The National Post quotes Rafik Hariri Center Senior Fellow Amy Hawthorne on why she’s optimistic about the future of the Middle East despite the current conflicts:

Amy Hawthorne, a Mideast specialist at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think-tank, is more optimistic.

The 2011 uprisings expressed many young Arabs’ deep frustration with authoritarian rule. This demographic comprises the majority of Arab populations, she noted.

While their hopes for a more liberal society, a global economy and more open, accountable and inclusive government systems have been dashed, they have not vanished.

“If you see how hard some of the [Persian] Gulf countries are pushing to try to make sure that the 2011 uprising never happens again, that tells you they know what’s beneath the surface. They know what’s coming,” she said.

Yet, she notes, that same demographic of young Arabs has produced the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham.

“Because what happened in 2011 was so profound and such a shock to the system, even though these uprisings have opened up the gates of hell in many countries, that moment in time can’t be erased. It’s in people’s consciousness and they are not going to give up,” she said.

Read the full article here.