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, Successes and Shortcomings: How Algeria's Hirak can inform Lebanon's Protest Movement, Vol. 03/06/2020, Middle East Institute, 2020

The author summarizes the beginning  of the two movements, but notesthat despite significant victories, given the political power structure has not been overthrown the goals of regime change 'remain elusive'. She considers the successes in Algeria - the wide range of social groups involved and 'ethos of peacefulness' - and the shortcomings of lack of leadership and of a clear strategy to achieve change. Using the Algerian example she suggests lessons for Lebanon, such as maintaining nonviolence and avoiding political partisanship and sectarianism. 

Al-Tamini, Jumana, #MeToo offers lessons for Arabs too, Gulf News, 2018

This article describes the difficulty of talking about sexual harassment in conservative Arab societies, which have made the ‘MeToo’ movement in the Arab world less significant than in the West. However, it also points to the fact that the activism of Arab women is becoming less of a taboo and mentions the legislative reforms that took place in countries such as Morocco, Jordan, and Lebanon.

For another thorough analysis of the cultural impediments to openly discuss sexual violence and sexual harassment within Arab societies, see also and

Alem, Hajar ; Dot-Poullard, Nicas, Behind Lebanon's Protests, Le Monde Diplomatique, 2020

Two months after the mass demonstrations started, the authors note that protests are continuing, despite the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri on 30 October. Many of the demonstrators did not approve of his replacement Hassan Diab, appointed on 19 December to head a government of technocrats. The article comments on the evolution of a left wing economic agenda and the groups within the movement who support it. But the main focus is on the longer term and recent causes of the financial crisis which prompted the outbreak of major protests.

Chulov, Martin, Lebanon Rises Up Against Years of Corruption, Guardian Weekly, 2019

The paper's Middle East correspondent provides a snapshot of the immediate and longer tern causes of the major protests that erupted in October 2019, on a scale not seen since the 2005 'Cedar Revolution'.

Gade, Tine, Together All the Way? Abeyance and Co-optation of Sunni Networks in Lebanon, Social Movement Studies, Vol. 18, no. 1, 2019, pp. 56-77

The author discusses the findings from a case study of Sunni networks in the Lebanese city of Tripoli over three decades, based on fieldwork, primary Arabic sources and secondary literature. The article argues that if a network survives, even if there are periods of disengagement or cooptation, changing circumstances may unite people against the authorities and the network can enable rapid mobilization.

Geha, Camen, Co-optation, Counter-Narratives, and Repression: Protesting Lebanon's Sectarian Power-Sharing Regime, The Middle East Journal, Vol. 73, no. 1, 2019, pp. 9-28

The article examines how the Lebanese government and sectarian political establishment responded to two earlier waves of protest against the sectarian system of government. She finds that they try to end such protests through a combination of 'co-optation, counter-narratives, and repression'.

Geha, Carmen, Politics of a Garbage Crisis: Social Networks, Narratives, and Frames of Lebanon's 2015 Protests and their Aftermath , Social Movement Studies, Vol. 18, no. 1, 2019, pp. 78-92

Geha notes that the 'century-old sectarian framework' of  governing through clientelist networks and individual patronage, together with socio-economic crisis and political deadlock, make official opposition very difficult. But social networks can mobilize protests, and after these have died down sustain 'a loosely organized informal political opposition both on the streets and in the ballot box'. This thesis is illustrated by a study of the 2015 movement responding to an escalating garbage crisis in the summer of 2015, the cessation of activism after the crisis was resolved in September 2015 and  the resurgence of opposition during the 2016 municipal elections.    

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.

Haimoni, Massa ; Maarouf, Nader ; Awadi, Jessica ; Abdelfadi, Malaz ; Sahili, Salma Al, Framing the Lebanese Protests by MTV Lebanon and OTV between January 2020 and June 2020, KIU Interdisciplinary Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol. 1, no. 3, 2020, pp. 73-89

This open access article by academics at the American University in Dubai studies coverage of the 2019-20 protests and confirms that the ideological slant of the two TV stations (the pro-government OTV and the anti-government MTV) influenced their depiction of the protest movement. It begins by summarizing the causes and nature of the movement and comments on Lebanese people's often unfavourable attitudes to international media coverage of the demonstrations.

Hirst, David, Beware of Small States: Lebanon, Battleground of the Middle East, New York, Nation Books, 2010, pp. 496

Analysis by the Guardian Middle East editor of Lebanese politics.

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.

