Did anyone predict the Middle Eastern revolts?
February 21, 2011 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Are there any political scientists or Middle Eastern scholars who predicted the recent protests? I.e. in the way that these people predicted the Great Collapse of 2008?
posted by r_nebblesworthII to Science & Nature (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
In specifics, not that I know of, but I recall seeing the concern about the demographics and employment rates of the middle east at least 2 years ago... Kinda like this. and hints here. I think the key is that few of these reports explicitly state that there's the potential for political upheaval, but focus on the economic indicators which can lead to such unrest. So, no less a political scholar than Queen Rania of Jordan called it, it some way.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 5:25 PM on February 21, 2011

I'm sure you could find someone who did. The catch will be that they also predicted the Jordanian Revolution of 2007, the Great Peace with Israel of 1998, or the Pan-Arab Unification Wars of 2000--2004.

A similar story is true for many people who predicted the 2008 collapse, incidentally.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:23 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine who spent six months or so living in Egypt circa 2004-ish has said to me on several occasions over the past few years that Egypt was ripe for regime change.

I also remember seeing a documentary on culture and religion in Egypt - on PBS, methinks, though I can't remember if it was Frontline, or POV, or maybe something not produced directly for PBS - within the last few years that suggested that it was only a matter of time.

Nothing specific, though, no.
posted by Sara C. at 9:41 PM on February 21, 2011

On NPR yesterday they briefly interviewed Dirk Vandewalle, Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth who is also the author of A History of Modern Libya:

SIEGEL: Professor Vandewalle, this has been obviously a season of enormous surprises in that part of the world, I'm curious, as a historian of Libya, when you followed events in Tunisia and then Egypt, did you think naturally Libya will be right in there with them or never in Libya? Or something in between?

Prof. VANDEWALLE: Oh, I argued for a long time that the Libyan system was so impervious to these kinds of uprisings, that it would take an enormous amount of energy to really replace this government. So I was quite surprised, frankly, also that in the eastern part of Libya, we had this kind of political energy that had been hidden, people being scared to come out in the street for literally 40 years, suddenly reaching a tipping point where it looks like the regime may actually be in serious trouble.

emphasis mine
posted by mbatch at 1:56 PM on February 22, 2011

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