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Reform within the System: Governance in Iraq and Lebanon

Cover of Reform within the System: Governance in Iraq and Lebanon
Publisher: SIPRI
December, 2021

The 2019 protests in Iraq and Lebanon revealed a widespread dissatisfaction with political systems based on sectarian and ethnosectarian power-sharing, which many saw as being responsible for a host of governance failures. This has given rise to demands for a wholesale change of the political systems in both countries. However, the dismantlement of identity-based power-sharing systems is a remote prospect—they are deeply entrenched, and change would depend on action from the very political elites that benefit from them.

Instead, this SIPRI Policy Paper explores what can be done in the short term to address some of the key challenges confronting Iraq and Lebanon. In contexts where the political elites’ grip on the political system remains tight, every possible opportunity for reform must be grasped.

Contents

1. Introduction    

2. Understanding the governance systems   

3. Socio-economic challenges and the state of public services    

4. Why is reform so difficult to achieve?

5. Opportunities for reform in complex contexts 

6. Conclusions   

7. Recommendations     

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)/EDITORS

Amal Bourhrous is a Researcher with SIPRI’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
Meray Maddah is a Research Assistant in SIPRI’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
Shivan Fazil is a Researcher with the Middle East and North Africa Programme at SIPRI.
Dr Dylan O’Driscoll is a Senior Researcher and Director of SIPRI’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Programme.