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Corruption and Informal Practices in the Middle East and North Africa
This book investigates the pervasive problem of corruption across the Middle East and North Africa. Drawing on the specifics of the local context, the book explores how corruption in the region is actuated through informal practices that coexist and work in parallel to formal institutions. When informal practices become vehicles for corruption, they can have negative ripple effects across many aspects of society, but on the other hand, informal practices could also have the potential to be leveraged to reinforce formal institutions to help fight corruption. Drawing on a range of cases, including Morocco, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Tunisia, and Israel, the book first explores the mechanisms and dynamics of corruption and informal practices in the region and then looks at the successes and failures of anti-corruption initiatives. The final section focuses both on gender perspectives on corruption, which are often overlooked in corruption literature, and on the role of women in the Middle East. With insights drawn from a range of disciplines, this book will be of interest to researchers and students across political science, philosophy, socio-legal studies, public administration, and Middle Eastern studies, as well as to policy makers and practitioners working in the region. Ina Kubbe, Postdoctoral Researcher, The School of Political Science, Government and International Affairs, Tel Aviv University, Israel. Aiysha Varraich, PhD candidate, Quality of Government Institute, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Routledge Corruption and Anti-Corruption Studies
The series features innovative and original research on the subject of corruption from scholars around the world. As well as documenting and analysing corruption, the series aims to discuss anti-corruption initiatives and endeavours, in an attempt to demonstrate ways forward for countries and institutions where the problem is widespread. The series particularly promotes comparative and interdisciplinary research targeted at a global readership. In terms of theory and method, rather than basing itself on any one orthodoxy, the series draws broadly on the tool kit of the social sciences in general, emphasizing comparison, the analysis of the structure and processes, and the application of qualitative and quantitative methods. Anti-Corruption in International Development Ingrida Kerusauskaite Corruption Scandals and their Global Impacts Edited by Omar E. Hawthorne and Stephen Magu Public Probity and Corruption in Chile Patricio Silva Corruption in Argentina Towards an Institutional Approach Natalia A. Volosin Corruption in a Global Context Restoring Public Trust, Integrity, and Accountability Edited by Melchior Powell, Dina Wafa, and Tim A. Mau Corruption and Informal Practices in the Middle East and North Africa Edited by Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich For more information about this series, please visit: www.routledge.com/ Routledge-Corruption-and-Anti-Corruption-Studies/book-series/RCACS
Corruption and Informal Practices in the Middle East and North Africa Edited by Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich
First published 2020 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2020 selection and editorial matter, Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-0-367-42226-4 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-367-82285-9 (ebk) Typeset in Goudy by ApexCoVantage, LLC
List of figuresvii List of tablesviii List of contributorsix Preface and acknowledgmentsxi Introduction
INA KUBBE AND AIYSHA VARRAICH
Conceptualising the mechanisms and dynamics of corruption and informal practices in the MENA region21 1 Dispersing the fog: a philosophical analysis of institutional corruption applied to the MENA region
GIZEM KAYA AND GEORGY KOPSHTEYN
2 Hamulas and structural corruption in the Middle East
MOHAMMED KHALAILY AND DORON NAVOT
3 Assessing the impact of sectarian patronage in Lebanon
4 Does wasta undermine support for democracy? Corruption, clientelism, and attitudes toward political regimes LINDSAY J. BENSTEAD, LONNA RAE ATKESON, AND MUHAMMAD ADNAN SHAHID
vi Contents PART II
Successes and failures of anti-corruption initiatives101 5 Sweeping under the rug: the limitations and failure of the formal fight against corruption in Morocco
ÁNGELA SUÁREZ-COLLADO AND SERGIO GARCÍA-RENDÓN
6 Old wine in new bottles? Corruption and neopatrimonial statehood in Turkey
DIGDEM SOYALTIN COLELLA
7 “Corruption Eruption”? The Israeli case
DORON NAVOT AND INA KUBBE
The way forward – empowering women as a tool to reduce corruption159 8 Is poor performance in gender equality linked to higher corruption in the Middle East?
9 Women, corruption, and wasta in Jordan: a case study in female elected representatives
DAVID JACKSON, SARAH A. TOBIN, AND JENNIFER PHILIPPA EGGERT
10 Between leadership and kinship: women empowerment in the GCC countries
RAHMA ABDULKADIR AND HENRIETTE MÜLLER
11 Support for gender quotas and perceived corruption in developing democracies: evidence from Lebanon
Conclusion and future prospects
INA KUBBE AND AIYSHA VARRAICH
0.1 0.2 1.1 1.2 1.3
3.1 5.1 5.2 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 11.1 11.2 11A
Corruption as an umbrella concept 4 Corruption as an umbrella concept, MENA country 9 CPI, MENA countries 25 World Press Freedom Index 36 Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Sustainability index, the Middle East and North Africa 37 Hezbollah’s legitimacy and sectarian patronage network, Lebanon73 Percentage of citizens that had to pay for a bribe at least once in the last year (2015) 109 Percentage of citizens that had to pay for a bribe at least once in the last year (2017) 114 Family backgrounds, GCC female leaders 194 Relationship between educational background and family background, GCC female leaders 196 Type of office, GCC states, 1970–2017 197 Primary type of office, GCC female leaders 198 Relationship between family background and employment in the public and private sectors 199 Relationship between family background and rank of leadership positions 200 Predicted probability of support for female quota systems based on citizens’ perceptions of female politicians as less corrupt216 Predicted probability of support for female quota systems based on citizens’ perceived levels of corruption 217 Support for women’s political leadership in MENA Arab Barometer Wave III, measured by whether the respondent agree that men are better at political leadership than women 220
3.1 Hezbollah schools 70 4.1 Determinants, support for democracy 86 4A.1 Arab Barometer Wave 91 4A.2 Question wording for independent variables 91 4A.3 Descriptive statistics 93 5.1 CPI, Morocco, 1998–2017 109 8.1 Explaining individual attitudes, accepting a bribe 166 8.2a Explaining lower corruption, MENA countries 167 8.2b Explaining lower corruption, MENA countries 167 8.2c Explaining lower corruption, MENA countries 167 10.1 Overview expected outcomes 193 11.1 Control of corruption, CPI, and Freedom House scores, MENA countries 212 11.2 Determinants of gender stereotypes (OLS regression) 213 11.3 Determinants of Support for Gender Quotas (logistic regression)215 11A Summary statistics 221
Editors Ina Kubbe, Postdoctoral researcher, The School of Political Science, Government and International Affairs, Tel Aviv University, Israel Aiysha Varraich, PhD candidate, Quality of Government Institute, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Contributors Rahma Abdulkadir, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, New York University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Amy Alexander, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, and research fellow, Quality of Government Institute, University of Gothenburg, Sweden Lonna Rae Atkeson, Professor and Regents’ Lecturer, Department of Political Science, and Director, Center for the Study of Voting, Elections, and Democracy (C-SVED), The University of New Mexico, USA Lindsay J. Benstead, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, and Interim Director, Middle East Studies Center (MECS), Portland State University, USA Jennifer Philippa Eggert, Head of Research, Humanitarian Academy for Development, UK Sergio García-Rendón, Researcher, Centro Internacional de Estudios Políticos y Sociales (CIEPS), Panamá. David Jackson, Senior Advisor, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway
x Contributors Gizem Kaya, MA candidate, Department of Philosophy, University of Potsdam, Germany Mohammed Khalaily, PhD candidate, School of Political Science, University of Haifa, Israel Georgy Kopshteyn, PhD candidate, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London, UK Henriette Müller, Visiting Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies, New York University Abu Dhabi, UAE Doron Navot, Senior Lecturer, Department of Government and Political Theory, School of Political Science, University of Haifa, Israel Muhammad Adnan Shahid, PhD candidate, Department of Economics, The University of New Mexico, USA Marwa Shalaby, Anna Julia Cooper fellow and Assistant Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of WisconsinMadison, USA Digdem Soyaltin Colella, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Altınbaş University, Turkey Ángela Suárez-Collado, Postdoctoral research fellow, Political Science and Public Administration, University of Salamanca, Spain Sarah A. Tobin, Anthropologist, Senior Researcher, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway Patty Zakaria, Faculty Member, University Canada West, Research Manager at Ghubril Ltd., Canada
Preface and acknowledgments
This book is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of corruption. It arose from the “Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network” (www.icrnetwork. org), which comprises young corruption researchers from different disciplinary, national and cultural backgrounds. We believe that exchange and collaboration are paramount to foster the understanding of the complex and socially harmful phenomenon of corruption. Our vision is to reconcile varying perspectives of corruption into a constructive outlet for the progression of scientific research on corruption. Our objectives are to cultivate underdeveloped perspectives and broaden the trajectory of the corruption discourse, to expand collaborative opportunities across professional and disciplinary boundaries and to maintain independence against institutional constraints on membership eligibility, research and policy priorities. The overarching goal of our network is to enhance the quality of scientific research on corruption, its sources and consequences, as well as that of good governance, with the ambition to boost its application in the policy-making and implementation domains. We are especially proud of this book because it brings together a rare combination of scholars from a region marked by persistent conflicts and instability. This combination tends to be rare because of the current Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDC) movement, upheld by a large number of scholars working on the Middle East. We would like to highlight that researching corruption in fragile regions remains an area with risks and that scholars may suffer from their engagement in such research. We thank these researchers who continue to follow their passion and seek to find solutions to the problem of corruption. First and foremost, we would like to thank our contributors for their chapters, without which this book would not be possible, thank you for joining us on this incredibly exciting journey that now comes to its fruition. We also owe a great debt to our anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments which helped refine and polish the end result. We would like to extend special gratitude to colleagues at the Quality of Government Institute, who encouraged the project and provided valuable feedback, especially at the project’s inception, and who remain a constant source of support and intellectual family. Also, we extend our gratitude to the team at Routledge
xii Preface and acknowledgments for their enthusiastic and professional support – particularly the series editor, Helena Hurd, who from the get-go remained optimistic and encouraging of this project and guided us through all the stages of the publication process. Special thanks to Annika Engelbert and Oksana Huss for their helpful comments and thorough proofreading and to all who supported us to get this book published. Finally, to our families, partners and friends who make it all worthwhile in the end – thank you for being our support system. Kashif, thank you, for the constant sanity checks, hugs and laughs that get me through it all. Yonathan, thank you for all your love, calmness and patience. Ina Kubbe, Tel Aviv, Israel Aiysha Varraich, Gothenburg, Sweden
Introduction Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich
Why study corruption and informal practices in the Middle East and North Africa? Let us start with the good news – since the Arab Spring in 2011 there has been a concerted effort to tackle corruption in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).1 Countries across the region have adopted laws to address corruption and set up anti-corruption bodies – e.g. the United Arab Emirates has drafted a federal anti-corruption law, which is expected to call for the establishment of a Federal Authority for Combatting Corruption and measures to protect whistleblowers (Feghali 2014). Qatar has established an anti-corruption watchdog to oversee its state institutions and probe into any abuses of state funds, whereas Oman has taken senior public officials to trial on charges of offering or accepting bribes in exchange for contracts (Aboudi 2014). The less uplifting news is that not much has changed. The Arab Spring brought the proverbial cat out of the box and placed corruption at centre stage after a Tunisian street peddler self-immolated in protest at the daily corruption he faced in running his small business. However, in 2015, four years after the event, almost one in three people in the MENA still paid a bribe to access basic services such as health care, education or water (Transparency International 2016). The region as a whole has remained at similar, if not increasing (Pring 2016), levels of corruption, with the latest survey results painting a dire picture, despite regional variation, of the overall anti-corruption efforts as failing (Transparency International 2019). With an average score of 39 (on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean), on the Corruption Perceptions Index (2018), the countries of the MENA region place behind the Americas and Asian Pacific regions that show an average score of 44. This means that the MENA countries perform only slightly better than Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with an average score of 35, and sub-Saharan Africa, with an average score of 32 (Transparency International 2019). We argue that one central reason for the failure of anti-corruption strategies is the lack of context-specific approaches, where different countries may suffer from different types of corruption. In a recent issue of the New Yorker Siddhartha Mukherjee uses Paget’s “seed and soil” theory to highlight the importance of considering both “seed” and “soil” in
2 Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich order to understand not only how the “seed” develops dependent on its environment but also how important understanding the “soil” is, in order to understand how the seed develops and effectively how to tackle the behaviour of the “seed”. Similarly, like seeds growing in different soils, corruption (seed), too, takes different shapes in different environments (soils). Taking heed of this, our book draws attention to the need to consider a context-specific, regional approach for tackling corruption, which is imperative in order to design effective anti-corruption policies. By emphasising the importance of domestic factors, we take forward the argument that the success of anti-corruption reforms cannot always be translated from one setting to the next, and that domestic circumstances matter. Whenever corruption in the MENA is mentioned in the scholarly literature, it is often hand in hand with an informal practice. One such practice is that of wasta – found across countries in the region, such as Lebanon, Jordan or Saudi Arabia. Wasta is an informal practice rooted in the region’s tribal history, referring to one’s personal network, often used to solve different situations – ranging from matters of reducing red tape in bureaucratic processes to gaining a visa to emigrate (Osella 2014). Originally, it was used as a means of conflict resolution, and even today it plays an imperative part in out of court settlements (Al-Ramahi 2008). Wasta’s effects can be both positive or negative. Colloquially it is referred to as “Vitamin W” or “vitamin Wow” because it is considered a necessary part of life, likened to an essential supplement needed in order to get things done. The term itself, wasta, comes from the Arabic root for “middle” or “medium” (Al-Rahami 2008; Redman 2019 in the Global Informality Project, in-formality. com). We present an example of wasta in action in the next paragraph. A young girl in Tripoli, Lebanon, is in urgent need of medical attention. She has been admitted to the hospital for chronic pain and food poisoning. The treatment requires her to be in the hospital for five days. The girl is admitted and receives treatment, after which her mother is handed a bill in the amount of 600 liras (about US$107) (120 liras / US$21 per day). However, neither mother nor daughter can afford to pay the outstanding bill because of its steep cost. The concerned mother contacts the family pediatrician, who also happens to be the head of the hospital’s pediatrics department. She asks for help in settling the bill, explaining that she cannot afford the steep cost – in effect, invoking a wasta favour. Acting as a wasta, the contact makes a few phone calls, including one to the hospital administration, which results in the bill being reduced to a minimum of 120 liras – a sum that the mother then pays.2 To the readers of this book, this will not echo of impartiality in the exercise of public power. In fact, it may confound one, because one would not know whether to label the exchange as corrupt or merely as an example of “pulling strings” to alleviate a situation (De Sousa 2008). This example is a regular feature of the daily lives of many citizens in the Middle East. It demonstrates the pressures under which an informal practice is used – in this case to access health care, what Ledeneva would label a lifecycle need (1998, p. 118). It also illustrates how two systems between citizens and the
