The Middle East's Majority Problems: Minoritarian Regimes and the Threat of Democracy
This article examines the phenomenon of minoritarian regimes in the Middle East, focusing on Bahrain, Syria and Israel/Palestine. It considers, in each, how minority rule was established, the mechanisms through which it is maintained, and the means through which it is legitimated. Although these regimes are not typically analyzed as a category, they have important features in common. In all three, the state's political and security institutions are controlled by members of an ethnic/religious group that is a numerical minority in the country, at the expense of a majority group with a competing claim to indigeneity. While the legal and political mechanisms that these regimes use to restrict access to power vary, they employ similar strategies for legitimating minority rule, presenting democracy as a threat not only to the regime's survival, but also to the security of the group whose interests it claims to represent.
Omar M. Dajani, The Middle East's Majority Problems: Minoritarian Regimes and the Threat of Democracy, 38 ETHNIC & RACIAL STUD. 2516 (2015),
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