IDS Bulletin Vol. 40 Nos. 2

The Security Sector in Arab Countries: Can it be Reformed?

Published on 1 March 2009

There is a burgeoning debate on security sector reform (SSR) in the Arab region. Experiences elsewhere suggest that patterns vary widely, from the violent dismantling or collapse of political systems to negotiated processes where security forces yield their prerogatives peacefully. In the Middle East, the process is nascent, largely donor?driven and in most cases is occurring in post?conflict situations. However, a few examples still at an embryonic stage suggest that SSR is starting to be debated as part of the push for democratic change by social and political actors shaping a home?grown reform agenda. The pace of progress is bound to be slow and painful, given the resilience of the current authoritarian regimes and their security establishments. It is therefore more appropriate to speak of gradual reform rather than transformation of the security sector. The article argues that the most effective way to promote reform is by embedding it in the larger struggle for democratic change that civil and political society is pushing for.

Cite this publication

Kodmani, B. and Chartouni?Dubarry, M. (2009) The Security Sector in Arab Countries: Can it be Reformed?. IDS Bulletin 40(2): 96-104

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