Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Islamism and the Arab Spring

Islamism and the Arab Spring

  • May 7, 2012
Michael S. Doran

Roger Hertog Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

Samuel Helfont

Associate Scholar - Middle East Program

Ph.D. Candidate, Princeton University

Marina Ottaway

Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Eric Trager

Associate Scholar - Middle East Program

Ira Weiner Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Tally Helfont


Managing Director - Middle East Program

Though many of the protest movements associated with the Arab Spring appeared to be largely secular in nature, Islamist parties have been winning elections across the region, causing unease and uncertainty both domestically and abroad. U.S. policymakers and analysts have been divided thus far in their responses to this turn of events. How should the U.S. deal with the new regimes that bear a distinctly Islamist character? What will be the state of U.S. alliances in the new Middle East and North Africa and how will they affect our core interests in the region? It is critical for Washington to understand the individual groups that are gaining power in the Middle East and North Africa and to define its interests and goals in dealing with these new power holders. These questions will be addressed in FPRI’s Panel Discussion, which will bring together recognized policy and academic expertise to examine these challenges and their implications for U.S. foreign policy.

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Middle East Program