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Federalism and Decentralization in the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa


Part of ASCL Studies in Comparative Law

Aslı Ü. Bâli, Omar M. Dajani, Philip G. Roeder, Will Kymlicka,Tom Ginsburg, Mona Harb, Sami Atallah, Kian Tajbakhsh, Ali Al-Mawlawi, Intissar Kherigi, Joost Jongerden, Peter Bartu, Aidan MacEachern, Sari Bashi, Dahlia Scheindlin, Omar Yousef Shehabi, George Anderson, Sujit Choudhry, Karim Mezran, Elissa Miller, Samer Araabi and Leila Hilal, Benoît Challand
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  • Date Published: January 2023
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108831239

£ 110.00

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About the Authors
  • This volume, the first of its kind in the English language, examines the law and politics of federalism and decentralization in the Middle East and North Africa. Comprised of eleven case studies examining the experience across the region, together with essays by leading scholars providing comparative and theoretical perspectives and a synthetic conclusion by the co-editors, the volume offers a textured portrait of the dilemmas of decentralization during a period of sweeping transition in the region. The collection addresses an important gap in the comparative decentralization literature, which has largely neglected the MENA region. Both retrospective and forward-looking in orientation, the book is a valuable resource not only for scholars of comparative politics, constitutional design, and Middle East studies, but also for policy makers evaluating the feasibility and efficacy of decentralization as a vehicle for improving governance and responding to identity conflict in any part of the world.

    • This is the first scholarly work entirely in the English language to address decentralization in the greater Middle East, filling a gap in comparative scholarship
    • Bridges two bodies of literature that are too infrequently in conversation with each other: studies that examine federalism and other forms of territorial pluralism as a framework for managing diversity in divided societies and those focused on decentralization as a device for improving public sector performance
    • Addresses a region infrequently studied in this context, also covering cases like Iran, Israel and Turkey that tend to be excluded from studies focused on the Arab world, thereby allowing for deep comparative analysis
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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2023
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108831239
    • length: 376 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.79kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: from revolution to devolution? Aslı Ü. Bâli and Omar M. Dajani
    Part I. Theoretical and Comparative Context:
    2. Decentralization to manage identity conflicts Philip G. Roeder
    3. Devolution and the promotion (or evasion) of minority rights Will Kymlicka
    4. Constitutional design options for territorial cleavages in the Middle East Tom Ginsburg
    5. How decentralization efforts have recentralized authority in the Arab world Mona Harb and Sami Atallah
    Part II. Decentralization and Governance Reform:
    6. Decentralization, ideology, and law in the Islamic Republic of Iran Kian Tajbakhsh
    7. Salvaging state legitimacy in Iraq through decentralization Ali Al-Mawlawi
    8. Decentralization Reforms in post-revolution Tunisia: the struggle between political and bureaucratic elites Intissar Kherigi
    Part III. Decentralization and Self-Determination:
    9. Autonomy beyond the state Joost Jongerden
    10. The Devil is in the details: Iraqi Kurdistan's evolving autonomy Peter Bartu and Aidan MacEachern
    11. Turkish Kurdistan: decentralization reimagined Aslı Ü. Bâli
    12. Control, responsibility, and the Israeli-Palestinian decentralization debacle Sari Bashi
    13. 'Stuck together': can a two-state confederation end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Omar M. Dajani and Dahlia Scheindlin
    14. 'Dans ses frontiers authentiques'? Morocco's advanced regionalization and the question of Western Sahara Omar Yousef Shehabi
    Part IV. Decentralization, Conflict, and State Fragmentation:
    15. Devolution and federalism in collapsed states: constitutional process and design George Anderson and Sujit Choudhry
    16. The promise – and limits – of stabilization through local governance in Libya Karim Mezran and Elissa Miller
    17. Decentralization in state disintegration: an examination of governance experiments in Syria Samer Araabi and Leila Hilal
    18. De-centralization in Yemen: the case of the federalist draft constitution of 2015 Benoît Challand
    Part V. Conclusions:
    19. Federalism and decentralization in the MENA region: types and trajectories Aslı Ü. Bâli and Omar M. Dajani.

  • Editors

    Aslı Ü. Bâli, University of California, Los Angeles
    Aslı Ü. Bâli co-chairs the Advisory Council for the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch, chairs the Middle East Studies Association's Global Academy and serves as a non-resident fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. She is also co-editor of Constitution Writing, Religion and Democracy (Cambridge, 2017).

    Omar M. Dajani, University of the Pacific, California
    Omar M. Dajani served as legal adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team in peace talks with Israel. He has continued to contribute to peacebuilding and legal infrastructure development projects for think tanks, governments, and international organizations.


    Aslı Ü. Bâli, Omar M. Dajani, Philip G. Roeder, Will Kymlicka,Tom Ginsburg, Mona Harb, Sami Atallah, Kian Tajbakhsh, Ali Al-Mawlawi, Intissar Kherigi, Joost Jongerden, Peter Bartu, Aidan MacEachern, Sari Bashi, Dahlia Scheindlin, Omar Yousef Shehabi, George Anderson, Sujit Choudhry, Karim Mezran, Elissa Miller, Samer Araabi and Leila Hilal, Benoît Challand

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