Democratization in the Middle East: Experiences, Struggles, Challenges

By Amin Saikal; Albrecht Schnabel | Go to book overview

3
Toward a democratic peace
in the Middle East
Etel Solingen

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 Furthermore, this trend was superseded by a return to convulsive violence in the Palestinian–Israeli conflict by the end of the decade.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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