Larry Diamond's presentation explores the question of why there are no Arab democracies in the Middle East and North Africa. He shows us the relatively stagnant levels of democratic freedoms that have been the norm in the region for the past several decades. Diamond gives us a multitude of potential explanations for the absence of a sustainable democracy.
His first explanation implicates that there must be something within the Islam or Arab culture or religion, that prevents the formation of a democratic society. Because as Alfred Stepan and Graeme Robertson stated, the “democracy gap” among states in the world is an Arab gap much more than a “Muslim” gap as there are eight, non-Arab Muslim-majority states that have democratic
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Two other external factors further reinforce the Arab autocracies, the first being External support for Arab regimes, where before it came in part from the Soviet Union but now, mostly from Europe and the United States, gives power and legitimacy to Arab autocracies, and provides them with important economic resources and security assistance. Foreign aid from Western nations is as good as gold to these countries. This aid goes right into the central funds of the state and helps to give it the means both to strengthen their party and to repress any opposition. The other external factor is the Middle East region itself, in which all the countries works to reinforce one another in their authoritarianism and their techniques of monitoring, rigging, and repression. They even have an Arab League, which consists of 22 of the some of the most authoritarian dictatorships in the region. Their Charter, which hasn’t been amended in over 50 years, lacks any mention of democracy or individual rights.
But even all that aside, it’s hard to point out even a single example of a decent Arab democracy, which means that there is no source of democratic distribution or imitation anywhere inside the Arab world. He finishes the article giving us hope that someday the Arab world will catch up with the rest of the western nations and one day adopts a democratic