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02 Feb 2011 - 13 Jun 2012
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Project on Middle East Democracy
The POMED Wire Archives
Category: Tunisia Symposium
Tunisia: Not a Color Revolution – But No Solace for Autocrats
January 21st, 2011 by Cole
The minimal contribution of robust opposition parties, civil society groups and foreign funders to the upheaval in Tunisia not only undermines authoritarian leaders’ misconceptions of the color revolutions​writes Thomas Carothershead of the Carnegie Endowment’s Democracy and Rule of Law Program. The uprising confirms that there is no sure formula for perpetuating authoritarian rule.
See also the previous contributions to the Democracy Digest​-​POMED Tunisia symposium from Amr HamzawySteven Heydemann​Larry DiamondArun KapilShadi HamidKamran BokhariNabila HamzaKristina Kausch and Nathan Brown.
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Posted in Democracy Promotion, Elections, Protests, Tunisia, Tunisia Symposium | Comment »
Where are the Islamists in Tunisia’s Democratic Consolidation?
January 20th, 2011 by Cole
Models of constitutional democratic transitions from Eastern Europe are not easily applied to Tunisia, writes Nathan Brown, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at The George Washington University.  Instead, Tunisians must reach consensus by engaging all actors and social groups in the process.  As Islamists seek to re-establish their social presence in Tunisia over the next decade, their participation will become particularly important.
See also the previous contributions to the Democracy Digest​-​POMED Tunisia symposium from Amr HamzawySteven Heydemann​Larry DiamondArun KapilShadi HamidKamran BokhariNabila Hamza, and Kristina Kausch
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Posted in Islam and Democracy, Islamist movements, Tunisia, Tunisia Symposium | Comment »
A Strategic Shift on Arab Reform? Don’t Bet on It
January 20th, 2011 by Cole
While embarrassed about supporting former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, the West’s democracies are unlikely to change their overall strategy towards the region, writeKristina Kausch, a researcher at FRIDE, the Madrid-based think-tank, specializing on EU policies in the Southern Mediterranean, democracy, human rights and political Islam. But the revolt in Tunisia confirms the need to move from a static model of stability-through-containment to sustained inclusive participation and far-reaching reform – before the system implodes.
See also the previous contributions to the Democracy Digest​-​POMED Tunisia symposium from Amr HamzawySteven Heydemann​Larry DiamondArun KapilShadi HamidKamran Bokhari, and Nabila Hamza.
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Posted in Algeria, Democracy Promotion, Foreign Aid, Islamist movements, Tunisia, Tunisia Symposium | 1 Comment »
Tunisia: Invest in Emerging Actors with a Democratic Mindset
January 20th, 2011 by Cole
After decades of oppression, Tunisia was ripe for revolution and the notion of “Arab exceptionalism” has been discredited, writes Nabila Hamza, a Tunisian gender-equality activist who is currently the President of the Amman-based Foundation for the Future Although Arab public perception of the possibility for change has shifted dramatically, Arab regimes will likely placate the frustrations of the masses through controlled political openings and reinstating or raising economic subsidies.  The U.S. and Arab civil society must seize this crucial moment to reinvigorate the public discourse to press for real political change in the region.
See also the previous contributions to the Democracy Digest​-​POMED Tunisia symposium from Amr HamzawySteven Heydemann​Larry DiamondArun KapilShadi Hamid, and Kamran Bokhari.
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Posted in Civil Society, Democracy Promotion, Foreign Aid, NGOs, Public Opinion, Reform, Tunisia, Tunisia Symposium, Unions | Comment »
Exciting? Yes. Contagious? No. First Make it Happen in Tunisia
January 20th, 2011 by Cole
We should not let the dramatic and exhilarating events in Tunisia cloud a realistic analysis of the prospects for democratization, writes Kamran Bokhari, Middle East and South Asia director at STRATFOR​. While experts conflate what is happening with what they want to happen, western NGOs are focusing on making it happen – translating an anti-autocratic insurgency into a democratic transition.
See also the previous contributions to thDemocracy Digest​-​POMED Tunisia symposium from Amr HamzawySteven Heydemann​Larry DiamondArun Kapil and Shadi Hamid.
