Copyright © 2004 International Development Options
All Rights Reserved
Volume Three Winter 2003-Spring 2004 Numbers 3-4.
THE TRIBAL STRAIGHTJACKET: PRE-MODERN CHALLENGES TO TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
DEVELOPMENT AND REFORM IN THE MENA REGION
Discipline of Government
and International Relations
University of Sydney
NSW 2006, Australia
Published online: February 10, 2017
Why are economic and political reforms proving so elusive in the Arab MENA countries? Recent international and regional reports have focused primarily on deficits in political freedoms, human rights and knowledge development in the region. This article argues that traditional tribal loyalties have been greatly underestimated as a socio-cultural impediment to economic, political, and institutional reforms. It examines the ways in which tribalism in MENA countries influences governmental and private behavior, undermining the rule of law and obstructing the implementation of structural reforms that are essential for these countries’ economic and human development.