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Democracy or Authoritarianism? Army or Anarchy? First Takes and Later Reflections on the Arab Spring


There’s an old joke that captures the dilemma confronting political scientists who studied the Middle East. One evening, a passer-by chances on a fellow searching for his lost house key under a streetlight. Hoping to be helpful, the spectator asks the searcher where he dropped the key. “Across the street,” comes the reply. Then why is he searching on this side of the street? “The light is better over here.”

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