The breakdown of regional order in the Middle East was driven by domestic crises in the relationship between Arab citizens and their governments, but the resulting disorder has unleashed civil violence, sectarian and ethnic conflict, and fierce geopolitical competition. What is the relationship between the region’s power politics and the breakdown in the Arab social contract? What does the collapse of Arab governance tell us about the requisites for lasting stability in the Middle East? And what role can outside powers, especially the United States, play in helping the region move toward more sustainable governance?
On November 21, the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council and the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings launched a report on this topic written by Tamara Cofman Wittes: “Real Security: The Interdependence of Governance and Stability in the Arab World.” The report was commissioned by the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST), co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. To discuss the report, they were joined by Amr Hamzawy, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.