Democratization in the Middle East: Experiences, Struggles, Challenges

Sample Chapter
  • Edited Amin Saikal and Albrecht Schnabel

    ISBN-10: 92-808-1085-5,
    ISBN-13: 978-92-808-1085-1
    United Nations University Press
    February 2003

    Democratization in the Middle East addresses a number of key issues determining the success or failure of sustainable democratization in the region. With the exception of Israel in certain specific ways, the constituent states have yet to reach a level of democratization that would guarantee a path towards sustainable democracy and prevent a future return to non-democratic governance, and de-secularization and de-liberalization of the economy and society. Peace dividends from sustained democratization processes in the Middle East are still years away from realization. If anything, movement towards political, economic, and cultural liberalization has thus far brought instability and violence to the region, as traditional and religious values continue to clash with secular ethics, norms, and practices.

    Drawing on conceptual and country analyses, Democratization in the Middle East examines patterns of democratization; costs and benefits, barriers and support of democratization; relationship between civil society and the state; internal and external factors of democratization; the relationship between Islam and Islamic movements and democratization; experiences of democratic transition processes and resulting national and regional peace dividends; and the interdependence of development, peace and democratization, and political and economic transition. The contributors to the volume come to the conclusion that, in order to advance democratization processes throughout the region, reforms must be gradual and must be organized and monitored from the top, while supplemented by a similarly gradual process towards the establishment of a broad-based and broadly supported civil society. Only such gradual reform processes will be successful in creating participatory, just and, eventually, peaceful and stable societies in the Middle East.

    Democratization in the Middle East addresses a number of key issues determining the success or failure of sustainable democratization in the region.

    Amin Saikal is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (The Middle East & Central Asia) at the Australian National University, Canberra. Albrecht Schnabel is an Academic Programme Officer in the Peace and Governance Programme of the United Nations University, Tokyo.

    Introduction: A Rough Journey: Nascent Democratization in the Middle East • Part One: Democratic Peace, Conflict Prevention and the United Nations • Democratization and Peacebuilding • Towards a Democratic Peace in the Middle East • The Role of the United Nations in the Middle East • Part Two: Secularization and Democracy • Disenchanted Worlds: Secularization and Democratization in the Middle East • The Influence of Islam on Attitudes Toward Democracy in Morocco and Algeria • Part Three: Regional and National Experiences • The Democratic Process in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan • “Democratic Peace” and the Jewish Political Tradition • Democracy and Peace in Iran and Iraq • State Power and Democratization in North Africa: Developments in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya

    Kamel S. Abu Jaber • Tom Najem • Amin Saikal • Albrecht Schnabel • Etel Solingen • Gerald Steinberg • Majid Tehranian • Mark Tessler