Introduction 3 public administration (modern/rational and traditional family/tribal) coexist and operate side by side. In this case, the hospital services are part and parcel of the modern public service provided to the citizens, whereas the informal practice of wasta is an example of a traditional informal practice. Here the use of one (wasta) enables access to the other (health care provision). The mother did not pay a bribe; instead she made use of an informal practice to surpass the formal institutional set-up, provoking an ambiguity as to the legitimacy of the informal practice itself. Is it an informal practice or is it corruption? This example highlights the overlap between two concepts – that of corruption and informal practices and it also highlights the difficulty in separating the two concepts from one another. This ambiguity is found across the literature as well, where corruption is used as an umbrella term while the analysis taking place is that of an informal practice, often painting a uniform picture of a region that has an immense variation, leaving readers with an impression that the MENA region is a monolith suffering from conflict, corruption and a plethora of informal practices. Often, informal practices and corruption are treated as one and the same. There is no separation of the two concepts, instead they are conflated with one another, or worse used interchangeably (Barnett et al. 2013; Al-Saleh 2016; Sapsford et al. 2019). This nexus between the two concepts of corruption and informal practices, although explored by Alena Ledeneva in the context of post-communist states, specifically Russia (1998, 2006, 2008) in the context of China by Mayfair Mei-hui Yang (1994, 2002), or in Mexico and Tanzania by both Claudia Baez-Camargo and Alena Ledeneva (2017). It remains limited and underexplored in the scholarship on the Middle East region. We define corruption as the absence of impartiality in the exercise of public power and informal practices as practices that coexist and work in parallel to formal institutions. Informal practices are difficult to capture empirically and isolate from formal practices as well as corrupt acts (see discussion in “what is corruption” and “what are informal practices”). Nevertheless, they play a significant role in explaining corruption and require particular consideration. In order to bring some clarity and understanding to the nexus between corruption and informal practices we make use of the model forwarded by Varraich (2014) that uses corruption as an umbrella concept which shares conceptual space with side-lying concepts that are often treated as one and the same because of their family resemblance. These side-lying/sister concepts include clientelism, patrimonialism, particularism, and patronage. These concepts are independent concepts in their own right, separate from corruption, and are not necessarily part and parcel of corruption. The model allows for a deeper understanding of how corruption and (in this case let us continue to use the example of wasta) clientelism coexist, and enables an analysis where the overlap can be explored while showing the presence of the clientelistic concept of wasta existing in its own right, simply as a network, affording a connectedness to citizens, in order to tackle their day to day needs. Our point of departure in defining corruption is as an absence of impartiality in the exercise of public power. That said, we do not
4 Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich intend to offer strict demarcations of definitions, if anything, we are trying to capture the ground reality, for which we first offer a springboard of a conceptual exercise where corruption is examined at two levels – both from the perspective of the actors themselves, simultaneously with the conditioning of corruption by the institutional setting (see Chapter 1). This approach allows us to understand how people in the Middle East experience their realities, and how they participate in politics, as well as what their expectations are from their local settings. Collectively we offer a snapshot into the region by analysing the conceptual space that these concepts share with corruption, in the shape of informal practices. Using this framework of corruption as an umbrella concept helps underscore the types of corruption and informal practices that permeate the MENA region, as well as shed light as to why informal practices in the region so often get clustered in with corruption. Each chapter, in one way or another, explores the overlap between corruption and informal practices, most of the informal practices falling within the side-lying concepts (see shaded areas in Figure 0.1).
Figure 0.1 Corruption as an umbrella concept Source: Taken from Varraich (2014, p. 14)
Introduction 5 Also, importantly, our book gives insight into why some anti-corruption strategies and reforms have been successful and others not. It is important to explore this nexus between corruption and informal practices in order to fully understand the extent of corruption in the region and how it operates. And finally, in a region known for its gender disparity, our book explores what role, if any, do and can women play in the field of anti-corruption? The central contribution of our book is to further the understanding of how citizens approach corruption in their day to day life, and how, once the role of informal practices is clarified and differentiated, these informal practices continue to exist in parallel to the formal institutional set-ups in these countries. Before elaborating on the structure of this book and how and where the chapters fit into this framework, let us give a brief overview of the extant scholarship on both corruption and informal practices. What is corruption? Corruption as a research strand has been growing exponentially over the past decades (Shleifer and Vishny 1993; Jain 2001; Heidenheimer and Johnston 2002; Rothstein and Varraich 2017). The focus on the MENA has also been evident in the literature, where case studies of countries have been growing (Lust 2016; Ruiz de Elvira et al. 2018). In much of the literature the resource curse of oil is forwarded as a central explanation for the persistence of corruption in the MENA region, coupled with the authoritarian governance systems, with an absence of fine grain analysis of the countries, that account for the regional variation. According to the Arab Barometer3 (2012–2014 and 2016), the primary concern of citizens in the region pertain to addressing financial and administrative corruption, as well as achieving stability and internal security. Specifically, when citizens were asked to choose the two most important challenges facing their country, the respondents overwhelmingly cited corruption as the top challenge to the region with security coming a close second.4 The overall impressions of the prevalence of corruption in the Middle East appears, misguidedly, to be uniform across national contexts. However, there is a large variation within the region, evidenced by survey responses to the question of “to what extent is corruption prevalent within state agencies and institutions,” where one set of countries overwhelmingly answered “too a large extent”,5 whereas the other set of respondents found there to be very little truth to that statement.6 However, as Ramady points out, the data garnered from polls may not be accurately capturing the true extent of corruption as it may be taking place through informal practices, specifically in cases such as the UAE and Qatar, all countries that fare better in the corruption rankings (2016). The perception of how much respective governments are working to fight corruption also varies across the region, with a little more than half the population in Lebanon believing that the government does not take any steps at all. The number answering in the same vein drops to 34 per cent in Tunisia, 32 per cent in Algeria, 28 per cent in Palestine, 21 per cent in Egypt, 18 per cent in Jordan and 14 per cent in Morocco
6 Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich the lower numbers reflecting higher trust in governments trying to combat corruption (Arab Barometer 2016). This begs the question, how exactly is corruption understood? Although the exercise of defining a concept seems to belong to the purviews of academia, it plays a vital role in the design of social policy – without which policy lacks direction and resorts to taking a blue-print, one-size-fits-all approach, which has been the case for the anti-corruption and good governance policy agenda thus far – and one that has not been very successful (Rothstein and Varraich 2017). The complexity of corruption as a concept is not disputed, and the difficulties of providing a definition that can be used across disciplines and subfields has seen many attempts (Heidenheimer and Johnston 2002; Rothstein and Varraich 2017; Van den Berg and Noorderhaven 2016; Kurer 2005). The way we define the concept can have various consequences. One such consequence is the perception of the prevalence of corruption in society. Van den Berg and Noorderhaven argue that the manner in which corruption is defined affects how widespread society perceives the phenomenon to be – if a narrow definition is construed, then it can lead people to “conclude that it is a marginal phenomenon that does not warrant a prominent place on the political agenda” or, if it is widely defined then it may “instead appear to be a widespread problem” (van den Berg and Noorderhaven 2016, p. 19). Most often, the definition that we come across is a narrow, legalistic one – which is limited to bribery and pecuniary matters – such as kickbacks, “sweetening the deal,” “tea money” etc. This leaves out the broader types of corruption that are experienced across contexts, including by the people of the MENA region – in the form of informal practices such as hamula (Khlaile and Navot, Chapter 2), wasta (Benstead et al., Chapter 4; David et al., Chapter 9) and patrimonialism (Zakaria, Chapter 3; Soyaltin Collela, Chapter 6). The prevailing standard definition in the contemporary scholarship on corruption, and one that appears to be accepted as such, is the one forwarded by the renowned legal scholar Susan Rose-Ackerman, she defines corruption as “the abuse of public authority for private gain” (1978, Chapter 2). This definition is used by many of our own contributors to this book. However, the definition lacks precision because it does not define what “abuse” constitutes by the public official. It merely places corruption within the public sphere, and separates it from the private, as such it is a very broad definition that requires qualification before being able to be used. A breakdown that if useful for our purposes is that offered by Heidenheimer (1970), who offers us three broad types of definitions that can be used to demarcate corruption: 1
Public-office-centred definitions: “[D]efinitions of corruption that relate most essentially to the concept of public office and to deviations from norms binding upon its incumbents . . . Corruption, although being tied particularly to the act of bribery, is a general term covering misuse of authority as a result of considerations of personal gain, which need not be monetary.” Market-centred definitions: “[A] corrupt civil servant regards his public office as a business, the income of which he will . . . seek to maximise. The office
then becomes a – maximising unit” (Van Klaveren 1957), or as Leff (1964, p. 8) points out: “Corruption is an extralegal institution used by individuals or groups to gain influence over the actions of the bureaucracy. As such the existence of corruption per se indicates only that these groups participate in the decision-making process to a greater extent than would otherwise be the case.” Public-interest-centred definitions: “The pattern of corruption can be said to exist whenever a power holder who is charged with doing certain things, i.e. who is a responsible functionary or office holder, is by monetary or other rewards not legally provided for, induced to take actions which favour whoever provides the rewards and thereby does damage to the public and its interests.”
The definition that we use as a springboard to understanding corruption is the absence of impartiality in the exercise of public authority (Kurer 2005; Holmberg and Nasiritousi 2008). There are a number of reasons why we prefer to use this definition as a starting point instead of the one offered by Rose-Ackerman. First of all, it falls within two of Heidenheimer’s types of definitions, it is at once public-office-centred as well as public-interest-centred. The abuse of power, in the form of partiality, is exercised by the public official, and it is breaching the trust of people and affecting the public interest – as it leaves citizens in a position where they are not treated equally. In this case, the public interest is defined by society, or rather what the citizens of a society consider to be the “good society”. It is this benchmark that the public interest measures actions against. Simultaneously, it considers the behavioural aspects of public officials in their professional capacity. What are informal practices? Type in “informal practices and corruption” in Google Scholar and you receive a little more than half a million search results. In these results there is an overwhelming focus on informal practices in the post-communist states, Russia and China. By informal practices, we mean those practices that coexist and work in parallel to formal institutions, many a times underpinned by social norms (see also Kubbe and Engelbert 2018). Examples of these include the informal practices of wasta,7 baksheesh8 or hamula – all of which are integral parts of daily life in the Middle East. Or to borrow from Ledeneva’s definition, informal practices are “people’s regular strategies to manipulate or exploit formal rules by enforcing informal norms and personal obligations in formal contexts” (2008, p. 119). There has been much written about informal practices (see Eisenstadt and Roniger 1984; Ledeneva 2006; Ledeneva 2008; Robinson 2007; Ledeneva 2013). Renowned scholars such as Eisenstadt and Roniger (1984) explore the settings of the Middle East in relation to the patron-client relationships in their seminal work Patrons, Clients and Friends. However, they concentrate on the types of clientelism found across the countries, with a strong focus on the actors themselves,
8 Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich especially types of patrons that exist. Although written in 1984, the book is one of a kind in that it provides a fine-grained analysis of each country in the region. That said, its outlook is more historical than contemporary and in need of revision. The latest volume that comes close to providing a closer look at the region is that by Ruiz de Elvira et al. (2018). It provides case studies on clientelism and patronage, where many times these concepts are presented hand in hand with corruption. The drawback with this approach is that it equates corruption and clientelism as one and the same, whereas the two are independent concepts in their own right and not interchangeable (Varraich 2014). The two concepts most certainly share space; however, this does not come through in the above volume. The overarching literature found on informal practices in the MENA region pertains to the practice of wasta, i.e. of “pulling strings”, especially its economic implications. In order to obtain government documents, official approvals, gain access to basic social services, secure a spot in a university, or find a job, Middle Easterners routinely rely on personal connections and bribery, in the form of wasta and/or hamula. It is an informal practice, wherein one uses their connections to resolve matters that cannot be done on one’s own. It helps to circumvent bureaucracy or bypass the system as a whole (Ramady 2016), much like blat and guanxi practiced in Russia and China. Due to the prevalence of wasta in the region as well as its extensive coverage in the literature, we use this as our primary example to demonstrate how the model of corruption as an umbrella concept is to be thought of, in the following section. Exploring the nexus between corruption and informal practices Despite the development of the two research strands in their own right, there is a dearth of research on the nexus of informal practices and corruption in the Middle East. It is this void that we address in this book. An additional concern we address is the ethnocentrism prevalent in the scholarship, where previous theories have largely been developed by Western scholars, and mainly refer to structures and circumstances that are typical in Western societies, leaving out the intricacies that matter in non-western settings (Al-Ramahi 2008). They do not, or do so to a lesser extent, consider the character, nature, dynamics and ways in which informal practices and corruption are formed in this region. Furthermore, it is still not clear where informal practices stop and where corruption begins (see for example Baez-Camargo and Ledeneva 2017). Using corruption as an umbrella concept we hope to bring clarity and separation to the overlap between corruption and informal practices. The model enables us to explore the overlaps shared by corruption and informal practices, specifically in a manner where both corruption and respective informal practice can exist in their own right but, as the Venn-diagram shows, how in this overlap the concepts merge together and are interchangeably used because of the family resemblance inherent in their core understanding. Below, we have visually allocated the chapters into the “overlap” within which they belong.
