Region: Middle East and North Africa

January 2006, Volume 17, Issue 1

Getting to Arab Democracy: Dealing with Communalism

Whether ethnic, sectarian, or some combination of the two, communalsim is one of the massive realities of Middle Eastern life and politics. It is usually seen as an obstacle to democracy, but need that always be the case?

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

The New Iraq: The Sistani Factor

For the Shi'ite majority and its senior religious leader, the January elections played out against the background of a longing for justice that has deep spiritual sources as well as more recent sociopolitical roots.

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

The New Iraq: The Uses of Historical Memory

If Iraq is to become the free and self-governing country that an overwhelming majority of its citizens want it to be, a "useable past" made accessible by historical memory will be vital.

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

Turkey’s AKP: A Model “Muslim-Democratic” Party?

Is the Islamic-oriented party that has ruled since 2002 really the harbinger of 'Muslim democracy,' or is it something more familiar in Turkish politics: a hierarchical group none too closely in touch with society and overly focused on one man?

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

Gauging Arab Support for Democracy

Despite some moves toward liberalization in the past three decades, all Arab-majority countries remain authoritarian. Nonetheless, opinion surveys show that popular support for democracy in this part of the world is high.

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April 2005, Volume 16, Issue 2

The Rise of “Muslim Democracy”

The incentives created by competitive elections in a number of Muslim-majority countries are fueling a political trend that roughly resembles the rise of Christian Democracy in twentieth-century Europe

October 2004, Volume 15, Issue 4

The Persistence of Arab Authoritarianism

The lack of democracy in the Arab world is a problem that goes far beyond the absence of competitive elections. This lack must be traced not to religion or culture, but to adverse historical and geostrategic circumstances.

October 2004, Volume 15, Issue 4

The Reality of Muslim Exceptionalism

The notion that the Muslim world as a whole does not suffer from a deficit in terms of competitive democracy is apealing, but rests on evidence and assumptions that cannot withstand critical scrutiny.

October 2004, Volume 15, Issue 4

Arab, Not Muslim, Exceptionalism

Muslim-majority, non-Arab countries are “overachievers” at electoral competitiveness. Arab countries, by contrast, constitute a distinctive political community that at present is inhospitable to competitive elections.

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January 2004, Volume 15, Issue 1

Iraq: Setbacks, Advances, Prospects

The stakes are enormous and the challenges are difficult, but a look at Iraq months after the toppling of Saddam Hussein reveals that, despite all the frustrating setbacks, grounds for cautious optimism remain.

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October 2003, Volume 14, Issue 4

Reviving Middle Eastern Liberalism

For about a century after 1850, the Middle East enjoyed an imperfect yet real "Liberal Age." The roots of some of the key institutions of that era remain today. Can they be nurtured into a second spring?

October 2003, Volume 14, Issue 4

The Crisis of Indian Secularism

The principled separation of religious from political claims upon which Indian democracy depends may not be dead, but it is ailing badly. How did things reach this pass, and what is the prognosis for recovery?

October 2003, Volume 14, Issue 4

Pakistan’s “Armored” Democracy

Four years after his bloodless coup, Pervez Musharraf is executing a military “exit strategy” from politics that involves lots in the way of problematic strategy and little in the way of real exit from political power.

July 2003, Volume 14, Issue 3

A Model for Post-Saddam Iraq

If Iraq is successfully to democratize and an inclusive democratic culture is to emerge, the Iraqi state must be reconstituted as a federal and strongly liberal system and thoroughly demilitarized.

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April 2002, Volume 13, Issue 2

Terror, Islam, and Democracy

Although Islamist terror groups invoke a host of religious references, the real source of their ideas is not the Koran but rather Leninism, fascism, and other strains of twentieth-century thought that exalt totalitarian violence.

October 2001, Volume 12, Issue 4

Why Direct Election Failed in Israel

Israel began directly electing its prime minister in 1992, only to abandon this change less than ten years later. What came between was a series of hard lessons in the unintended consequences or reform.

January 2001, Volume 12, Issue 1

Pakistan’s Predicament

The military regime of General Musharraf has been less repressive than many had feared, but there is little sign that it is overcoming the deep-seated problems that led to the failure of Pakistani democracy.

October 2000, Volume 11, Issue 4

A Reply to My Accusers

An Egyptian civil-society leader responds to the closing down of his organization and the allegations against him by state prosecutors.

July 2000, Volume 11, Issue 3

Arabs and Democracy: A Record of Failure

Democracy is spreading everywhere except in the Arab world. Arab elections are an immense masquerade. Corrupt dictatorships seek to stifle freedom of thought and to control the flow of information.

July 2000, Volume 11, Issue 3

The Kurdish Question in Turkey

One of the greatest obstacles to democratic consolidation in Turkey has been the country's treatment of its Kurdish citizens. The root of the problem lies in the very nature of the Turkish state, which confuses unity with uniformity.