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The Robustness of Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Exceptionalism in Comparative Perspective

Eva Bellin
Comparative Politics
Vol. 36, No. 2 (Jan., 2004), pp. 139-157
DOI: 10.2307/4150140
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4150140
Page Count: 19
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The Robustness of Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Exceptionalism in Comparative Perspective
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Abstract

Explanations of the robustness of authoritarianism in the Middle East and North Africa have focused on absent prerequisites of democratization in the region, including weak civil society, state-dominated economies, poor socioeconomic performance, and nondemocratic culture. By contrast, the region's enduring authoritarianism can be attributed to the robustness of the coercive apparatus in many Middle Eastern and North African states and to this apparatus's exceptional will and capacity to crush democratic initiatives. Cross-regional comparison suggests factors both external and internal to the region that account for this exceptional strength.

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