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Juliette Honvault
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1The “Arab Spring” — as it has come to be known, despite much criticism — did not end with the passing of 2011, and the cracks it has caused keep on spreading across space and time. The publication of this fourth issue of Arabian Humanities, which comes out four years after the first call for political freedom, coincides with the deployment of a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen in order to reinstate the recently ousted actors of a post-revolution political transition. A group of regional monarchies (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar) that, thanks to their repressive apparatus and outsized financial resources, managed to avoid the revolutionary turmoil that engulfed the region in 2011, is now coming to the rescue of a transitional regime established in the aftermath of the Yemeni “Spring”. This seemingly paradoxical situation should not obscure the fact that the peninsula has been severely rattled by the revolutions in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, which allowed for the rise of the radical Islamist opposition. The peninsula's monarchies either supported it to stand strong against their Shiite enemies, as in Yemen, or fought it to silence democratic aspirations. As such, the “Arab Springs” have found their way throughout the peninsula, albeit in different guises and with varying effects.

2The nine papers of the special issue edited by Laurent Bonnefoy and Laurence Louër on “The Arab Spring in the Arabian Peninsula” testify to the multidimensional nature of the phenomenon. Their authors’ perspectives go beyond the actual revolutionary episode in the region — i.e. Yemen — to go over what, in the rest of the peninsula, may have been a little too quickly dismissed as short-lived occurrences. Although there was no revolution per se in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar or Oman, this issue shows that a “Spring” protest did occur in these countries, bringing about profound social, political and economic change.

3The team of Arabian Humanities is also pleased to announce the publication of its first paper in Arabic, published in the “Notes and Documents” section. Its author, Yāsir Ismā‛īl, informs us about the existence of probably locally and regionally produced copper items in al-Ṭā’if museums, and opens the journal to the study of arts in the Arabian Peninsula. We hope more will come.

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Juliette Honvault, « Editorial », Arabian Humanities [En ligne], 4 | 2015, mis en ligne le 14 avril 2015, consulté le 04 mars 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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