The term incipient societies refer to societies newly organized or rearranged in order to pursue their civil rights and needs within a transitional state of governance. The word “incipient,” deriving from inception, implies the high degree of improvisation and ingenuity applied by such societies in adapting and adjusting constantly within a fluid, uncertain, and highly unstable political environment. In regions such as these core components of the traditional state are highly compromised or nonexistent either due to failure of the state to assert its power and/or due to the presence of one or more strong counter-state entities including insurgencies, militias, alternative communities, and other challengers to the state’s sovereignty. The political environment is considered of high incipience when the conditions are such that encourage and support the germination of multiple new or reformed groups. In popular revolts the political scene gradually moves from a state of high to one of low incipience. This article utilizes this analytical framework to shed light on the so-called “Arab Spring,” focusing on the events in Egypt, Libya, and Syria. It provides recommendations and suggestions, as well as areas of future consideration provided by this analysis.
The conditions of change, from mild sociopolitical transformations to “collapse,” have been the subject matter of several known scholars. From Aristotle, Rousseau, Adams, and Marx, to the more contemporary approaches by Jared Diamond, Joseph Tainter and Homer Dixon, there is a vast contribution of intellect on what makes social change tick: human nature, class struggle, natural resources, to name just a few. From one era to the next, whether it was green crescent, classical Greece, renaissance, industrial era and the now contemporary process of globalization, some factors became more prominent than others in explaining social change, and new ones had to be discovered. For policy makers the study of change provides an advantage of not only maintaining a better picture of what is currently happening, but also the advantage of partially predicting the impact of policy, and preparing for what is about to come in the near future.
Predicting change is a tricky proposition that has seen a wide variety of methods to quantify it: theoretical frameworks, models, historical inferences, and a number of exploratory, descriptive, and even trend identifying methodologies. Yet, one must admit, considering the abysmal record of mistakes in foreign policy by the Westphalian state since the 1600s, it fair to say that in spite of the armory of methods and policy determining procedures, when it comes to periods of rapid social change, we have not progressed too far from searching for water with a dowsing rod. Conditions of rapid change, including revolutions, failing states and empires, economic crises, famine, religious and/or political revivals, tsunamis, and even multiple simultaneously occurring little random events, present a serious challenge to the contemporary policy analyst. We all too often rely on the outdated versions of familiar theories and/or the insight of policy makers with experience and who are considered “savants” of the field. While this strategy has worked for certain situations in the past, in an era of rapid, multi-faceted change, new methodologies of analysis need to be designed. Known and repetitive conditions, and the programmed responses to them, are not good predictors for dynamic situations that are caused by cataclysmic events that shake the international state system.
In times of radical change of the caliber of the French Revolution, the Arab Revolt of WWI, the reunification of Germany, and others throughout history, there is an increasing rate in the appearance of a multitude of social movements and entities, often seemingly simultaneously and “overnight.” Some of these movements only survive for hours or a few months before being merged or consumed by new, more powerful movements. An example of this would be during the 1917 Russian Revolution - in fact a series of several revolutions. The movements of the February 1917 Revolution were very quickly absorbed by the movements of the October Revolution and the more robust and powerful Bolsheviks.
Other periods of radical social change and civil conflict, such as the Lebanese Civil War from 1976-1990, see several movements, within a close geographical location of each other, be born, mature, and flourish or die very rapidly. The PLO matured into the state-like organization that it is at present as a result of it being able to co-opt the merger of more than a dozen previously independent Palestinian organizations over time. During the same period, one of the world’s most noted armed movements, Hezbollah, rose from a foco-like insurgent movement ideologically and materially supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran, into what is arguably today the most powerful political and social party in Lebanon, with a highly developed bureaucracy and army capable of competing with conventional state militaries.
Such periods of time characterized by a high birth rate of new social entities, parties, and movements to challenge older social entities, parties, and movements are periods of high incipience. During a period of high incipience, older social groups are challenged to reform, break apart into smaller social groups that are more ideologically aggressive, or collapse all together. Periods of high incipiency are usually characterized by huge regional or global events such as economic crises, wars, widely adopted inventions, such as Internet-based social media communication platforms, or extraordinary ecological catastrophes.
Further discussion on the theory of social incipience is to be published in forthcoming work by the same authors. This paper is limited to the use of this new framework in extracting conclusions useful to U.S. foreign policy makers in regard to navigating the Arab Spring in the future.
