Democratic Transitions in the Levant: Prospects for Restoring a Regional Order

ULUSLARARASI İLİŞKİLER, VOLUME 15, NUMBER 60, 2018 

Katerina DALACOURA*

ABSTRACT

The 2011 Arab uprisings exacerbated conflict and turmoil in the Levant, with the civil war in Syria constituting the dominant event in the region since that point in time and drawing the surrounding countries into its destructive vortex. The changes wrought by the uprisings have intermingled with the pre-existing conflicts in the Levant and with new local and pan-Middle Eastern confrontations in pernicious ways. Among the outcomes of this crisis are that Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine —whose current political situations will be addressed in this paper— are experiencing a rise in authoritarianism. However, this paper argues that the Levant will not overcome its current disorder and regain a degree of order —in the sense either of stability or of recognized rules governing relations between regional actors— unless Levantine states undergo a degree of democratization, meaning they adopt some degree of accountability, pluralism and respect for basic freedoms and good governance. Democracy is closely linked to the emergence of peace and security but is also a condition for them to endure.

Keywords: Democratization, Authoritarianism, Levant, Regional Order, Arab Uprisings, Conflict

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* Assoc. Prof. Dr., Department of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, London.  


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