Publications > Previous Publications > Paper 74: Fragile States and the Democratization Process: A New Approach to Understanding Security in the Middle East
Paper 74: Fragile States and the Democratization Process: A New Approach to Understanding Security in the Middle East
Written by Mahjoob Zweiri, Ali Tekin, Andrew E. Johnson   
Middle Eastern nation states came into existence not as a result of naturally-evolving and unique historical, social, or political processes reaching a nexus of cohesion, but rather, they emerged as a manifestation of the vulnerability of colonial power in the region.

This study focuses on the impact of democratization upon state fragility in the Middle East, through the analysis of two critical case studies: namely, Lebanon and Palestine. Post 9/11, western governments have prioritized democratization in their foreign policy, in a bid to counter the rise of extremism within the region. Nonetheless, weak internal state structures, the absence of civil society institutions, a lack of freedom, the presence of competing trans-national sources of identity (ethnicity, religion or sect), and the failure of states to acquire the support and loyalty of their citizens can all be considered factors that, although largely ignored within policy circles, in fact contribute most significantly towards state fragility and to the success or failure of any democratization effort.

This study was conducted under the auspices of the Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS) at the University of Jordan, Amman, and the Foreign Policy Institute (FPI), Ankara. Mahjoob Zweiri is Assistant Professor in Middle East politics and Iran; Ali Tekin is Assistant Professor and Jean Monnet Chair in the department of International Relations at Bilkent University, Ankara; and Andrew E. Johnson is a Postgraduate student at University of Denver Josef Korbel School of International Studies, USA, and was Research Assistant at the CSS, Amman.

Full text in pdf