1st Edition

Middle Eastern Minorities The Impact of the Arab Spring

By Ibrahim Zabad Copyright 2017
    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    This is a comprehensive survey of minorities in the Middle East with a special focus on the post Arab Spring era.

    Minority communities in the Middle East are the most susceptible to the turbulence engulfing the region; the majority may suffer physical violence and socioeconomic loss, but minorities could potentially vanish. Instead of ushering in democracy and inclusive politics, the revolutionary upheavals have prompted chaos and fear and reinforced the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism throughout the region. Zabad uses historical sources as well as first-hand interviews to vividly describe the current status of minorities in the Middle East, explaining attitudes towards the revolutionary upheavals as well as the various strategies they used to avail themselves of the opportunities presented and to confront the risks posed. The question of ethnic, sectarian and religious minorities is situated in the context of the broader history of the region in order to explain the underlying institutional and ideological factors that caused their predicament and problematized their relationship with the majority.

    The book providesa rich trove of information and insights generated from ten case studies that covered the Shī‘a in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt, the Druze, the Alawites, Christians and Kurds in Syria, the Copts in Egypt, and the Zaydis in Yemen.

    Chapter 1: The Plight of Minorities in the Middle East

    Chapter 2: The Fate of Christians in the Arab Spring

    1. The Copts of Egypt
    2. Christians in Syria

    Chapter 3: The Alawites

    1. The Alawites in Syria
    2. The Alawites in Lebanon

    Chapter 4: The Shi’a in the Arab World

    1. The Shi’a in Saudi Arabia
    2. The Shi’a in Bahrain
    3. The Shi’a in Egypt
    4. The Shi’a in Lebanon

    Chapter 5: The Zaydis in Yemen

    Chapter 6: The Kurds in Syria

    Chapter 7: Conclusion: The Spring of Broken Mirrors


    Ibrahim Zabad is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Co-director of the International Studies Program at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York.




    "Minorities in the Middle East is a tour de force written with an urgency and clarity that comes from the author’s deep knowledge of the academic literature and the region. Ibrahim Zabad walks us through the difficult history of how the region's nation-states have stumbled and offers searing insights as he explains how Islamic fundamentalists have shouldered aside the feeble secular Arab nationalists, leftists and liberals and why the Arab Spring has failed to bring democracy or advance liberal and progressive politics. Everyone interested in the Middle East should put this timely book at the top of their reading list." - Joshua Landis, Director, Center for Middle East Studies and Professor at the University of Oklahoma.

    "This book is a clarion call to preserve ethnoreligious diversity in the Middle East. Combining conceptual paradigms with empirical evidence, the author eloquently elucidates the precarious status of Middle Eastern Minorities during and after the Arab Spring. A must-read book for those interested in understanding the ‘diverse’ Middle East!" - Leila Nicolas, Political Commentator, Middle East Expert and Professor of International Affairs at the Lebanese University in Beirut

    "A highly accessible account of the predicament of minorities in the Arab Spring that highlights the underlying sources of minorities’ fears and interprets their strategies of survival and resistance. This is a decidedly informative book for understanding critical threats to religious and ethnic pluralism in the region in the 21st century." - Mariz Tadros, Power and popular politics cluster co-leader, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

    "A broad and incisive survey of minorities in the post-Arab spring Middle East that explores how ethnoreligious minorities have played vital but varied roles: Some have been revolutionary instigators while others remained status quo defenders; but often minorities ended up as collateral damage. Ibrahim Zabad’s insightful and timely book helps readers make sense of the ordeal of minorities and their strategies for coping with the upheavals engulfing the region." - Justin Gengler, Assistant Research Professor, Social and Economic Survey Research Institute, Qatar University

    "This important book studies the ways in which minorities were affected by and reacted to the Arab uprisings, using a number of case studies from key Middle Eastern countries." - Toby Matthiesen, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford