Summary

First came the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire following World War I; then, in the 1950s and '60s, the Nasser-inspired wave of Arab nationalism and socialism. The Arab world's third great political cataclysm of the past 100 years has also brought permanent changes, but not as its activists had hoped: the 2011 uprisings.

Their consequences have differed greatly from area to area, splintering the Arab region into four different worlds. The Levant states have disintegrated, possibly irreversibly. The Gulf monarchies have embarked on far-reaching plans of economic and social change to stave off discontent. Egypt has retreated into military authoritarianism and a war on Islamists, threatening its future stability. Only the Maghreb countries, which have started integrating Islamists into their political systems, offer some hope for progress toward democracy.

Marina and David Ottaway have brought together fifty years of experience observing the Arab world, and a wealth of first-hand information gathered from living and travelling extensively in the region. A Tale of Four Worlds is an indispensable analysis of the profound upheavals that have shaken--and continue to transform--Arab and global politics.

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About the Author
Image of David Ottaway
David Ottaway

David worked on this book while a fellow at the Wilson Center. He worked 35 years for The Washington Post as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Africa and Southern Europe and later as a national security and investigative reporter in Washington before retiring in 2006. Read More

Image of Marina Ottaway
Marina Ottaway

Marina Ottaway wrote this book while a Middle East Fellow at the Wilson Center. Ottaway joined the Wilson Center after 14 years at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, during which she played a central role in launching the Middle East Program. Read More