When popular revolutions erupted in Tunisia and Egypt, Western pundits were quick to hail the stirrings of an Arab Spring. Bradley illustrates how in a region awash with extremist Wahhabi ideology, inter-tribal rivalries and Sunni-Shia divisions, the idea that liberal and progressive trends will prevail is little more than wishful thinking.
After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts by John R. Bradley
When popular revolutions erupted in Tunisia and Egypt, Western pundits were quick to hail the stirrings of an Arab Spring and draw parallels between the resulting upheaval in the Middle East and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In The Tunisian Tsunami John R. Bradley offers a sober counternarrative to this outlook. It is not liberalism, democracy, and pluralism that will emerge triumphant, he argues, but instead radical Islam. Bradley illustrates how, in a region awash with extremist Wahhabi ideology, intertribal rivalries, and Sunni-Shia divisions, the idea that liberal and progressive trends will prevail is little more than wishful thinking.
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'John R Bradley, a journalist who has lived in the Middle East for many years and was almost unique in predicting the uprising in Egypt, argues that the revolutions have failed in their most basic objectives... After the Arab Spring predicted the rise of political Islam.' The Times 'The situation [in the Middle East] has developed almost exactly along the lines that John R. Bradley predicted.' Fraser Nelson, The Spectator "After The Arab Spring is a bold and provocative work which argues that the revolutions were not necessarily a good thing and, in many cases, could make the countries affected by them more oppressive places because of the likelihood of Islamist takeovers. Bradley is scathing about the common perception that the advent of democracy in these Arab states will bring about western-style liberal governments. He rightly points out that... the worsening economic climate, high unemployment and disgust at the rampant corruption and nepotism of their governments [is what] drove people on to the street.'-The Sunday Business Post (Ireland) 'John R Bradley, author of After the Arab Spring, was one of the few journalists who sang out of tune to the chorus of Arab Spring enthusiasts, pointing out that the failure of the democratic transition in Tunisia, the most progressive Arab country, portended failure when it came to the possibility of success in other countries. The Islamists were poised to mobolise for the elections. They have indeed hijacked the revolutions.'-Tomas Alcoverro, La Vanguardia (Spain) 'With the security vacuum and the Islamists' march towards government, it is difficult not to agree with Bradley's thesis. It is not that he ignores [in After the Arab Spring] regular Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans and their thirst for a free life without corrupt leaders; but rather that he believes it is cultural imperialism to think that Arabs, by definition, want the same institutions and values that we cherish on the European side of the Mediterranean.'-Weekendavisen (Norway) 'A timely rebuttal to European and American reporting on the Arab Spring... [Bradley] lambasts reporters and the youthful Arab Facebook and Twitter generations who thought they could replace the Old Guard... Highly recommended.' Choice 'Bradley has nothing but contempt for political posturing, and is out to debunk the myth of the Arab Spring as a triumph of the people... [He] is on to something about the way society governs itself, the powers it hands to certain men whose weaknesses render them unfit for it, the religious forces that step in to supply the missing higher values only to debase them.' The Times Literary Supplement 'Yes, the demonstrators were brave - but religious extremists were manipulating them. John R. Bradley looks beyond the blazing power of [the revolutions] to find Islamist groups steadily taking control.' Time Out This wry, concise and elegantly written book amounts to an impassioned critique of the Western media's narrative of the Middle East.' The Daily Telegraph 'An impassioned polemic, scornful about western naivety towards the events of last year.' The Sunday Times 'I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Arab spring, or anyone with a view on intervention in the region. It questions every assumption the media has portrayed, and provides evidence for these statements.' The Student Review 'After the Arab Spring is indispensable to understanding why the Middle East uprisings aren't going where we want. John R. Bradley has a better pulse on the reality than anyone.' Robert Baer, former CIA operative and inspiration for the movie SYRIANA 'A savage indictment of alleged western naivety about the significance of the Middle East revolutions. [Bradley] highlights Tunisia as the most conspicuous case of a society where Islamist dominance is likely to ensure that its last state will prove worse than its first, and is equally gloomy in forecasts for Egypt and Libya. It will be some time before we discover whether Mr Bradley's prognosis is accurate, but it has a nasty plausibility.' Max Hastings, Financial Times Back in 2008, John R. Bradley was dubbed an alarmist for uniquely - yet at the same time accurately - predicting an Egyptian uprising. But he was right, and his publications were banned by Hosni Mubarak's regime. In his new book, After the Arab Spring, his message is a simple one: everything we've been told about the Arab spring is wrong. In his view, political Islam has hijacked the revolutions across the Middle East."