You are here


Achcar, Gilbert, 'From One Arab Spring to Another', Radical Philosophy, 2020

In this article (partially adapted from an interview in Marxist Left Review 19, but rewritten and updated) Achcar begins by situating 2011 within a global crisis of the neoliberal stage of capitalism. He also notes the specific features of the region, and comments on the defeat of the workers' movement and the left in Egypt, and then turns to prospects in Algeria. Sudan, Lebanon and Iraq.

Al-Rawi, Ahmed, The Arab Spring and Online Protests in Iraq, International Journal of Communications, Vol. 8, 2014, pp. 916-942

This article elaborates on earlier protests before 2019, focusing on 2011 and noting 'dozens of protests' (which crossed sectarian lines) against political corruption and calling for revolution at Tahrir Square, Baghdad, between February 12 and the 'day of rage' on  February 25 2011. On this day the government of Nouri Maliki shut down media coverage, accusing the protesters of being followers of the banned Baath Party of Saddam Hussein or supporters of Al Qaeda. On February 25 2011, 30 demonstrators were killed by security services and many injured. But the main focus of the article is on the use of Facebook and You Tube to publicize, comment on and justify the protests. The blogs and comments studied were predominantly by young men, including some in the US and Canada.

Ali, Zahra, Iraqis Demand a Country, MERIP: Middle East Research and Information Project, Vol. 292, no. 3, 2019, pp. 1-10

A detailed account and analysis of the 'spontaneous and leaderless protest movement' that was strongest in Shia-dominated provinces, but spread across Iraq.  Ali notes how protests in Baghdad in early October 2019 against the removal of a popular general, who had led the fight-back against ISIS, were also fuelled by anger at failures of basic services, such as water and electricity, and the pervasive political corruption. These demonstrations developed into a demand for a new political system to replace the US- imposed regime based on ethnicity and religious divides. The article then sets the 2019 movement in the context of earlier waves of protest, starting with the 2009 protests in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Sunni-majority protests in 2012-13 against their exclusion from political power.  It also emphasizes the role of a new generation of protesters since 2015. 

Ardemagni, Eleonora, Building New Gulf States Through Conscription, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2018

The author explores the introduction of conscription in the Gulf States through the lens of promoting national identities and instilling a spirit of sacrifice.

See also: Alterman, Jon and Margo Balboni, Citizens in Training:  Conscription and Nation-building in the United Arab Emirates, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) - Middle East Program, 2017, pp. 57.

https:// csis

This report analyzes the broad implications of introducing conscription for the wider society, such as the militarization of nationalism, gendering citizenship and social hierarchy.

Bbatia, Bela ; Dreze, Jean ; Kelly, Kathy, War and Peace in the Gulf: Testimony of the Gulf Peace Team, Nottingham, Spokesman Books, 2001, pp. 181

Account by participants of transnational team which went to Iraq to try to intervene between the two sides in the 1991 Gulf War. (See also Robert J. Burrowes, ‘The Persian Gulf War and the Gulf Peace Team’ in Moser-Puangsuwan and Weber, Nonviolent Intervention Across Borders, pp. 305-18 – 209 below.)

Bennis, Phyllis, Challenging Empire: People, Governments, and the UN Defy US Power, Northampton, MA, Olive Branch Press, 2005, pp. 288 pb

Bennis, a Fellow at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies and expert on Middle East and US foreign policy, examines critically the US doctrine of pre-emptive war and willingness to bypass the UN in the context of  the global mobilization against the US-led 2003 attack on Iraq. 

See also: Bennis, Phyllis, 'February 15, 2003, The Day the World Said No to War', Institute for Policy Studies, 15 Feb 2013.

Celebrates the mass global protests, but focuses in particular how opposition of  Germany and France to the war enabled the 'Uncommitted Six' in the UN Security Council - Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Mexico and Pakistan - to resist pressure from the US and UK and to refuse to endorse the war.

