Jordan Drops the Pretense of Democratic Reform

by Jillian Schwedler | published April 28, 2016 - 11:19am

In September 2012, King ‘Abdallah II of Jordan stopped by “The Daily Show” to chat with Jon Stewart about his commitment to democratic reform in his country. In the wake of the uprisings across the Arab world, he said, “We changed a third of the constitution. We did a lot of different things—a new constitutional court, a new independent commission for elections,” all in preparation for a transition from monarchical rule to meaningful parliamentary governance. “This is the critical crossroads for Jordan to get it right, these next four years,” the king concluded.

Stay Off the Street

by Jillian Schwedler | published May 21, 2014 - 8:31am

In a recent Slate article, Anne Applebaum makes the case that Egypt’s presumptive president-to-be ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi should look to India, Brazil or South Africa, rather than the United States or other industrialized states, for examples of how to “do” democracy. She rightly notes that Sisi’s argument that Egypt isn’t ready for democracy is an old standby for authoritarian regimes.

Turkey: Reading the Small Print

by John Mepham
published in MER149

In early April, the president of the banned Turkish Peace Association invited friends from END (European Nuclear Disarmament) and other peace groups across Europe to join him and the TPA executive in Istanbul in celebrating the tenth anniversary of the founding of the TPA. They planned to hold a public peace forum and a press conference.

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Democracy Dilemmas in Jordan

by Abla Amawi
published in MER174

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Human Rights and Elusive Democracy

by Ahmed Abdalla
published in MER174

The practice of human rights cannot wait until all political systems have become democratic. Human rights, in their vast range, can be protected under non-democratic regimes and violated under democratic ones. Still, human rights and democracy, though not interchangeable, can form the most humane relationship of all.

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USAID's "Free-Market" Democracy

published in MER179

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Islam, the State and Democracy

Contrasting Conceptions of Society in Egypt

by Sami Zubaida
published in MER179

From the Editors

published in MER179

With this issue we return to the question of the prospects for democratic forces in the Middle East, and the role of religiously based political movements there. These essays and interviews share a resolutely secularist perspective, a conviction that the construction of a just and viable social order requires a political practice that values tolerance and diversity. This perspective respects the genuine religiosity of many Middle Eastern societies, but the authors firmly critique the authoritarian component of the leading Islamist trends in Egypt, Algeria, Sudan and Palestine, and the varying degrees of complicity of the states (and Palestinian political organizations) in furthering the growth of these movements, by their combination of encouragement, neglect and repression.