This Opinion was first published on Reuters.com on October 11, 2012
Assertions and opinions in this policy paper are solely those of the above-mentioned author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Middle East Institute, which expressly does not take positions on Middle East policy.
The United States has been unable to develop a clear national policy about the Arab Spring largely because Washington does not fully understand what’s happening in the Middle East.
The term “Arab Spring” is itself misleading. The changes over the past 20 months have produced a fundamental transformation of the region – but not in the way most outside observers anticipated: they reflect the replacement of the dominant Arab national identity by a more Islamic identity.
This change has been evolving for more than 40 years and did not begin in January 2011 with the demonstrations across the Middle East.
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The fabric of Middle Eastern society has fundamentally changed.