Introduction 9 However, to elaborate on the usefulness of the model, we will utilise the example of wasta as an informal practice and how, at times, this can be critiqued as corruption. Reliance on personal connections is common practice throughout the world – it is part and parcel of human interaction. This reliance on personal networks exists in the West in the form of “old boys” networks, fraternity networks as well as more institutionalised forms such as Rotary International, Kiwanis and even churches of different denominations. The reliance on these networks in the West tend to be limited to help reduce the cost of communicating and transacting where complex cultural norms are involved (Barnett et al. 2013). Another point of differentiation is that in the West, the role of these connections unfold at the higher echelons of society, including in hiring practices, where it does not affect the lives of the average citizen. Outside the Western context, however, these personal networks tend to have labels, and many times are also governed by a set of implicit conditions between the parties using them. One example is the informal practice of the Chinese guanxi which is dictated by a set of moral obligations understood by both parties. This, as well as informal practices such as blat and wasta are consistently analysed using the framework of clientelism, mainly because of their character as dyadic relationships, centred on exchange between two people of unequal power (that power can stem from political power, religion,
Khalaily and Navot (chapter 2 Benstead et al. (chapter 4) Suarez-Collado and Garcia-Rendon (chapter 5) Jackson et al. (chapter 9) Clientelism
Zakaria (chapter 3)
Soyaln-Collalo (chapter 6) Figure 0.2 Corruption as an umbrella concept, MENA country
10 Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich economic position etc.). In the context of the MENA, informal practices play a profound role, especially in structuring access to opportunities. Sixty percent surveyed noted the widespread use of wasta in obtaining jobs; in the cases of Lebanon and Jordan, this number reached as high as 79 percent and 70 percent, respectively. According to a 2014 Governance and Local Development (GLD) survey of Jordanians, drawn primarily from rural areas, 42 percent of Jordanians surveyed responded that wasta was very useful for obtaining a job in the government sector, and 25 percent stated wasta to be essential. For ordinary citizens, who lack the connections of elites to top officials and power holders and have limited material resources, the prevalence of wasta in their social and economic systems is exhausting and frustrating at best, and often means restricted possibilities for social advancement and overall improved well-being (Lust 2016). However, this does not stop them from using wasta when and where they can. Wasta does not guarantee equal opportunities – implying that if basic services, jobs, administrative paperwork and other key aspects are shaped by wasta, then there is a sense that the practice can leave some people “out in the cold” (Khalaily and Navot, Chapter 2; Jackson et al., Chapter 7). Moreover, fulfilling wasta requests can also lead to outright corruption. Wasta-based interference in administrative practices in Jordan has been identified as a conduit for widespread nepotism, fraud in procurement processes and the selling of public land, as well as miscarriages of justice (Al-Saleh 2016). We do not contend that informal practices in and of themselves to be detrimental, in fact, informal practices can be prone to both positive and negative externalities and many shades in between (Ramady 2016). The bright side of wasta include a number of points, such as a high levels of trust and solidarity between the involved actors and/ or network members, a high level of sociability, a reduction of transaction costs as well as the reduction free-riding by network members. Furthermore, wasta can be viewed as a form of government responsiveness and system stabilisation (Benstead et al., Chapter 4). One of the oldest functions of wasta, that still prevails today, and exists within the realm of clientelism, as a concept of its own, is its function as a tool of conflict resolution. This function is one that has recently been advocated to be used in arbitration processes in the Arab world, in order to ensure both arbitration parties that justice has been done (Al-Rahami 2008). Its positive functions also extend to providing societal stability through a link between individual and nation, as its origins lie within the family structure. However, today the net cast by wasta can include friends and acquaintances as well (Cunningham and Sarayrah 1994). Another positive aspect of wasta is enhanced representation (Jackson et al., Chapter 9). The cause for concern piques when informal practices such as wasta operate within a grey zone, where the lack of wasta can limit the access of citizens to basic services, such as health care or education, effectively inserting partiality in the exercise of power: the health care provider no longer acts impartially towards citizens in need. When informal practices are levied in this manner, they not only function as vehicles of corruption but also convolute the
Introduction 11 understanding and detection of corruption. This separation of informal practices and corruption is well captured by the economists Andy Barnett, Bruce Yandle and George Naufal, who also detail the differences between the informal practice of wasta and that of corruption: wasta is celebrated. Indeed, wasta is often a source of pride and prestige for both the waseet and for those who gain favourable treatment via wasta. Further, nepotism, bribery and other types of corruption are typically characterised by a quid pro quo. Direct reciprocity is not a requirement of wasta. Instead, reciprocity comes in the form of an implicit obligation to provide aid when requested by the other members of a specific social network. (Barnett et al. 2013, p. 6) Barnett et al. (2013) explore what they term “the simple economics of wasta” tracing the evolution of the practice, reasons for its persistence in the Arab world as well as examining it as a tribal social insurance system. The authors use a predominantly orientalist view of the practice where they denote wasta as a product of the “primitive” times, and as a result of the “harsh environments” (2013, p. 14). This kind of outlook lacks historical grasp of this region as one that has had thriving civilisations that served as centres of scientific enquiry and levels of governance that resemble those of today’s Western counterparts (Al-Khalili 2010), which results in a “us” and “them” attitude in policy formation, where local cultures and informal institutions are automatically pushed aside and considered primitive instead of trying to harness the original power that these informal institutions may carry. Others equate the practice with corruption for lack of a fuller understanding of the social and contextual implications of its existence. The few works that take a non-economic approach are anthropological analyses of the practice, focusing on whether wasta in and of itself is a truly bad practice (Lackner 2016) or if it has largely been given a bad name due to the shared conceptual space it has with corruption (Ramady 2016). Furthermore, similar practices exist among the Jewish population in Israel, in the form of protektzia, or locally known as Vitamin P. However, this hardly features in the existing literature. Danet elaborates on how ingrained the system of protektzia is in Israel, so much so, that it is seen as a second culture, where particularism takes precedence over universalism, calling it biculturalism (1990, p. 912), whereas Izraeli highlights the role of protektzia as an informal practice within business circles in Israel (Danet 1990; Izraeli 1997). The presence of protektzia is so prevalent, that it is given full coverage in a handbook of how to conduct business and etiquette in Israel as a foreigner (Rosenthal 2008). Another informal practice often used in Israel and which is similar to protektzia is called “combina” which refers to an “unofficial creative solution to a problem”9. This general lack of coverage within the literature can be seen as a reflection of the prevailing political climate, where Israel is touted as a stable democracy in the region by its stronger allies (such as the US), that benefit from a certain
12 Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich international image being upheld. This is in contrast to the coverage of executive corruption scandals (as covered by Navot and Kubbe in Chapter 7) that regularly show up in the media. Perhaps this is more politically acceptable, that grand corruption is able to take place anywhere, including Israel, but the idea of an informal practice such as protektzia, that not only borders on corruption but may in fact be a type of corruption, permeates throughout Israeli society may be seen as something not to be brought to the spotlight because it would put Israel’s standing at par, and not any different from its regional neighbours. It highlights how this informal practice is ingrained in the society that its absence will have a significant effect on the life of its citizens. As pointed out by Lackner (2016) there is an over representation of Jordan in studies of informal practices, specifically of wasta. Our book helps address this overrepresentation with contributions covering countries such as Morocco, Israel and Turkey from different disciplines and practitioners in the field, effectively providing a book with input from political science, philosophy and sociology, but also offering different theoretical, empirical and methodological approaches from different countries across the MENA, not just limited to Jordan. This combination, of alternative perspectives from 21 individual researchers and practitioners, can be used for innovative analysis and solution strategies at the individual (e.g. citizens, political leaders), institutional (e.g. political parties, organisations, institutions) and national levels. Furthermore, it enables the reader to appreciate the cross-disciplinary understandings of the subject matter while gaining a holistic, context-sensitive understanding of corruption and informal practices in the region. In particular, our book helps to shed light on how informal practices can become vehicles of corruption, allowing the two concepts to exist in their own right, whereas fleshing out, with examples, how and why informal practices such as wasta and corruption overlap. Overall, this amalgamation of methodologies, disciplines, local and geographical contexts as well as research from both academia and the policy spheres help the reader understand the far reaches of corruption as a concept but also its “real life” context. Structure of the book Our book is divided into three parts and consists of eleven chapters that focus on the following guiding questions: (1) What types of corruption and informal practices permeate the MENA region?, (2) why do informal practices in the region so often get clustered in with corruption?, (3) why have some anti-corruption strategies and reforms been successful and others not? and (4) in a region known for its gender disparity, what role, if any, do and can women play in the field of anti-corruption? Part I of the book, “Conceptualising the mechanisms and dynamics of informal practices and corruption in the Middle East”, lays the foundation of the book, setting out certain types of formal and informal practices found in the region and offers an analytical framework to capture these phenomena.
Introduction 13 Chapter 1 by Gizem Kaya and Georgy Kopshteyn, “Dispersing the fog: A philosophical analysis of institutional corruption applied to the MENA region”, provides a functional analysis of corruption, which is both normatively guiding and culturally sensitive. Their reference point is the phenomenon of institutional corruption while their working definition of corruption conceives corruption as a violation of role-specific norms that is motivated by the role-occupier’s urge for personal gain. In an attempt to offer a holistic approach, corruption is viewed at two levels – external and internal. On the external level, they begin with an investigation of features within a norm-order that typically instantiate corruption. They argue that corruption is externally conditioned by an authority’s inability to enforce and (re)establish the norms of conduct that ought to be action-guiding in office. This changes the expectability-structure within a normorder and erodes public trust in the authorities, giving rise to willing perpetrators. Complementing this, the internal level of their framework emphasises the motivational deficits of corrupt acts. They argue that this deficit can typically be found in societies that lack civic virtues. This, they suspect, is the functional reason for why corrupt societies have such a hard time to overcome the problem: they lack both features and are, as a consequence, caught in a vicious cycle as they struggle to strengthen civil society at the same time as trying to consolidate institutional structures, whereas corruption increasingly becomes accepted reality. Chapter 2, “Hamulas and structural corruption in the Middle East”, by Mohammed Khalaily and Doron Navot, sheds light on the nature of political corruption in the Middle East, focusing on the Arab minority in Israel, Jordan and the Gulf States. Khalaily and Navot contend that institutions’ status in relationship to indigenous agents is central to understanding the pervasiveness of corruption in the region. Their main argument is that corrupt patterns of governance are a form of political order in the region, specifically that corruption is rooted in social units – call them tribes, clans, hamula (Middle Eastern patrilineages) – which rely on kinship and blood ties, and additional traits such as a common religion and culture. Due to the adaptability of these social changes, Khalaily and Navot argue that even if the arrangements between the state and local groups have changed because of the Arab Spring, there are limited reasons for optimism about reducing corruption in the region. In Chapter 3 “Assessing the impact of sectarian patronage in Lebanon”, by Patty Zakaria explains the rise of corruption in the post-war era within national elections in Lebanon. Zakaria argues that patronage goes beyond political favouritism and clientelism, and extends to the provision of public services, such as education or health. Since the government has become incapable of providing these services, various political entities such as political leaders and parties, have stepped in to provide these services. For example, Hezbollah and the Hariri family have provided many social welfare services to specific segments of the population as part of this patronage network system in the country. The chapter presents an input-output-ripple-effect model of the patronage system in Lebanon’s national elections with a specific focus on Future Movement and Hezbollah.
