Democratization in the Middle East: Experiences, Struggles, Challenges

Democratization in the Middle East: Experiences, Struggles, Challenges

Democratization in the Middle East: Experiences, Struggles, Challenges

Democratization in the Middle East: Experiences, Struggles, Challenges

Synopsis

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. This book examines patterns of democracy; costs and benefits, barriers and support; relationship between civil society and the state; internal and external factors of democracy; 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 (UNU website).

Excerpt

The 1990s witnessed a revival of the hypothesis that the democratic nature of states has important implications for war and peace. in particular, students of international relations have associated democracy with a reluctance to wage wars against other democracies. This chapter examines the relationship between democracy and peace primarily in the context of the Arab–Israeli conflict, but also in the Middle East more broadly defined. Clearly, the democratic peace hypothesis cannot explain the trend away from war in the early and mid-1990s in this democracy-deprived region. Furthermore, this trend was superseded by a return to convulsive violence in the Palestinian–Israeli conflict by the end of the decade. Yet democratization as a process may have something to say about the prospects for stable peace. This chapter provides a profile of democratization throughout the region, highlighting the central dilemmas it faces and distilling some preliminary lessons from the 1990s regarding the impact of democratization on both furthering and inhibiting war and peace in the region. the region-wide political crisis triggered by the tragic terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 (9/11) brings into relief the importance of taking stock of earlier experiences with democratization and peace.

The democratic peace hypothesis: Hindsights and foresights

A diverse menu of alternative hypotheses emerged in the 1990s, designed to explain why democratic states are not likely to wage wars amongst . . .

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