The Arab Winter is a term for the resurgence of authoritarianism, and Islamic extremism evolving in the aftermath of the Arab Spring protests in Arab countries. The term "Arab Winter" refers to the events across Arab League countries in the Mid-East and North Africa, including the Syrian Civil War, the Iraqi insurgency and the following civil war, the Egyptian Crisis, the Libyan Crisis and the Crisis in Yemen. Events referred to as the Arab Winter include those in Egypt that led to the removal of Mohamed Morsi and the seizure of power by General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in an anti-Muslim Brotherhood campaign.
According to scholars of the University of Warsaw, the Arab Spring fully devolved into the Arab Winter four years after its onset, in 2014. The Arab Winter is characterized by the emergence of multiple regional civil wars, mounting regional instability, economic and demographic decline of Arab countries, and ethno-religious sectarian strife. According to a study by the American University of Beirut, by the summer of 2014, the Arab Winter had resulted in nearly a quarter of a million deaths and millions of refugees. Perhaps the most significant event in the Arab Winter was the rise of the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which controlled large swathes of land in the region from 2014 to 2019.
In 2020, multiple conflicts are still continuing that might be seen as a result of the Arab Spring. The Syrian Civil War has caused massive political instability and economic hardship in Syria, with the Syrian currency plunging to new lows. In Libya, a major civil war is ongoing, with Western powers and Russia sending in proxy fighters.
The term "Arab Winter" refers to the events across Arab League countries in the Mid-East and North Africa, including the Syrian Civil War, the Iraqi insurgency and the following civil war, the Egyptian Crisis, the Libyan Crisis and the Crisis in Yemen. Events referred to as the Arab Winter include those in Egypt that led to the removal of Mohamed Morsi and the seizure of power by General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in an anti-Muslim Brotherhood military coup. Political developments, particularly the restoration of authoritarianism and suppression of civil liberties in Egypt since July 3, 2013, have been described as constituting a "military winter" that functioned in opposition to the goals of the Arab Spring. Various militias and tribes have started fighting in Libya after a breakdown in negotiations. The arenas of Lebanon and Bahrain were also identified as areas of the Arab Winter. Libya was named as a scene of the Arab Winter, together with Syria, by Professor Sean Yom. The Northern Mali conflict was often described as part of the "Islamist Winter". Political changes which occurred in Tunisia, involving a change in government, as well as an ISIL insurgency, were also indicated by some as a possible "heading towards Arab Winter".[clarification needed]
The term was first coined by Chinese professor Zhang Weiwei during a debate with Francis Fukuyama in June 2011. Fukuyama believed the Arab Spring movement would inevitably spread to China, while Zhang predicted, "My understanding of the Middle East leads me to conclude that the West should not be too happy. It will bring enormous problems to American interest. It is called 'Arab Spring' for now, and I guess it will soon turn to be the 'winter' for the Middle East."
According to scholars of the University of Warsaw, the Arab Spring fully devolved into the Arab Winter four years after its onset. This view was also supported by Prof. James Y. Simms Jr. in his 2017 opinion article for the Richmond Times. In early 2016, The Economist marked the situation across Arab world countries as "worse than ever", marking it as the ongoing Arab Winter.
According to the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, as of January 2014, the cost of Arab Winter upheaval across the Arab World was some $800 billion USD. Some 16 million people in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon were expected to require humanitarian assistance in 2014.
Political columnist and commentator George Will reported that as of early 2017, over 30,000 lives had been lost in Libya, 220,000–320,000 had been killed in Syria and 4 million refugees had been produced by the Syrian Civil War alone.
The Arab Winter is still ongoing as of 2019. Casualties per crisis include:
- Syrian Civil War - casualty figure at 570,000 killed and counting - Conflict ongoing
- Iraqi Crisis and Iraqi Civil War and subsequent Iraqi insurgency - casualty figure at 220,000+ killed and counting - Conflict ongoing
- Yemeni Crisis - casualty figure at 100,000+ killed and counting - Conflict ongoing
- Libyan Crisis - casualty figure 40,000+ killed and counting - Conflict ongoing
- Egyptian Crisis and Sinai insurgency - marked the start of the Arab winter, casualty figure 5,000+ killed and counting - Conflict ongoing
The political turmoil and violence in the Middle East and North Africa resulted in massive population displacement in the region. As a result, "boat-people", which was once commonly referred to Vietnamese boat people, became frequently used, including internally displaced persons and asylum-seekers and refugees who had previously been residing in Libya, have headed towards the European Union. The attempts by some Libyans and Tunisians to seek safety from the violence by crossing the Mediterranean sea have triggered fears among European politicians and populations of arrivals that might "flood" their shores. This has spurred a flurry of legislative activity and patrolling of the waters to manage arrivals.
- List of modern conflicts in North Africa
- Spillover of the Syrian Civil War
- Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict
- Arab Summer
- Spencer, Richard (December 31, 2012). "Middle East review of 2012: the Arab Winter". The Telegraph. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
- "Analysis: Arab Winter is coming to Baghdad". The Telegraph. The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
- "Expert Warns of America's Coming 'Arab Winter'". CBN. September 8, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
- "The Arab Winter". The New Yorker. December 28, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
- "Arab Spring or Arab Winter?". The New Yorker. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
- Yun Ru Phua. "After Every Winter Comes Spring: Tunisia's Democratic Flowering – Berkeley Political Review". Bpr.berkeley.edu. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
- Ahmed H Adam and Ashley D Robinson. Will the Arab Winter spring again in Sudan?. Al-Jazeera. 11 June 2016.  "The Arab Spring that swept across the Middle East and succeeded in overthrowing three dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya in 2011 was a pivotal point in the history of nations. Despite the subsequent descent into the "Arab Winter", the peaceful protests of young people were heroic..."