14 Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich In Chapter 4, Lindsay J. Benstead, Lonna Rae Atkenson and Muhammad Adnan Shahid address the question “Does wasta undermine support for democracy?” and provide evidence from the Arab World. In contrast to anecdotal evidence and the experience of the Arab Spring, the authors find that corruption control and satisfaction with the current, authoritarian governments are positively related to support for democracy. Using Arab Barometer data from 38 surveys in fourteen nations (2006–2016), they find that perceived corruption control, freer elections and satisfaction with the non-democratic government are positively related to support for democracy. They draw on literature that suggests that perceived corruption undermines regime legitimacy and fosters ambivalence about whether transparency would improve if free elections were implemented. Receiving clientelistic services does not impact support for democracy, suggesting that it functions as a form of system performance. Part II, “Successes and failures of anti-corruption initiatives”, shifts attention to anti-corruption initiatives in Morocco, Turkey and Israel. The authors demonstrate in what instances anti-corruption policies have fared well whereas in others they have had limited effects, or no effect at all. In Chapter 5, “Sweeping under the rug: the limitations and failure of the formal fight against corruption in Morocco”, Ángela Suárez-Collado and Sergio García-Rendón analyse different attempts by the monarchy to control corruption in Morocco, illustrating the application of anti-corruption policies and their limitations. These anti-corruption initiatives spanned efforts such as launching “cleansing” campaigns within public administration, police corps and local authorities and tightening sanctions. However, the effectiveness of these formal policies remain superficial and limited. These results, the authors argue, manifest due to a lack of addressing informal institutions of corruption: cases where the act of corruption is committed because “it is the way of doing things”. They also show the costs incurred when one does not enter into this dynamic. In Chapter 6 Digdem Soyaltin Colella examines anti-corruption initiatives in Turkey, or what she terms “Old wine in new bottles? Corruption and neopatrimonial statehood in Turkey”. She closely examines anti-corruption initiatives within the public sector. Using empirical evidence, she demonstrates how the fundamental reforms that were adopted in the last two decades have been relatively successful in terms of diminishing petty corruption in Turkey, which demonstrated its positive repercussions on improved performance of the country in several business indicators, such as trade openness, foreign direct investment and income level, and in decreasing rate of corruption-related crime. Soyaltin Collela demonstrates how several areas such as political party and electoral campaign finance, remain untouched by these initiatives and how the good governance reforms have failed to eliminate the patrimonial governance structures and informal practices from the public sector. The chapter describes and explains how the reform process paved the way for the emergence of new clientelistic networks and rent-seeking opportunities, that feed grand corruption in Turkey. This chapter revisits the concept of neopatrimonialism to examine how this hybrid type of statehood in Turkey empowers certain groups of individuals in the system and
Introduction 15 enables them to appropriate gains, whereas formal institutions became heavily infused with the particularistic politics of the rulers. In Chapter 7 “Corruption eruption: the Israeli case”, Doron Navot and Ina Kubbe focus on Israel, which has faced a large number of corruption scandals within its executive branch over the past years, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being the focal point of these scandals. These political scandals and the public’s reactions to them give new insights into the nature of politics and corruption in Israel, being a parliamentarian, representative democracy, it is assumed, to have less corruption compared to less democratic states. The chapter’s focus is on how Netanyahu can remain in office for so long despite the fact that he has been engaged, directly or indirectly, in corruption scandals. Based on an analysis of print and online press sources, public surveys as well as in-depth, semi-structured interviews with Israeli politicians, bureaucrats, journalists and lawyers active in the field of anti-corruption or white-collar crime, Navot and Kubbe argue that the centrality of corruption in the Israeli public discourse and the gap between the perceptions of the media, the legal system and many citizens that support Netanyahu, as part of a new phase in the political system that they call “neoliberal populism”. Part III, “The way forward – empowering women as a tool to reduce corruption”, focuses on gender perspectives and the role of women in the fight against corruption in the Middle East and North Africa. Overall, this focus remains a specialised scholarly sub-field. However, it is an imperative inclusion in any book that wants to fully understand a nexus of phenomenon such as corruption and informal practices, especially urgent in a region where the role of women remains under-studied. By including this perspective we hope to deliver a book that helps shape an understanding of corruption and informal practices with a look at all actors involved with potential unique solutions for the way forward. Amy Alexander addresses the question “Is poor performance in gender equality linked to higher corruption in the Middle East?” by examining the gender equality / anti-corruption link with a special focus on how this affects countries in the MENA in Chapter 8. The aim of the chapter is to evaluate whether poor performance in gender equality in the region is linked to higher corruption and whether empowering women is a strategy for curbing corruption in the region. Based on the analysis of public opinion data from the latest wave of the World Values Survey Alexander explores gender differences in tolerance for a common form of corruption, bribery, among a sample of 15,600 respondents from 12 MENA countries. Then, she evaluates the most common country-level relationship in the gender equality and corruption literature among a sample of MENA countries. She looks at the relationship between the percentage of women in parliaments and perceptions of corruption across 18 MENA countries, controlling for GDP per capita and level of democracy. In Chapter 9, David Jackson, Sarah A. Tobin, and Jennifer Philippa Eggert bring a gender angle on corruption in the case of Jordan. They discuss female elected representatives’ resistance and vulnerability with regards to wasta in Jordan. It contributes to debates about the link between gender and (anti)corruption, which often
16 Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich utilise narrow definitions of corruption and overlook other types of integrity issues, such as wasta. Based on fieldwork in Jordan, they argue that there are three factors that come to the fore in female elected representatives’ resistance with regards to wasta, namely (1) risk aversion, (2) the lack of power and networks and (3) credibility mechanisms. Following that, they explain female elected representatives’ increased vulnerability when it comes to wasta. Finally, Rahma Abdulkadir and Henriette Müeller’s Chapter 10, “Between leadership and kinship: women empowerment in GCC states”, elaborates on the societal and value-based challenges and potential transformations of informal practices, such as kinship, patronage and favouritism, in relation to women empowerment in the Gulf region. In particular, it compares the pathways to female leadership in politics (public and political leadership), economics (entrepreneurial and managerial leadership), and culture (civic and cultural leadership) across GCC states. The main focus is the extent to which women in their quest for leadership rely on, and benefit, from kinship relations and family connections. More so, and more geared towards finding solutions, to what extent are women able to break through these largely male-dominated informal practices? And finally, does the empowerment of women have the potential to permanently alter the layout of kinship structures and networks in the Gulf region? Empirically, the chapter is based on a newly compiled dataset on socio-economic backgrounds of women who obtained leadership positions in the realm of politics, economics and culture across the GCC states between 1970 and 2017. The ranks of their leadership positions are analysed in relation to their family and educational backgrounds, as well as their urban or rural origins. Although previous studies have mainly focused on institutional, socio-cultural and structural explanations of corruption, in the final chapter of our book (Chapter 11), Marwa Shalaby proposes an alternative mechanism that may further our understanding with regard to mass perceptions toward women in politics: citizens’ levels of perceived corruption. Building on evidence from Lebanon Shalaby argues that citizens’ support for increased female representation is positively linked to mass levels of perceived corruption. The findings demonstrate that voters employ gender-based stereotypes with regard to women in power, as they perceive female politicians as more trustworthy and less corrupt. This has strong implications for the link between promoting women’s roles in leadership positions and improving governance in democratising states, especially in countries with high levels of perceived corruption, female politicians are expected to be entirely “clean” and hardworking in order to gain voters’ confidence, as they are more likely to be harshly punished once caught in a corruption scandal in comparison to their male counterparts. Our book concludes with potential future prospects of directions for policy and research written by the book’s editors, Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich.
Notes 1 The MENA region covers Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Palestine and Yemen. Sometimes also Ethiopia and Sudan are included.
Introduction 17 2 Interview with Lebanese social worker, GA, USA, December, 2018. 3 The countries that are covered in the Arab Barometer are Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen. 4 35% of citizens indicated corruption as one of the greatest challenges and 29 percent indicated internal security. The survey offered the following response categories: a) economic situation, b) corruption, c) strengthening democracy, d) resolving the ArabIsraeli conflict, e) internal security, and f) curbing foreign interference. 5 The percentage of respondents in the following countries replied “too a large extent” 78% in Lebanon, 68% in Tunisia, 60% in Algeria, 51% in Egypt. 6 50% in Palestine, 41% in Jordan and 34% in Morocco answered to a large extent. 7 Wasta ( )واسطةis a form of nepotism associated with family and tribe members and quite common in MENA. In its simplest form, it means using a common connection in order to receive undue benefits. While it is used to cut through lines in government agencies, or speed up an administrative process, its most common use is for entry into the job market, namely in the public administration. Although the origins of wasta ( )واسطةare more positive than its current use, it has become such an endemic problem that many youths cite it as a main reason they consider immigration. Both the term and the use of wasta ( )واسطةhave evolved from the mediation practiced by tribe leaders to resolve conflicts within and among tribes. Mediation, wassata ()وساطة, which continues to be practiced by elders in tribes and clans, mutated (in spelling and use) at the time of transition from the loose system of tribes to the more institutionalized systems of nation states. In order to secure the allegiance of tribes, state-founders would give their leaders stakes in the government and the administration to distribute to tribe members. Tribal leaders became mediators between the state and their members, which later became their constituents as they transformed to modern politicians. 8 Bakshish ( )بخشيشis a Turkish term that survived the times of the Ottoman Empire, in the lands of its former influence. In its benign form, the term means tip or small financial reward given to waiters or parking attendants. When applied to the administration or the public bureaucracy, it means kickback or small bribe that a civil servant expects in return for performing their duties in a speedier way, in a timely way or at all. 9 This definition was found in Urban Dictionary, Retrieved from www.urbandictionary. com/define.php?term=combina, accessed 15 August 2019.
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Introduction 19 Ledeneva, A. 2013. Can Russia Modernise?: Sistema, Power Networks and Informal Governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511978494 Leff, Nathaniel H. 1964. Economic Development Through Bureaucratic Corruption. American Behavioral Scientist, 8 (3), pp. 8–14. Lust, Ellen (ed.). 2016. The Middle East (14th ed). Washington, DC: CQ Press. Martin, Nicholas. 2014. The Dark Side of Patronage in the Pakistani Punjab. In: Piliavsky, Anastasia (Ed.). Patronage as Politics in South Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 326–345. Osella, Filppo. 2014. The (Im)morality of Mediation and Patronage in South India and the Gulf. In: Piliavsky, Anastasia (Ed.). Patronage as Politics in South Asia. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. pp. 365–393. Pring, Coralie. 2016. People and Corruption: Middle East and North Africa Survey 2016. Transparency International. Retrieved from https://issuu.com/transparencyinternational/ docs/2016_gcb_mena_en?e=2496456/353145, accessed 11, 13 August 2019. Ramady, Mohamed A. (ed.). 2016. The Political Economy of Wasta: Use and Abuse of Social Capital Networking. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. Redmann, James. 2019. Wasta (Middle East and North Africa). In: Global Informality Project. Retrieved from http://in-formality.com/wiki/index.php?title=Wasta_(Middle_ East_and_North_Africa), accessed 15 August 2019. Robinson, Neil. 2007. The Political Is Personal: Corruption, Clientelism, Patronage, Informal Practices and the Dynamics of Post-communism. Europe-Asia Studies, 59(7), pp. 1217–1224. Rose-Ackerman, Susan. 1978. Corruption: A Study in Political Economy. New York: Academic Press. Rosenthal, Donna. 2008. Passport Israel – Your Pocket Guide to Israeli Business, Customs and Etiquette (3rd ed). Petaluma, CA: World Trade Press. Rothstein, Bo., and Varraich, Aiysha. 2017. Making Sense of Corruption. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ruiz de Elvira, Laura, Schwarz, Christoph H., and Weipert-Fenner, Irene. 2018. Clientelism and Patronage in the Middle East and North Africa. Networks of Dependency. Routledge. Sapsford, R., Tsourapas, G., Abbott, P. A., and Teti, A. 2019. Corruption, Trust, Inclusion and Cohesions in North Africa and the Middle East. Applied Research Quality Life, 14 (1), pp. 1–21. Shleifer, A., and Vishny, R. 1993. Corruption. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 108 (3), pp. 599–617. Transparency International. 2016. Nearly 1 in 3 Paid a Bribe in Middle East and North Africa in Past 12 Months, Retrieved from www.transparency.org/news/pressrelease/nearly_1_ in_3_paid_a_bribe_in_middle_east_and_north_africa_in_past_12_month, accessed 15 August 2019. Transparency International. 2019. Middle East & North Africa: Corruption Continues As Institutions and Political Rights Weaken. Regional Outlook in Middle East & North Africa Remains Grim in the Fight Against Corruption, Retrieved from www.transparency. org/news/feature/regional-analysis-MENA, accessed 11 August 2019. van den Berg, Paul and Niels Noorderhaven. 2016. A Users’ Perspective on Corruption: SMEs in the Hospitality Sector in Kenya. African Studies, 75 (1), pp. 114–132. doi: 10.1080/00020184.2015.1129138. Van Klaveren, J. 1957. Corruption as a Historical Phenomenon. In: Arnold J. Heidenheimer and Michael Johnston. (Eds.). Political Corruption: Concepts and Contexts. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
20 Ina Kubbe and Aiysha Varraich Varraich, Aiysha. 2014. Corruption: An Umbrella Concept. QoG Working Paper Series 2014:05, accessed June 2014. ISSN 1653–8919. Yang, Mayfair Mei-hui. 1994. Gifts, Favors, and Banquets: The Art of Social Relationships in China. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Yang, Mayfair Mei-hui. 2002. The Resilience of Guanxi and Its New Deployments: A Critique of some New Guanxi Scholarship. The China Quarterly, 170, pp. 459–476.
Conceptualising the mechanisms and dynamics of corruption and informal practices in the MENA region
1 Dispersing the fog A philosophical analysis of institutional corruption applied to the MENA region Gizem Kaya and Georgy Kopshteyn Introduction1 Corruption exists in all parts of the world, but it is of increasing concern in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Despite some efforts, these countries have not seen any remarkable progress in the fight against corruption and impunity. One of the biggest challenges for the anti-corruption regime in the MENA region can be found in the persistence of forms of corruption that are rarely recognised as such because they are assessed against a culturally relativistic benchmark. The social practice of wasta, for example, is usually not viewed as a legal infringement but is part of formal legal procedures. Thus, conventional approaches to fighting corruption such as attempts of its criminalisation are insufficient. This can be seen in Jordan, for example, where many legal and administrative reforms were introduced as a result of protests demanding an end to corruption (Doughan 2017: 2). To account for effective anti-corruption measures, however, it will be necessary to disperse the fog around the many faces of corruption and generate a shared understanding of the phenomenon. This means that in the long-term perspective, we need a philosophically grounded conceptualisation of corruption that is both normatively guiding and culturally sensitive. It recognizes the notion of corruption as a social cultural phenomenon that needs to be viewed against institutional arrangements. For that purpose, the present chapter seeks to provide a functional analysis of corruption. To construct a conceptual framework that ensures internal coherence, we demarcate our work as follows: (1) Our reference point will be the phenomenon of institutional corruption, whereas (2) our working definition of corruption will conceive of corruption in the most abstract manner, that is, as a violation of role-specific norms that is motivated by the role-occupier’s pursuit of private motives. Thus, analysing the nature and function of norms, especially those that apply to agents in office, will be crucial to our framework. This includes both, formal, institutional and informal, social norms (see Kubbe and Engelbert 2017: 2). The chapter is organised as follows: We begin with a short empirical overview of corruption in the MENA region. To offer a comprehensive approach, corruption will then be viewed on two levels; we divide our functional analysis into an external and internal analysis. On the external level, we will begin
24 Gizem Kaya and Georgy Kopshteyn with an investigation of features within a norm-order that typically instantiate corruption. We will argue that corruption is externally conditioned by an authority’s inability to enforce (re-)establish the norms of conduct that ought to be action-guiding in office. More precisely, the failure to realize the norms in question prompts a decay of reasonable expectations of the compliance in office. To complement the external dimension, we will then examine the features within a corrupt agent which catalyse corrupt conduct. This internal dimension of our conceptual framework will refer to Rawls’ moral psychology and emphasize the motivational deficits of corrupt acts. It will be argued that these deficits are located in the false relation between an agent’s private morality and the public morality of the norm-order. It causes citizens to treat each other as mere means to an end. This has detrimental effects to the social cohesion of a society since the lack of a common ground increasingly causes social disintegration. The shift in the expectation-structure continues until the corrupt behaviour appears to be accepted as a normal part of social life from within the norm-order. Taken together, the external and internal driving forces of corruption create a vicious cycle that renders many anti-corruption-initiatives ineffective. Respectively, we will argue that there is a positive correlation between an authority’s inability to secure expectations and an agent’s improper considerations that will result in corruption. Moreover, the more improper considerations are spread across the society, the harder it gets for an authority to secure expectations. We will finally conclude that for anti-corruption-measures to be successful in the MENA region this vicious cycle must be overcome. From this we derive general recommendations for the MENA region.
