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Of Empires and Citizens: Pro-American Democracy or No Democracy at All?

by Amaney A Jamal Princeton University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 296 pages
AU$72.00 NZ$74.78
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In the post-Cold War era, why has democratization been slow to arrive in the Arab world? This book argues that to understand support for the authoritarian status quo in parts of this region--and the willingness of its citizens to compromise on core democratic principles--one must factor in how a strong U.S. presence and popular anti-Americanism weakens democratic voices. Examining such countries as Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia, Amaney Jamal explores how Arab citizens decide whether to back existing regimes, regime transitions, and democratization projects, and how the global position of Arab states shapes people's attitudes toward their governments.

While the Cold War's end reduced superpower hegemony in much of the developing world, the Arab region witnessed an increased security and economic dependence on the United States. As a result, the preferences of the United States matter greatly to middle-class Arab citizens, not just the elite, and citizens will restrain their pursuit of democratization, rationalizing their backing for the status quo because of U.S. geostrategic priorities. Demonstrating how the preferences of an international patron serve as a constraint or an opportunity to push for democracy, Jamal questions bottom-up approaches to democratization, which assume that states are autonomous units in the world order. Jamal contends that even now, with the overthrow of some autocratic Arab regimes, the future course of Arab democratization will be influenced by the perception of American reactions. Concurrently, the United States must address the troubling sources of the region's rising anti-Americanism.

List of Tables and Figures ix
Preface xi
Acknowledgments xiii
A Note on Transliteration xv

Introduction: Pro- American Democracy or No Democracy at All? 1
The U.S. Strategic Approach to Democracy 3
Revisiting the Classical Models: Theoretical Limitations 12
Newer Democratization Debates 12
Revisiting State and Society Relations in Clientelistic Settings: Real Congruence
versus Contrived Congruence
Empirical Realities: Jordan and Kuwait 21
U.S. Dominance in the Arab World 23
Anti-Americanism as the Independent Variable: Jordan and Kuwait 29
Scope Condition, Case- Selection Strategy, Data, and Evidence 34
Appendix: Human Development Index Scores and Jordan's Gross
Domestic Product
Growth Rate

Becoming Jordan and Kuwait: The Making and Consolidating of U.S. Client Regimes 38
Jordan's History of Clientelistic Dependence 41
Post-World War II: Full Independence for Jordan but Continued Reliance on
the British
Economic Devastation after the First Gulf War 46
Economic Progress and the Jordan- Israeli Peace Treaty, 1994 48
Continued Military and Economic Assistance: Increased Dependency 52
Kuwait's History of Clientelistic Dependence 54
The Iraqi Occupation of Kuwait and the Limits of Pan-Arabism 57

Islamist Momentum in the Arab World: Jordan's Islamic Action Front and Kuwait's Islamic Constitutional Movement 63
Islamists and Anti- American Positions across the Arab World 64
The IAF and its Anti-American Positions 66
IAF Support 69
The 1994 Peace Treaty with Israel 73
Other Islamist Forces in Jordan 78
Regime- IAF Relations: Democracy in Retreat 79
U.S. Policy and Islamists: Pro- American Democracy or No Democracy at All? 86
Kuwait's Islamist Movement: A Pro-American Force 89
Islamists and Their Positions: Democratic Deepening in Kuwait 92
Democratic Successes and Advancements: Female Suffrage, Redistricting, and Succession 94
Regime- Islamist Relations in Kuwait 100

Engaging the Regime through the Lens of the United States: Citizens' Political Preferences 103
Causal Logics Citizens Employ When Engaging Possibilities of Regime
Support for the Monarchy and U.S. Clientelism: Jordan 106
Support for the Monarchy and U.S. Clientelism: Kuwait 113
Supporting the Regime versus Supporting Democracy: Jordan 116
Supporting the Regime versus Supporting Democracy: Kuwait 121
The Geopolitics of Support for Shari'a: Different Islamic Worldviews in Jordan and Kuwait 128
Exploring Alternative Explanations 134
Conclusion 136
Appendix: Open- Ended Questionnaire Administered in Jordan, Kuwait,

Support for Democracy and Authoritarianism: The Geostrategic Utility of Cooperative Leadership 142
Jordanian and Kuwaiti Engagements with Security, Democracy, and
Main Argument: Given Dependence on the United States, Opposition Opinion and Mobilization Strategies Matter 147
Islamism and Anti-Americanism 153
Anti Americanism and Support for Democracy or Authoritarianism 155
Appendix: Macro-micro Synthesis-- The Relationship between Attitudes
and Regime Outcomes

Morocco: Support for the Status Quo 174
Moroccan International Clientelism 175
Islamist Positions in Morocco 177
Anti-American Sentiment 178
Islamist Popularity and Positions 180
Voices from within: Political Engagement and the Regime in Morocco 182
U.S. Responses to the Islamists in Morocco 190

Palestine and Saudi Arabia and the Limits of Democracy 191
Fatah's Decline and the Victory of Hamas 193
The U.S. Response to Hamas 198
Why Did the Palestinians Vote for Hamas? 199
Saudi Arabia and Its Status Quo Advantage 203
Islamist Positions in Saudi Arabia 208
Regime Responses, the Reform Movement, and the United States 211
The Role of the United States 214
Conclusion 219
Appendix: Questions from the PSR Poll 220

The Influence of International Context on Domestic- Level Models of Regime Transition and Democratic Consolidation 221
Theorizing about Nonclient Regimes 223
Egypt's Future Democratic Consolidation 224
The Clash of Civilizations and the Search for Liberal and Secular Democrats 227
Iran's Influence 231
Possible Paths Forward 232
Ignoring Arab Public Opinion and the Islamist Response 233
The Lesson of Latin America 238
Reassessing U.S. Policies in the Arab World 239
From Bush to Obama 241
Where Do We Go Next? 242

Bibliography 245
Index 267

''This original book adds to the substantial research concerned with domestic factors and the persistence of authoritarianism in the Arab world. It also opens a new line of inquiry by demonstrating the role of international factors in relationships between the Arab governments and the United States. An impressive and rich work.''--Mark Tessler, University of Michigan

''This book shows that democracy in the Middle East threatens the interests of the middle classes who rely heavily on American aid. They fear that democracy will bring to power populists wishing to undermine American regional hegemony resulting in a loss of their aid lifeline. The book's compelling argument and its relevance to current policy concerns are significant.''--David Laitin, Stanford University

''Arguing that the lack of democratization in the Middle East is tied to the critical role the United States plays in the region, this strong book extends our understanding of how international relations affects citizens' perceptions and engagement with the state.''--Ellen Lust, Yale University

''Jamal makes a persuasive case for an important but never-before tested argument: U.S. policy in the Arab world has been one of the principal obstacles to democratic development in the region. A wonderful addition to debates about impediments to democracy, the sources and consequences of anti-Americanism, and the character of U.S. foreign policy, this book is essential reading.''--Lisa Anderson, American University in Cairo
Amaney A. Jamal is associate professor of politics at Princeton University and the author of 'Barriers to Democracy' (Princeton).