-Sir David Frost, on Al-Jazeera English "Bradley argues that... riots now occur daily, hardliners target secular forces and Christians, and the new leaders lack popular support. Worst of all, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Ennahda in Tunisia are set to gain power. The tourist sectors of both countries have been hit severely... [After theArab Spring] then moves on to look at how the Arab Spring has become a tool of the Iran-Saudi conflict. Bradley discusses changes in the region such as Bahrain being invaded by Saudi Arabia, and how Yemen is even more tribal and fragmented thanks to Saudi support for insurgents.'-LSE Review of Books 'The man who predicted the revolution in Egypt two years before it happened says it is the Islamists that profited from the Arab Spring. In After the Arab Spring, Bradley goes beyond the glossy picture that has been drawn in the Western media and asks a fundamental question: do the events in the Arab world that brought down several dictators qualify as an Arab Spring?... The Arab Spring may have had some short term benefit but in return for a potential long-term nightmare, he believes.'-euronews.com 'Recent indicators in Tunisia suggest that Islam and democracy are not and cannot be compatible. John R. Bradley, in his book After the Arab Spring, offers an alarming glimpse into Tunisia's future governance.'-The Gatestone Insistute 'John R. Bradley, the writer who predicted the revolution in Egypt, has published a new book, After the Arab Spring... He pitted himself against everyone else by stressing, from the outset, that the Islamists would be the main beneficiaries, and thus succeed in filling the [political] vacuum. Bradley's opinions are based on his vast knowledge of the varied cultures and societies of the countries that make up the Middle East... His book is a timely, in-depth analysis of what could be called 'the new states' that have now emerged.'-Akhbar Al-Khaleej (Bahrain) 'Having boldly predicted the revolution in Egypt in his book Inside Egypt and warned of the 'saving graces' of Tunisia's Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali dictatorship before the advent of the Jasmine Revolution in Behind the Veil of Vice, the author sends out another cry of alarm-this time at the democratic fallout that is benefiting the strident Islamist parties... Bradley looks at the resurgence of Saudi-sponsored Wahhabism and other forms of tribalism since the revolutions in Yemen, Libya and elsewhere. He also considers the 'Shia Axis' and bitter lessons gained from Islamist incursions in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.' Kirkus Reviews '(Bradley) has spent years in the region, and brings to After the Arab Spring a copious amount of first-hand knowledge. He also enlivens his otherwise downbeat and enervating argument with a potent dose of caustic wit... He does well to force readers - many of whom may be unrealistically sanguine about recent events - to confront the dark side of the Arab Spring.' The National 'Bradley speaks Egyptian Arabic, knows the region well, and writes in a robust and punchy style... (He) gets the essential narrative of political Islamism.' Literary Review 'Bradley's book is a good alternative view of the Arab Spring, and his pessimistic outlook is useful to avoid looking at events from so-called rose-colored glasses.' Small Wars Journal 'Bradley is able to push through the blustery talking heads of, say, CNN or Al-Jazeera to allow the voice of the people themselves to be heard. He rightly undermines much of the gushy view that the region is fired by dreams of Western liberalism and democracy and counters that it is really all about feeding oneself and one's family. Bradley's book stimulates a part of the mind largely unworked by... other books.' The Australian "Bradley has spent many years living in the countries he discusses and is fluent in Arabic; his first hand experiences give the book a taste of personality and help to keep the reader remain engaged... There is much to be learned from After the Arab Spring. I would recommend this book to anyone who claims to have a grasp on Middle Eastern conflict and how it should be handled." - Americans for Informed Democracy "According to Bradley's analysis, Egypt is heading towards the abyss of religious totalitarianism under the rule of fascists who will deal harshly with their opponents. The Iranian experience [of 1979] was that Islamists reaped the benefits of the revolution, even though they were just one faction in the uprising against the Shah. This is being repeated in Egypt now." - Al-Masry Al-Youm (Egypt) "What Bradley says is worth paying attention to." - Al-Watan (Kuwait)
About John R. Bradley
John R. Bradley is a widely published British correspondent. Based in the Middle East for more than a decade and fluent in Arabic, he is the author of three previous books on the region: Saudi Arabia Exposed, a Foreign Affairs bestseller; the critically acclaimed Inside Egypt;and Behind the Veil of Vice. He divides his time between Tunis and Cairo.
Table of Contents
Introduction An Arab Spring? Tunisia's Secularism Goes up in Smoke The Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's Revolution Dictatorship, Democracy and Radical Islam Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Bahrain Tribal Terror: The Disintegration of Yemen and Libya Washington's Nightmare Conclusion
After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts by John R. Bradley
John R. Bradley
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