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Corruption and the Arab Spring

Political Corruption
Steven Cook

Brown Journal of World Affairs: With events such as Indian activist Anna Hazare's anti-corruption hunger strike, former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's corruption trial, and the worldwide Occupy movement, political corruption has emerged as one of the most discussed topics in international relations. As a leading expert on the Middle East, what role has political corruption played in sparking the Arab Spring, and what role will anti-corruption reform play in the political development of the region? Cook: I certainly do not believe that the uprising itself in Egypt was sparked by corruption. The uprising was the result of the way in which Mubarak ruled Egypt, the way in which coercion and force were used as means of political control, and the demands of the people who rose up and declared that they would no longer be afraid in being manipulated by this regime. The reasons for the uprising were in part related to corruption, but mostly what people were asking for was a more democratic system: a system where people can process their grievances through political institutions. Certainly there was a perception