The international book launch of Arab Politics beyond the Uprisings: Experiments in an Era of Resurgent Authoritarianism, was held at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut on July 13. Co-editors Michael Wahid Hanna (“Explaining Absence: The Failure of Egypt’s Liberals”) and Thanassis Cambanis (“People Power and Its Limits: Lessons from Lebanon’s Anti-Sectarian Reform Movement”), both senior fellows at The Century Foundation (TCF), moderated two panel discussions featuring contributors to the volume.

The first panel on culture, rights and citizenship included TCF policy associate Sima Ghaddar (“Second-Class Citizenship: Lebanese Women Fight to Pass Nationality to Children and Spouses”) and journalist Laura Dean (“All Truth is Worth Publishing: Mada Masr and the Fight for Free Speech in Egypt”). The second, on popular governance in failing states, included political scientist Asya El-Meehy (“Governance From Below: Comparing Local Experiments in Egypt and Syria after the Uprisings”) as well as TCF fellows Sam Heller (“Keeping the Lights On in Rebel Idlib: Local Governance, Services, and the Competition for Legitimacy among Islamist Armed Groups”) and Aron Lund (“Into the Tunnels: The Rise and Fall of Syria’s Rebel Enclave in the Eastern Ghouta”).

The research project brought together twenty-one researchers, explores initiatives and experiments that thrive on the margins of resurgent state oppression, and highlights the nascent indigenous debate over the best approach for crafting Arab political alternatives and the efforts to curtail them. The book is available for purchase and each chapter is available as a report on the TCF website. Arab Politics beyond the Uprisings is the first of two books to be published as part of a multi-year project at TCF on drivers of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

“The project was born at the moment a couple of years ago when the period of optimism and excitement that had begun in 2010 and 2011 had hit the wall and there was a sort of regionwide despair and sense of getting stuck again,” Cambanis said at the book launch.

Reflecting on the Egyptian revolution, Hanna said President Hosni Mubarak’s fall revealed the limits of international power to shape regional politics.

“Mubarak didn’t fall because of decisions made in Washington. He fell because of what happened in Egypt,” Hanna said. “The lesson is that the United States is not going to be the progenitor and engine of political change.”

Watch footage of each panel below. Videos with Arabic translation are available here (Session One) and here (Session Two).