The Arab Spring was a wave of protest in various Arab and Muslim-majority countries that drove regime change, toppled authoritarian governments and sometimes a mix of both. New communication technologies, such as social media, were credited with organizing the protestors and that the spirit of protests spread to Europe and the United States.

For many observers, the important questions about the Arab Spring are not about the liberal and democratic image offered by the Western civilization but by the influence and impact it had on Islamist religious extremist.

Reymond Stock who lived in Cairo from 1990 to 2010 argues that the uprising was less spontaneous and more cleverly orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, whom endorsed the conflict before it began, not afterward. He further writes that "the Muslim Brotherhood was not a sheepish junior partner and Johnny-come-lately, as the media and experts portrayed it, but the most important player as of the second day of demonstrations, right through the end—and beyond".[1]

Perception in the West

With the exception of Tunisia, the liberal phase of the Arab Spring was effectively over by the spring 2012. However most in the West failed to grasp that the movement had been hijacked by religious extremists and was now backed by absolute monarchies. [2]

One factor that was the topic of Western attention was the use of new communications technologies, such as social media, in coordinating the protests, which caused some of the Arab Spring uprisings to be termed the "Twitter Revolution."[3] However, although new communications technologies have created platforms for mass participation, much of the resulting "deliberation" has not taken the form of an open exchange of ideas supportive of liberal democracy.

Some neoconservative commentators have expressed their dismay at the lack of parallels being drawn between the Arab Spring and the 1979 Iranian Revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power. [4] Even after the Spring had ended, neo-cons continued to claim that the Spring justified the invasion of Iraq.[5]

Arab Winter

The Arab Winter [6] refers to the wide-scale violence and instability that marked the countries affected by the Arab Spring, including the Syrian civil war, the Iraqi insurgency, the Egyptian Crisis and the revolution in Yemen.

The Arab Winter is characterized by the emergence of multiple regional civil wars, mounting regional instability,[7] economic and demographic decline of Arab countries,[8] and ethno-religious sectarian strife.[9]