Boardman, Elizabeth F., Taking a Stand: A Guide to Peace Teams and Accompaniment Projects, Philadelphia PA, New Society Publishers, 2005, pp. 177

Chapters on Christian Peacemaker Team, Voices in the Wilderness project in Iraq, Peace Brigades International and the International Solidarity Movement. Descriptions by participants of work done by these groups, who runs them and what is involved in joining them.

Bobseina, Haley, Iraqi Youth Protesters: Who They Are, What They Want, and What's Next, Middle East Institute, 2019

This analysis, written at an early stage of the 2019 protests, comments on the combination of longstanding grievances and the recent sources of anger, such as repression of protests calling for jobs for university graduates in September, which led to the mass eruption onto the streets of 'unemployed and underemployed youth' in Shia majority areas. It notes that there was little immediate response in Sunni-majority areas, because of the recent violence of the war against ISIS and fear of being targeted as pro-ISIS, or as supportive of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. The author also examines why Shia protesters reject the existing political parties and often criticize Iran's role in Iraqi politics.

Cooke, Georgia ; Mansour, Renad, Iraqi Views on Protesters One Year After the Uprising, London, Chatham House: Expert Comment, 2020

One year after the outbreak of mass protests in October 2019, the authors note that thousands turned out to mark the anniversary, but that this time the protests were brief.  The Covid-19 lockdown, 'protest fatigue' and suspicion of infiltration of the movement have combined to reduce active support.  The main focus of this analysis is a survey commissioned by Chatham House of over 1,200 Iraqis to gauge public opinion about the October 2019 protests.  It finds that 83 per cent of those surveyed believed most or all the demonstrations were justified, and only 10 per cent strongly disapproved, and suggests that most Iraqis support the main complaints of the activists.

Costantini, Irene, The Iraqi Protest Movement: Social Mobilization amidst Violence and Instability, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 2020

The author argues that social mobilization in Iraq, especially since 2011, has been politically significant, but not seriously analyzed. Her focus is to investigate 'nonviolent means to promote social and political change in violent contexts', which Iraq amply illustrates.  She compares waves of protest since 2011 and concludes that cyclical violence and political dysfunction are a major limitation on the effectiveness of protest, but that social mobilization also holds out the possibility of more positive political change.

Dawood, Hussein, Iraq after the "October Protests": A Different Country, European Council on Foreign Relations, 2019

This brief but interesting commentary was written after the first week of protests in October 2019, in which 100 people were killed and over 6,000 injured. Dawood discusses the immediate causes of the protests and the longer term failings of the government under Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, elected as a compromise candidate between two Shiite coalitions a year earlier. The author notes that opposition groups like the Communist Party and the Sadrist movement (followers of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr) were not involved, but that the lack of leadership among the protesters (even within cities) was a weakness in making credible demands for change.  Nevertheless, the government (despite its immediate authoritarian reaction) was making concessions by offering economic reforms and pressing for passage of anti-corruption bills before parliament.

Ghaedi, Mona, Packing a Punch, New Internationalist, 2019, pp. 50-52

Reports on how Yazidi women in refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan are finding ‘a way to fight back’ through learning how to box, after the trauma they endured under ISIS. Illustrated by striking photographs of the ‘Boxing Sisters.’

Grimm, Jannis, It's Spring Again, International Politics and Society Journal, 2019

Grimm compares the rising in Sudan, Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon with 2011, whilst also indicating why these countries were not part of the 2011 wave of movements. He also suggests lessons learned from 2011 and considers what the European response should be.

Jenkins, John, Across the Middle East, they are done with false prophets, New Statesman, 2019

Compares protests in Iraq and Lebanon after seven weeks, noting the youth of demonstrators and their demands: for jobs and housing, investigation of corruption and the resignation of their governments. Jenkins also observes that so far the movements have bridged religious divides.  But he is cautious about prospects for success and notes the brutal repression of protesters in both countries.

