Democratization in the Middle East: Experiences, Struggles, Challenges

By Amin Saikal; Albrecht Schnabel | Go to book overview

2
Democratization and peacebuilding
Albrecht Schnabel

Successful democratization is essential to bring peace to the countries of the Middle East. Internal stability, development, justice, reconciliation, minority protection, and popular participation in the political process – all hallmarks of a stable, inclusive democracy – will in the long run help the region move beyond its many protracted intra- and interstate conflicts. The process of democratization cannot be either purely just or purely pragmatic: it facilitates the rebuilding of society by merging society- and institution-building, thus creating the foundations for intergroup trust and non-violent interaction and competition.

Of course, the ultimate goal would be, as in any other region, to reach a state of “positive peace” – the absence of inequality, injustice, and oppression, and the maintenance of political, social, and economic conditions that assure the well-being of individuals and communities. Positive peace results from the provision of, and investment in, human security – the satisfaction of human needs, from the most basic survival needs to needs for self-expression, general welfare, and freedom of choice and expression. 1

The satisfaction of human security, 2 the foremost task and responsibility of states vis-a -vis their citizens, is necessary to maintain the inner peace of the individual and peace between individuals, between communities, and, in extension, between states. Unfulfilled human needs cause frustration, resistance, and, eventually, violent conflict. The provision of human security requires action in response to many non

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