Intelligence services have a notoriously poor track record in anticipating revolutions. The popular uprising in the Middle East in 2011, generally known as the “Arab Spring,” is no exception. In the ten years since the uprising swept across the Arab world, the driving forces behind and the consequences of the Arab Spring have been thoroughly studied. However, why intelligence agencies failed to anticipate the outbreak of the unrest is less discussed. This article examines the Norwegian Intelligence Service’s monitoring of political stability and change in advance of the Arab Spring to avoid similar intelligence failures in the future. 


Stig Stenslie

Stig Stenslie is the Research Director and Head of the Centre for Intelligence Studies at the Norwegian Intelligence School. Prof. Stenslie is a Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and Visiting Professor at the Department of War Studies at King's College London. He is a former researcher at the King Abdulzaiz Foundation, Columbia University, and the National University of Singapore. He has authored several books, most recently Xi Jinping's China: The Personal and the Political.

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No. 3 Intelligence Warning and Revolution: Lessons from the Arab Spring