Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats
A Report of the American Enterprise Institute Dissent and Reform in the Arab World Project

  • Title:

    Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats
  • Edited By:

    Jeffrey Azarva,
  • Edited By:

    Jeffrey Azarva,
  • Edited By:

    Jeffrey Azarva
  • Paperback ISBN:

    000-0-0000-0000-0
  • Paperback Dimensions:

    8.5'' x 11''
  • 124 Paperback pages

To read the full report, please click here.

The Arab world suffers from a debilitating democracy deficit. The region's ruling governments' antipathy for pluralism, political dissent, and free speech have helped to incubate extremism by denying outlets for peaceful expression to all but a privileged few.

In U.S. policy circles, even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, conventional wisdom remained that partnerships with illiberal Arab governments, no matter how unsavory, would best serve U.S. national security. Following September 11, 2001, however, most U.S. policymakers concluded that promoting democracy was not only the best antidote for the region's woes, but also Washington's best safeguard against future attacks.

No sooner had this tectonic shift in U.S. foreign policy occurred, however, than questions about its viability and wisdom arose. Do democrats exist in the Arab world? Are Arab societies fit for democratic self-government? Will Islamist extremism wrongly benefit from popular participation?

To try the efficacy of pro-democracy policies in the Arab world, the American Enterprise Institute initiated the "Dissent and Reform in the Arab World" project. Directed by Danielle Pletka, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies, and Michael Rubin, resident scholar, the project commissioned essays from Arab reformers and activists who championed the causes of liberal democracy long before such calls ever reverberated in Western capitals. Together, these authentic voices dispel the fiction that the Arab world is infertile ground for democracy.

 

Danielle Pletka is vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at AEI.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at AEI.

Jeffrey Azarva is a research assistant at AEI.

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About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

  • As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.


    Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.


     


    Follow Danielle Pletka on Twitter.


  • Phone: 202-862-5943
    Email: dpletka@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Alexandra Della Rocchetta
    Phone: 202-862-7152
    Email: alex.dellarocchetta@aei.org

 

Michael
Rubin


  • Michael Rubin is a former Pentagon official whose major research areas are the Middle East, Turkey, Iran and diplomacy. Rubin instructs senior military officers deploying to the Middle East and Afghanistan on regional politics, and teaches classes regarding Iran, terrorism, and Arab politics on board deploying U.S. aircraft carriers. Rubin has lived in post-revolution Iran, Yemen, both pre- and post-war Iraq, and spent time with the Taliban before 9/11. His newest book, Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engagement examines a half century of U.S. diplomacy with rogue regimes and terrorist groups.


    Follow Michael Rubin on Twitter.


  • Phone: 202-862-5851
    Email: mrubin@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Ahmad Majidyar
    Phone: 202-862-5845
    Email: ahmad.majidyar@aei.org

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