Beyond the Facade: Political Reform in the Arab World

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Reform is a politically charged issue in the Middle East. Governments admit change is necessary, but do not want to surrender power. Opposition groups want democracy but cannot generate sufficient momentum. The Bush administration's "freedom agenda" has brought the issue into focus but blurred the distinction between democracy promotion and forceful regime change.

Some governments have taken steps toward political reform. Are these meaningful changes or empty attempts to pacify domestic and international public opinion? How do we distinguish reforms that alter the character of the political system from those that are only window dressing?

Beyond the Façade: Political Reform in the Arab World evaluates the changes that are taking place in the region and explores the potential for further reform. The essays provide careful, detailed examinations of ten countries (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen), highlighting the diversity of processes and problems. Beyond the Façade forces us to recognize the reality of conflicting interests and the limitations of external actors to bring about political reform, while drawing lessons on how to make international democracy promotion more effective.

Contributors include Nathan Brown (George Washington University), Michele Dunne (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace),Amr Hamzawy (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), Ellen Lust-Okar (Yale University), Sarah Phillips (National Democratic Institute,Yemen), Meredith Riley (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Hugh Roberts (freelance writer and consultant), and Paul Salem (Carnegie Middle East Center).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A significant and needed contribution... the only volume which addresses political reform across the arab world with country chapters written by leading specialists." —Robert Springborg, London Middle East Institute, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

" Beyond the Facade is a non-idealogical and therefore a faithful, well argued, and well documented answer to a quesiton more open than ever: What is the future of politics in that most sensitive part of the world?" —Ghassan Salamé, Institut d'etudes politiques de Paris, and former minister of culture, Lebanon

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870032400
  • Publisher: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Publication date: 2/28/2008
  • Pages: 295
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Marina Ottaway is a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law program and director of the Carnegie Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She is the author of several books, including Democracy Challenged: The Rise of Semiauthoritarianism (Carnegie Endowment, 2003). Julia Choucair-Vizoso is a former associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Yale University.

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Table of Contents

Evaluating Middle East Reform: Significant or Cosmetic? - Marina Ottaway
1. The Ups and Downs of Political Reofrm in Egypt - Michele Dunne and Amr Hamzawy
2. Illusive Reform: Jordan's Stubborn Stability - Julia Choucair-Vizoso
3. Reform in Syria: Steering Between the Chinese Model and Regime Change - Ellen Lust-Okar
4. Requiem for Palestinian Reform: Clear Lessons From a Troubled Record - Nathan Brown
5. Lebanon: The Challenge of Reform in a Weak State - Julia Choucair-Vizoso
6. Demilitarizing Algeria - Hugh Roberts
7. Morocco: Top-Down Reform Without Democratic Transition - Marina Ottaway and Meredith Riley
8. The Saudi Labyrinth: Is There a Political Opening? - Amr Hamzawy
9. Kuwait: Politics in a Participatory Emirate - Paul Salem
10. Yemen: The Centrality of Process - Sarah Phillips
Movement in Lieu of Change - Julia Choucair-Vizoso
About the Carnegie Endowment
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