“The July 2013 military ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi clearly marked the failure of Egypt’s two-year attempt to realize a transition to democracy following 2011’s mass uprising against authoritarian rule,” writes George Washington University professor Nathan Brown in “Egypt’s Failed Transition,” one of five essays in the cluster “Tracking the Arab Spring.”
In Syria, the outlook is darker still. “The democratic aspirations” of the massive protests held across the country in early 2011 “were among the conflict’s first casualties,” writes Steven Heydemann of the United States Institute of Peace in “Syria and the Future of Authoritarianism.” The ongoing civil war, which has deepened sectarian divides, has “severely crippled” prospects for democracy in Syria. Heydemann notes that the “Assad regime’s reconfiguration over the past two years stands out as an extreme instance of a broader phenomenon: the adaptation of Middle Eastern authoritarianism to the challenges posed by the renewal of mass politics.”
In “Why the Modest Harvest?,” Jason Brownlee, Tarek Masoud, and Andrew Reynolds ask why popular uprisings occurred in only some Arab states and succeeded in even fewer, while the final two essays in the cluster take stock of developments inYemen and Libya.
Elsewhere in the issue, Francis Fukuyama and Marc F. Plattner write on Governance, Democracy and the State; Jorgen Mollerand Svend-Erik Skaaning get “Inside the Numbers” to determine whether a reverse democratic wave is looming; and Matthijs Bogaards and Staffan Lindberg square off in a debate over the impact of elections on democratization in sub-Saharan Africa.