The Arab Uprisings Two Years On: Ideology, Sectarianism and the Changing Balance of Power in the Middle East

This paper traces the changes to the domestic politics of Arab states following the 2011 uprisings and places them in a continuum depending on the degree of internal conflict and contestation they have engendered. It also outlines the uprisings' effects on the three strands of Islamism-radical, Salafi and moderate-across the Middle East. The paper's main purpose is to assess the uprisings' impact on the confrontation between the Iranian-led and pro-Western camps. It argues that ideological and sectarian considerations in the post-2011 Middle East subtly interact with but tend to be trumped by the realpolitik calculations of the various players, which are defined by regime and state interests.

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