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Posted in Civil Society, Iran, NGOs, Protests, Reform, Tunisia, Tunisia Symposium | 3 Comments »
Beyond Tunisia, Decisive State Violence Likely Against “Islamist Threat”
January 20th, 2011 by Cole
The success or failure of a democratic insurgency may rest on the state’s capacity and willingness to use lethal force, Shadi Hamid writes , director of research at the Brookings Doha Center and a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East PolicyWith political Islamists likely to play a more prominent role should unrest break out in strategically significant states like Egypt or Jordan, decisive state violence will be easier to deploy – and condone – against such an “ideological and existential” threat.
See also the previous contributions to the Democracy Digest​-​POMED Tunisia symposium from Amr Hamzawy, Steven Heydemann​, Larry Diamond and Arun Kapil.
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Posted in Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Military, Political Islam, Tunisia, Tunisia Symposium | Comment »
A Democratic Tsunami? No Chance
January 19th, 2011 by Cole
The Arab world is not about to experience a 1989-style democratic contagion. Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution is a one-off event, writes Arun Kapil, a political science professor at the Catholic University of Paris (Institut Catholique de Paris-FASSE​). He is skeptical that the regime’s old guard could yet make a comeback, but believes prospects for successful democratization hinge on the behavior of the Islamists and the shape of the pact negotiated by the major political actors.
See also the previous contributions to the Democracy Digest​-​POMED Tunisia symposium from Amr Hamzawy and Steven Heydemann and Larry Diamond.
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Posted in Algeria, Democracy Promotion, Egypt, Elections, Foreign Aid, Iran, Islamist movements, Libya, Morocco, Protests, Reform, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Tunisia Symposium | Comment »
Tunisia’s Uncertain Transition
January 19th, 2011 by Cole
History – and the grim realities of a bad neighborhood’s pervasive authoritarianism – do not justify optimism about the prospects for democracy in Tunisia, writes Larry DiamondDirector of Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.  Yet the third wave of global democratization saw successful democratization in more unlikely circumstances, and it won’t take huge resources for democracy assistance groups to make a difference – if we move quickly.
See also the previous contributions to the Democracy Digest-POMED Tunisia symposium from Amr Hamzawy and Steven Heydemann​.
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Posted in Civil Society, Elections, Foreign Aid, Freedom, Protests, Reform, Tunisia, Tunisia Symposium, United Nations, sanctions | 2 Comments »
Reform or Restoration? Tunisia’s Canary-in-the-Coalmine Indicators
January 19th, 2011 by Cole
Tunisia’s strongman President Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali has been deposed. But if his ruling party was kicked out the door, is it now coming back through the window?
There is a serious risk that the old order will cling to power and frustrate hopes for a genuinely democratic transition, writes Steven Heydemann​, Vice President at the US Institute for Peace and Special Adviser to USIP’s Muslim World Initiative.
He identifies the canary-in-the-coalmine indicators that will demonstrate whether the Jasmine Revolution will turn out to be a true turning point for Tunisia and the Arab world.
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Posted in Human Rights, Islam and Democracy, Islamist movements, Reform, Tunisia, Tunisia Symposium, Unions | 4 Comments »
The Jasmine Revolution’s Democratic Prospect: Too Early to Say?
January 19th, 2011 by Cole
Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution has captured the imagination and raised the hopes of democracy advocates across the Arab world and beyond.
Within days of being warned by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that citizens had “grown tired of corrupt institutions and a stagnant political order,” the Middle East’s authoritarian rulers watched one of the Arab world’s most repressive and supposedly stable regimes become the first to be ousted by a genuine people’s power movement.
Given the region’s profound malaise, the elation felt by Arab democrats, human rights activists and civil society groups is merited and understandable. References to a coming democratic tsunami, of Tunis as the Arab world’s Gdansk, of another Arab Spring in prospect, all testify to an appetite for freedom that gives the lie to claims of Arab exceptionalism​.
But many democracy advocates remain cautious, recalling the painful lesson of the post-Soviet world’s color revolutions: that regime change does not readily or necessarily lead to democratization. Others will remember a broader lesson: that history rarely repeats itself, except as farce – or tragedy.
When asked to assess the impact of the 1789 French Revolution, Zhou Enlai is said to have replied, “It is too early to say.”
Fortunately, such tentativeness is rare, allowing the Project on Middle East Democracy  to join with our friends at Democracy Digest to ask a group of leading experts to address some critical questions and concerns being raised by activists and analysts:
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Posted in Algeria, Democracy Promotion, Egypt, Human Rights, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Reform, Syria, Tunisia, Tunisia Symposium, US foreign policy | 8 Comments »
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