Journal Essay

The International Relations of the Arab Spring

Mark N. Katz

Summer 2014, Volume XXI, Number 2

Dr. Katz is professor of government and politics at George Mason University and the author of Leaving without Losing: The War on Terror after Iraq and Afghanistan.

Revolution does not just change things inside one country. It can disrupt international relationships throughout an entire region or even the world. What impact have the "Arab Spring" revolutions had on the international relations of the countries experiencing them, the Middle East, and the world? Have these upheavals been as disruptive of international relations as other revolutions? It will be argued here that, unlike what would occur if revolution succeeded in Syria or Bahrain, the Arab Spring revolutions that have succeeded in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen have had a remarkably nondisruptive impact on international relations. To understand just how remarkable this is, though, something needs to be said about just how much revolution has disrupted international relations in the past.

Stephen M. Walt theorizes that revolution in one country is not just disruptive of international relations, but can lead to interstate war. The French Revolution was soon followed by a war that spanned the continent of Europe. The 1917 Russian Revolution was soon followed by the involvement of several countries in the Russian civil war as well as a war between Russia and Poland in 1920. The 1949 Chinese Revolution was followed by the Korean War in 1950. And the 1979 Iranian Revolution was soon followed by the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88.1 Although they differ with Walt somewhat on why this occurred, Patrick Conge and Fred Halliday have also put forth theories on how revolution can lead to war.2

Even in cases where revolution did not lead to outright war, Walt notes, "Revolutions intensify security competition and increase the risk of war."3 Robert Snyder postulates that during the Cold War, revolutions in Third World countries might have led not to war, but to serious breakdowns in their relationships with the United States.4 In a book discussing revolutionary waves (groups of revolutions with similar objectives such as the Marxist-Leninist, Arab nationalist or Islamist revolutions), I observed,

The specific threat that the expansion of revolutionary waves poses to the major status quo powers is that a government allied to them will be overthrown and replaced by one allied to their enemy. This fear of "falling dominoes" has served to heighten the importance of countries that may have little value in themselves to the status quo powers but that, allied to [a] revolutionary state, they fear would threaten nearby countries with much greater importance to them.5

As various scholars have noted, revolution can have an impact on international relations through precipitating conflict between states or dramatically changing a state's alliance relationships. This has repeatedly been borne out in practice.

Revolution and International Relations

Two of the "great revolutions" of the past — in eighteenth-century France and twentieth-century Russia — were especially disruptive of international relations. They brought to power in significant countries regimes that threatened the status quo elsewhere, both by their own actions and by inspiring rebellion in other countries.6

During the Cold War era, the success of Marxist-Leninist revolution in any given country usually resulted in its switching allegiance from the West to the Soviet Union, at least for several years. The Soviet Union was able to install communist regimes in several East European countries and North Korea as a result of occupying them at the end of World War II. In addition, indigenous revolutions led to alliance switches from West to East in numerous countries: Yugoslavia, Albania and China in the 1940s, North Vietnam and Cuba in the 1950s, South Yemen in the 1960s, and South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Afghanistan, Grenada and Nicaragua in the 1970s. Strong Marxist-Leninist insurgencies in several other countries would have led, had they succeeded, to changes in their alliance patterns as well. Of course, not all of these Marxist-Leninist regimes remained allied to the USSR. Yugoslavia, Albania and — most dramatically — China later broke with Moscow.7

Similarly, the seven successful Arab-nationalist revolutions of the 1950s and 1960s took place in countries allied with, or colonies of, the West: Egypt in 1952, Syria and Iraq in 1958, Algeria and North Yemen in 1962, and Sudan and Libya in 1969. The new regimes all became allied (more or less closely) with the Soviet Union, though all of them had complex relations with Moscow. Two of them, Egypt and Sudan, ended up having distinctly unfriendly ties with the USSR.8

The 1979 Iranian Revolution resulted in the downfall of a pro-Western, anti-Soviet regime and the rise of an anti-Western and anti-Soviet one. Like the French and Russian revolutions, the Iranian Revolution was especially disruptive. It brought to power a revolutionary regime that threatened the existence of several governments in the region, through both its own actions and by inspiring like-minded movements in other countries.9

