A Task Force on:

Political Islam in the Second Wave of the Arab Uprisings

In April 2019, a delayed aftershock of the 2011 Arab uprisings hit the Middle East and North Africa region. After eight years, and despite all new dynamics of post-Arab uprising politics, the similarities between what happened in January 2011 and what has been happening since April 2019 are unmistakable. In Sudan and Algeria, widespread popular mobilizations against the inefficient, corrupt, authoritarian regimes have forced the military to intervene and unseat the old autocratic rulers who monopolized power for decades. Meanwhile, people in the old revolutionary squares are chanting Arab Spring slogans such as “freedom, peace and justice”, “the people want the downfall of the regime”, “leave means leave”, and “just fall!” once more.

On April 2 and 11, 2019, Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir were removed from their respective offices. Since then, a process of regime transition– or at least, of power transition – has begun. Many domestic, regional, and international actors are currently competing to influence these transitions and re-shape the emerging regimes in both countries.

What concerns this task force is how political Islam, which was a major socio-political actor during the first wave of the Arab uprisings, affects and is affected by this wave and what the differences, if any, are in its political orientation, strategy, and behavior. This is not an easy task given that Sudanese and Algerian political Islamic movements are highly divided, with varying political stances. Furthermore, in Sudan it is the ousted ruling party that belongs to a political Islamic movement rather than an opposing challenger, reversing the usual dynamic. Apart from these domestic complexities,  political Islamic movements in both countries face a totally different regional and international context and more complicated challenges than those of the first wave.

In order to achieve its goal, this taskforce’s activities will be organized around the following themes:

  1. Contextualizing the Ongoing Events in Sudan and Algeria
  2. Tracing the Root Causes of the Second Wave of the Arab Uprisings
  3. Political Islam During the Authoritarian Breakdown Phase
  4. How Political Islamic Movements have Charted their Way Through the Transitional Period.