Jin, Zhixin, How Do Anti-abortion and Abortion Rights Groups Deploy Ideas About Islam in Their Activism Regarding Abortion, Journal of Politics and Law, Vol. 12, no. 1, 2018, pp. 38-47

Abortion is a hotly debated topic among Muslim communities. In this paper, the author examines how both anti-abortion and abortion rights groups deploy ideas about Islam. She analised the language used by these groups when describing Muslim communities and Muslim views and found that a majority of them did not include arguments from both sides. Almost all the Anti-Abortion Websites included generalizations about the Muslim community, and also used the conservative elements in Islamic Religion to persuade more Muslims to join their stance on abortion.

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.

Khneisser, Mona, Lebanon's Protest Movement is Just Getting Started, Jacobin Magazine, 2019

The author, a PhD student at a US university, examines the Lebanese movement in its fourth week. She summarizes its origins, immediately after fire destroyed over 3,000 acres of woodland in the country, as a reaction to new taxes on online calling apps, fuel, cigarettes and consumer goods,

and notes how it developed to challenge corruption and the nature of the regime. She argues the movement's scale (about 2 million protesters on Sunday October 20) its national spread, including to sectarian strongholds, and its inclusion of different religious and class groups, made the protests unprecedented in recent history.  As a result of demonstrations, strikes in schools and universities, and blockades the government abandoned its tax plans and the Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, announced his resignation on 29 October.   

Majed, Rima, Lebanon's October Revolution, Red Pepper, 2020, pp. 28-29

This article by a sociologist at the American University of Beirut examines the movement after a year of 'struggle, crisis and destruction'. It summarizes  the causes of  the October 2019 uprising, its unprecedented scale (an estimated 2 million out of a population of 4.8 million), and its transcendance of all regional, social class and sectarian political divisions. It also notes that the protesters rejected both the political system based on 'sectarian clientelism', and the banking sector. Since October the financial crisis has intensified, leading to the rapid growth of extreme poverty. Majed argues that the lack of clear leadership of the movement, though it initially encouraged wide participation, by early 2020 meant that there was no strong organization or clear goals. This lack of focus contributed, together with growing financial hardship, political fatigue and regime violence against protesters, to undermine the movement.

Melki, Jad ; Kozman, Claudia, Selective Exposure during Uprisings: Examining the Public's News Consumption and Sharing Tendencies during the 2019 Lebanon Protests, The International Journal of Press/Politics, 2020

This study, based on a survey undertaken during the Lebanese uprising of October 2019, examines use of traditional and social media and assesses public trust in these media and  their sharing  of news.  The study suggests that the theory of 'selective exposure' is relevant outside a western context.   

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.

Sinno, Wael, How People Reclaimed Public Spaces in Beirut during the 2019 Lebanese Uprising, The Journal of Public Space, Vol. 5, no. 1, 2020, pp. 193-228

In the context of discussing the importance of public spaces where citizens can protest and make public speeches, this article examines how the Lebanese demonstrators have used and reshaped multipupose public spaces such as streets, open public spaces such as gardens, and abandoned urban facilites such as a partially built cinema.

Spierings, Niels, Democratic Disillusionment? Desire for Democracy after the Arab Spring, International Political Science Review, 2019

This article examines the impact of the uprisings on popular attitudes, using 45 public opinion surveys across the region to test his theoretical framework of a consequence-based approach that includes the concept of deprivation. When the data are combined to provide a country by country analysis they suggest that countries like Egypt and Morocco where initial protest had rapid political results but failed in the longer term, disillusionment was highest. Conversely a lack of major protest (Algeria) or of initial reform (Yemen) maintained desire for democracy.  Results for Lebanon and Tunisia showed very different respomnses from different groups in society: Sunnia in Lebanon and the very poor in Tunisia.

Young, Michael, The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon’s Life Struggle, New York and London, Simon and Schuster, 2010, pp. 336

Sympathetic account of the ‘Cedar Revolution’ by journalist of mixed Lebanese-American parentage.

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.


Youngs, Richard ; Boonstra, Jos ; Vizoso, Julia Choucair ; Echagüe, Ana ; Jarábik, Balázs ; Kausch, Kristina, Is the European Union Supporting Democracy in its Neighbourhood?, Madrid, FRIDE, 2008, pp. 150

EU ‘neighbourhood plans’ agreed with neighbouring states link economic cooperation with human rights and democratization. This report includes case studies of how this has been implemented - or not - in Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Ukraine, Belarus and Azerbaijan. FRIDE has published a range of reports and policy briefs - all available online - with critical analyses of ‘democracy promotion’, especially by the European Union and its members, including in the context of the ‘Arab Spring’.

Zimmer, Benjamin, Budding Hope: Lebanon's Cedar Revolution, Harvard International Review, Vol. 27, no. 3 (22 November), 2007

Discusses the mass protests and Syrian troop withdrawal in 2005.