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Contentious Politics in the Middle EastPolitical Opposition under Authoritarianism$
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Holger Albrecht

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813034744

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813034744.001.0001

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Concluding Remarks

Concluding Remarks

Opposition in Support of the Arab State, Revisited

(p.229) Concluding Remarks
Contentious Politics in the Middle East

I. William Zartman

University Press of Florida

Robert Dahl's classic treatment of patterns of opposition in Western democracies sets the stage for some propositions and observations regarding the Arab experience. Firstly, the smaller the party, the more cohesive it is. Thus, opposition parties tend to be more cohesive than the Uncle Sasha's Store in the dominant parties. Secondly, in terms of competitiveness, Arab opposition parties add a new category of complementarity worth checking further against other countries' experiences. Thirdly, the executive is dominant because parliament is not. Fourthly, the Arab opposition is a nonstructural opposition in that it looks for office or policy changes, not systemic change, the Islamist oppositions being an exception. Finally, the opposition strategy is primarily either to gain entry into a coalition (strategy two in Dahl's categories) or at least to protect its existence (new strategy five), except—again—the Islamist opposition, which itself is torn between violent and demonstrative strategies.

Keywords:   Robert Dahl, Uncle Sasha's Store, dominant parties, Arab opposition parties, Islamist oppositions

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