1. After the Arab Spring (2012)


click to view on amazon.co.uk

Arabic Translation available
in book form and as a free PDF


  • Bradley, a longtime resident investigative reporter in the Middle East, especially in Tunisia and Egypt, has written a timely rebuttal to European and American reporting on the Arab Spring. He lambasts reporters and the youthful Arab Facebook and Twitter generation who thought they could replace the Old Guard. What they got instead are Muslim zealots (Salafists)… Their religious and culturally oppressive policies will not allow them to address the myriad problems confronting their societies… A strong critique of the shortcomings of the Arab Spring. Highly recommended.—Choice
  • An impassioned polemic, scornful about western naivety towards the events of last year, and pessimistic about their outcome…. Throughout the Middle East, the most plausible beneficiaries of turmoil are Islamist factions, whose rule will prove both domestically unenlightened and unfriendly towards the West. I was an opponent of the western intervention in Libya, for many of the same reasons given in this book. I share its author’s skepticism and dismay as regards western cultural and political naivety about the region.–Max Hastings, Lead Review, The London Sunday Times
  • 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
  • Bradley… has undeniable credentials. Back in 2008 he was the only analyst [in Inside Egypt] to predict the revolt against Mubarak, a book which, at the time, was banned by the former dictator. If the economist Nouriel Roubini became famous as “Dr. Doom” for having predicted the global financial crisis, in After the Arab Spring Bradley plays the role of Prophet of Darkness in the wake of the Arab uprisings.–Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil)
  • 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. There is much to support Bradley’s assertion…. He has lived for many years in the region, and has been right before: Inside Egypt: The land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution (2008) was banned by the Mubarak regime whose demise it accurately foretold. This book suggests that wherever there are Muslims, however moderate, Islamism is waiting in the wings, and includes reports from other countries including in South East Asia.—Maria Golia, The Times Literary Supplement
  • Bradley believes all what the West says about about the Arab Spring revolutions is erroneous, and criticizes 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 democracy 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)

  • Back in 2008, 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.—David Frost, on Al-Jazeera English

  • Bradley speaks Egyptian Arabic, knows the region well, and writes in a robust and punchy style… [He] gets the essential narrative of political Islamism.—Michael Burleigh, The Literary Review (U.K.)

  • 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 Arab Spring has found its Cassandra… [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 (Abu Dhabi)

  • This wry, concise and elegantly written book amounts to an impassioned critique of the Western media’s narrative of the Middle East. The outcome, Bradley argues, has been a triumph not for democrats and modernisers but for radical Islam.–David Blair, The London Telegraph

  • After the Arab Spring draws on an-depth knowledge of the region’s populations, and has a piercing perspective that distinguishes its author as a savvy and incisive analyst of the threat of the empowerment of political Islam for both the Middle East and the West.After the Arab Spring relies on an-depth knowledge of the region’s populations, and has a piercing perspective that distinguishes its author as a savvy and incisive analyst of the threat of the empowerment of political Islam for both the Middle East and the West.Al-Arab magazine (U.K.)

  • A significant strength of Bradley’s analysis is his methodological strategy, drawing from sources as diverse as interview transcripts, public speeches, websites, personal correspondence, TV shows, magazines, newspaper articles, and interviews. Also impressive is his ability to draw cross-national comparisons regarding the influence of Wahhabism in the Arab world and in Southeast Asia. This lends credence to his claims that the narrative framing of social media as an effective conduit of democracy is sorely misguided…. Rather than yet another Western eye peering through the veil, this book manages to produce a bitter yet accurate picture of the Arab world post-2011, and frame its predictions based on both lessons from history and analogous events in other geopolitical arenas. Future writing on the topic of international conflict, foreign policy, and democratization would do well to incorporate the warnings and arguments of this book.–International Journal of Development and Conflict

  • 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)

  • 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)

  • Bradley is a foreign correspondent who has spent decades in the Middle East. He is known for his scathingly critical assessment of the region through his books Inside Egypt: The Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution and Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis. His latest book offers less optimistic scenarios to the Arab Spring and the role Islamists will play amidst a cacophony of political voices. He reminds readers to be careful what you wish for in democracy. 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

  • The situation [in the Middle East] has developed almost exactly along the lines that Bradley predicted.—Fraser Nelson, The Spectator (U.K.)

  • 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, 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.—Matthew Syed, The London Times

  • Bradley’s After the Arab Spring is indispensable… He has collected in his book some World Bank statistics of great interest, through which we discover, for example, that the population under the poverty line in Tunisia when the uprising began was 4%, while in Britain, victims of the global recession, the same rate reached 20% during the same period.—Pablo Molina, Libertad Digital (Spain)

  • 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)

  • 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

  • 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 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

  • 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.–The Financial Times

  • Bradley, the writer who predicted the revolution in Egypt, has published a new book, After the Arab Spring, that tells us everything that’s been said and written about the Arab Spring is wrong. When popular revolts broke out in Tunisia and Egypt, the West assumed that democracy and political pluralism would emerge; but Bradley pitted himself against everyone else by stressing, from the outset, that the Islamists would be the biggest beneficiaries and thus succeed in filling the 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 timely, and offers an in-depth analysis of what could be called ‘the new states’ that have emerged.—Akhbar Al-Khaleej (Bahrain)

  • The man who predicted the revolution in Egypt two years before it happened says it was 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 in return for a potential long-term nightmare, he believes.—euronews.com
  • Yes, the demonstrators were brave — but religious extremists were manipulating them. Bradley looks beyond the blazing power of [the revolutions] to find Islamist groups steadily taking control. Bradley talks to poor Egyptians dismayed by the lawlessness on the streets and attends Salafist rallies, which are frightening enough, especially if you are one of Egypt’s increasingly embattled Coptic Christians.—Time Out (U.K.)
  • After the Arab Spring exposes the new [Tunisian] reality. Amid the common apathy, extremist Islamists are a majority within the minority — but they are noisy, aggressive, instill terror and dominate. The elite remains in power, i.e. there has been no revolution. If before you could travel freely through the streets of Tunisia, now they are full of soldiers who shoot in the air or, at the most minor disturbance, to the body. Groups carry Korans under their guns. Where once there were no beggars, they now line the streets. Few venture to walk after dark, when the streets are occupied by drug dealers, drunks, thieves and murderers who escaped from prison. Sex workers are now slaves of lords and mobsters. The suburbs are no man’s land. Among the intellectuals and the middle class, there is the fear of terror when criticizing or opposing Islamic extremism.—Third World Network
  • A foreign correspondent has used his background and first-hand information to build a compelling picture of uprisings hijacked by Islamist reaction… In this splendid book, Bradley… shows how the media have lied to us about recent events in the Middle East. He exposes the myth of the ‘Arab Spring’, which he says, like every Eastern European ‘colour’ revolution, was not for freedom or democracy but for reaction.—workers.co.uk
  • 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…. The book 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
  • 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

  • Recent indicators in Tunisia suggest that Islam and democracy are not and cannot be compatible. Bradley, in his book After the Arab Spring, offers an alarming glimpse into Tunisia’s future governance.–The Gatestone Institute