The democratic and anti-communist revolutionary wave that swept across Eastern Europe in 1989 had the opposite effect of the Cold War-era Marxist-Leninist revolutions, leading to alliances with Washington.10 The change in government that occurred as a result of the "color revolutions" in Georgia (2003) and Ukraine (2004) also brought about a foreign-policy reorientation away from Russia and toward the West. The color revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005), though, did not lead to a similar reorientation, and Ukraine reversed itself in 2010 with the election of the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovich, whose fraudulent election in 2004 sparked revolution that year.11 Now that the recent turmoil in Ukraine has resulted in his fall from power as well as a Russian takeover of Crimea, yet another Ukrainian foreign-policy reorientation is taking place.12

The Arab Spring and International Relations

What is immediately noteworthy about the four successful Arab Spring revolutions is that there has so far been more continuity than change in their alliance patterns. Before its January 2011 revolution, Tunisia was not formally part of a military alliance with a Western state, but was generally aligned with America, Europe and the Arab states friendly toward them. Although it sometimes had uncomfortable relations with Algeria and Libya (its larger neighbors), pre-2011 Tunisia had generally cooperative relations with other states. This same general pattern has continued. Despite occasional misgivings about the lack of cooperation among Tunisian political groupings, America and Europe have been supportive of Tunisia's democratic transition. Tunisia has also continued to have decent relations with Russia, China and most other Arab states. The new Tunisian government, like most Arab governments, supported opposition forces seeking Qadhafi's ouster in Libya and has been sympathetic toward the opposition to the Assad regime in Syria. Ties with Algeria were tense for a time, when the authoritarian government there feared that what happened in Tunisia (and other Arab Spring countries) might spark opposition in Algeria, too, but their bilateral ties have been calmer as this prospect has receded. In short, there has been far more continuity than change in Tunisia's international relations.13

During the long period of his rule, first in North Yemen (1978-90) and then in the reunified country (1990-2012), Ali Abdallah Saleh could be said, at various times, to have been an ally of Saudi Arabia, the Soviet Union, America and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. For the last decade of his presidency, though, his government was allied primarily with the United States and Saudi Arabia. Arab Spring demonstrations arose against Saleh in January 2011, and he finally ceded his office to the vice president, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, in February 2012. Since then, Hadi's government has also been allied primarily with Washington and Riyadh. Yemen's "revolution" has not led to any appreciable change in its international alignment so far.

Further, both Saleh and Hadi have pursued similar foreign-policy strategies regarding Sanaa's regional opponents. Both have claimed that Iran is supporting the Houthi rebellion in Yemen's far north. It is not clear, however, whether these claims are justified or whether they are intended to induce the Americans, Saudis and others to back the Yemeni government's campaign against them. Similarly, while al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is indeed especially active in former South Yemen, attempts by both Saleh and Hadi to paint the southern secessionist movement as a whole as linked to AQAP appear designed to elicit American and Western support for the Yemeni government's efforts against its non-al-Qaeda southern opponents as well as AQAP. Both Saleh and Hadi, then, have sought to enlist foreign support for (or, at minimum, to forestall foreign opposition to) their efforts to suppress regionally based opposition to the Yemeni government by claiming that these movements are linked to others hostile to the West and its Arab allies. In this regard also, Hadi's foreign-policy approach is similar to that of Saleh before him.14

For many years, Libya's Muammar Qadhafi had been hostile to America and its allies and friendly toward the USSR/Russia and others at odds with Washington. But since the Libyan-American rapprochement of the mid-2000s, Qadhafi had been cooperating with the United States (and with several West European states even longer).15 Libya's Arab Spring revolution that overthrew Qadhafi in 2011, then, resulted in the downfall of one government more or less aligned with America and the West and the rise of another one also more or less aligned with them. There was some change, though, in Libya's international relations at the regional level. While Qadhafi had had poor relationships with several Arab governments (especially Saudi Arabia), Libya's post-Qadhafi government has had better relations with most of them — except with the Assad regime in Syria, where Tripoli has been sympathetic toward the opposition.16