In December 2010, the conditions for such cataclysmic social change were ripe. Beginning with Tunisia, then Egypt, then Libya, and continuing in Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen, the socio-political map of the broader Middle East is changing very rapidly. Even more curious was the fact that the region’s most populated state, Egypt, was transformed relatively non-violently, from a military dictatorship into a quasi-parliamentary democracy led by a previously outlawed political party. Two parts are included here, one examining the trajectory of the evolution of the situation in Syria as of the mid-February of 2012, and the second the revolution in Egypt, drawing a few contrasting parallels with Libya in regard to the trajectories of incipience.
The Syrian Uprising: A Product of High Incipience
The Syrian Uprising which began in March 2011, and which has now reportedly cost over 8,000 Syrians their lives, is a highly incipient event that is changing by the week. Currently there are three organizations (or movements) that have become the most important Syrian players in the anti-Assad effort. These movements are the Syrian National Council (SNC), the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and the Local Coordinating Committees (LCCs). Two of these movements, the SNC and the FSA, are based in Turkey, under the sufferance and protection of the Turkish government. The third movement, the LCCs, are based in Syria, in the neighborhoods, villages, and cities that are most aggressively resisting the Al-Assad government. It is important to note that although the FSA has its headquarters in Turkey, its combat units are found in Syria, with strategic depth (i.e. units that fled Syria for a time to rearm, resupply, and recruit) in northern Lebanon, Al-Anbar and Ninewah Provinces in Iraq, and reportedly also in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
As a loose coalition of movements, these organizations have only recently begun attempts to coordinate their activities to achieve greater results. Their common objective is the removal of the Al-Assad government which has shown resistance in advancing reforms. While unified on the message that President Bashar Al-Assad must vacate power in Syria, not all these movements are similarly organized, with resulting incongruities in their efforts. All of these rebel organizations, products of today’s highly incipient political landscape in Syria, evolve and adapt rapidly.
The Syrian National Council, which was formally born on August 23, 2011, and which declared its ruling structure on October 2, 2011, is a loose coalition of Syrian exile parties. In spite of all of its efforts, the SNC has been denied recognition by the international community as the exclusive Syrian rebel authority. Currently headed by Burhan Ghalioun, who is a Syrian professor in Paris, the SNC is a motley mix of anti-Assad organizations that include the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, the Kurdish Future Movement Party, the Assyrian Democratic Organization, and various smaller parties and individuals affiliated with the pre-Syrian Uprising, anti-Assad Damascus Declaration. Although the SNC has claimed to represent almost two-thirds of the Syrian opposition, both without and within Syria, the validity of this claim remains uncertain.
Composed of defected members of the Syrian military, the Free Syrian Army is perhaps the most famous of the anti-Assad Syrian movements. It was founded on July 29, 2011 by its current commander, a Colonel Riad Al-Asaad, via an Internet video broadcasted from exile in Turkey. Although it is based in Turkey, in fact the FSA has several semi-autonomous and autonomous operational combat units that move, with some difficulty, from Syria into Lebanon. Estimates of the combat strength of the Free Syrian Army vary, with numbers ranging from 15,000 to 45,000 soldiers. The FSA is a highly volatile and constantly evolving movement, despite having a command structure established in Turkey, under the protection of the Turkish government. In fact, the FSA label is being applied to a large number of armed fighters resisting the Al-Assad government throughout Syria, including any defecting group of soldiers from the Syrian military.
The Free Syrian Army admits that it, like a majority of the anti-Assad opposition (and indeed a majority of Syrians) is predominately Arab, and Sunni Muslim. There are now credible reports from multiple observers of the FSA on the ground in Syria that, at least in Syria, it leans increasingly towards "Sunni Islamism." These reports indicate that FSA members finding refuge in Lebanon, in and around the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, are becoming radicalized in local Sunni Islamist neighborhoods. Tripoli is a "firing-line" in Lebanon where the Alawite community (intensely pro-Assad) fights with the militant, Sunni, Salafists. Regardless of the nature of its religious affiliation, the FSA’s actual operational abilities on the ground in Syria are not being controlled by its nominal command structure in Turkey, and are more reminiscent of the actions undertaken by the Islamist, former Ba'athist resistance cells in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The FSA’s operations in Syria are carried out more in response to occurring challenges on the ground than in accordance to any predetermined strategy from a central command.
