Book Review: Arab Spring, Libyan Winter

If you want to learn more about the Arab Spring and its regional context from an alternative standpoint then Arab Spring, Libyan Winter by Vijay Prashad is your answer.


creative commons flickr author BRQ Network (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
creative commons flickr author BRQ Network (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

Prashad begins by explaining how uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt sparked a wave of grassroots protests throughout the Arab world including Yemen, Morocco, Bahrain, Syria, and of course Libya. The book tends to digress a bit from current events as needed to help explain relevant historical context for readers who might not be keen on each country’s background.

Arab Spring, Libyan Winter explains how these uprisings were either squashed by authoritarian regimes (such as in the case of Bahrain) or hijacked by the powers that be (such as in the case of Libya). Prashad uses Libya as a focal point for explaining how the NATO-led intervention (supported by Gulf allies) capitalized on the country’s uprising to overthrow Qaddafi and install neoliberal reformers; which ultimately “ushered in a Libyan Winter that cast its shadow over the Arab Spring.”

However, as we all know, things did not turn out quite as planned. Arab Spring, Libyan Winter helps readers gain a better understanding of just how far NATO’s fingers reach into the Arab World. This book was written in 2012, but it’s still very relevant for understanding not only the current state of Libya, but the state of most Arab nations and conflicts we see taking place today.

Randi Nord

Randi is a journalist in the United States and the co-founder of Geopolitics Alert. She covers U.S. imperialism in the Middle East with a special focus on Yemen.