The 2011 revolution also marked an important change in Libya's ties with Russia. While Qadhafi had relatively good (if not excellent) relations with Russia,17 the post-Qadhafi government does not; it canceled several Russian-Libyan contracts that had been agreed to during the Qadhafi era. Moscow, though, could have avoided this if it had been more neutral during the 2011 revolution instead of vociferously expressing support for Qadhafi until the bitter end. Ironically, Moscow's earlier difficulties in dealing with the Qadhafi regime may have actually limited the damage to Russian interests caused by his downfall. As Vladislav Senkovich of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry observed, it was the "protracted and tedious negotiations of previous years with the Libyan side that saved several Russian companies from making broader investments in the Libyan economy,"18 which they would have lost after Qadhafi's fall. Even the damage that Russian interests did experience may prove temporary if ongoing talks about the resumption of various forms of Russian-Libyan cooperation are successful.

The case of Egypt is more complicated; it has experienced not one, but three changes in government since its Arab Spring revolution. During Mubarak's long rule, Egypt was principally allied to the United States and continued to uphold the U.S.-brokered Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement signed by his predecessor, Sadat, in exchange for large-scale American assistance. Mubarak also had reasonably good relations with Saudi Arabia and most other Arab states, Europe, Russia, China and others — but not Iran. Tehran initially appeared certain that the downfall of Mubarak would mean Egypt would stop being allied to the United States and would move closer to Iran.19 However, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which ruled Egypt on a transitional basis from February 2011 to June 2012, maintained basically the same foreign-policy approach as Mubarak, including continued close alignment with the United States and adherence to the peace treaty with Israel.20

Many feared that Egypt's elected president, Mohamed Morsi (in office from late June 2012 to early July 2013), would radically reorient Egyptian foreign policy, but he did not. Despite qualms about him in Washington and other Western capitals, Morsi continued Egypt's close alliance with America and observance of the Camp David treaty. Morsi did work to improve Egyptian relations with Iran, but he and the Iranian leadership were sharply divided on Syria; Tehran backed the Assad regime and Morsi the opposition. Morsi attempted to maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia, but Saudi distrust of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which he had been a leader, undermined this effort.21 On the other hand, Qatar's more sympathetic view of the Muslim Brotherhood contributed to a very positive Egyptian-Qatari relationship during Morsi's presidency.22 Finally, despite the fact that Putin and Morsi backed opposite sides in Syria and that Moscow took a generally dim view of the Arab Spring after it spread to Libya, Russian-Egyptian relations were surprisingly cordial under Morsi. Morsi met with Putin at the BRICS summits in South Africa in March 2013 and again in Sochi, Russia, in April 2013. During the latter, the two reportedly agreed that Russia would help Egypt with the construction of a nuclear reactor and the development of its uranium deposits.23

After the Egyptian military ousted Morsi in early July 2013 and established an interim government pledged to hold new elections, some further changes in Egypt's foreign relations took place. The new Egyptian government's hostility to the ousted Muslim Brotherhood led to a dramatic improvement in Cairo's relations with Saudi Arabia, as well as deterioration in its ties with Qatar.24 In addition, America's relations with the interim government grew tense when the Obama administration withheld some U.S. military assistance to Egypt in response to the interim government's crackdown on its opponents.25 Russian-Egyptian relations, by contrast, improved considerably as Egypt's interim government backed away from supporting Assad's opponents in Syria and discussions about a major Russian arms sale to Egypt progressed. But, as even Russian observers acknowledge, this does not mean that Egypt is going to embrace Russia as its principal ally instead of America. The United States continues to supply significant economic and military support that the Egyptian military is not willing to forgo and Moscow is not willing to replace.26 Thus, while there has been a certain degree of variation in Egypt's foreign relations under Mubarak, SCAF, Morsi and the current interim government, there has been far more continuity than change.

In contrast to the four "successful" Arab Spring revolutions, the two unsuccessful but persistent attempts at revolution in Bahrain and Syria have led to hope in some and fear in others about how their success would sharply disrupt the international relations of these two countries.

