Foreign Affairs


Decay of the Dictatorships

February 2, 2016

Why the Arab Spring Will Survive

Ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Arab Spring, Egyptian strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrested dozens of activists and journalists in an extension of a broader crackdown begun when the military took over the country in 2013. Sisi’s repression has left civil society groups fragmented and weakened; dissidents no longer pose an immediate threat to his regime. But there is a big difference between a strong state and a weak state using violence on a large scale against civilians to cover up its panic.

Indeed, the Sisi regime and its counterparts across the region are entering a process of decay, which they will not survive. Simply put, in an increasingly connected and digital world, it is civil society that will thrive against less innovative and technically impaired dictatorships.