In December 2010 a series of dramatic anti-government protests and uprisings became outright rebellions across the Middle East. In what later became known as “the Arab Spring”, those protests led many outside observers - most of whom were far from regional experts - to draw comparisons between the upheaval in the Middle East with the wave of pro-democracy revolutions that swept aside Soviet-led Communism in Eastern Europe in late 1989.

With the sole exception on Tunisia, however, those protes...

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