May 25, 2004

THIS ARTICLE takes a rather skeptical view of the prospects for democratic reform in the Arab world, notwithstanding the recent declaration at the Tunis conference. On the other hand, not everyone is skeptical:

“Real reform is beginning and will go at a faster pace” in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, said Amri, who is the director and founder of a think-tank in Cambridge, England, the Said al-Amri Center for Security and Strategic Studies.

“I think within the Middle East reform will go faster than we think,” said Amri, speaking from Riyadh.

In Saudi Arabia, for example, Amri now constantly witnesses changes he would not have predicted just several years ago.

I wouldn’t pick Saudi Arabia to be a leader in reform, but I hope he’s right.