Political Oppositions in the Arab World: A New Path?

Arab political parties, NGOs, syndicates, and social movements have thus far failed to forge a common strategic vision of political reform. Hobbled by disputes between Islamists, secularists, nationalists, and liberals, Arab opposition groups have frequently been manipulated by a divide and rule strategy that seeks to limit the scope of genuine democratic reforms.

Still, there are some signs that mainstream Arab opposition groups have begun to find common ground. Will such trends give oppositions the political leverage they have thus far lacked? Or will autocrats find new ways to skirt pressures for substantive political change and thus maintain an increasingly precarious status quo of state controlled reform?

With support from USAID’s Democracy and Global Governance Office, USIP’s Muslim World Initiative has supervised a path-breaking research project on the dynamics of Arab political opposition in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, and Yemen. Please join the authors of these four studies as they present their findings and invite comments from a panel of experts, as well as from our invited guests in the audience.


With introductory remarks by:


Case Studies:

  • Dina Shehata, Egypt
    Department of Government, Georgetown University
  • Maryam Montague, Morocco
    Democracy and Governance Specialist, Management Systems International
  • Janine Clark, Jordan
    Associate Professor, University of Guelph
  • Iris Glosemeyer, Yemen
    Associate Lecturer, Free University of Berlin


  • Nathan Brown
    Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment
  • Amy Hawthorne
    Director, International Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue
  • Guilain Denoeux
    Professor of Government, Colby College and Senior Associate, Management Systems International
  • Steve Heydemann
    Director, Center for Democracy and Civil Society, Georgetown University