Five reasons the Arab Spring has not failed

Given the fissures in Middle Eastern society, it is tempting to think that democracy is bound to fail there. Pessimists argue that the Arab Spring countries will revert to rule by “strongmen.” The Arab Spring may appear to have failed, but in five key respects the Arab world has changed irrevocably.

2. Radical Islam’s waning appeal

The appeal of radical Islam is beginning to wane. This trend is paradoxical because Islamists continue to enjoy considerable grassroots loyalty. However, after what people have experienced in countries where Islamists have come to power – notably in Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran and the Taliban’s Afghanistan – it is no longer self-evident that sharia is the answer to all the problems of modernity.

This is the key to the backlash against the Islamists in Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere. Islamists thrive in opposition and in chaos but fail miserably in government.

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