The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Arab Human Development Report is out

You can find it here. They've decided to make people pay ($10) for the English PDF version, but there a few details in the press kit. I'm hoping to get hold of a hardcopy tomorrow, so more on this later. A random quote from the press release:

The “Black Hole” State

Throughout the region, the concentration of power in the hands of the executive—be it a monarchy, military dictatorship, or a civilian president elected without competition—has created a kind of political “black hole” at the centre of Arab political life, the authors say.

“The modern Arab state, in the political sense, runs close to this astronomical model, whereby the Executive apparatus resembles a ‘black hole,’ which converts its surrounding social environment into a setting in which nothing moves and from which nothing escapes,” they write.

The executive authority at the centre of these “black hole states” prevents the judiciary from safeguarding the rights of the citizenry, the authors say. “Where there is conflict between a political regime unfettered by legal controls and the judiciary, whose independence is upheld in the constitution and law, the Arab regime swiftly sweeps aside the independence of the judiciary without any hesitation,” says the Report.

By the way, it came out under the UNDP after all, although something called the Gulf Research Center is handling distribution. You may remember we covered news earlier this year that the US, Israel and Egypt tried to squash the report at length.