Corruption in the MENA region: what is the state of the art? Corruption remains a common cause for concern in the MENA region as it continues to undermine law and order, affecting inefficient and distrusted institutions that fail to provide a fair delivery of services for their citizens. Rampant corruption impedes economic and social development and is especially toxic for a region that already struggles with political and economic instability. Yet, despite small steps towards increasing criminal liability, corruption remains a widespread occurrence. In its latest Middle East and North Africa report, the Global Corruption Barometer finds that, in 2016, nearly 1 in 3 people had to pay a bribe to access basic services that they needed (Pring 2016: 5). Of the 10,797 people surveyed, 61 per cent even perceived corruption to have increased recently (Pring 2016: 6). Accordingly, 90 percent of these countries have scored below 50 on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) on Amnesty International’s Corruption Perception Index 2016, whereas Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Syria were among the ten most corrupt countries in the world (Transparency International 2017). The latest report of 2018 (Transparency International 2019), on which countries of the MENA region score (39) below the global average country score of 43,2 confirms that no progress has been made within two years. Syria scores 13 only, followed by Yemen (14) and Libya (17). Both Syria and Yemen
Dispersing the fog 25 are also in the bottom five of the entire index in the last few years. Whereas Yemen decreased by 5 points over the last four years (from 19 in 2014 to 14 in 2018), Syria decreased by 13 points during the last 8 years (from 26 in 2012 to 13 in 2018). This mainly reflects the direct link between war and violent conflicts, human rights violations and corruption. The instability of the governments on the one hand and the citizenry’s lack of political rights on the other hand enable corruption to flourish. Qatar (62) and the United Arab Emirates (70) have been leading the region throughout the last years (see Transparency International 2017, 2018, 2019) by improving the management of public finances and public procurement while facilitating the access to infrastructure and public services. That said, they still lack democratic institutions and respect for political rights which leaves anticorruption-efforts up to the political will of the ruling class (Transparency International 2019). Although Qatar has shown efforts to clean up many levels of bureaucracy, the higher level of government still remains opaque (Transparency International 2019). The Gulf States have all dropped on the index as the concentration of political and economic power remained in the hands of the ruling families, restricting public freedoms and oppressing civil society. State budgets and public expenditure remained highly non-transparent, especially fueled by the military engagement of these states (Transparency International 2017). Tunisia is among the few countries that show a slight improvement on the 2016 index. It has adopted a national anti-corruption strategy in the course of which it strengthened its Anti-Corruption Agency, provided space for civil society and introduced one of the most progressive regulations in the region: the
Figure 1.1 CPI, MENA countries
26 Gizem Kaya and Georgy Kopshteyn Access to Information Law (Transparency International 2017). Despite these advancements, however, Tunisia suffered a major setback in 2017 as it adopted a reconciliation law that grants amnesty to corrupt officials of the former Ben Ali regime (Transparency International 2018). Jordan had also shown important efforts by adopting a new electoral and integrity law in 2016 to fight corruption by promoting transparency and integrity. Yet the government still failed to conduct prosecutions and to adequately respond to bribery and nepotism, further hindering investment in the country (Transparency International 2017). In June 2018, then, citizens took to the streets to protest against a draft tax law that demanded them to foot the financial bill from corrupt governments. They eventually succeeded in overthrowing the government and replacing the previous with a new prime minister, who promised to give priority to fighting corruption and increasing good governance. However, these commitments still await their realisation, which seems difficult considering the presence of influential actors blocking any anti-corruption-measures (Transparency International 2019). Egypt continues to score high on the Corruption Perception Index as a clear political will to reduce corruption remains absent. In 2016, the government sentenced the head of its auditing body, Hisham Geneina, for disclosing information on the costs of corruption (Transparency International 2017). In 2018, Egypt improved by 3 points (35) which, however, is of little significance considering that it still scores below the global index average of 43 (Transparency International 2019). Civil society organisations are still the target of travel bans and activists regularly face arrests (Transparency International 2019). Similarly, Bahrain and Morocco have intensified restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of association and assembly, thus impeding an active and independent civil society that could potentially check institutional workings for corruption (Transparency International 2018). Morocco still improved by 3 points in 2018 (43). The government has recently passed access to information laws after much delay. Its current content is still being criticised by civil society actors for serious restrictions and deficiencies as it does not meet international standards and allows for a series of exemptions for national defense, internal and external security and private information (Transparency International 2019). In addition, it includes penalties for citizens using information that harms the public interest or distorts contents so that the law is perceived rather ineffective (Transparency International 2019). What these countries have in common are primarily weak institutions and the erosion of good governance in the face of internal conflicts and instability. Without proper accountability mechanisms, they are subjected to growing corruption levels. Any attempts of democratisation continue to prove difficult in the MENA region. Civil liberties are subject to suppressive state control, disrupting the relationship between the state and its citizens. That is why corruption remains persistently high (Transparency International 2019). This shows an overall tendency in the MENA countries: although efforts have been made to fight corruption, assaults on political dissent, freedom of speech and civil society organisations
Dispersing the fog 27 have intensified since the Arab Spring in 2011, giving rise to power monopolies and corrupt agents which hinder the economic and social development of the region as they focus on their personal gain rather than the common good.
A functional analysis of institutional corruption Efforts to tackle the problem of corruption can only be fruitful if they adequately respond to its facilitating conditions. Any analysis of corruption, however, requires an understanding of a multitude of variables that produce corrupt behaviour. We will, therefore, integrate a macro- and micro-approach in the explanation of corruption. It will essentially be viewed as the outcome of leading forces that are both, systemic and individual. The term “functional analysis”, then, refers to the demonstration of a reciprocal cause-effect relation between the macro- and micro-aspects of corruption. As for a working definition, we confine ourselves to an uncontroversial, basic understanding of corruption as the violation of role-specific norms qua one’s function as a role-occupant for private purposes. In accordance with Lawrence Lessig’s definition, we understand institutional corruption as involving: a systemic and strategic influence which is legal, or even currently ethical, that undermines the institution’s effectiveness by diverting it from its purpose or weakening its ability to achieve its purpose, including to the extent relevant to its purpose, weakening either the public’s trust in that institution or the institution’s inherent trustworthiness. (Lessig 2013: 2) To provide a comprehensive analysis we will borrow from potent conceptions which do well in explaining one particular phenomenon (norms, civil society, morality) and combine them into a coherent overarching framework enabling us to approach the complex phenomenon of corruption. On the nature of norms Before turning to the functional analysis of corruption, however, it seems helpful to first delineate the general nature of norms, i.e. what they are, what they mean and how they change. To do so, we use the theoretical framework of Günther Jakobs (1995, 1999), a German philosopher and legal scholar of the 20th century. Jakobs’ scheme seems particularly advantageous for two reasons. Firstly, it is not deeply laden with ontological assumptions, thus it has the potential to provide feasible answers for the pluralistic conditions of real politics. Secondly, it has a context-sensitive set-up that does not presuppose context-independent desiderata, rendering it potentially applicable to the cross-cultural problem at hand. So, what does it mean for a norm, as an action demanding rule, to exist? Following Jakobs, norms are specified as norm-orders, that is, as systems of contextually cohesive norms that provide the basic structure of social interaction
28 Gizem Kaya and Georgy Kopshteyn (e.g. the law as the sum of interconnected legal norms). They constitute the essential difference between a mere sum of disjunct single agents, who are not able to interact with each other as they are lacking the required common ground, and a structured society, in which the social interaction of single agents follows mutually recognised rules (Jakobs 1999: 24, 60).3 Looking at implemented legal norms, then, as the main normative guidance of modern political systems, they can be said to instigate citizens to recognize the reciprocity of their social and political environment by generating a communication context (Jakobs 1995: 860), in which agents no longer perceive their own preferences as the sole basis of decision-making (Viquez-Azofeifa 2011: 24). Once such a norm-order is accepted and realised, the actions of others become interpretable, as a result of which trust and mutual respect can be built (Jakobs 1995: 860).4 This conceptual insight is supported by psychological research which suggests that there is a correlation between a person’s expectation that others will comply to a set of rules and her own respective compliance thereto (Sacconi 2010: 192). At this point, it is important to specify what exactly norms are able to secure in terms of social interaction. Contrary to prima facie intuitions, factual norms do not grant security of action. Suppose that a given community has implemented an institutional norm5 that prohibits officials of financial authorities to take bribes. It does not follow that one is safe from the arbitrary actions of bribed officials. There is no security that public officials will comply with the norm, i.e. no security of action can be guaranteed. Nonetheless, one can reasonably expect the officials to refuse to accept bribes as their norm-compliant action is expectable. This is where we can pick up our initial question: for a norm to exist means that it provides security of expectation (Jakobs 1985: 775). In many countries of the MENA region, however, this security of expectation of institutional norms is impaired. For example, 64.9 percent of the Jordanian population take wasta to be necessary for finding an occupation and 42.8 percent even hold that their paperwork will not be done without wasta (National Council for Family Affairs 2015: 65–67). The difference between security of action and security of expectation is easily conflated in practice but of paramount importance, if one seeks to narrow down the internal functional structure of norms and their relationship to normviolations and penalties. It also highlights the counterfactual quality of norms: If a public official violates the respective norm and accepts a bribe, this does not cause the norm to collapse since the norm-compliance of (other) officials generally is still securely to be expected. The norm would collapse, however, if norms were to guarantee the security of action since any act running against the norm would be undermining it (Jakobs 2004b: 27–28).6 Note that this normative expectation of compliant action is itself necessitated by a “cognitive” underpinning of the same expectation since a norm’s factuality relies on the trust in its factuality and this trust can only be sustained if the expectation of a norm’s factuality is not systematically disappointed (Bung 2006: 67). This is emphasised by the penalties an authority of a norm-order imposes upon norm-violators. Against this background, a penalty can be viewed as a symbolic expression of the norm’s validity and factuality by proactively labeling
Dispersing the fog 29 the norm-violation a crime, that is, a repairable irritation of what ought to be expected (Jakobs 2004a: 88, 91). This is how a norm is consolidated and reendorsed through violations without collapsing. A “crime” therefore does not only not destroy a norm but also ultimately confirms it (Jakobs 2006: 291). This counterfactuality is not limitless, however. If, to a certain extent, normviolations are not stigmatised as irritations of what ought to be, the reasonable expectation that the norm was securing starts to decay. As a consequence, the norm ceases to factually exist (Jakobs 2006: 292). Although Jakobs’s framework remains mostly silent about the justification of a norm, we do not need to argue whether or not institutional norms of impartial, professional and fair conduct are justified for they are already formally pre-set by the political order in which they are located. Jakob’s approach, which emphasizes the functional role norms fulfill in social contexts, seems fruitful for the analysis of the problem at hand since the failure of anti-corruption policies in the MENA region is essentially characterised by a failure to comply to institutional norms. The external dimension of institutional corruption In the following analysis of the external level of corruption, we will look at the features within a norm-order which typically instantiate corruption. An obvious observation is that the prevalence of institutional corruption increases the factuality of illegitimate norms. To put it in Jakobs’s terms: rampant corruption increases the expectation of illegitimate (in the sense of opposing legal norms) behaviour. We mentioned earlier that a given norm-order can only be upheld if there is some kind of authority that ensures that its norms remain expectationgranting. For contemporary political systems, this authority is most commonly the state. It follows that the prevalence of institutional corruption is either directly caused or at least catalysed by the inability of state organs to enforce institutional norms and to consolidate the expectation of required conduct. Considering institutional corruption in MENA countries, this seems to be true: local governments, although not necessarily confined by the checks of democratic regimes, remain unable or unwilling to secure the desired conduct of their own employees. The reason for this is often found in the fact that their very governmental organs themselves, which are supposed to enforce norm-compliance, are caught in a cycle of favour-giving and favour-taking provided by informal practices such as wasta (Doughan 2017: 5). For example, Jamil al-Nimri, a former member of the Jordanian parliament, estimates that an independent MP might dedicate 90 percent of his time to wasta, whereas one who is committed to party politics will still dedicate 60 percent of his time (Doughan 2017: 4). Explanatory attempts from the social sciences are manifold and range from economic to cultural approaches. Our analysis, however, finds an important reason in the lack of external pressure exerted on state authorities to enforce anticorruption-norms. This pressure will usually be yielded by an active civil society that partakes in the control of political action. Studies confirm a clear correlation between the ability of civil society to produce socio-political pressure upon
