x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The Arab Revolution: Is al Qa'eda obsolete?

Jean-Pierre Filiu, a French expert on Middle East politics, outlines 10 lessons that can already be drawn from the tumultuous events that have come to be known collectively as the Arab Spring.

The Arab Revolution: Ten Lessons from the Democratic Uprising
Jean-Pierre Filiu
Hurst & Company
Dh75
The Arab Revolution: Ten Lessons from the Democratic Uprising Jean-Pierre Filiu Hurst & Company Dh75

Jean-Pierre Filiu could have waited for the political picture to stabilise before analysing and interpreting the tumultuous events that have come to be known collectively as the Arab Spring. Instead, he has dared to "put this ongoing process in historical perspective and to go through this new set of realities and observations while the general situation is still so volatile and fluid".

Filiu points to 10 lessons that can already be drawn from these transformative events and one of them concerns the impact of the uprisings on Al Qaeda.

He says the terrorist group could be rendered obsolete by the grassroots movements that have been able to gain critical mass and topple - or at least seriously threaten - regimes very quickly and without resorting to violence.

Al Qaeda's bloody and protracted campaign, on the other hand, has failed to significantly alter the balance of power in the Arab world, making it appear impotent and futile in the eyes of today's disaffected young people.

Filiu's timely, concise and authoritative book makes the complexities of the rapid political changes sweeping the region comprehensible, even for the most casual observer.