Eva Bellin

Myra and Robert Kraft Professor of Arab Politics at the Crown Center and the Department of Politics at Brandeis University



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The Road to Rule of Law in the Arab World: Comparative Insights

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Eva Bellin
Middle East Brief 84, September 2014


The uprisings that swept the Arab world in 2011-2012 were sparked by many catalysts. Not least among them was the desire to put an end to arbitrary rule and install what political analysts call “the rule of law." For countries in the region that face the prospect of failed (or failing) states, such as Libya, Syria, and Iraq, the goal of building accountable governance is a luxury of secondary priority. But for other countries where the integrity of the state is not in doubt, building rule of law is a reasonable ambition. In this Brief, Eva Bellin examines the question of how the Arab world can achieve this objective and the specific challenges they face by drawing on the experience of other regions that have wrestled with this ambition. By focusing on four crucial institutions--the judiciary, the police, the military, and regulatory agencies--Prof. Bellin identifies some of the best practices and evaluates key obstacles to the reforms required.

This Brief is based on the introduction to the forthcoming book Building Rule of Law in the Arab World, edited by Eva Bellin and Heidi Lane.

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