30 Gizem Kaya and Georgy Kopshteyn decision-making agents and the success of anti-corruption regimes (Themudo 2013). However, in the MENA countries, this necessary condition remains unmet. Non-democratic regimes tend to restrict basic political rights, with the effect that the engagement in public debates is severely limited, whereas options for assembly are sparse. Simultaneously, social peace and stability are threatened by the general context of increasing tension, insecurity and conflict (Chêne 2007: 2–3). Taken together, these factors impose severe constraints upon anticorruption measures and activities as they leave little latitude for civil society to act and engage (Chêne 2007: 1). Consequently, at least four structural features can be identified, which together are vital for a functioning modern civil society: (1) Plurality: families, informal groups, and voluntary associations whose plurality and autonomy allow for a variety of forms of lift; (2) Publicity: institutions of culture and communication; (3) Privacy: a domain of individual self-development and moral choice; and (4) Legality: structures of general laws and basic rights needed to demarcate plurality, privacy and publicity from at least the state and, tendentially, the economy. (Cohen and Arato 1992: 346) All four features are not (properly) met under the aforementioned structural deficiencies prevailing in the countries of the MENA region.7 This has far-reaching consequences for the factuality of institutional norms in this context, since, ideally, an independent civil society is supposed to play an important role in the public sphere as a controlling and corrective instance. Thus, analogically to the successful norm-enforcement of the governmental organs as a prerequisite to fighting corruption, a free formation of opinion and will is a necessary condition for the possibility of succeeding societal structure-transformations (Günther 1990: 65). Although the conception of civil society in practice often gravitates around the conception of liberal democracy, it does not rely on it. Thus, the relation between civil society and liberal democracy is not biconditional: Liberal democracy implies civil society, but civil society does not imply liberal democracy. Therefore, our analysis, which emphasizes the potential of civil society to serve as an informing and controlling instance for political action, needs not to be intrusive as it does not rely on the western lens of liberal democracy. Instead, we do not presuppose more than what can be derived either from the goals of anticorruption policies in MENA countries themselves (which seek to strengthen institutions) or from general normative insights, which are agnostic regarding the right mode of social and state organisation (that, ultimately, institutions ought to promote the well-being of the citizenry). To further elaborate on this, we need a closer look at the public sphere as the locus of social will-forming and decision-making. As we are concerned with avoiding a culturally hegemonic lens, we first approach the concept of the public with John Dewey who – as a pragmatist – simply starts “from acts which are performed” (Dewey 1927/1991: 21). A pragmatic approach seems particularly favourable
Dispersing the fog 31 here as many other theoretical frameworks presuppose a democratic set-up that is not fully applicable to all MENA countries. Dewey, in contrast, takes his point of departure from the objective fact that human acts have consequences upon others and that their perception leads to a subsequent effort to control action so as to secure some consequences and avoid others. Dewey’s public-private distinction is simple: when two parties engage in a transaction that solely lies between them, it is private. Yet, if it is found that its consequences extend beyond those who are directly engaged in it, the associated activity acquires public capacity. Only when these indirect consequences are recognised and there is an effort to regulate them does something having the traits of a state evolve. Accordingly, the public “consists of all those who are affected by the indirect consequences of transactions to such an extent that it is deemed necessary to have those consequences systematically cared for” (Dewey 1927/1991: 15). This public, in turn, is organised and made effective by means of representatives who take care of the interests of those affected. They are assigned for regulating the extensive and enduring indirect consequences of joint actions. We can, therefore, note that the translation of a public into a political state seems to require the organisation of the public through officials who act on behalf of its interests. Upon this hypothesis, Dewey develops a pluralistic conception of the state. By thinking in pragmatic terms, there is therefore no a priori rule by which any particular inherent state activity can be prescribed, for consequences might indeed vary with concrete conditions of time and space (Dewey 1927/1991: 73). A state is therefore derivative of the changing interests of its public. It also indicates that, for Dewey, state formation is a critical and experimental process. Although there is no right state, features can be identified which make up a good state, namely (1) the degree to which the public is well-organised and (2) the extent to which officials of the public genuinely serve the public’s interest. How can the latter feature be facilitated? Following Habermas, the public sphere needs to serve as the stage on which opinion- and knowledge-forming processes take place. In doing so, the public sphere provides both a starting point and benchmark for a critique of prevailing socio-political conditions. Even if political law-making is located on a different institutional level, it needs to be accompanied by public opinion-building, which ideally forms, canalizes and pressures the decision-making (Kreide 2016: 136). Thus, the public sphere is the locus for identifying, framing and thereby preparing the problems that need to be tackled by the political representatives (Habermas 1996: 359). However, since societies are not a monolith, the socio-political influence which is generated (and amplified) in the public sphere is wrestled by societal agents (Habermas 1996: 363). It follows that if the public sphere shall contribute to the solution of problems of society as a whole (and not serve the sole interest of single agents), it must be structured by a communication context of the potentially affected agents and groups. In other words, it needs to be sustained by the citizenry as a whole (Habermas 1996: 365). This, however, is necessitated by a strong civil society, that is made up by voluntarily and spontaneously formed non-governmental and non-economic groups, movements and organisations, which incorporate social issues in the
32 Gizem Kaya and Georgy Kopshteyn private life-worlds throughout the citizenry and communicate them to the public sphere (Habermas 1996: 366–367). Now, where the formation and expression of those groups are undermined or where the citizenry lacks the communicative instruments to form a unified communication context, societal issues tend to be left effectively unaddressed. The society as a whole remains cognitively disconnected and politically quasi-impotent. Since there is a close causal relation between basic civil rights and a functioning civil society (Habermas 1996: 368–369), countries of the MENA region remain unable to provide sufficient room for a civil society that could properly consolidate and serve the previously described function in this region. Consequently, the problem of institutional corruption – as a problem of the entire society serving the interests of single agents – remains effectively unchecked. From that, the following can be synthesised: Since state organs remain unable (or unwilling) to enforce anti-corruption regulations, they fail to render them expectedly action-guiding, i.e. to factualize anti-corruption-norms. The civil society, in turn, cannot step in as a remediating force that exerts pressure upon the state from below. This leads to a continuous dissolution of the factuality of anti-corruption-norms since security of expectation can increasingly no longer be provided. This is a self-intensifying effect where degeneration of norms boasts transgression of norms, which, again, catalyzes norm degeneration. Note that this does not merely reduce renitency for potential norm-transgressors (corrupt or corrupting agents) but also damages the potential of civil society to form and organize itself, as it undermines trust in others (including the authorities) and the reliance on the mechanisms of will-forming and decision-making. The internal dimension of institutional corruption Systemic forces have a large share in corruption but it is still the individual who performs the corrupt act. We attribute to individuals the capacity to make their own choices and act independently. This urges us to additionally adopt a microlens when attempting a functional analysis of corruption. Viewed from the individual perspective, therefore, corruption needs to be traced back to the moral motivation of single agents and, more precisely, to their motivational deficits. For an instructive framing of the latter, we refer to John Rawls’ moral psychology and apply his conceptualisation to corrupted agents.8 According to Rawls, the moral development of an individual proceeds in three different stages, in which a person transitions from childhood to adulthood. Children develop their morality sensitive to their personal relations, that is, molded by the parent-child-relationship. As they grow older and start to participate in social groups, their morality begins to evolve into a group-relative morality that is first and foremost a rule-sensitive one. Rules that govern a given social group become reflective of a person’s specific role and its emerging expectations. Finally, at the last developmental stage, one starts to construct one’s self-perception as a citizen (Rawls 1971/1999: 405–419).9 If we apply Rawls’ categorisation to corruption, we need to locate the moral deficiency of corrupt agents on the second and third stages of moral development.
Dispersing the fog 33 Two inferences can be made from this. Firstly, institutional corruption affects public officials qua their property of occupying an institutional role: it cancels their progression to the final stage of moral development, or it overrides the rulesensitive morality by cutting the agent’s morally backed relationship to others. Concretely, this means that corrupt agents stop recognising their fellow citizens as persons to whom a certain kind of conduct in office is owed (e.g. impartiality, professionality, generally: not being corrupt). Instead, they view themselves and parts of their group as the sole anchor of decision-making. These kinds of bonds between brothers in crime, i.e. loyalty inside and disloyalty outside of one’s group,10 are exactly what occurs in jurisdictions that are beset with institutional corruption. Ultimately, the only remaining moral considerations towards others in the public sphere become those which are necessary for one’s own enrichment to continue. The further this norm-degradation of a corrupt agent progresses, the more does her relationship towards others resemble the “original state”, that is the situation Jakobs described as the stage before the implementation of norms, since the “radius of trust”11 minimizes (Fukuyama 2001: 8). Similarly, civil society disintegrates. Yet the morality of the private sphere, i.e. the set of moral considerations towards one’s beloved, remains intact, since the norms affected by corruption are only located within the latter two developmental stages of morality and therefore in the public sphere. We can see a coherence between theory and reality here, as corruption might lead to the dissolution of the public but does not affect prepublic relationships; it dissolves civil society and fractures the public sphere yet does not destroy society in its entirety. Note that this dissonance as such can be detrimental to anti-corruption measures since the dominance of private over public morality might cause officials to believe in being well-justified to engage in corruption for the profit of their family (Fukuyama 2001: 9). The second inference made from Rawls moral psychology is that corruption affects the role- and group-specific morality to the extent that it is detrimental to moral integrity – the changing expectation-structure cumulatively leads to a change of morality. This means that the more widespread corruption becomes, the more the act of corruption, which began as a norm violation, loses its normative force. Thus, although in the beginning corruption violated institutional norms, it ultimately does not anymore, because those norms ultimately lose their factuality, since they no longer provide security of expectation. The vicious cycle of norm-dissolution Countries affected by widespread corruption have a hard time eradicating it because the forces pushing towards the corrupt act are coming from two directions. Both the external and internal dimension of corruption are mutually reinforcing: the greater an authority’s inability is to secure expectation, the more likely will an official’s improper considerations result in institutional corruption. And the more improper considerations are spread throughout the ranks of officials, the harder it gets for an authority to secure expectation. Consequently, if the authorities
34 Gizem Kaya and Georgy Kopshteyn fail their task of reconstituting the norms in cases of transgressions, the public awareness of whether or not a norm violation occurred at all subversively blurs. This results in a continuous downwards spiral of the institutional order because for a socio-political order to exist over time, a continuous physical as well as psychical reproduction is necessary. Whereas the former is achieved by sufficient birth-rates etc., the latter relies on the reproduction of the norms underlying the institutions that enable cooperative social interaction. Judging from previous elaborations, however, corruption damages psychical reproduction, and it does so on two levels. It changes the relation of corrupt agents to the rest of society on the one hand and it diminishes the public potential to recognise corrupt acts as norm-transgressions on the other hand. Instances that one might have identified as blameworthy corruption start to turn into normality, as the norms violated through corruption are no longer perceived as such and start to lose their factuality. Practices that are detrimental to the functioning of institutions lose their vileness, and corruption evolves from an occasional norm-transgression of individuals into a mode of social organisation (Mungiu-Pippidi 2006: 96). In other words, the shift in the expectation-structure, initiated by rampant corruption, continues until bribery, nepotism and arbitrariness are tolerated and accepted as “normal” and legitimate parts of socio-political life, whereas it will be safely considered as an instance of blameworthy corruption from the outside-perspective. This also casts light on the apparent inconsistency between contextindependent corruption-indices of the MENA countries and the contextdependent perception of corruption within these countries. Although the former indicates rampant corruption in those countries, since they straightforwardly compare the state of affairs with the norms which de jure ought to be factual, the latter marks the perceived impossibility/improbability of rectification. This is because corruption seems to have become so omnipresent and normal that the latter are indifferent towards whether corruption as a crime occurred or not. They lost the connection towards the imperative norm-order, which ought to be in force, but fails to do so as its ability to provide expectation faded. Thus, the perception of what constitutes a norm violation shifted: because of changed expectation-structures de facto other norms are in force in regard to which the evaluation of the normative situation at hand is processed. This is exemplified by the practice of wasta which is common in the MENA region. Although wasta can be roughly described as “a form of political patronage and intercessory mediation” and therefore constitutes a type of corruption, it usually does not entail legal transgressions (Doughan 2017: 2). Our analysis suggests that the omnipresence of wasta in the MENA region contributes to the tolerance of corruption in general – including corruption which involves legal infringements – and hence impairs effective anti-corruption measurements, as it cumulatively dissolves institutional norms. Those findings petrify Jakobs’ estimation that factual crime – and therefore corruption – can only exist, i.e. an action being categorised as such, if there is a practiced norm-order, of which the act constitutes an irritation, which ought to and factually can and will be amended. In the countries of the MENA region, this factuality increasingly became lost. A de jure fixation of basic rights etc. is
Dispersing the fog 35 not sufficient for this to be prevented or mitigated, as they on their own neither protect the public sphere nor civil society from malicious deformation. Instead, communication structures, which keep the public sphere alive and functioning properly, must permanently be kept in good order (Habermas 1996: 369). Thus, the unity of the political order, necessitated by the factuality of the underlying socio-political as well as institutional norms, relies on constant reproduction by the actions of its citizens (Marzahn 2011: 33). What widespread corruption causes, is the cut of the very connection between the question of what norms are and ought to be factual, and the open discourse, upheld by civil society, which is characteristic for well-functioning states. In other words, the public sphere as the connection between political institutions and the entirety of social interests is neutralised and cannot fulfill its control function, as civil society, which under other circumstances would be responsible, is either absent or handicapped. This, we suspect, is the functional reason why societies, for which corruption poses a serious threat, have such a hard time to overcome the problem. They lack both instances which could defend the factuality of anti-corruption norms, a functioning civil society as well as a functioning authority. As a consequence, they find themselves caught in the aforementioned vicious cycle, in which they struggle to strengthen civil society and at the same time consolidate institutional structures (with either one of the malfunctions’ increase worsening the other). In addition, they also are forced to act under conditions in which the perception of the very problem gradually fades and turns what began as an act of corruption into a regular act people can reasonably be expected to perform in office. For anti-corruption measures to be ultimately successful in weak governance zones in general and MENA countries in particular, this functional connection between corruption and its socio-political implications must be taken into account.
