University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill political science professor Andrew Reynolds has co-authored a book exploring the Arab Spring, a series of pro-democracy uprisings throughout the Arab world in 2011 and 2012. The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform (Oxford University Press, 2015) offers explanations for why regime change took place in only four countries and why fundamental democratic change has been so elusive in the countries that have attempted reforms.

Reynolds co-authored the book with Jason Brownlee, professor of government and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and Tarek Masoud, associate professor of public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Reynolds has dedicated his career to researching emerging democracies throughout the world. He was the first international democracy expert to land in Tripoli, Libya, in September 2011 and was integrally involved in the tentative steps towards elections in Cairo, Egypt, after President Mubarak fell in the spring of 2011.

Most recently he has traveled to Sana’a, Yemen, to advise on the development of a new constitution. His last trip to Yemen required bodyguards, as the kidnapping of foreign aid workers and diplomats has become common in the escalating civil war.

As Reynolds and his co-authors researched for their book, they found that the ability of established regimes to survive was heavily contingent on their control of oil wealth and the kinship ties of families with roles in government, military and private
leadership. Additionally, the military’s response after the fall of a regime determines the fate of fledgling democracies. Tunisia is one of the few governments the authors identify as a potential success.

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