In Bahrain, the Sunni royal family has been unable to crush opposition from the island nation's Shia Arab majority, but the latter has also been unable to persuade or force the government to permit majority rule. The Bahraini royal family's principal foreign backers are Saudi Arabia and the United States. The Saudis, in particular, fear that the downfall of the Sunni monarchy and the rise of a Shia-majority regime in Bahrain would result in Bahrain's ceasing to be a Saudi (and U.S.) ally and becoming an Iranian one instead. The United States also fears the loss of an ally that Shia majority rule could bring and so has followed the Saudi lead on Bahrain. While it is not clear how much Iran is actually assisting the Shia opposition there, the downfall of the Sunni monarchy would definitely be seen in Tehran as a gain for Iran and a loss for Saudi Arabia and the United States. Saudi Arabia does not want to find out whether this would occur and so has gone to great lengths — including sending troops onto the soil of its small neighbor — to ensure that Bahrain's Sunni monarchy does not fall.27

In Syria, a fierce conflict is being fought between the Assad regime, which draws support primarily from the Alawite minority, and the long-oppressed Sunni majority. The regime's principal foreign supporters are Russia and Iran, along with Lebanon's Hezbollah and Iraq's Shia-dominated government. The Sunni opposition in Syria has been supported by Sunni-led governments in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and elsewhere. America and other Western governments have called for Assad to step down and for a transitional government to be formed that includes representatives from the Sunni majority. America and Europe, though, have not been willing to provide much material support for the Sunni opposition. Tehran fears that the downfall of the Assad regime and the rise of a Sunni majority one in its place would result in the loss of Syria as an ally. This could limit Tehran's ability to work with Hezbollah.

For its part, Moscow fears that the downfall of Assad would result in the loss of Russia's last ally in the Arab world and the rise of a hostile Sunni regime that would support Muslim opposition to Moscow's rule in Russia's restive Northern Caucasus. By contrast, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey see the downfall of Assad as depriving Iran of an important ally and thus weakening its influence in the region generally. Each has also hoped that this would lead to an expansion of its own influence. While America and Europe do not get along with Assad and have called for him to step down, they have increasingly come to fear that he might be replaced with a hostile Sunni regime. This is a concern that Israel shares.28

Possible Explanations

What explains why successful Arab Spring revolutions have not conformed to the pattern — either leading to war or disrupting alliance patterns — while the two unsuccessful but persistent Arab Spring revolutions threaten to do so? There are several possible explanations.

One is that the downfall of authoritarian rulers who had been in power for decades in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen did not have a disruptive impact on international relations because these were not actual cases of revolution. In Yemen, the Saudi-negotiated transfer of power from the long-ruling Saleh to his vice president — ratified by an election in which the latter was the only candidate — appears more like the forestalling of a revolution. In Libya, it can be argued that the Qadhafi regime would have defeated its internal opponents had they not received large-scale external support from Western and Arab governments. It was the withdrawal of that foreign presence after the death of Qadhafi that helped give rise to the subsequent chaos in Libya. In Egypt, it can be argued that the Egyptian military, the pillar of the Mubarak regime, has remained in control of Egyptian politics ever since his downfall, including the period when Morsi was president. Finally, while Tunisia's Ben Ali was swept from power in a democratic uprising, Tunisia's subsequent political path toward democracy has been evolutionary, not revolutionary. By contrast, if the Sunni minority regime in Bahrain and the Alawite minority regime in Syria were to fall, it would have a truly revolutionary impact on both the internal political hierarchies of these countries and their relations with their primary regional supporters (Saudi Arabia in the case of Bahrain; Iran in the case of Syria).

Another possibility is that all of the new Arab governments recognized their continuing dependence on the United States in particular. With few Arab governments sympathetic to the cause of democratization, Tunisian leaders who genuinely seek it for their country have, not surprisingly, looked to the West for support. Beleaguered by internal opponents, the new leaders in Libya and Yemen are desperate for American and Western backing, as were the leaders they replaced. All of Egypt's post-Mubarak governments have upheld the American-sponsored Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty in order to continue receiving American military and economic assistance. While Egyptian-American relations have recently cooled, it is because the Obama administration cut back on the military assistance that the Egyptian government very much wants. Presumably, the restoration of this American aid would do much to restore ties. By contrast, it is the uncertainty in Washington about whether new governments in Bahrain and Syria would be friendly toward the United States that has been an important factor in America's acquiescence to Saudi efforts to keep the Al Khalifa monarchy in power and even to Iran's efforts to bolster Assad.

