What Are the Prospects for Democratization in the Arab World?

Revolutionary protests in 2011 upended long-standing authoritarian regimes in the Arab world. What lies ahead for Egypt, Tunisia, and other countries undergoing political change? How can the challenges of moving from regime change to democratic governance be overcome?

In the recent book Democratization in the Arab World, RAND researchers examined the changes under way as a result of the Arab Spring as well as four decades of democratization successes and setbacks elsewhere around the globe. This report aims to help decisionmakers in Congress and elsewhere understand the challenges ahead, form well-founded expectations, and take practical steps to foster positive change.

In this RAND Congressional Briefing, Laurel Miller and Jeffrey Martini address the following questions:

  • What are the main challenges to democratization that Egypt, Tunisia, and other Arab countries experiencing political change are likely to face in the coming years?
  • How have other countries around the world that emerged from authoritarianism overcome or failed to overcome similar challenges?
  • What can the United States and the broader international community do to help transitioning countries overcome these challenges and strengthen their fledgling democracies?