Recommendations for effective anti-corruption policies With the functional analysis of the external and internal dimensions of corruption being complete, we can now turn towards outlining the general nature of solutions. Note that we do not claim that the recommendations derived from our analysis are on their own sufficient to eradicate corruption. Corruption is a complex phenomenon which needs to and can only be adequately addressed from a multitude of directions at once. Instead, we claim that our analysis provides insights which – together with other measures – will help to increase the quality of anti-corruption policies and therefore the likelihood of the eradication of corruption as a widespread phenomenon. The argument we advance here is that many anti-corruption efforts fail because they do not grasp the root causes of corruption. Although most of the initiatives try to fight corruption by addressing individual cases of norm violation, they fail to respond to its systemic triggers that are heavily influential upon the individual decision-making. For the most part, anti-corruption-programs seem to
36 Gizem Kaya and Georgy Kopshteyn have a blind spot when it comes to the reciprocal relation between external and internal forces that continuously reinforce each other and push towards corrupt behaviour. Following our macro-analysis of the external dimension of corruption, institutional corruption is first and foremost an issue of distribution of power. If anti-corruption strategies continue to be adopted within unequal power structures, they will grasp at nothing as they essentially amount to nothing more than self-control of the potential offender. To overcome the vicious cycle of corruption, it is thus necessary to not only intensify the moral pressure upon the internal driving forces of individual agents but also to increase the external pressure upon those who are in control of political power. Whereas the former requires continued progress in sanctioning corruption through the consolidation of liability, the latter urges us to maintain a strong call for an active civil society that channels the interests of a diffused public sphere that is largely disconnected from its governors. Similarly, research suggests that long-term reduction in corruption requires the full participation of civil society (Themudo 2013). In order to serve as a necessary condition for an effective anti-corruption-regime, however, it is necessary to equip civil society with capabilities to exert sufficient pressure, which in turn, requires a free press12 (Themudo 2013). A glance at the latest reports of the World Press Freedom Index shows, however, that the MENA region is the world’s worst region for press freedom, as it continued to be “the most difficult and dangerous region for journalists” in 2017 (Reporters without Borders 2017) and “has registered the biggest decline in Media freedom” in 2018 (Reporters Without Borders 2018). On top of that, many countries of the MENA region impede the emergence of an active and independent civil society (Samad 2007). For example, Egypt, Jordan and Yemen scored above 5 on the 2017 Civil Society Organization (CSO) Sustainability Index for the Middle East and North Africa, which reaches from 1 (very advanced civil society sector with a high level of sustainability) to 7 (fragile, unsustainable sector with a low level of development), indicating an
Figure 1.2 World Press Freedom Index
Dispersing the fog 37 impeded sustainability of the civil society. At the same time, not a single country in the MENA region, covered by the CSO Sustainability Index, which furthermore lists Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco and West Bank-Gaza, scored below 3.1, which would indicate enhanced sustainability of the civil society (USAID 2018). Of the listed countries only Lebanon and Morocco scored better in 2016 (3.9 and 4.6) (USAID 2016) than they did in 2014 (4.0 and 4.7), whereas in other countries CSO sustainability remained the same (Iraq, West Bank–Gaza, Yemen) or even worsened (Egypt, Jordan) (USAID 2015). In 2017, however, even this little progress in Lebanon and Morocco could not be continued, as Lebanon’s CSO sustainability stagnated (3.9) and Morocco’s fell back to its pre-2016 level (4.7), whereas in the other countries it, again, either stagnated (Iraq, Jordan) or worsened (Egypt, West Bank-Gaza, Yemen) (USAID 2018). Hence, it is likewise important to have an international community that continues its efforts to exert pressure upon governments for more transparency and accountability.13 Where it is difficult to tackle the issues on a political dimension due to competing views on the “right” political order, an evasive action towards economic solutions could be made.14 Accordingly, it could be an option to increase the independence of the citizenry from the state by reducing the resources that are directly controlled by the state and opening them up to fair competition among a multitude of service providers. New Public Management and other new public administration methods (see Dunleavy and Hood 1994; Christensen and Lægreid 2007; Bryson et al. 2014; Dan and Pollitt 2015), for example, provide us with insightful tools on how to increase the economic efficiency of public services.
Figure 1.3 Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Sustainability index, the Middle East and North Africa
38 Gizem Kaya and Georgy Kopshteyn Ultimately, as corruption is not only a many-faced phenomenon but also a cause of diverse effects, approaches to anti-corruption regimes can only be successful and sustainable if they are comprehensive, substantial and long-term.
Conclusion We argued that corruption is externally conditioned by an authority’s inability to enforce and (re)establish the norms of conduct that ought to be actionguiding in office as the failure to realize the norms in question prompts a decay of the expectation of the role-occupiers’ proper conduct in office. Borrowing from Jakobs’s work, we explained that a norm-order heavily relies on the provision of security of expectation or else it fails to be realised in a meaningful sense. Strong institutional authorities will tend to offer security of expectation through the rule of law and political accountability whereas weak governance structures will be more likely to be ruled by norms such as the law of the strongest or the priority of personal gain. Norms like these change the expectation-structure within a norm-order and erode public trust in the authorities, giving rise to willing perpetrators. The internal analysis of our conceptual framework emphasised the motivational deficits of corrupt acts. Referring to Rawls, we located the deficits of corrupt acts in a false relation between the private, role-specific morality of the agent in question and the public morality of the norm-order in which the agent is situated. A prominent feature of such a society is that fellow citizens fail to recognize each other as ends in themselves to which a certain kind of conduct is owed. Since the common ground between citizens is destroyed, it increasingly causes society to disintegrate. The shift in the expectation-structure continues until a particular behaviour appears to be accepted as a normal, legitimate part of social life, whereas it will be safely considered as an instance of corruption from the outside perspective. It follows that there is a positive correlation between an authority’s inability to secure expectation and an agent’s improper considerations that will result in corruption. Moreover, the more improper considerations are spread across the society, the harder it gets for an authority to secure expectation. This conceptual framework provides a useful analytical tool to grasp widespread corruption in areas of weak governance structures, such as the MENA region. It explains how the lack of a strong civil society in MENA countries correlates with a state unwilling or unable to combat corruption. Shortcomings in both drive corruption towards normality. This, we suspect, is the functional reason why societies, for which corruption poses a serious threat, have such a hard time to overcome the problem: they lack both features and are, as a consequence, caught in a vicious circle as they struggle to strengthen civil society and at the same time consolidate institutional structures, whereas corruption more and more becomes accepted reality. To overcome the vicious cycle of corruption, it is thus necessary to not only intensify the moral pressure upon individual agents by enforcing their liability but also balance the distribution of power by an active and independent civil society.
Dispersing the fog 39
Notes 1 Both authors contributed equally to this paper and are therefore to be considered cofirst authors. 2 This does not imply that there are no exceptions among the MENA countries. UAE, for example, score 70 and as such better than the region of Western Europe and European Union (66) – the best faring region depicted by the Index. That said, this paper cannot provide a thorough analysis of every single country’s score. For our project, it is sufficient to emphasize the regional deficits regarding the prevalence of corruption. 3 Jakobs even goes as far as to claim that only this very mutual recognition of acceptable and non-acceptable behavior is what constitutes the status of citizens, whose rights, after all, correlate and necessarily coexist with the recognition of non-violation duties regarding the rights of others. 4 To make this recognition viable in practice, an authority is necessary, which points out the scope of tolerated action and, if necessary, is able to sanction agents, who violate those rules. This is, because without such an authority it would be uncertain, compliance to which of the norms agreed on one’s opposite really views as mandatory when engaging in interaction. Here, such an authority will most often be equivalent to a state (Jakobs 1999: 24–28). 5 With institutional norms we refer to norms which are prescribed by an institutional order to agents who hold an office in this institutional order or to agents who interact with those. 6 Indeed, a full security of action would make a totalitarian surveillance with maximally efficient prevention-measurements necessary. This is, however, neither practically feasible nor compatible with the (democratic) state of law. 7 Even if they might be legally guaranteed, they often are not factual as they do not provide security of expectation. 8 While Rawls’ theory of justice is (similar to Habermas’) an Ideal Theory and some of its normative desiderata are indeed context-independently fixed, it still provides valuable tools for the analysis of corruption. This is, because it can be abstracted to the sole approval of functioning institutions, for which purpose norms like professionality etc. seem necessary. Framed this way, the model can be applied to quite different societies, whose values might differ significantly from the Rawlsian (ideal) well-ordered society. 9 Note that Rawls’ project here is not to develop a genuinely psychological theory in the sense of producing statements about the cognitive processes involved in different kinds of moral reasoning. Instead, the theory observes and systemizes in which contexts of society morality as a category of reason-giving plays a role. Nevertheless, research provides evidence for that systematization as morality is found to bind individuals in groups and regulate their actions in those groups with a set of shared norms and values reciprocally (Haidt 2007: 1000). 10 Perhaps it is not surprising that similar phenomena can be encountered in mafiaregimes and other instantiations of organized crime, whose members rely on a certain kind of discretion and solidarity amongst each other. 11 I.e. the scope of operativity of cooperative norms. 12 In this context, the importance of press freedom cannot be overstated, as the impact of civil society on anti-corruption correlates with press freedom to a degree that in regions without press freedom no significant influence of civil society on anticorruption can be observed. Moreover, in areas without press freedom corruption can more often be detected within civil society itself (Themudo 2013: 82–83). 13 It needs to be stressed that this is not the same as demanding democratization and justifying interventions by promoting it. We remain agnostic on the question whether those would be justified or not. 14 Here, as the structure of international politics – for good reasons – restricts the options of state agents to interfere into the internal affairs of other states (to which corruption
40 Gizem Kaya and Georgy Kopshteyn for the most part belongs), non-governmental agents such as transnational corporations might be responsible to step in and take up the slack (Scherer and Palazzo 2007; Kaya and Kopshteyn 2017).
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2 Hamulas and structural corruption in the Middle East Mohammed Khalaily and Doron Navot1
Introduction This chapter aims to shed light on the nature of political corruption in the Middle East, focusing on the Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel, Jordan, and the Gulf States. We define political corruption as the misuse of public power for private gain, and conceive corruption as a form of particularism (Mungiu-Pippidi 2013) and as a manifestation of insufficient regard or lack of concern for the public, including for public norms, public process, and the public interest. That is, the core of corruption is not only private regard and particularism but also “practical indifference,” or disrespect for the public. Like recent works on political corruption, the chapter was born out of an acknowledgment that political corruption is usually the result of individual and societal factors and that the task of fighting corruption is difficult and frustrating. Yet because of the various negative consequences of corruption, it is a task worth doing. This observation is almost a truism when it comes to the Middle East, in which corruption is pervasive and good governance is in short supply. Our main argument is that corruption in the Middle East is rooted in modernisation failure and that to understand how the later has failed, and by whom, we must bear in mind the unique role of specific social units with corruptive potential – call them tribes, clans, Hamulas. These units, which rely on kinship and blood ties, alongside additional traits, such as a common religion and culture, have become part of the political order in many countries (Caton, 1991). Hamula often manifests itself in nepotism and patronage, but these are not the same phenomena. First, not every Hamula has the authority or power to appoint her people. Second, at least hypothetically, Hamula can avoid patronage and nepotism, and to remain Hanmla. Thirdly, there are cases of nepotism and patronage outside of the Hamula, and in many societies that do not have such a social equivalent. For example, in southern European political systems there is patronage but there are no Hamulot. Another example is nepotism among governmental companies in Israel, which got nothing to do with Hamulot but rather on the power of trade unions vis-à-vis the management. Fourthly, Hamula is not a form of corruption, but rather a social structure, with potential for massive corruption. Finally, whereas Hamula is more like petit corruption, this is a
44 Mohammed Khalaily and Doron Navot special kind, because of it is dependent on the capacity of the head of the Hamula to gain power. If and when the head of the Hamula – or its representative – gain power, then he can allocate spoils, nepotism, etc. In this sense, there is a hierarchical structure that often we do not find in petit corruption. That is, Hamula may lead to what can be called a top-dawn petit corruption. Despite the fact that the tribal phenomenon in its various manifestations is a common social and cultural framework in the Middle East, there are few researches, which consider it as a political phenomenon Although the clan and tribal phenomenon invites a cultural explanation, we argue that its continuation is a historical-institutional phenomenon and not mainly cultural one. More precisely, the continued existence of tribal and clan frameworks in the Middle East is not solely the result of cultural factors, and it is wrong to treat and attempt to explain them using cultural terms or essentialist perspective. The clan and tribal phenomenon are the result of historical processes that led to the creation of an equilibrium that, over time, has been difficult to change (along the line of Greif & Tabellini, 2017). Furthermore, clans and tribes are not typical of all Arab countries. Yet with the exception of Egypt, there are three models of sub-state entities that characterize Arabic countries and Arabic minorities in Middle Eastern countries: community, family, and clan.2 The institutionalisation of these patterns of sub-state entities contributed to the institutionalisation of fragmentation and factionalism in Arab societies. We base our analysis on neo-institutionalism, particularly on the notion of institutional stickiness (Boettke et al. 2008). That is, institutions’ status in relationship to indigenous agents in the past is central to understanding how social units with corruptive potential such as Hamulas – became pervasive in the Middle East (along with the line of Boettke et al. 2008, 333). We also argue that corruption has not changed much since the Arab Spring because Hamulas are very adaptive to changes. Thus, even if the arrangements between the state and local groups have changed because of the Arab Spring (for instance, specific actors have been empowered by their growing role in border management; Del Sarto, 2017, 768), there is no reason for optimism about the reduction of corruption in the region. Before proceeding, we would like to explain why we believe that the Arab Spring does not challenge our analysis. The Arab Spring began when a young unemployed man, Muhammad Bu Azizi, set himself on fire after the authorities refused to allow him to continue to operate the stall selling vegetables used for his livelihood. His death sparked a wave of riots in Tunisia, followed by President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali leaving the royal palace on 14 January 2011. The riots in Tunisia sparked protests in Egypt after Egyptian youth Khaled Said was beaten to death on 26 June 2010 by security forces. In Syria, riots broke out following the arrest of youths in the town of Daraa after they sprayed walls against the regime, and in Yemen it was the arrest of a human rights activist and a journalist (Mungiu-Pippidi, 2015).