The Local Coordinating Committees are community level activist movements which organize protests, communicate to the outside world developments on the ground against the Al-Assad regime, and report casualties and human rights abuses to the international community and Syrian exile organizations; those include the London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights. They assemble the protesters, set up local unity commands of civilians to provide for the common welfare, wag a publicity campaign via YouTube and the Internet, and try to assert and consolidate their movement throughout Syria. Day-in and day-out as the Syrian Uprising has become more bloody, the LCCs have shown incredible acumen in the use of Internet-based communication technologies - particularly Skype to international media, YouTube, and Facebook - to demonstrate to a global audience the trials and tribulations of the anti-Assad movements. In addition, the LCCs serve as municipal authority in many of the rebelling areas of Syria, such as in Homs, Dera’a, Idlib, and Douma (before its fall to the Syrian military).
The dynamics between the three movements are changing rapidly and in a complex manner, characteristic to environments of high incipience. They all cooperate with each other to some degree. Forced to adapt to the Syrian government’s efforts to subdue them, these movements have yet to work out a strategy of presenting a united face to the international community. The fragmented, localized nature of the Syrian Uprising, and the fact that the Syrian National Council and a significant part of the Free Syrian Army is in exile exacerbates this issue. While the national organization of the Local Coordinating Committees is in some cases part of, and in others allied with, the SNC, the LCCs are a functioning local authority in the rebelling areas of Syria.
Credible reports indicate that the LCCs are working with the Free Syrian Army, by providing necessary intelligence on Syrian troop movements, shelter and food for defected Syrian soldiers, and by allowing the Free Syrian Army to patrol their neighborhoods. This alliance occurs in a piecemeal fashion, with the strongest bond apparently being formed in Homs and in regions of northwestern Syria in Idlib. Credible reports from different sources in Syria suggest that the LCCs are influencing FSA security operations indirectly by flaring up conflict with the Syrian government via protests. The demonstrations provoke both the Al-Assad government’s brutal response and the subsequent presence and action of the FSA. In addition, there is increasing evidence that reveals an emerging pattern of protest activities carried out by the LCCs, followed by Syrian government retribution, and finally Free Syrian Army operations.
Unlike any of the other rebellions thus far witnessed in the course of the Arab Spring, the Syrian Uprising and its protest activities are neither essentially localized, as in Egypt and in Bahrain with the physical spaces of Tahrir Square ant the Pearl Square respectively, or operated militarily from a “free territory” like Benghazi in Libya. The Syrian Uprising instead is characterized by hybrid zones of resistance that are not easily confined to a specific demarcated place or method of protest. The ready-made networks of "liberal" movements and the Nour Pary and Muslim Brotherhood that existed prior to the fall of Mubarak in Egypt are not present in Syria; these movements derive exclusively from defecting elements of Syrian civil society that used to be pliant to the Syrian regime (military, Islamic preachers, youth groups, tribal groups) and are rebelling locally. The conflict in Syria consists of a Syrian government fiercely dousing a dozen different brush fires, and not against one large conflagration, in contrast to the events in Libya.
Syria also resembles the civil war experiences of Iraq or Lebanon more so than Libya. To complicate things even further, the Syrian Uprising has become bloodier, and considering the latest increase in the flow of arms and fighters from within and outside the country, the prospects of a peaceful transition in Syria become less and less likely with each passing day. In many ways this process steadily contributes to the enduringly volatile nature of the Syrian Uprising, as none of the major movements involved in its activities have yet to create a contiguous territory in the country. Such territory could have both secured and stabilized the rebellion enough to reduce systemic incipience and help a more unified Syrian National Council enjoy broader recognition and begin the process towards a post Assad Syria. As of now, instead of a cohesive, national movement, and in spite of the best efforts of LCCs, different groups seem more representative to the particular region of Syria where they operate than of a unified national agenda for change. Such agenda would help to salvage the country’s economy (the spark for the Uprising) and prevent a drift into further excessive sectarian and ethnic violence.
The Arab League’s recent resolution seeking for a peacekeeping force in Syria supported, in a blanket manner, all the Syrian movements that were against the Al-Assad government, without mentioning a particular group by name. Such omission reflects the highly incipient state of the Syrian Uprising where there are so many actors at play in the anti-Assad movements that even the Arab League, as determined as it is to rid of the Al-Assad regime, fails to identify a primary player.
