Speaking to Larry Mantle of AirTalk, Carnegie’s Frederic Wehrey discussed why it has been challenging for democracy to assert itself in the countries of the Arab Spring. Wehrey said while the tribal, sectarian, and ethnic mosaic of the region is one aspect, he believed the lack of experience in governing institutions was more important, arguing that these institutions are incredibly weak and quite young.
“This idea of people taking governance into their own hands is fairly new…there’s very little civil society. There’s no forms of association that cuts across tribal or sectarian lines,” he said. “The peaceful surrender of power is very new and foreign and that creates a real winner-takes-all mentality.”