Political Reform Movements

  • map of Syria and its neighbors

    Commentary

    Hands Off Syria?

    Given Syria's complex society and external ties, the West should happily settle for a stable government not dominated by Russia or Iran, and not in military conflict with its neighbors, including Israel, writes Harold Brown.

    Oct 9, 2012

  • Iranians supporting Mousavi in Azadi Square

    Commentary

    Why Washington Should Leave Regime Change to the Iranians

    Emphasizing human rights will demonstrate to the Iranian people that the U.S. cares for their future. Threats of military action and war will only convince the Iranian opposition that America is a hostile power that supports regime change for its own narrow purposes, write James Dobbins and Alireza Nader.

    Aug 23, 2012

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Prospects for Democratization in the Arab World (Arabic translation)

    Daunting challenges lie ahead for countries undergoing political transitions in the Arab world. Researchers identify the challenges these countries face and suggest policy approaches that may help foster enduring democracies.

    Aug 20, 2012

  • Celebrating that Mohamed Morsi has won the presidential elections - or/and that Shafik has lost

    Commentary

    How Does Arab Spring Compare to Third Wave Transitions?

    The changes underway in the Arab world may lead to various possible destinations that differ both from their points of departure and from liberal democracy, write Laurel Miller and Jeffrey Martini.

    Aug 17, 2012

  • Supporters celebrate Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi's decision to dismiss former defence minister and field marshall Hussein Tantawi, in Cairo August 13, 2012

    Commentary

    Changing of the Guard in Egypt

    Morsi's moves were certainly dramatic, and he may not be done. He has "decreed" that he has the right to select the next Constituent Assembly—deciding the constitution—if this one fails or is disbanded, writes Julie Taylor.

    Aug 14, 2012

  • stack of Egyptian election ballots

    Report

    Arab Spring Revolutions Have Not Yet Created Democracies, but Democratization Is Possible

    The Arab world is the one region that has been left out of the global trend toward greater embrace of democracy, but a successful shift from authoritarian regimes to democratic governments is possible there.

    Jul 18, 2012

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Prospects for Democratization in the Arab World

    Daunting challenges lie ahead for countries undergoing political transitions in the Arab world. Researchers identify the challenges these countries face and suggest policy approaches that may help foster enduring democracies.

    Jul 18, 2012

  • News Release

    News Release

    Arab Spring Revolutions Have Not Yet Created Democracies, but Democratization Is Possible

    The Arab world is the one region that has been left out of the global trend toward greater embrace of democracy, but a successful shift from authoritarian regimes to democratic governments is possible there.

    Jul 17, 2012

  • A supporter of Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate Morsi during a rally at Tahrir Square in Cairo June 22, 2012

    Commentary

    The Egyptian Military Wins Again

    The Muslim Brotherhood now faces a choice. It can seat Mursi and continue to legitimate a post-Mubarak transition that seems designed to advance the narrow interests of Egypt's officer corps. Or it can return to the streets with the aim of unseating the military council, writes Jeff Martini.

    Jun 22, 2012

  • Multimedia

    What's Next? Egyptian Elections

    RAND expert Jeffrey Martini speaks on the upcoming Egyptian presidential election and offers insights on the various presidential candidates, Egyptian and global reactions to the candidates, and the possible implications of an undefined constitution for the candidate that will be elected.

    May 15, 2012

  • Egyptian man shouting and holding up a newspaper in Cairo on April 20, 2012

    Commentary

    Cairo's Candidate Shuffle

    Just as before the disqualifications, the fundamental decision voters face is about the scope and nature of the change Egypt will undergo in the coming years. And there are still candidates representing almost every position on that spectrum, writes Jeffrey Martini.

    Apr 19, 2012

  • An Iranian flag flutters during the opening ceremony of the 16th International Oil, Gas & Petrochemical Exhibition in Tehran, April 15, 2011, photo by Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

    Commentary

    Iran's Growing State of Civil Disobedience

    A typical Iranian has many reasons to disobey the government, whether he or she is young, an ethnic minority, a poor teacher or laborer, or a struggling student, writes Alireza Nader.

    Sep 8, 2011

  • Congressional Briefing Podcast

    Multimedia

    Nurturing the Arab Spring: What Can Be Done to Remove Existing Barriers to Freedom of Expression in the Arab World?

    In this June 2011 Congressional Briefing, RAND researchers discuss the growing body of creative works produced by Arab authors and artists that counter the intellectual and ideological underpinnings of violent extremism, factors that thwart the distribution of such works, and policy recommendations for overcoming those barriers.

    Jun 13, 2011

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    The Turkish Chimera

    The Turkish model—with its emphasis on secularism and democracy—has obvious appeal in a region burdened by corrupt, autocratic, incompetent, and inefficient governments. But Turkey's historical experience and political evolution differ in important ways from Arab countries', writes F. Stephen Larrabee.

    Mar 23, 2011

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Iran Might Not Be the Big Winner of Mideast Uprisings

    The recent unrest may not be undermining U.S. policies toward Iran as much as some suggest, and Iran may have much to fear from the tumult in Middle East politics, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Mar 4, 2011

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Libya's Terra Incognita: Who and What Will Follow Qaddafi?

    The new, post-Qaddafi era is likely to be marked by the emergence of long-suppressed domestic groups jostling for supremacy in what is sure to be a chaotic political scene, writes Frederic Wehrey.

    Feb 28, 2011

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    The Domino Effect of Arab Unrest

    There is no clear political party or leader ready to step in if the regime in Egypt falls. However, this protest is not without leadership; it is spearheaded by a large network of Egyptian human rights groups and other citizens, writes Julie Taylor.

    Feb 1, 2011

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Fifth Columns in the Gulf?

    While the full extent of Iran's current clandestine influence remains murky, the "proxy narrative" is instructive more for what it reveals about Gulf insecurities than any truths about Iran's capabilities or intentions, write Frederic M. Wehrey and Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    May 24, 2010

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    How Washington Can Really Help the Greens in Tehran

    History shows that intervention is easier said than done. Past U.S. attempts to sway Iranian internal affairs have proven costly for U.S. interests. But between the extremes of doing nothing and doing everything, there is a middle ground, write Alireza Nader and Trita Parsi.

    Feb 9, 2010

  • Visitors look at a painting by Saudi artist Hana Hajar in Riyadh, October 5, 2009, as part of celebrations to mark Jerusalem's tenure as the Arab League's "Capital of Arab Culture" for 2009

    Commentary

    Fighting Terror the Cold War Way

    With much talk about how to “win hearts and minds” in the Muslim world, it's surprising that few are looking back to a global contest of ideas that the U.S. and its allies categorically won: the Cold War, write Todd C. Helmus and Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Oct 14, 2009