Where the Syrian uprising seems to spiral into a perpetuate state of high incipience, there are a few cases where the rebellion seems to be taking a more regular course towards consolidation of groups and agendas and therefore from high to low incipience. Homs, the most famous, and most contested city in Syria, happens to be the center of the most rapidly occurring events. Contested intensely, Homs is now becoming a battlefield more than a site of protest, with the International Red Cross and Crescent, protests the Al-Assad government, in an attempt to evacuate of wounded Syrians and those who wish to flee the combat.
In Homs, the Homs Revolutionary Council (HRC), local branch of the LLCs, is actively establishing authority in order to replace the deposed structures of the Al-Assad regime. Reports from Homs, including from the journalist Nir Rosen, indicate that the HRC maintains a clandestine network of mobile hospitals caring for the wounded, feeding 16,000 people throughout Homs Province and in Homs city, and maintaining an elected committee structure dealing with security, media, public services, humanitarian services, and legal needs. In this sense the HRC transforms the stage from a state of high incipiency (dispersed organized protests) to a state of lower incipience, whereby it actually maintains the municipal and civil order of neighborhoods in Homs city and villages in Homs Province.
Elsewhere, arrangements for civilian protection between the Free Syrian Army and the Local Coordinating Committees are increasingly sophisticated, implying that a similar process with Homs might aspire in the rest of the country. However, what constitutes the devolution of Al-Assad state structures in the Bab Amr area of Homs is different than that experienced in Idlib, Der’a, Douma, or Deir ez Zor. This reality makes it difficult, at best, to ascertain exactly how the Syrian national evolution of the anti-Assad Syrian movements will proceed, in other words what the course of incipience from high to low will look like.
How the U.S. Should Respond
The United States Government faces tough decisions regarding the Syrian Uprising. At present the anti-Assad movements within and without Syria are still at their highest incipient state of development. There are signs that these movements are beginning to coordinate their public message and efforts more effectively, which suggests that a less incipient state could emerge in the very near future. Before embarking on a decisive course of action towards Syria, the United States Government needs to ask its own policy makers, the international community, and all anti-Assad Syrian movements the following questions for a post-Assad Syria, and arrive at answers to them: Who will be the guiding civilian authority in Syria? What military and police authority will keep the peace in the country? How will the Syrian economy be revitalized and improved? What will be done to incorporate disaffected (i.e. Alawite and Kurdish) communities in the country?
Egypt and Libya: Two Distinct Paths of Incipience?
During the events of high incipience at Tahrir Square, the foci of the Egyptian Revolution against the government of Hosni Mubarak, were fueled not only by the active participation of the Egyptian people, but also by the willingness of the international community to interact with the Egyptians via the Internet. Egyptian organizers of the protests utilized the available resources including the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network’s online Live Blog with great operational efficiency converging traditional and social media platforms to build a revolution in a localized place, with globalized input.
An observer, following the events in Egypt, day and night, was able to witness the emergence of the most peculiar pattern: organizers from Tahrir Square would pose a tactical dilemma as a question to the followers of the Al Jazeera live blog on the Egyptian Revolution. As the globe turned to its own 24/7 steady pace, dozens of ideas would swarm from distant places in the world to the command center of the revolution in Tahrir Square. Within 24 hours of posing their question, the social activists in Tahrir Square had a truly global collection of perspectives from Europe all the way to South Africa, and within a few hours after that, from the United States and Latin America. Gradually, as the globe spun and information was communicated via the Internet all over the world, Japanese, Australians, and vocal south and central Asians, Russians, and Middle Easterners would have their say on the Tahrir Square organizers’ questions. The organizers would then collect those ideas for consideration and potential action, put them to debate amongst their fellow protestors, and then formulate their next tactical response to the challenge that they asked about based on their decision arrived from global input they received.
Global debate on the questions posed by the Tahrir Square organizers was vigorous. Response time to the questions posed by the Egyptians would vary, sometimes it would take half a round of debate, other times two rounds of debate before the global audience could offer a solution depending on the urgency of the challenge faced by the Egyptians, and by the availability of forum participants and the overall quality of their ideas.
One question asked by the Egyptians in particular stands out as an example of the diversity of ideas and the strength that can be derived from that diversity that was given to the organizers of Tahrir Square by utilizing the Al-Jazeera live blog. At some point towards the end of Hosni Mubarak’s presidency, the organizers posted the question whether they should accept low ranking officers from the army, who had been offering to defect, into their movement. This problem was of a very acute nature to the organizers. The debate that unfolded to their question was a highly incipient response that reflected not one, but dozens of perspectives and even cultures of revolutionary strategies.
