FP Virtual Dialogue: Locking Down or Rising Up?

Can the Middle East’s Protest Movements Survive and Adapt to COVID-19?

Does COVID-19 spell victory for counterrevolutionary forces across the region? Or can popular movements adapt and even thrive in this new reality?

Over the past few years, the streets of capitals across the Middle East have been filled with some of the most significant people-powered protest movements seen since the Arab Spring. From Algeria to Lebanon to Iraq, these movements have been cross-sectarian, demanding accountable and transparent government and rejecting entrenched elites. But the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to extinguish this bright light on the democratic horizon. Restrictions on gatherings are straining the cohesion of protest movements, and ruling elites are using the crisis to stifle and erase these movements’ gains and reestablish their own popular support.

Drawing on original research in the region and the experiences of IRI program partners on the ground, this event explored how COVID-19 has created an opening for the political establishment and threatened the call for democratic rights.



In partnership with:

International Republican Institute

Dalia Ghanem

Resident scholar, Carnegie Middle East Center
Dalia Ghanem is a resident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. She is a political scientist and an expert on Algeria. Her work examines also...
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Screen Shot 2020-05-05 at 11.00.15 AM

Sajad Jiyad

Iraq Analyst and Visiting Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations
Sajad Jiyad is a visiting fellow with the Middle East and North Africa programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Jiyad is an Iraqi political analyst based i...
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Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 11.23.34 AM

Patricia Karam

Regional Director of the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Division, International Republican Institute
Patricia Karam is Regional Director of the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Division at IRI. In this role she is responsible for the strategic oversight and leadership of the MEN...

Sami Nader

Director, Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs
Sami Nader is a columnist for Al-Monitor's Lebanon Pulse, an economist, Middle Eastern affairs analyst and communications expert with extensive expertise in corporate strategy a...
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Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 12.52.35 PM

Jonathan Tepperman

Editor in Chief, Foreign Policy
Jonathan Tepperman is the editor in chief of Foreign Policy and the author of The Fix: How Countries Use Crises to Solve the World’s Worst Problems. Befor...

For more information, contact Diana Marrero, Senior Vice President of Strategic Development.