Yet another possible explanation for the impact of the Arab Spring revolutions on international relations is that America and the West have less salience in the region than the Saudi-Iranian rivalry. The Tunisian revolution happened too quickly for any external power to halt, but the absence of any Iranian role in it helped make its outcome palatable to Riyadh. The kingdom could not prevent the downfall of its ally Mubarak, but the elected leader it disliked — Morsi — was overthrown by the Egyptian military. Riyadh was happy to support this outcome, even in defiance of the United States. While Tehran hoped Morsi would become an ally against both Riyadh and Washington, this did not occur. In Libya, far from seeking to preserve the status quo, Saudi Arabia played a crucial role in rallying Western and some Arab support for overthrowing Qadhafi. Iran played no role here either. In Yemen, Riyadh was instrumental in bringing about the transfer of power from Saleh to Hadi. Whether or not Tehran has supported the Houthi rebellion (both before and after the transfer of power in Sanaa), the fact that the Houthis are strongly opposed, not just by the Yemeni government but also by Sunni tribesmen and Saudi Arabia, suggests that they are unlikely to achieve more than control over their base of operations in the far north. By contrast, Saudi-Iranian rivalry is a key factor in both Bahrain and Syria. Thus, Riyadh has intervened to prevent the downfall of its ally in Manama and the rise of a new regime it fears would be allied to Iran, while Tehran has provided large-scale support to the Assad regime to prevent the downfall of an ally and the rise of a new regime it fears would be allied to Saudi Arabia.

A fourth possible explanation is that, instead of being cases of revolution disrupting international relations, the Arab Spring revolutions are instances of a prior disruption in international relations allowing revolution to occur. John Foran theorizes that one of the conditions necessary for a successful social revolution is a "world-systemic opening,"

the result of distraction in the core economies by world war or depression, rivalries between one or more core powers, mixed messages sent to Third World dictators, or a divided foreign policy when faced with an insurrection....This let-up of external control adds to the crisis of the state, and creates an opening for the activity of revolutionaries.29

At the time the first Arab Spring revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt in early 2011 succeeded in ousting authoritarian rulers who had long been in power, the United States was in the process of withdrawing from Iraq and signaling that it would soon withdraw from Afghanistan, too. This may have given rise to a sense among the revolutionaries that Washington was unlikely to intervene to protect its aging authoritarian allies.

As Foran also noted, however, world-systemic openings that give rise to revolution can also close quite quickly.30 Thus, while the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt took the world by surprise and succeeded in toppling incumbent regimes before external powers could forestall them from doing so, various status quo powers soon roused themselves to respond to this new challenge and either impede revolution or shape its outcome — as the Saudis in particular did in Yemen and Bahrain, and the Iranians and the Russians did in Syria. Libya was an outlier; several external powers (including America, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar) acted not to protect an incumbent regime but, first, to prevent it from crushing its opponents and then to help those opponents overthrow the regime. What Foran's formulation suggests is that once the remaining authoritarian regimes in the Middle East as well as the major international and regional powers became fully aware of the potential for revolution, the possibility of their forestalling it increased. The Arab Spring revolutionaries were then no longer able to take advantage of authoritarian governments or their protectors being caught off guard.

Which of these explanations as to why the successful Arab Spring revolutions have had such a limited impact on alliance relationships is correct? This is not yet clear. Indeed, more than one of them may be valid; the explanations discussed here are not necessarily mutually exclusive. And, of course, another unexpected round of revolution in the Arab World could occur that does result in a significant change in alliance patterns. If so, the explanations discussed here may all prove inadequate. The trouble with theories about revolution is that, while they often seem clear in retrospect ("the clear presence of a certain factor led to a certain outcome in one case, while the clear absence of that factor led to a different outcome in another case"), attempting to apply them in the present, much less prospectively, is extremely difficult. It is often not clear to what extent the causative factor identified by a theory is present, or is in flux, in an ongoing case. So long as the outcome of the Arab Spring revolutions that began in 2011 remains unclear, their ultimate impact on international relations will be too.


1 Stephen M. Walt, Revolution and War (Cornell University Press, 1996).

2 Patrick J. Conge, From Revolution to War: State Relations in a World of Change (University of Michigan Press, 1996); and Fred Halliday, Revolution and World Politics: The Rise and Fall of the Sixth Great Power (Duke University Press, 1999), 241-3. Just as revolution could lead to war, Halliday also discussed how war could lead to revolution (pp. 237-40).

