Today, nearly ten years later, the situation in the Middle East looks even worse than it did before the Arab Spring. Political repression is more onerous. Economic growth is sluggish and unequal. Corruption remains rampant. Gender equality is more aspiration than reality. Yet something fundamental has changed. Arab governments have traditionally rested on what political scientists call an “authoritarian bargain,” in which the state provides jobs, security, and services in exchange for political loyalty. This bargain is based on the assumption that ordinary people will remain passive. But today, that assumption no longer holds. Citizens no longer fear their governments.
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