May 3, 2013

Dr. Ali Banuazizi, Boston College
The 2011 revolutions in the Arab world and the popular uprising in Iran following a hotly contested presidential election in June of 2009 had many common features, but dramatically different outcomes. While in the Arab world, the outcome was the collapse of the incumbent autocratic regimes followed by long, drawn-out struggles to create more democratic and accountable alternatives in their place, in Iran the so-called Green Movement failed to achieve any of its goals and was brutally suppressed. How can we account for these vastly different outcomes? To what extent has the Islamic character of the state, in the case of Iran, or of key elements of the opposition in the Arab world— rather than the specific economic, political, and cultural factors in each country— shaped and are still influencing the outcomes of these movements? And what are the implications for the U.S.?