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More freedom, less terror?: liberalization and political violence in the Arab world

More freedom, less terror?: liberalization and political violence in the Arab world

Kaye, Dalia Dassa

In the wake of September 11 through the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a key tenet of U.S. foreign policy has been that promoting democracy in the Arab world is an important strategy in reducing terrorism; at the same time, some policymakers and analysts have held that democracy has nothing to do with terrorism -- or even that the growth of democracy in the Middle East may exacerbate political violence. However, scant empirical evidence links democracy to terrorism, positively or negatively. This study examines whether such links exist by exploring the effects of liberalization processes on political violence in Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Morocco from 1991 to 2006. Drawing on data on the incidence of terrorist violence, extensive fieldwork and interviews in each of the six countries, and primary and secondary literature from and about each country, Kaye et al. find that political reforms have, in some instances, helped to marginalize and undercut extremist actors, but that these effects tend to be short-lived if reforms fail to produce tangible results. Moreover, when regimes backtrack on even limited openings, the risks of instability and violence increase

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English. Case studies. Electronic books.
Published Santa Monica, CA : RAND Corp 2008

This resource is available electronically from the following locations


Statement of responsibility: Dalia Dassa Kaye [and others]
ISBN: 0833045083, 0833046454, 1282033301, 9780833045089, 9780833046451, 9781282033306
EAN: 9786612033308
Note: Print version record.
Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 177-195).
Physical Description: 1 online resource (xxx, 195 pages) : color illustrations
Other Number: 9786612033308
Subject: Middle East regional politics.; Arab countries.; Politics and government; Political violence Arab countries Case studies.; POLITICAL SCIENCE Security (National & International); Terrorism.; Democratization.; Arab countries Politics and government.; Democratization Arab countries Case studies.; POLITICAL SCIENCE Political Freedom & Security Terrorism.; Terrorism Arab countries.; Political violence.
Local note: JSTOR Books at JSTOR Open Access


  1. Preface
  2. Figures
  3. Table
  4. Summary
  5. Acknowledgements
  6. Abbreviations
  7. "Democracy" and terrorism in the Arab world: a framework for analysis
  8. Introduction
  9. Democracy in the Middle East: "liberalized autocracies" or genuine democratization?
  10. Understanding terrorism
  11. The democracy-terrorism debate
  12. Post 9/11 "draining the swamp" logic
  13. The democracy backlash
  14. Democracy-terrorism hypotheses
  15. Empirical application to the Arab world: case selection and methods
  16. Egypt
  17. Introduction
  18. Liberalization in the Mubarak era
  19. Trends in violent activity
  20. Comparing levels of freedom and terrorism
  21. Assessing effects
  22. Repression and destabilization
  23. Conclusion
  24. Jordan
  25. Liberalization trends
  26. Trends in violent activity
  27. Comparing levels of freedom and terrorism
  28. Assessing effects
  29. Normative effects
  30. Institutional effects
  31. Legitimacy
  32. Conclusion
  33. Bahrain
  34. Introduction
  35. Liberalization trends
  36. Trends in violent activity
  37. Comparing levels of freedom and terrorism
  38. Assessing effects
  39. Perceptions of regime legitimacy
  40. Norms of tolerance and pluralism
  41. Institutional logic
  42. Conclusions and implications
  43. Saudi Arabia
  44. Introduction
  45. Liberalization trends
  46. Trends in violent activity
  47. Comparing levels of freedom and terrorism
  48. Assessing effects
  49. Regime legitimacy
  50. Normative and institutional effects: the municipal council elections
  51. Conclusion
  52. Algeria
  53. Trends in liberalization
  54. Trends in violent activity
  55. Comparing levels of freedom and terrorism
  56. Assessing effects
  57. Institutional effects
  58. Normative effects
  59. The effects of state actions on perceptions of regime legitimacy
  60. Summary and implications
  61. Morocco
  62. Introduction
  63. Trends in liberalization
  64. Trends in violent activity
  65. Comparing levels of freedom and terrorism
  66. Assessing effects
  67. Institutional effects
  68. Normative effects
  69. Legitimacy
  70. Conclusion
  71. Conclusion
  72. Liberalization in the Arab world can both contain and exacerbate political violence
  73. Policy implications: a return to realism or realistic democracy promotion?
  74. Policy recommendations
  75. Bibliography.