Although stabilization programs were not part of the Syrian political transformation initially envisioned, they did cultivate more inclusive, capable local governance. But with larger military and political factors shaping outcomes on the ground in Syria, what will endure of this?
Tunisia’s decentralization process has tremendous potential. Yet the central government, local government, civil society, and international donors must each invest in the process.
Algeria’s regime has repeatedly adapted the political system in limited ways. But what has worked for the regime up until now may not work indefinitely into the future.
The rise in Salafi militancy in Lebanon is not only due to the spillover of the Syrian war, but also to the Sunni elite’s failure at tackling the grievances of their co-religionists.
The Islamic State’s defeat in Syria will not automatically bring displaced people home. A broader political settlement that reflects regional and national realities will be required.
Morocco’s Party of Justice and Development sought to show that it is possible to carve out a larger role for government while remaining loyal to the palace.
Iran has entered a growth-friendly demographic window of opportunity, during which prime-age workers outnumber children and elderly dependents. This period will profoundly shape Iran’s future.
Revamping its Customs Union with Turkey is the only viable way for the EU to encourage rules-based economic and political reforms in the country and maintain engagement with Ankara.
Corruption is a destabilizing force in Tunisia, infecting all levels of its economy, security, and political system.
More than six years after the revolution that ousted former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia’s border regions remain hotbeds of social discontent and agitation.
The ethnic and sectarian power-sharing systems in Lebanon and Iraq are in crisis.
The official Muslim religious establishments in Arab countries give governments a major role in religious life, but these institutions are rarely mere regime mouthpieces and can be difficult to steer in a particular direction.
Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) remains divisive, poorly understood, and plagued by internal divisions, as it is both recognized by the state and at the behest of nonstate leadership figures. Key challenges involving the PMF will shape Iraq’s political and security future.
Southern Libya remains a region of endemic instability wracked by communal conflict, a shortage of basic services, rampant smuggling, and fragmented or collapsed institutions.
After 2011, the relationships between the central authorities in Syria, the local intermediaries, and the different localities have played a fundamental role in shaping the outbreak of the conflict.
The security interests of local actors in northeastern Syria and of other regional stakeholders are interwoven in ways that undermine sustainable, responsive governance.
Egypt’s economy is dependent on large private enterprises that have close ties with the Mubarak regime. After the 2011 uprising the economy suffered as the relationship between the state and the enterprises changed.
Syria’s conflict has forced tribal communities to turn inwards, and such localization has further undermined tribal solidarities.
Lebanese religious leaders are often treated as authentic representatives of their sects and are given broad powers over religious affairs. However, their leadership is not organic, nor are they necessarily popular, as these individuals are trained and selected by elite institutions.
Unless there are fundamental changes in Syria’s social and security structures, any political solution to the conflict is likely to fail.