- Karber, Phil (June 18, 2012). Fear and Faith in Paradise. ISBN 978-1-4422-1479-8. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "Arab Winter". America Staging. December 28, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "Analysis: Arab Winter is coming to Baghdad". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "Egypt and Tunisia's new 'Arab winter'". Euro news. February 8, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "Yemen's Arab winter". Middle East Eye. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "Egypt & Tunisia's new Arab winter", Euro news, February 8, 2013
- Radoslaw Fiedler, Przemyslaw Osiewicz. Transformation processes in Egypt after 2011. 2015. p182.
- "From Egypt to Syria, this could be the start of the Arab Winter". The Conversation. April 17, 2014. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- Rivlin, P (January 2014), Iqtisadi (PDF), Dayan Research Center, archived from the original (PDF) on October 23, 2014, retrieved October 18, 2014
- Malmvig, Lassen (2013), Arab uprisings: regional implication (PDF), IEMED
- "Displacement in the Middle East and North Africa – between the Arab Winter and the Arab Spring" (PDF), International Affairs, LB, August 28, 2013, archived from the original (PDF) on October 18, 2014, retrieved October 18, 2014
- "Analysis: Arab Winter is coming to Baghdad - Middle East - Jerusalem Post".
- https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/12/us-caesar-act-sanctions-and-could-devastate-syrias-flatlining-economy US ‘Caesar Act' sanctions could devastate Syria’s flatlining economy. Critics say legislation is being used for US strategy and could cause further problems for country and wider region. Martin Chulov, The Guardian, June 12, 2020.
- Libya has a chance at peace but Russia and the US are in the way Haftar seems to be on his way out, while Turkey risks creating a new Afghanistan on Europe’s southern flank, by Ahmed Aboudouh, June 9, 2020. Russia’s ally, General Khalifa Haftar, commander of the self-proclaimed National Libyan Army, has lost his 14-month military campaign to capture the capital Tripoli. His rivals in the Government of National Accord (GNA) forces, backed by -extremist militias, managed to chase his troops deep into the east of the country.
- [https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/libya-war-tripoli-haftar-russia-turkey-gna-a9554976.html Danger of ‘miscalculation’ as global powers scramble for position in Libya. Fighting moves from west to centre and south of country, as Egypt advances towards border, and Tripoli ignores truce calls.Borzou Daragahi, Oliver Carroll. June 8, 2020, The Independent.
- Yemen’s Government demands UN action regards Houthi violation of deal ,Yemen’s government has demanded UN action against Iran-backed Houthi militants for violating the Hodeidah deal, state news agency Saba New reported.Yemen’s Economic Council – a state advisory body composed of cabinet members – said the militants looted the central bank in Hodeidah city and were delaying the fuel and food that arrive at the Hodeidah port.The looted funds were supposed to be used to pay salaries of public workers, who have not received payments for months, according to the report.This money will now “feed the militia’s pointless war,” the council said.On Wednesday, Yemen’s Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani said Houthis are looting and extorting the private healthcare sector.
- Hayden, Tom (July 5, 2013). "The Coup in Egypt: An Arab Winter?". The Nation. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
- Jones, Sophia (January 21, 2014). "In Egypt, Arab Spring Gives Way To Military Winter". The World Post. The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
- "Lecture Explores Past and Future Arab Spring". The Daily Gazette. October 10, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
- "In Mali AQ achieved to infiltrate and take over Tuareg insurgency. If AQ succeeds to keep the Arab Spring countries destabilized, this will lead to a viral reproduction of Azawad scenario. AQ is the "Islamic Winter"." 
- 张维为. "观天下讲坛| 张维为：话语自信——回望六年前与福山的那场辩论". www.guancha.cn (in Chinese).
- "谁的终结？——福山与张维为对话"中国模式"-张维为、弗朗西斯·福山". guancha (in Chinese). Retrieved August 2, 2018.
- James Y. Simms, Jr. "Arab Spring to Arab Winter: a predictable debacle in the Middle East". richmond.com. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
- "The Arab winter". The Economist. January 9, 2016. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
- "High wall, narrow sea". The Economist. November 14, 2015. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
- “Displacement in the Middle East and North Africa: Between an Arab Winter and the Arab Spring”. "In the midst of ongoing uprisings, violence, and political turmoil, widespread population displacement took place as a result of the conflict in Libya, the violence in Syria and upheaval in Yemen. In each of these contexts, the new waves of displacement took place in or to areas already struggling with previous waves, leading to multi-layered and complex crises." Archived October 9, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
- Khallaf, Shaden (August 2013). "Displacement in the Middle East and North Africa: Between an Arab Winter and the Arab Spring" (PDF). Working Paper Series (17). Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, American University of Beirut. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 9, 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2015. Cite journal requires
- RT – Flames, Fury & Frustration: Arab Spring spins into Arab Winter?
- RT – CrossTalk: Arab Winter?
- Arirang News – Prime Talk: Are we approaching an Arab Winter? Jang Ji-hyang, Asan Institute for Policy Studies
- VICE – Arab Winter: Syrian refugees in Lebanon Bekaa Valley
- Dimitar Mihaylov – Why the Arab Spring Turned into Arab Winter: Understanding the Middle East Crises through Culture, Religion, and Literature