The 24th issue of Siyasat Arabia, published bi-monthly by the ACRPS in Beirut and Doha, is now available. In addition to its regular sections covering findings from the Arab Opinion Index and documentation of political events in Palestine, this issue also included academic research papers presented at the ACRPS' Fifth Conference on Democratic Transition, which focused closely on civil-military relations. Finally, Siyasat Arabiya 24 included book reviews by Mahmoud Abdalel, Ibrahim Kadouni and Kamel Terchi, covering works (in Arabic translation) by Zoltan Barani, Noam Chomsky and Hannah Arendt, respectively.
To find details of how to obtain the full version Siyasat Arabiya in print and electronic forms, visit our electronic bookstore. English language versions of the abstracts of the six academic papers carried in Siyasat Arabiya 24 are available below.
This study investigates the circumstances under which military governments leave power. It shows that there is no single path to get the military out of power, as there are no general rules for all cases. Nevertheless, several lessons are learned of which the most important is that military officers never relinquish power on their own. Rather, they are usually forced to leave it. In most cases, forcing the military to hand over authority requires a democratic opposition bloc that reaches a national consensus and agrees on a clear political strategy with an explicit goal. This will get the military out of power and establish a civilian government. A consensus or democratic bloc enables reformist democrats to change the balance of power for the benefit of democratic transition.
This paper highlights the role of the armed forces and their impact on the process of political transition, and discusses civil-military relations in their various aspects: the state, society and the armed forces per se, in order to reveal the main pillars that constitute a balance between the power of political institutions (legislative and executive) and the military power of the army. Such a balance would lead to the subduing of the army to the civil authority, and confine military activities to security and defense. The paper focuses on the common characteristics shared by states that have succeeded in building democratic armies. To conclude, the author presents a set of recommendations addressed to activists and democrats, on what ought to be done and what should be avoided in the security-defense field during the process of democratic army building.
Military interventions in Sudanese politics can be attributed to a number of factors, most pertinently: excessive politicization throughout society, social institutions, trades unions and syndicates as well as educational and religious institutions. In this sense, the Sudanese was not an exception, merely one of many highly politicized institutions. This paper concludes that the three different military coups which took power in Sudan were only able to do so with the aiding and abetting of civilian political forces, such as the National Umma Party, the Islamic Front and an array of leftist forces all—to varying extents—colluded with the military to further their political aims. With the military ranks reflecting wider societal politicization, military coups were effectively an extension of the political process by other means.
Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States came as a surprise for many. His positions on international trade, climate change, the future of the EU, NATO, and relations with Russia have sent shockwaves throughout the western world. Although these ideas never constituted a coherent philosophy, if transformed into policy directions, they would threaten the very foundations of the Liberal World Order as commonly understood today. Even if Trump does not act on the most radical pledges made during his election campaign, by positioning himself as the antithesis of the Obama administration he would still bring notable change to US foreign policy. The extent of that change is now open to question as leaders and publics around the world are bracing themselves for what comes next.
This study seeks to provide a preliminary diagnosis potential and opportunities and the obstacles which impede the reform of the military sector in the Arab world through the analysis of the most important trends and indicators positively or negatively regarding to the rationalization of the military institution in the Arab world, taking in consideration many experiences and the best practices prevailing in many democratic countries.
This study attempts to answer these questions: What positive measures have been taken for the army to become controlled and under the responsibility of civil institutions? What is the degree of openness of the military institution and its interaction with the citizens, the media and civil society? How and why the enhancement of transparency within the army will contribute to the promotion of democratic transformation in the Arab countries?
This study aims to put under scrutiny the Algerian army tasks and roles through different periods of time and this requires going back to the roots when the national liberation army was established, returning to the present as the army has become the institution protecting the state. An institution which has an everlasting organic relation with politics, embodying one of its central tasks. The study needs to highlight the above cited issues in its attempt to grasp and understand the army role during the 1992s' political crisis, and in so doing a particular attention is given to the ways how the army dealt with the crisis and what is the nature of its contribution in tackling and facing it. Finally, the study is concerned with the army role in the near future from a prospective approach.