Building Democratic Peace in the Eastern Mediterranean: An Inevitably Ambitious Agenda
Working Paper

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CDDRL Working Papers, page(s): 26

August 2004

The conundrum is plain to anyone who wants to see it. On the one side, autocratic regimes in the Greater Middle East complain that without a "resolution" of the Arab-Israeli conflict they cannot accept calls for extensive political, social or even market reforms. The end of "Israeli occupation", we are told, is a sine qua non for domestic change and there could be no real progress without "justice" for the Palestinians. Putting aside for the moment the logic of these claims, it is clear that crying foul and vilifying Israel is highly convenient for the region's authoritarians-serving at once to divert public anger, justify political oppression, excuse sclerotic economies and resist exogenous pressures to democratise. Yet on the other side, the notion that ambitious strategies for Middle East democratisation can be effectively pursued in isolation from the Arab-Israeli conflict is erroneous, for two very different sets of reasons:

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