Exchange: Arab Political Pacts: An Unlikely Scenario

Issue Date October 2006
Volume 17
Issue 4
Page Numbers 160-165
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The formation of pacts between Arab regimes and liberal oppositional forces would be unlikely to move the region toward democratization. Liberal reformers do not have the political strength to compel the regimes toward real power sharing agreements. If pacts do become a political imperative, they will have to include the Islamists – the only Arab oppositional groups with the strength to extract real political compromise from the regimes. However, Arab pacts are unlikely to be formed any time soon. Extensive patronage systems and a loyal coercive apparatus keep Arab leaders firmly in control; they do not yet need to share power.