Cycles of Turmoil

Political development in the Middle East was stunted by legacies of colonialism and tribalism.

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Unconventional Regimes Changes in Select Arab Countries

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Political leadership in Arab countries is often a poisoned chalice. Violence and upheaval have been hallmarks of political transition in the Middle East and North Africa in the modern era, but in fact the history is much longer. Legacies of tribalism and instability stifled the region’s political development while the imposition of centralized nation-states by colonial powers lacked relevance to the cultural and social realities of the region. Their failure to take hold has hampered the emergence of a stable political culture, leaving difficult transitions as the norm and militaries as a major political force. Countries’ difficulty – and at times inability – to overcome their tribal roots and establish a strong sense of national identity all but guarantees this cycle of turmoil will continue. The coups and uprisings in Sudan and Algeria are only the most recent reminders.


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Geopolitical Futures (GPF) was founded in 2015 by George Friedman, international strategist and author of The Storm Before the Calm and The Next 100 Years. GPF is non-ideological, analyzes the world and forecasts the future using geopolitics: political, economic, military and geographic dimensions at the foundation of a nation.