3 Walt, Revolution and War, 269.

4 Robert S. Snyder, "The U.S. and Third World Revolutionary States: Understanding the Breakdown in Relations," International Studies Quarterly 43, no. 2 (June 1999): 256-90.

5 Mark N. Katz, Revolutions and Revolutionary Waves (St. Martin's Press, 1997), 118.

6 Walt, Revolution and War, 46-209.

7 Katz, Revolutions and Revolutionary Waves, 56-9.

8 Malcolm H. Kerr, The Arab Cold War: Gamal 'Abd al-Nasir and His Rivals, 1958-1970, 3rd ed. (Oxford University Press, 1971); and Robert O. Freedman, Soviet Policy toward the Middle East since 1970, 3rd ed. (Praeger, 1982), 13-63.

9 Walt, Revolution and War, 210-68.

10 Raymond L. Garthoff, The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War (Brookings Institution, 1994), 598-622.

11 Lincoln A. Mitchell, The Color Revolutions (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012).

12 Mark N. Katz, "What Are Russia's Options in Ukraine?" LobeLog, March 7, 2014,

13 Nabeel A. Khoury, "The Arab Cold War Revisited: The Regional Impact of the Arab Uprising," Middle East Policy 20, no. 2 (Summer 2013): 79-80; and Barbara Slavin, "Tunisian Islamist Leader Takes Victory Lap in Washington," Al-Monitor, February 26, 2014,

14 Khoury, "The Arab Cold War Revisited," 77; Mark N. Katz, "Yemen: The Way Forward?" Travels and Observations blog, September 28, 2012,; Stig Stenslie, "Not Too Strong, Not Too Weak: Saudi Arabia's Policy Towards Yemen," Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre, March 2013, ; and Haytham Mouzahem, "Iran's Angle in Yemen," Al-Monitor, May 14, 2013,

15 Robert S. Litwak, Regime Change: U.S. Strategy through the Prism of 9/11 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), 169-99.

16 Khoury, "The Arab Cold War Revisited," 79-80.

17 Mark N. Katz, "The Russian-Libyan Rapprochement: What Has Moscow Gained?" Middle East Policy 15, no. 3 (Fall 2008): 122-8.

18 Vladislav Senkovich, "Russia and Libya: What Awaits Us in the Foreseeable Future?" Russian International Affairs Council, February 14, 2012,

19 Peter Jones, "Hope and Disappointment: Iran and the Arab Spring," Survival 55, no. 4 (August-September 2013): 73-84; and Mahmood Monshipouri, "Iran's Foreign Policy and Islamic Ideology," in Iranian Foreign Policy since 2001: Alone in the World, eds. Thomas Juneau and Sam Razavi (Routledge, 2013), 65-7.

20 Bisan Kassab, "SCAF Foreign Policy: Stuck in the Mubarak Mindset," Alakhbar English, February 24, 2012,

21 Khoury, "The Arab Cold War Revisited," 77-9.

22 Andrew Hammond, "Qatar's Leadership Transition: Like Father, Like Son," European Council on Foreign Relations, February 2014, p. 3.

23 Mark N. Katz, "Birds of a Feather: Russia's Expanding Ties with Egypt and Algeria," Diplomatist, March 2014,

24 Hammond, "Qatar's Leadership Transition," 6-7, and Mohamed Elmenshawy, "Egypt: The Wound in U.S.-Saudi Relations," Ahram Online, March 11, 2014,,-the-wound-in-USSaudi-relations.aspx.

25 Joshua Haber, "Rift between Cairo, Washington Deepens," Al-Monitor, October 25, 2013,

26 Katz, "Birds of a Feather."

27 Khoury, "The Arab Cold War Revisited," 76.

28 Mohammed Ayoob, "The Arab Spring: Its Geostrategic Significance," Middle East Policy 19, no. 3 (Fall 2012): 84-6; Hammond, "Qatar's Leadership Transition," 3-4; and Jeffrey Martini et al., "Syria as an Arena of Strategic Competition," RAND Corporation, 2013,

29 John Foran, Taking Power: On the Origins of Third World Revolutions (Cambridge University Press, 2005), 23.

30 Ibid., 203.