After the Arab Spring (Hardcover)

How Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts

By John R. Bradley

Palgrave MacMillan Trade, 9780230338197, 256pp.

Publication Date: January 3, 2012

List Price: 26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


From the author of the book that uniquely predicted the Egyptian revolution, a new message about the Middle East: everything we're told about the Arab Spring is wrong.

When popular revolutions erupted in Tunisia and Egypt, the West assumed that democracy and pluralism would triumph. Greatly praised author and foreign correspondent John R. Bradley draws on his extensive firsthand knowledge of the region's cultures and societies to show how Islamists will fill the power vacuum in the wake of the revolutions.

This vivid and timely book gives an original analysis of the new Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Bahrain by highlighting the dramatic spread of Saudi-funded Wahhabi ideology, inter-tribal rivalries, and Sunni-Shia divisions. Bradley gives a boots on the ground look at how the revolutions were first ignited and the major players behind them, and shows how the local population participated in and responded to the uprisings. In Tunisia he witnesses secularists under violent attack and in Egypt observes radical Islamists taking control of the streets. He illuminates the ancient sectarian strife shaking Bahrain, fierce civil war pitching tribe against tribe in Libya and Yemen, and ethnic divisions threatening to tear apart Syria and Iran. Taking it one step further, Bradley offers a comprehensive look at how across countries, liberal, progressive voices that first rallied the Arab masses were drowned out by the slogans of the better-organized and more popular radical Islamists.

With the in-depth knowledge of a local and the keen perspective of a seasoned reporter, After the Arab Spring offers a piercing analysis of what the empowerment of Islamism bodes for the future of the Middle East and the impact on the West.

About the Author

John R. Bradley is a widely published British foreign correspondent. Fluent in Egyptian Arabic, he is also the author of Inside Egypt, Saudi Arabia Exposed, and Behind the Veil of Vice.

Praise For After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts

“A timely rebuttal to European and American reporting on the Arab Spring… [Bradley] lambasts reporters and the youthful Arab Facebook and Twitter generations who thought they could replace the Old Guard…. Highly recommended.”Choice

“John R Bradley, a journalist who has lived in the Middle East for many years and was almost unique in predicting the uprising in Egypt, argues that the revolutions have failed in their most basic objectives…. After the Arab Spring predicted the rise of political Islam.”--The London Times

“This wry, concise and elegantly written book amounts to an impassioned critique of the Western media's narrative of the Middle East.”--The London Telegraph

“Bradley has nothing but contempt for political posturing, and is out to debunk the myth of the Arab Spring as a triumph of the people….. [He] is on to something about the way society governs itself, the powers it hands to certain men whose weaknesses render them unfit for it, the religious forces that step in to supply the missing higher values only to debase them.”--The Times Literary Supplement

“Bradley has spent many years living in the countries he discusses and is fluent in Arabic; his first hand experiences give the book a taste of personality and help to keep the reader remain engaged.... There is much to be learned from After the Arab Spring. I would recommend this book to anyone who claims to have a grasp on Middle Eastern conflict and how it should be handled.”--Americans for Informed Democracy

“After the Arab Spring is indispensable to understanding why the Middle East uprisings aren't going where we want. John R. Bradley has a better pulse on the reality than anyone.”--Robert Baer, former CIA operative and inspiration for the movie SYRIANA  “Yes, the demonstrators were brave -- but religious extremists were manipulating them. John R. Bradley looks beyond the blazing power of [the revolutions] to find Islamist groups steadily taking control.”--Time Out (U.K.)

“A savage indictment of alleged western naivety about the significance of the Middle East revolutions. [Bradley] highlights Tunisia as the most conspicuous case of a society where Islamist dominance is likely to ensure that its last state will prove worse than its first, and is equally gloomy in forecasts for Egypt and Libya. Bradley's prognosis… has a nasty plausibility.”--Max Hastings, The Financial Times

“The situation [in the Middle East] has developed almost exactly along the lines that John R. Bradley predicted.”--The Spectator (U.K.)

“[Bradley] has spent years in the region, and brings to After the Arab Spring a copious amount of first-hand knowledge. He also enlivens his otherwise downbeat and enervating argument with a potent dose of caustic wit.... He does well to force readers - many of whom may be unrealistically sanguine about recent events - to confront the dark side of the Arab Spring.”--The National

“Bradley speaks Egyptian Arabic, knows the region well, and writes in a robust and punchy style... [He] gets the essential narrative of political Islamism.”--Literary Review (U.K.)

“An impassioned polemic, scornful about Western naivety towards the events of last year.”--The London Sunday Times

“Bradley is able to push through the blustery talking heads of, say, CNN or Al-Jazeera to allow the voice of the people themselves to be heard. He rightly undermines much of the gushy view that the region is fired by dreams of Western liberalism and democracy and counters that it is really all about feeding oneself and one's family. Bradley's book stimulates a part of the mind largely unworked by... other books.”--The Australian

“I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Arab Spring, or anyone with a view on intervention in the region. It questions every assumption the media has portrayed, and provides evidence for these statements.”--The Student Review (U.K.)

