to Come

Part of the 2012 Global Forecast

The pace of change in the Arab world has slowed since the heady days of January 2011. Then, it seemed incomprehensible that a month of protests could topple President Zine el-Abidine bin Ali of Tunisia after 23 years in power. The next month, it seemed even more incomprehensible that a mere 18 days of protests could force out President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt after 29 years of rule.

It seemed to many observers that the façade of stability had shattered and that fundamental change would follow swiftly. As major protests broke out in Yemen, Syria, Libya, and Bahrain, and smaller protests across the region, it was hard to imagine that fundamental change would not come in a matter of months.

Jon B. Alterman
Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director, Middle East Program