American supporters urged caution, where Pakistani participants were all for a massive integration, all using specific ideological, cultural, and even religious or secular justification for their position. Managing the contesting melee of ideas was a study in swarm command. Egyptian organizers sent questions for clarification to Al-Jazeera Live Blog participants with promising ideas, or kindly thanked those who acted on impulse with less practical ideas, and they remained polite and cordial even to those “spoilers” opposing the revolution who were trying to congest the network with insults and irrelevant information.
By the end of the 24-hour cycle, the general agreement derived from the Al-Jazeera Live Blog debate was that low ranking Egyptian officers should remain with their units for because even if the Egyptian Army chose the course of violence against the protestors, sympathetic soldiers would be able to provide invaluable intelligence to the protest’s participants. It was also agreed that if the soldiers took up weapons to fight for the revolution they would soon perish with everyone else. The Egyptian organizers collected the “swarm’s” input, clarified it, and then acted on the consensus of the global audience: they thanked, and hugged and kissed the soldiers and then asked them politely to return to their units.
Drawing from personal analysis of the 1973 Greek student uprisings against the then ruling Greek military junta, the Egyptian protests at Tahrir Square were a completely new operational tactical-response process in social revolution that is indicative of the new era of social revolution. To make things even more interesting, some of the audience facilitating the particular session debating how to respond to the Egyptian soldiers’ desire to join the protests were, allegedly, members of the Shuhada, an Afghan group with a reported long experience in social resistance from the darkest times of the Taliban regime prior to the 2001 invasion. Most tellingly about the Tahrir Square protests was that the actual moderators of the “swarm process” did not have to be physically present in Tahrir Square at all, they could as well have functioned from a safe distance on another continent altogether. Overall, the setup of the Egyptian Tahrir Square
organizers was effective, and from a study of international relations perspective, elegant. A lesson from the process described here is that it is important to acknowledge the emergence of social media as a new process of social incipience.
It has been a year since the Egyptian Uprising, and Tahrir Square has already become the subject of several well researched publications, including books. The role of the Internet and virtual networks in shaping rapidly evolving social events has also been well publicized as a result of the Egyptian Uprising. In the early days of the Egyptian Uprising, new types of heroes emerged, both in Egypt, such as bloggers and activists Asmaa Mahfouz, Ahmed Maher, Mohammed Adelwas, Waleed Rashed, or Google Executive Wael Ghonim, as well as from far and away, such as twitter and UCLA graduate student John Scott-Railton (@Jan25voices), and Swedish student Christopher Kullenberg. These people played a different role either by providing articles and analyses or by keeping the information corridor open in spite of the partial internet shutdown in Egypt by the government.
Bloggers and tweters maintained their own, almost overlapping, constituencies via Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other mostly European internet providers in ways that have no parallel in previous revolutions. Wael Ghonim has published on this phenomenon extensively. Considering the multitude of input by individual minds, each acting as individual centers of revolutionary thought, tactical analysis, and strategies via blogs, and other sources of social media, Tahrir Square must have involved the largest number of independent revolutionary “entities” than any other revolution in history. This same reality applies to the Arab Spring in general as well. Due to the Internet and cell phones, the conditions of the germination of the social movement, or social incipience, has been multiplied to unthought-of levels.
The role of local, Egyptian political parties such as the Ghad El-Thawra, Dignity Party, the New Wafd, the Democratic Front, and the contributions of members of the Coptic community, especially towards the end of the Egyptian Uprising, cannot and should not be underestimated. Nor should the discrete, yet decisive, intervention of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood during some critical turning points of the Egyptian Uprising be ignored. In spite of these contributions from Egyptian actors, it is beyond doubt that the Egyptian Uprising was more than just a local event; it was also the product of a global network of activism, operating in real-time.
Even today, after Egyptians went to the polls and participated in parliamentary elections, and in the context of an upcoming presidential election, with a new government and opposition in place, the degree of incipience in the Egyptian movements has not subsided completely. Each and every day new flares of unrest form seemingly out of nowhere in response to one or another unpopular measure or action taken by the Egyptian government and especially by the Egyptian military. This is a new condition of incipiency also: that in the contemporary and very likely future, revolutionary environments will not transform as radically into settled societies after global networks have been formed. People in a state of revolt will use the opportunities created during a period of revolutionary change to pursue their demands that are unmet by the new government.
