At the start of this year, a number of uprisings in the Middle East moved the region center stage in the arena of international politics. In a short amount of time, the Arab world from Morocco to Oman was consumed by protests—and in the politically extreme cases, two revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt have resulted in overthrowing the heads of state of those nations. Some have even speculated that the Arab Spring has begun to turn into the European Summer, with protests in Spain occurring at the end of May. Quite noteworthy to many commentators has been the impact of social media in these uprisings: interactive news feeds, video, and live updates were, and still are, crucial to spreading the word.
YUP has a notable list of political area studies and histories of countries. For example, earlier this year, we released Egypt on the Brink: From Nasser to Mubarak, by journalist Tarek Osman, who was in Cairo throughout the uprisings and managing to interview with news outlets despite the turmoil. Together with Victoria Clark’s Yemen: Dancing on the Heads of Snakes and Martin Evans’ and John Phillips’ Algeria: Anger of the Dispossessed, we compiled a free chapter sampler, “Crisis in the Arab World”, available for download in Kindle, ePub, and PDF formats. Given the weekend events in Yemen, with President Saleh fleeing to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, now is a good time to think about these roads to revolution and what the implications are for the Arab world and the global network of participants and onlookers.