Kaldor, Mary, Le Nuove Guerre. La Violenza Organizzata Nell’Eta’ Globale, Roma, Edizioni Carocci, 2001, pp. 188

By examining the wars in Rwanda, in the former Yugoslavia, across the Middle East and in the former Soviet Union, Kaldor discusses the elements and dynamics of structural violence that determined the nature of these wars. She argues that these wars were predominantly determined by military and criminal factors, as well as by the presence of an illegal economy and human rights’ violations. She also argues that the underlying causes of these conflicts lie in the relationship between military and civilian victims, and in the changed perception of threat by the Western powers.

Kelly, Kathy, Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Pekin Prison, Petrolia CA, Counterpunch, 2006, pp. 173

Kelly participated in the Gulf Peace Team and later co-founded Voices in the Wilderness, breaking sanctions against Iraq. See also: ‘Kathy Kelly and Milan Rai, ‘Voices in the Wilderness: Campaigning against Sanctions on Iraq 1995-2005’, in Clark, People Power: Unarmed Resistance and Global Solidarity (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements) , pp.143-49.

Najaf, Ghaith ; Harrison, Emma Graham, Bloody Defiance, The Big Story: Iraq Protests, Guardian Weekly, 2019, pp. 10-12

This on the spot report provides an overview of the popular uprising up to mid-December 2019, and to the resignation of Prime Minister Mahdi. (Though he was to stay on in a caretaker government until parliament could agree a replacement.)  The authors note the scale of violence against the protesters and the role of Iran-backed militias in shooting at them, as well as increasing international concern.

Ottaway, Marina ; Ottaway, David, The New Arab Uprisings: Lessons from the Past, Middle East Policy Council, Vol. 27, no. 1, 2020

The authors look back to 2011 and the varied outcomes in four different contexts which shaped the possibility of and the reactions to mass protest. These are: the Maghreb (Tunisia and Morocco); Egypt; the Levant (Syria and Iraq) - states created out of  the Ottoman Empire and then dominated by the colonial powers Britain and France; and the Gulf Arab monarchies. They then discuss 'whither the second wave?' in relation to Sudan, Algeria, Labanon and Iraq and draw some provisional conclusions.

Saab, Jade, A Region in Revolt, Daraja Press, 2020, pp. 179

An early book on the second wave of  popular rebellions  in North Africa and the Middle East, with chapters on Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq, bringing out similarities and differences between the movements.

Schweitzer, Christine ; Johansen, Jorgen, What Can Peace Movements Do?, Wahlenau, Irene Publishing, 2016, pp. 142

The authors examine how far peace movements can stop wars, summarizing a number of attempts to do so in the past – for example in the 1905 conflict between Norway and Sweden – as well as more recent better known movements: against the Vietnam War, and against the Iraq wars of both 1991 and 2003. Their case studies include the movement to resist US support for the Contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s, and the Women in White in Liberia 2002-2003.

Stephan, Maria, Civil Resistance vs ISIS, Journal of Resistance Studies, Vol. 1, no. 2, 2015, pp. 127-147

Stephan, co-author of Why Civil Resistance Works, examines the new threat posed by ISIS and its ambition to create an Islamic caliphate based on an extreme and violent interpretation of Islam.  She suggests how civil resistance can help to contain ISIS and undermine its appeal and ability to recruit.

Taylor, Ian, Media Relations of the Anti-War Movement: The Battle for Hearts and Minds, New York and London, Routledge, 2016, pp. 268

An examination of how the anti-Iraq War movement in the UK tried to secure press coverage as part of their campaign. The focus is on local anti-war groups and their relationship with the local press and examines such questions as the influence of the social composition of the movement on their approach to the media. Taylor also assesses how local journalists and media viewed the campaign.

Young, Michael, Are We Seeing a New Wave of Arab Spring Uprisings in 2019?, Carnegie Middle East Centre, 2019

Features brief but interesting comments by three scholarly experts on the Middle East on parallels and differences with 2011 and the implications of Algeria, Sudan, Iraq and the Lebanon  being at the forefront in 2019.