The article analyzes the micro‐sociological dynamics of civil resistance in the uprisings in Bahrain and Tunisia (2010‐11). It argues that the Tunisian uprising succeeded because regime repression generated solidarity and unity among diverse groups in society, while the regime increasingly suffered from miscommunication, mistrust, and increasing disobedience. In Bahrain, the movement initially enjoyed a high degree of unity and solidarity mobilizing against regime atrocities, but as the regime allowed protesters to demonstrate with little interference for a month, internal divisions emerged. Whereas Tunisian protesters launched a united escalation at a time of opponent weakness, factions of Bahraini activists escalated at a time of increasing division in the movement and society as a whole which both provoked and enabled a crackdown by the regime. Conclusively, success or failure of an uprising depends on a movement and a regime's ability to maintain unity respectively, as well as the timing of escalatory actions.