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False Dawn: Protest, Democracy, and Violence in the New Middle East

Steven A. Cook discusses his new book on the Arab Spring uprisings and their aftermath

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Duration: (43:14)

How did things go so wrong so quickly across a wide range of regimes? In False Dawn, noted Middle East regional expert Steven A. Cook looks at the trajectory of events across the region from the initial uprising in Tunisia to the failed coup in Turkey to explain why the Middle Eastern uprisings did not succeed. Despite appearances, there were no true revolutions in the Middle East five years ago: none of the affected societies underwent social revolutions, and the old structures of power were never eliminated. Even supposed successes like Tunisia still face significant barriers to democracy because of the continued strength of old regime players. Libya, the state that came closest to revolution, has fragmented into chaos, and Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has used the recent coup against him as grounds for a widespread crackdown on his opponents, reinforcing the Turkish leader's personal power.

Steven A. Cook is Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S.-Middle East policy. Cook is the author of False Dawn: Protest, Democracy, and Violence in the New Middle East; The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square, which won the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's gold medal in 2012; and Ruling But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey. Prior to joining CFR, Cook was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution (2001–2002) and a Soref research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (1995–1996).