The "Arab Spring" Becomes the "Arab Decade"

The Causes of Stability and Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa: An Analytic Survey

It is now all too clear that the “Arab Spring” is much more likely to be the “Arab Decade.” The pattern of political unrest that began in 2011 is driven by a mix of political, demographic, and economic issues in each country that has experienced serious unrest will take at least a decade to resolve in a form that can bring lasting stability. More broadly, the Middle East and North Africa face population and job pressures that will continue to rise through 2040, and which present major challenges in terms of governance, infrastructure, and development.

These pressures have been addressed in a previous series of Burke Chair reports entitled The Causes of Stability and Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa: An Analytic Survey. The latest report in this series has been updated to reflect key summary data in the Arab Development Challenge Report 2011. This report by the Untied Nations Development Program represents the best analysis to date of the economic and demographic forces affecting the MEBNA region, and unlike many other reports, it is written by Arab experts.
 
It is not possible to reflect many of the more sophisticated aspects of the Arab Development Challenge Report 2011 in a summary overview of key trends. The report does, however, highlight the need to go beyond the politics of unrest and to examine the other causes of unrest in detail and on a country-by-country basis. It also reinforces the importance of many of the metrics in the updated version of the Burke Chair report dealing with poor distribution of income, growing population pressure and employment problems, weak and corrupt governance, serous problems with water and agriculture, growing import dependence, underfunding of health and education, weaknesses in the rule of law, and deep internal ethnic and sectarian divisions.
 
The updated version of The Causes of Stability and Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa: An Analytic Survey is available on the CSIS web site at https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/legacy_files/files/publication/120418_MENA_Stability.pdf.
 
Other recent Burke Chair reports on the security and stability of the Middle East include:
 
Energy Risks in North Africa and the Middle Easthttps://www.csis.org/analysis/energy-risks-north-africa-and-middle-east-0
 
U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition
  1. Introduction
  2. Types and Levels of Competition - This chapter looks at the various arenas in which Iran and the U.S. compete for influence.
  3. Iran and the Gulf Military Balance - This chapter looks at Iran’s Military forces in detail, and the balance of forces in the Gulf Region.
  4. Iran and the Gulf Military Balance II – This chapter looks at Iran’s Missile and Nuclear forces.
  5. U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: The Sanctions game: Energy, Arms Control, and Regime Change - This chapter examines the impact of sanctions on the Iranian regime, Iran’s energy sector, and the prospects for regime change in Tehran.
  6. US and Iranian Strategic Competition in the Gulf States and Yemen - This chapter examines the competition between the US, and Iran and how it affects Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman and Qatar.
  7. The Outcome of Invasion: US and Iranian Strategic Competition in Iraq - This chapter examines in detail the role Iran has played in Iraq since 2003, and how the US has tried to counter it.
  8. U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: The Proxy Cold War in the Levant, Egypt and Jordan- This chapter examines US and Iranian interests in the Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Egypt and Syria.  The military balance is also analyzed.
  9. The United States and Iran: Competition involving Turkey and the South Caucasus - This chapter analyzes the US and Iranian competition over influence in Armenia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
  10. Competition in Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Pakistan - This chapter examines the important role Iran plays in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, and how the US and Iranian rivalry affects Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia.
  11. U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: The Impact of China and Russia - This chapter examines the complex and evolving relationships between China, Russia, Iran and the US.
  12. U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: Competition Involving the EU, EU3, and non-EU European States - This chapter looks at the role the EU, and in particular the EU3, have played as the U.S.’s closest allies in its competition with Iran.
  13. U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: Peripheral Competition Involving Latin America and Africa - This chapter examines the extent and importance of the competition between the US and Iran in the rest of the world.
  14. Policy Implications