Although the number of civil society groups in the Middle East has grown, their democratizing role should not be overestimated. The author notes that the bulk of Arab civil society organizations support the status quo, advocate conservative reforms, or are simply apolitical. She argues that civil society’s democratizing potential in the Middle East will remain beyond outsiders’ direct influence, and that US assistance can at best play a modest role.
Middle Eastern Democracy: Is civil society the answer?
Amy Hawthorne Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (28pp pdf)