RAND: Balance needed after Arab Spring

July 18, 2012 at 10:50 AM
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SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 18 (UPI) -- Many Arab countries emerging from political revolutions may struggle to find the right balance between civilian and military control, a U.S. study finds.

The Pew Research Center, in a report last week, said members of civil society in the Arab world don't just support democratic, "they also embrace specific features of a democratic system, such as competitive elections and free speech."

A report by the Rand Corp. said military leaders still control some of the political mechanisms in the Arab region. Easing the military out of post-revolutionary politics, the report said, may require tough negotiations.

Egypt, in particular, has struggled to find a balance between civilian and political rule. While Egypt this year held democratic presidential elections for the first time in the country's history, the military still wields substantial political power.

Laurel Miller, lead author of the Rand study, said the post-revolutionary political landscape in the Middle East will test how well various players can share the same political space.

"Past experience throughout the world shows that obstacles to democracy can be overcome," she said. "But there is no one-size-fits-all template to forming a democratic government."

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