Arab constitutions, for the most part, specify and guarantee human rights in their wordings. However, the reality of the individual in the Arab nation reveals something quite different from that which is written in the constitutions. The state is charged with providing citizens with sufficient opportunities by granting them the right to participate in political, economic, social and cultural life in addition to rendering the private life and private affairs of individuals inviolable. Arab regimes' commitment to democracy is tenuous and in the main, these regimes preserve reference to democracy in their constitutions simply as a means for improving the image of the regime and as a pro-forma attempt at applying a modus operandi of a modern state. Despite the fact that laws are promulgated to regulate political work, the press and media, and the institutions of civil society, they are deprived of their function and impact through superficial or highly restricted legislation. For more than five decades, academic researches and writings on the obstacles to transitioning to democracy have increased and multiplied; and various ideas and opinions on the subject have been advanced. This article attempts an explanation of the phenomenon of Arab authoritarianism which fostered the crisis of the ‘Arab Spring’ and explores the reasons for the failure of democracy in the region.

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