Political Institutions

Maghreb Report

News article cites survey stating 83 percent of Algerians said they are either not interested or not at all interested in politics due to their expectation that the army will select the winner. Read full article at Morocco on the Move.

Public Trust in Arab Armies

Recent wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen have helped push regional defense spending—already the highest in the world—to new heights. Led by the oil-rich monarchies of the Persian Gulf, enormous new weapons acquisitions pushed military spending in the Middle East to 6 percent of GDP in 2016, compared to the global average of just 2.2 percent. While the military’s…

Arab Citizens Are Disenchanted with Politics

Across the Middle East and North Africa, citizens have become disenchanted with politics and government, according to a new report on civic engagement from the Arab Barometer, an independent research network that includes Arab universities and seeks to gauge Arab public opinion. Fifty percent of Arabs feel they have a guaranteed right to protest and two thirds believe they can…

Spineless: The Real Meaning of Smoothing-Over Khashoggi’s Murder

…Mr. Khashoggi’s words were echoed by prominent journalist and political analyst Rami Khouri. “We are heading to the law of the jungle if big power and Mideast state autocracy is not held accountable,” Mr. Khouri said. In a similar vein, a survey by the Arab Barometer survey concluded that public institutions in the Arab world, including the judiciary enjoyed little,…

No Taxation without Representation? On Tax Reforms in Jordan

…Secondly, the government should fight corruption, tax avoidance (which according to the Income and Sales Tax Department in 2016 cost the budget JD 3 billion), mismanagement, and cronyism to make Jordanians feel their taxes are being put to a good use. One study, conducted by the University of Jordan Strategic Studies Center and NAMA Consultants, argues that only 35% of…

Exploring Support for Democracy Across the Globe

This report is the first comprehensive analysis on the state of support for democracy across the globe using data from the Global Barometer Surveys. The focus is on support for democracy both because democracy is at the core of the GBS surveys, and because, as a political system, it is currently facing an uphill battle to defend its legitimacy. By exploring the state of support for democracy…

What Money Can’t Buy: Wealth, Inequality, and Economic Satisfaction in the Rentier State

How do perceived inequalities in allocation impact citizen satisfaction with state-distributed benefits in rentier societies? Resource-rich rentier regimes are widely theorized to maintain the economic and political satisfaction of subjects through wealth distribution. Yet, while qualitative research in the rentier states of the Arabian Peninsula has identified unequal distribution as a source of discontent, the relative importance of objective versus…

Tunisia’s first post-uprisings local elections are Sunday. Can they bolster citizens’ belief in governance?

…. What voters want Economic justice was a central demand of the 2011 uprising, and public opinion data from the Arab Barometer collected in 2011, 2013 and 2015demonstrate that the economy remains at the forefront of Tunisians’ minds. When asked, “What are the most two important challenges your country is facing today?” nearly 75 percent of respondents listed the economic…

Review of Islam and Politics in the Middle East: Explaining the Views of Ordinary Citizens by Mark Tessler

Mark A. Tessler is a prominent political scientist, Samuel J. Eldersveld Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan, who has worked on comparative politics, International Relations and world politics for more than forty-five years. His works have been translated into French and Persian. He is probably the leading authority on public opinion in the Middle East, and has published numerous…

Lebanon’s political system leads to paralysis and corruption

“IT is difficult to escape the grip of religion in Lebanon. The rules that govern marriage, property rights and inheritance are administered by religious courts. Well-to-do secular Lebanese can fly to Cyprus to marry in civil ceremonies. But once back home, if their relationship goes sour, Muslims still have to deal with religious judges, who rule on divorce, alimony and…

Al-Sisi poised for empty victory in Egypt as signs of unrest grow across the region

“Egyptians are voting in presidential elections on March 26-28. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who grabbed power in 2013, is set to win another term by a landslide. Yet this is far from a sign of strength: opposition candidates have been silenced, and even pro-government media are being purged of the slightest undertone of dissent. Al-Sisi’s grip on power may appear firm,…

Borrowing Time: Rents and Reform in Saudi Arabia

One of the most ambitious, well-defined reform plans in the region for reigning in state obligations to citizens while boosting private-sector development is Saudi Vision 2030, a program of economic and social (but not political) change headlined by the Kingdom’s much-profiled Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. While the Kingdom does not presently face the breakdown in public order or empty…

Who Benefits from Consociationalism? Religious Disparities in Lebanon’s Political System

This study examines the extent to which confessional identities in Lebanon are responsible for shaping individual views toward their government. Specifically, I investigate disparities between religious groups in their perceptions of democracy and democratic principles as applied in Lebanon. Using nationally representative data from the Arab Barometer’s survey of Lebanon, I find that when compared to Maronite Catholics, Druze, and…