Marina Ottaway

Senior Associate
Middle East Program

Before joining the Endowment, Ottaway carried out research in Africa and in the Middle East for many years and taught at the University of Addis Ababa, the University of Zambia, the American University in Cairo, and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.

Marina Ottaway is no longer with the Carnegie Endowment.

Marina Ottaway was a senior associate in the Carnegie Middle East Program working on issues of political transformation in the Middle East and Gulf security. A long-time analyst of the formation and transformation of political systems, she has also written on political reconstruction in Iraq, the Balkans, and African countries.

Before joining the Endowment, Ottaway carried out research in Africa and in the Middle East for many years and taught at the University of Addis Ababa, the University of Zambia, the American University in Cairo, and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.

Her extensive research experience is reflected in her publications, which include nine authored books and six edited ones. Her most recent publications include Getting to Pluralism, co-authored with Amr Hamzawy and Yemen on the Brink, co-edited with Christopher Boucek. She is also an author of Carnegie’s Guide to Egypt’s Transition, a website that provides background and analysis on issues that will shape Egypt’s political future, and the author of Iraqi Elections 2010, an online guide to Iraqi politics. 

Selected Publications: Yemen on the Brink, co-edited with Christopher Boucek (Carnegie, 2010); Getting to Pluralism: Political Actors in the Arab World, co-authored with Amr Hamzawy (Carnegie, 2009); Beyond the Façade: Political Reform in the Arab World, edited with Julia Choucair-Vizoso (Carnegie, 2008); Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East, edited with Thomas Carothers (Carnegie, 2005); Democracy Challenged: The Rise of Semi-Authoritarianism (Carnegie, 2003); Funding Virtue: Civil Society Aid and Democracy Promotion, edited with Thomas Carothers (Carnegie, 2000); Africa’s New Leaders: Democracy or State Reconstruction? (Carnegie, 1999)

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  • Mubarak Regime: Redux

    The Egyptian military has emerged as the most serious threat to the transition to democracy; ten months after helping ease Mubarak out of office, SCAF announcements leave no doubt that it intends to maintain its control indefinitely.

    • August 26, 2008

    Addressing the Democracy Dilemma in Iraq

    After the first large demonstrations organized by Shiite clerics in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked about the possibility that radical Islamists would rise to power. That, he answered, "ain't gonna happen, I just don't see how that's going to happen."

    • August 25, 2008

    Iraq's New Transition Plan: A Preliminary Analysis

    The Agreement on Political Process signed on November 15 by Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III for the Coalition Provisional Authority and by Jalal Talabani for the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) provides a much needed and long overdue roadmap for the restoration of sovereignty to an Iraqi government. Unfortunately, the agreement contains numerous clauses that will make implementation quite difficult.

    • August 25, 2008

    Rebuilding Local Government in Iraq

    In the months since the end of the war, the United States has set up scores of local councils in Iraq's cities and main towns, reaching an estimated 51 percent of the country's population. Put together under emergency conditions, the local councils are not elected, but selected by the civil affairs teams in consultation with Iraqis.

  • The Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative: A Hollow Victory for the United States

    The adoption of the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative by the Group of Eight Industrialized Nations (G-8) at their June 8-10 summit in Sea Island, Georgia represents a diplomatic victory for the United States. The initiative, however, is extremely unlikely to have a noticeable impact on political reform in the Middle East.

  • Can Its Middle East Policy Serve Democracy?

    Arabs often question the United States' commitment to promoting democracy in the Middle East, arguing its policies are inconsistent and even hypocritical. In reality, the commitment to democracy by President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is unquestionable, based on a genuine conviction that a democratic Middle East serves the security interests of the United States.

    • August 20, 2008

    Avoiding the Women's Rights Trap in the Middle East

    Women's rights in the Middle East remain severely restricted both by law and by social customs. Although some countries have made notable progress in broadening the formal rights of women, the application of the laws remains problematic everywhere. In the worst case, that of Saudi Arabia, both the law and social customs circumscribe women's life choices.

  • Iraq: U.S. Determination without Policy

    The situation in Iraq is bleak and policy is adrift. Constant changes in the nature of the conflict have undermined all measures put in place by the Bush administration. While showing great determination to stay in Iraq until the country is stable, President Bush does not have a policy to address the country's multiple conflicts.


Ph.D., Columbia University; University of Pavia, Italy

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Sada is an online journal rooted in Carnegie’s Middle East Program that seeks to foster and enrich debate about key political, economic, and social issues in the Arab world and provides a venue for new and established voices to deliver reflective analysis on these issues.

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