News & Updates

New JoD Available Now


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Looks at Egypt and Syria in Latest Issue of the Journal of Democracy

For Immediate Release 
DATE: October 10, 2013
CONTACT: Jane Riley Jacobsen: or (202) 378-9700

“The July 2013 military ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi clearly marked the failure of Egypt’s two-year attempt to realize a transition to democracy following 2011’s mass uprising against authoritarian rule,” writes George Washington University professor Nathan Brown in “Egypt’s Failed Transition, one of five essays in the cluster “Tracking the Arab Spring.”

Between the overthrow of former dictator Hosni Mubarak and that of Morsi, Egyptians went to the polls five times, and “each step along the path of democracy ended with opposing segments of Egyptian society driven farther apart.” According to Brown, both the Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition have behaved illiberally, preventing democratic mechanisms from doing their job and as a result discrediting them in the eyes of many Egyptians, Islamists and liberals alike.

In Syria, the outlook is darker still. “The democratic aspirations” of the massive protests held across the country in early 2011 “were among the conflict’s first casualties,” writes Steven Heydemann of the United States Institute of Peace in “Syria and the Future of Authoritarianism.” The ongoing civil war, which has deepened sectarian divides, has “severely crippled” prospects for democracy in Syria. Heydemann notes that the “Assad regime’s reconfiguration over the past two years stands out as an extreme instance of a broader phenomenon: the adaptation of Middle Eastern authoritarianism to the challenges posed by the renewal of mass politics.”

In “Why the Modest Harvest?,” Jason Brownlee, Tarek Masoud, and Andrew Reynolds ask why popular uprisings occurred in only some Arab states and succeeded in even fewer, while the final two essays in the cluster take stock of developments in Yemen and Libya.

Elsewhere in the issue, Francis Fukuyama and Marc F. Plattner write on Governance, Democracy and the State; Jørgen Møller and Svend-Erik Skaaning get “Inside the Numbers”to determine whether a reverse democratic wave is looming; and Matthijs Bogaards and Staffan Lindberg square off in a debate over the impact of elections on democratization in sub-Saharan Africa.


To see the complete table of contents, please visit our website

The Journal of Democracy is published quarterly in January, April, July, and October. Members of the press who wish to receive electronic access to the current issue should contact Brent Kallmer at To subscribe to the Journal of Democracy, visit For more information, please visit theJournal of Democracy online or e-mail us at