Book Review: The Arab Winter: A Tragedy

Jacket design by Layla Mac Rory

The Arab Winter: A Tragedy, by Noah Feldman. Princeton University Press. Hardcover: ISBN: 9780691194929

Noah Feldman, author of the Arab Winter contends that the Arab Spring did not accomplish what it set out to do—Bring self-government to the Middle East by ending dictatorship.  Only Tunisia escaped the continual civil war, extremist terror, and continued dictatorship. While this time was an ultimate failure to eliminate what it set out to do, this was the first time Arabic-speaking people took a stab at uniting for a collective political action to try to end civil war and dictatorship.  The author postulates that the Arab Spring did not really have a chance at success.

In the Arab Winder, Feldman provides an account of political consequences as he discusses the Syrian Civil War, the Egyptian revolution and counterrevolution, the Tunisian struggle toward Islamic constitutionalism, and the rise and fall of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. He wants the world to take note that there were some successes, at least for a while. The effort to strive for constitutional democracy was an effort well put forth.  While awakening to constitutional democracy was not immediately successful, it will have hopefully created a path to future successes. 

Chapters you will read include: The People Want, Tahir and the Problem of Agency, Syria and the Question of Fault, The Islamic State of Utopia, Tunisia and Political Responsibility, and the afterword: Catharsis….Carol 

About the author: Noah Feldman is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the author of many books, including The Three Lives of James Madison, The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State (Princeton), and What We Owe Iraq (Princeton). A contributing writer for Bloomberg Opinion and the host of the podcast Deep Background, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Twitter @NoahRFeldman


We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed
In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion.

About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy
Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT.


  1. ‘Never let a ‘Crisis’ ‘Upheaval’ go to Waste! ‘Zionist Israel’ and the US the ‘Vassal-Servant’, of the Zionists have benefitted, by getting the opportunity to, “Spread American Values.” “Spread Democracy!” What EMPTY SLOGANS? LIES! Murdering hundreds of thousands, uprooting making refugees of millions, in their own Homeland and migrating into Europe! Who gained? We know who lost, by US, turning that part of the World into HELL on Earth! Peace! Salam! Shalom!

  2. Thanks for sharing this fascinating take on the failed “Arab Spring.” In my humble view, the failures do to the following: 1) lack of intellectual leadership with the Arab Spring with a vision for the future. Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Libya, Yemen all agreed on a regime change but without a vision for the future. Arab intellectuals and political theorists nowhere to be found, unlike Europe, when philosophers gave a vision for the future. 2) Arab countries with money, especially in the Gulf, played a crucial roll in bankrolling the Counter-Revolution and, in the case of Syria, sponsored “jihadists” collections of scumbags and rodents from the sewage canal of Europe with destructive ideologies that are counter to democratic values. 3) In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood takes the significant blame for hijacking the revolution, compromising with the military, and taking over the revolution. They did not initiate or start and stupidly thinking the military is about to give up total control of the country. 4) foreign interventions like the US, France in Libya were about destroying whatever “state” exists in Libya, making sure no has access to the hundreds of billions stashed by Qaddafi. 5) in Yemen, the GCC was not about to accept the deal reached by the National Dialogue as a form of the democratic first step to replace Ali Saleh Regime. Instead, they substituted Hadi for Saleh and thus cheated the Yemenis of real change. 6) in Tunisia, the Arab Gulf money is active in making sure the Nahda ( Islamists Party) failed to show that “Political Islam has no place in the future. It is the Gulf money that is standing in the way of any reforms toward democracy and accountable government, promoting military dictatorship and traditional Sunni religious establishment as the key partners.

Comments are closed.