"Bradley believes all what the West says about about the Arab Spring revolutions is errenous, and criticises the shallow Western media coverage of what is happening in the Middle East. He explains that the West misunderstood the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt: that they did not start in a quest for democracy, but as protests against deteriorating economic and social conditions. Bradley points out that the result was not the triumph of democry or modernism but radical Islam. He reveals in After the Arab Spring how progressive, liberal voices were drowned out... and he warns that the 'moderation' on the part of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Ennahada in Tunisia is just a myth designed to fool local voters and the West alike."--Al-Ahram (Egypt)


"Bradley's success in predicting the 25 Jan. revolution in Inside Egypt confirms that what he writes about the future of the region carries a great deal of weight. He opposes to the spread of radical Islamic thought, but uses the term 'Islamist' to define those who adopt a strict interpretation of the Islamic religion at the political and social levels. He defends the secularism grounded in Tunisia before the fall of the regime, and criticises how Wahhabi Islamic thought has spread to most of the countries of the Arab world thanks to the oil wealth of Saudi Arabia. What Bradley says is worth paying attention to."--Al-Watan (Kuwait)


"According to Bradley's analysis, Egypt is heading towards the abyss of religious totalitarianism under the rule of fascists who will deal harshly with their opponents. The Iranian experience [of 1979] was that Islamists reaped the benefits of the revolution, even though they were just one faction in the uprising against the Shah. This is being repeated in Egypt now."--Al-Masry Al-Youm (Egypt)


"In After the Arab Spring, Bradley says that the Islamists rode the wave of the revolutions and hijacked them, and a counter-revolution was carried out out by Saudi Arabia and Qatar by way of promoting their Wahhabi ideology. Bradley is skeptical about the 'moderation' promoted by the Islamist movements and their leaders, arguing that their rhetoric merely earns them points during the long battle. Beyond that, Bradley says that 'the West assumed that liberal values ​​would triumph and prevail, but this did not materialise.' The West is repeating its stupid mistakes of the past.... The author paints a bleak picture of what lies ahead."--Al-Watan (Syria)

“John R Bradley, author of After the Arab Spring, was one of the few journalists who sang out of tune to the chorus of Arab Spring enthusiasts, pointing out that the failure of the democratic transition in Tunisia, the most progressive Arab country, portended failure when it came to the possibility of success in other countries. The Islamists were poised to mobolise for the elections. They have indeed hijacked the revolutions.”–Tomás Alcoverro, La Vanguardia (Spain)

“The revolts against the old autocrats have not brought the agenda of the liberal democrats into sharper focus, but that of the hidden theocrats. With the security vacuum and the Islamists’ march towards government, it is difficult not to agree with Bradley’s thesis. It is not that he ignores [in After the Arab Spring] regular Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans and their thirst for a free life without corrupt leaders; but rather that he believes it is cultural imperialism to think that Arabs, by definition, want the same institutions and values ​​that we cherish on the European side of the Mediterranean.”Weekendavisen (Norway)
“Bradley's book is a good alternative view of the Arab Spring, and his pessimistic outlook is useful to avoid looking at events from so-called rose-colored glasses.”--Small Wars Journal

“Having boldly predicted the revolution in Egypt in his book Inside Egypt and warned of the 'saving graces' of Tunisia's Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali dictatorship before the advent of the Jasmine Revolution in Behind the Veil of Vice, the author sends out another cry of alarm—this time at the democratic fallout that is benefiting the strident Islamist parties…. Bradley looks at the resurgence of Saudi-sponsored Wahhabism and other forms of tribalism since the revolutions in Yemen, Libya and elsewhere. He also considers the 'Shia Axis' and bitter lessons gained from Islamist incursions in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.”--Kirkus Reviews    

"After The Arab Spring is a bold and provocative work which argues that the revolutions were not necessarily a good thing and, in many cases, could make the countries affected by them more oppressive places because of the likelihood of Islamist takeovers. Bradley is scathing about the common perception that the advent of democracy in these Arab states will bring about western-style liberal governments. He rightly points out that… the worsening economic climate, high unemployment and disgust at the rampant corruption and nepotism of their governments [is what] drove people on to the street.”—The Sunday Business Post (Ireland)

"Back in 2008, John R. Bradley was dubbed an alarmist for uniquely -- yet at the same time accurately -- predicting an Egyptian uprising. But he was right, and his publications were banned by Hosni Mubarak's regime. In his new book, After the Arab Spring, his message is a simple one: everything we've been told about the Arab spring is wrong. In his view, political Islam has hijacked the revolutions across the Middle East."—Sir David Frost, on Al-Jazeera English

"Bradley argues that… riots now occur daily, hardliners target secular forces and Christians, and the new leaders lack popular support. Worst of all, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Ennahda in Tunisia are set to gain power. The tourist sectors of both countries have been hit severely…. [After theArab Spring] then moves on to look at how the Arab Spring has become a tool of the Iran-Saudi conflict. Bradley discusses changes in the region such as Bahrain being invaded by Saudi Arabia, and how Yemen is even more tribal and fragmented thanks to Saudi support for insurgents.”—LSE Review of Books

“The man who predicted the revolution in Egypt two years before it happened says it is the Islamists that profited from the Arab Spring. In After the Arab Spring, Bradley goes beyond the glossy picture that has been drawn in the Western media and asks a fundamental question: do the events in the Arab world that brought down several dictators qualify as an Arab Spring?... The Arab Spring may have had some short term benefit but in return for a potential long-term nightmare, he believes.”—

“Recent indicators in Tunisia suggest that Islam and democracy are not and cannot be compatible. John R. Bradley, in his book After the Arab Spring, offers an alarming glimpse into Tunisia's future governance.”—The Gatestone Insistute

“John R. Bradley, the writer who predicted the revolution in Egypt, has published a new book, After the Arab Spring… He pitted himself against everyone else by stressing, from the outset, that the Islamists would be the main beneficiaries, and thus succeed in filling the [political] vacuum. Bradley’s opinions are based on his vast knowledge of the varied cultures and societies of the countries that make up the Middle East…. His book is a timely, in-depth analysis of what could be called ‘the new states’ that have now emerged.”–Akhbar Al-Khaleej (Bahrain)