The inertia of social incipience is unpredictable and makes traditional methods of policy response obsolete. New post-revolutionary landscapes require new approaches. This fact places new conditions upon determining U.S. foreign policy in the context of the post-Arab Spring, both in the Arab countries and in the broader Middle East, such as in Iran. Indisputably, the social movements and parties in contemporary Egypt are less numerous and more defined, thus less incipient, than a year ago, yet the conditions still exist for the birth of new social movements, and higher incipiency in Egypt. In Libya, the absence of a strong tradition of political activism, political parties, or even limited political freedom, led to the creation of new political heroes, at least at the start of the Libyan Revolution.
Blogger activists such as Omar Amer and Ayat Mneina (Shabab Libya) streamed live online videos of the brutal response of the Gaddafi government, and of demonstrations and protests from around the country. These activities kept the Libyan protest movement inspired and active, even during the darkest days of repression against them. Libyan parties in exile and those forming “on the go,” including the Committee for Libyan National Action in Europe, the Libyan Freedom and Democracy Campaign, the Libyan Democratic Party, and the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition, amongst others, competed to be the major players in the Libyan Revolution. These parties were only partially consolidated into the National Transitional Council of Libya, after it was recognized by the international community, including the states of NATO and the Arab League.
In the context of Libya, the incipience of protesting social movements subsided once Libya entered into full-blown civil war, with two combating “national” governments: one under Gaddafi based in Tripoli, and the other in Benghazi under the National Transitional Council. In post-revolution Libya, another phenomenon has prevailed that has compensated for the lack of the emergence of new social movements. The diverse ethno-political consistency of the country has created space for rekindled tribal, ethnic, and regional competition in Libya. This social conflict, and the re-emergence of highly incipient movements that utilize traditional socio-cultural organizers of identity, threatens Libyan as well as regional stability and gradually erodes the process of democratization and has more to do with the settling of old ethnic and tribal scores while competing over available resources. Libyan incipience has not subsided per se, it has devolved into ethnic and tribal strife. How the U.S. Should Respond The challenge for the United States Government in regard to Egypt is to first identify the social currents and movements evolved from the Egyptian Uprising at Tahrir Square, and which have been maintained by the massive social networks that they created and maintained. In addition,
the United States Government needs to combine state-to-state diplomacy with the state structures in place in Egypt while also engaging the highly incipient protest movements from Tahrir Square that are upset with the form of the current Egyptian government and the slow work of the Egyptian military caretaker government to implement demanded reforms. The United States Government needs to also prudently straddle the thin line between respecting the state sovereignty of Egypt without interfering with Egyptian domestic affairs, and at the same time maintain a warm connection with the “other” pole of politics in Egypt: the movements born in Tahrir Square that are both open to the world and at the same time more radicalized and ready for action. In regard to Libya, the challenge that faces the United States Government is to avoid the complete devolution of Libya into a state of consistent, dire conflict, such as in Somalia or the Democratic Republic of Congo. The unexpected and critical role of Mali as a depository of the old Gadaffi government, and the return of Tuareg fighters from Mali back into Libya, combined with the potential involvement in Libya of a stable and self-assured Algeria are all factors that need to be strongly considered by U.S. policy-makers. The United States Government needs to support continued mediation between competing tribes in Libya in order arrive at a fair settlement on their territorial disputes, their fair access to the natural resources of the country. As Libya is in a state of low incipience at present, traditional diplomatic approaches might have better success than in Egypt, where the social networks and movements of Tahrir Square are too well-connected with each other and the outside world and too wary of the current Egyptian government to leave the street.
Lessons from Incipient Civic Movements in the Middle East
Nicholas A. Heras and Christos Kyrou, PhD.
International Affairs Forum (Center for International Studies)
February 28, 2012
About the Authors
Christos Nikolaos Kyrou, Ph.D (covered Egypt and Libya in this article) is Research Director at the Center of International Relations and an Adjunct Professor at the School of International Service at the American University. Nicholas Alexander Heras, (covered Syria in this article) is an M.A. candidate in International Communication at the School of International Service at the American University, a Research Associate at the Center for International Relations, and a former David L. Boren Fellow.