Hamulas and structural corruption in the Middle East 45 The outbreak of the Arab Spring has many causes. No doubt, one of them is the fact that elites took control of public companies and created a corrupt system of promoting associates, from which only a small stratum was enjoyed, and not the ordinary citizen (Achcar, 2013). At the same time, the people protest against the corruption of the political regime, it is hard to believe that they protest against tribal and clan structures that underlie it. The roots and development of Hamula: literature review and analytical framework The Hamula phenomenon is a trademark of Arab and Islamic societies as well as the family, who plays a dominant role in Arab societies, fulfilling economic, military, social, and political functions. Hamula is part of the tribe, which is defined as the largest social unit, including within it smaller units down to the nuclear family, which is the smallest of these units and the densest and clear in terms of the social ties that bring its members together. The Hamula creates a central social and political scene throughout the Middle East and North Africa, just like race groups, religious sectors, and modern social orders. The idea of the Hamula is based on a common past and destiny, and individuals feel obliged to defend it in events such as conflicts or electoral competition (Abu Ghanem, 1990; Goldie, 2015, 152). Thus, the Hamula embodied the collective voice, the idea of solidarity, the similar state of living and moved the individual from a traditional stage of individual rivalry to a stage of collective solidarity (Youssef, 2011). Marquette and Peiffer (2018) remind us that corruption persists because it functions to provide solutions to problems. “Hamulas” started as a solution to obstacles confronting socially interacting agents. Originally, they were not constructed by some foreign entity (like the crusaders, French colonialists, the British Empire, not to mention the Zionist movement or the Israeli state), and their emergence was indigenously introduced long time ago. Hamulaism is a multi-branched network of social connections that rely on blood bonds, through which the individual interests of Hamula members are promoted, especially in the public sphere (Caton, 1991; Hourani, 1991). In accordance with this definition, large, strong Hamulas and small, weak ones merge from time to time in an attempt to provide protection, fight a common enemy or achieve common interests. This was expressed by Ibn Khaldun in his Muqaddima by saying that tribes are formed through blood, descent, alliance, and loyalty (Alrubay’, 1974). On the public level, Hamulaism plays a crucial role in affecting public policy. In addition, high-ranking officers, bureaucrats, and public officials use their statutory role and authority for resource allocation and policy formulating, acquiring illicit benefits and job distribution based on blood bonds rather than objective and professional considerations (Hayek, 2013). The phenomenon has similarity to the Guanxi in China and Blat in Russia. These three mechanisms include informal agreements and exchanges of goods and public services relying on an interpersonal relation-based network (Barbalet, 2017). However, there is also an important difference; Hamula is based on familial relations. Although
46 Mohammed Khalaily and Doron Navot this kind of relations are well known and institutionalised in society and they are not necessarily illegal or include illegal behaviour, they are always based on particularistic logic and exclusionary dynamic, and they lack universal justification. Often, therefore, people who act according to this kind of relations would hide their motives and intentions from outsiders. The whole tribal system was built on publicly known, rather than written, social norms (a‘rāf – ( )أعرافMa’atok, 2017). In this system, the individual must display complete loyalty and faithfulness to the tribe, internalize its tribal law system and obey its tribal norms and customs entirely. In return, the tribe is obligated to provide protection and support for each individual. Blood Vengeance ( )األخذ بالثأرis the institution which expresses this dialectic, by further illustrating tribal zealousness – al-‘aṣabiyya (Ma’atok, 2017). The responsible politician or public office holder is subject to the wishes and interests of the tribe or Hamula, and his reluctance to take advantage of this position in order to make gains for the Hamula might delegitimize him in the latter’s eyes. This means that through his occupation of public office in political or bureaucratic bodies, he is considered an envoy or ambassador of the family, and continuing to occupy his position is directly linked to the extent he serves his group’s interests, contrary to his position’s requirement of serving the public good. A person who wins a position thanks to his close social circle will feel obliged to remain loyal to this circle, instead of being loyal to universal values or the system of law (Sidani & Thornberry, 2013). Why and how have Hamulas and alike survived? The modernisation approach assumed that as modernisation processes seeped and deepened, the power and status of traditional frameworks would be eroded. Especially in Western modernisation, that is, processes of progress are not only technological but also political (Huntington, 2003). According to the modernisation approach, human societies develop evolutionarily, progressing from the traditional to a more modern state, similar to that of Western societies (Sa’adi, 1997). On the political level, modernisation points to a fundamental change in the patterns of political organisation from primordial patterns, which are traditional and based on familial association, to contractual, democratic, heterogeneous, and open patterns (Reches, 1993; Landau, 1993; Ghanem & Azaiza, 2008; Jamal 2017). In other words, there is a correlation between the strengthening of modernisation and the weakening of traditional frameworks (Eastwood & Prevalakis, 2010). According to this logic, Hamulaism should not be a significant factor among Arab societies, since this population has undergone modernisation processes, certainly in the last decade. However, this is not, in fact, the case. Even in countries that have undergone profound Western modernisation processes, traditional frameworks play a dominant role, filling many functions to this day (Sidani & Thornberry, 2013). The partial modernisation approach suggests that changes and developments in some societies in the world are only partial so that the adoption of modern values
Hamulas and structural corruption in the Middle East 47 and behaviour patterns is still limited and reflects modern values and structures in certain areas while preserving traditional one in others (Alghod’ami, 2009; Papanek, 1972). Fred Riggs (1964) identified an integrated bureaucratic system that unites the characteristics of modern industrial society while containing the characteristics of agrarian-traditional society, naming it prismatic society. Such a society is characterised by a value-based duality reflected in the existence of modern and traditional values at the same time, which affects public policy. According to this explanation, the Arab family underwent modernisation in terms of economic and material life, but due to the authoritarian regimes, people found security in the familiar structures of traditional, familial, tribal, religious, and ethnic communities (Sharabi, 1987). In contrast, Moghadam (1993) believes that patriarchal and traditional values continue to exist because they serve the interests of the political elite. Barakat and Ali al-Wardi (1989), on the other hand, claims that Western modernisation penetrated the Arab-Muslim region accompanied by Western colonialism, which in itself created a crisis, from the very outset, in local society’s willingness to adopt modernisation despite the many utilitarian advantages involved. In addition, modernisation created a system of dualism that relates to almost all dimensions of society. In this context, the duality that characterizes Arab societies is expressed in patterns of behaviour that contradict each other, whether consciously or not. This duality began in the Ottoman period, and it became prevalent in the colonial and post-colonial era (Al-Wardi, 1989). While politicians are superficially committed to universal values, when they come to power, they leave behind their declared principles and their governance patterns. They rely mainly on the politicisation of traditional frameworks such as tribalism, sectarianism, patronage, and nepotism (Al-Wardi, 2007). In contrast to these approaches, the historical institutional theory that underlies this study presumes that institutions exist over time due to their embodiment of a state of equilibrium associated with the historical development path. People adhere to institutional arrangements and organisational patterns since any deviation will worsen the individual’s situation (Hall and Taylor, 1996). Institutional stickiness describes the ability or inability of new institutional arrangements to take their place in the current political and social reality. According to Boettke et al. (2008), institutions are sticky and attractive to the local community when they are “house-made” and are not a product of external coercion. That is, the perseverance of institutions is related to the fact that they rely on the cultural characteristics of the group and are consistent with its values, norms, and practices. In differ with the literature, we approach the tribal phenomenon in the Arab and Islamic world as a dynamic phenomenon. It is permanently changing, influenced by historical, economic, and social contexts and by regional and global events. Thus, the tribal phenomenon changes in accordance to internal and external factors and is constantly in a state of formation and adaption to internal
48 Mohammed Khalaily and Doron Navot and external developments in a way that suits its interests or the interests of the central players within the tribe, who act according to their own individual motives, or tribal motives as they see them. The history of Hamula The tribal social structure was created due to life in a desert environment and its difficult conditions, which gave tribal organisations an advantage. As a consequence, the tribe was the basic building block of desert society and functioned as a political unit. Extreme natural conditions such as drought or exceptional human conditions like war may call for the formation of larger coalitions that take the form of tribal confederations (Ali, 2005). Tribal zealousness or tribal unity (‘aṣabiyya/qabaliyya in Arabic) is considered to be the structure upon which tribal life developed. It functioned as the ethical and moral frame of reference. The post-colonial era is characterised by a state of duality, which combines patterns of development and modernity with those of tradition and fixation at the same time. Arab societies are hybrid societies that contain some aspects of modern society and retain prominent features of the old society (Riggs, 1964). Arab countries have witnessed the development in the 20th century of political parties, labour organisations and civil society institutions and their role as intermediaries between the state and its institutions on one side and citizens on the other, rather than the tribal and sectarian structures that characterised the Arab world in the past (Bishara, 2018). Despite that, the political elite’s practices led to the reproduction of this earlier pattern, giving tribes and Hamula structures legitimacy within these “modern” institutions that were supposed to replace traditional social structures of tribalism and sectarianism, by using them to strengthen their positions, influence, and power (Hammoudi, 2000). In a related context, Saad Aldin Ibrahim stated in his study (1982) that the processes of modernity that swept the Arab world, and the Gulf States, in particular, are responsible for a change in the social order that prevailed in the region, where modernist manifestations have gradually emerged alongside the traditional characteristics of tribal Arab societies. The infiltration of modernity and the processes of globalisation have led groups, who have sensed a threat to their social identity, to act to preserve their lifestyle in the face of technology. This means that tribes or Hamulas in their form, structure, and current role express the hybridisation between processes of modernity and partial globalisation with traditional structures and values (Ibrahim, 1982). Instead of providing services in a professional manner and in accordance with objective and general criteria for all citizens without any regard to their sectarian affiliations, tribalism sees loyalty as its primary consideration, thus the opportunity for modernisation and development is lost (Hijazi, 2006). Before the emergence of the modern states in the Arabian Peninsula, tribes formed a political unit with a military force and a territory to exercise its dominance (Barkat, 2000). With the liberation of Arab entities from Western colonialism and the achieving of political independence – establishing modern states,
Hamulas and structural corruption in the Middle East 49 tribal frameworks did not completely disappear. They continued to exist as social units based on blood bonds and maintained their social and economic roles and functions. However, with the formation of the political and military elite that led the independence and post-colonialist phase, the tribal frameworks’ political role declined. The failure of national states to bypass tribes and limit their presence and influence is also related to the failure of the Islamic experience in its various stages to organize tribes under one central and unified authority and subsequently to eliminate the loyalty of individuals to the tribe, thus rendering it a dominant and influential framework in different states and historic periods (Ghalion, 1994). It is important to note, in this context, that this stage was characterised by a large number of military coups followed by one-party rule, based on a military and intelligence structure in order to maintain political stability in political entities in the post-colonial phase, thus preserving the privileges obtained by the political elite. The “revolutionary” regimes that came to power with ideological and political programs calling for development, modernisation, Arab unity, liberation, and national independence, the fight against Israel and the independence of Palestine, the most important of which are social justice and the reduction of class differences through more social and economic rights of citizens, did not carry out any of their agendas. Rather, they narrowed the scope of freedoms and granted privileges to a small influential group. Against this political and socio-economic reality, the Arab citizen has found only the most basic regulations and frameworks to compensate for the loss of safety and personal security, and the search for refuge in the face of authoritarian regimes and their power (Alwafi, 1995; Barkat, 2000; Sharabi, 1987). Over the years, some of these regimes lost their revolutionary and/or ideological legitimacy, and political and ideologues opponents appeared, especially after the Six Day War of 1967 and the collapse of the Arab Unity Project, thus driving these regimes to resort to tribal organisations in order to gain their allegiance and attempt to restore their legitimacy (Ghalion, 1994). Therefore, the transformation of tribes and clans from social structures into political frameworks has been achieved by reciprocal and interactive relations between political elites in the state and leaders of tribal frameworks, in an attempt to strengthen each other’s positions (Alwafi, 1995). Several cases will be introduced in the following sections in order to clarify and shed light over the continuous relationship between tribal and Hamula frameworks and the widespread phenomenon of political corruption that accompanies it. The case of Jordan Tribal and clan frameworks are considered one of the characteristics distinguishing the social and political scene in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from other countries. For researchers, it is a living example of a tribal-state (Abu Raya, 2003; Alon, 2010; Tall, 2000). In the early 20th century, the population of Jordan was divided between the nomadic desert tribes and the sedentary ones (AlSha’er, 2004). The Jordanian regime adopted the practices of some Arab countries by
50 Mohammed Khalaily and Doron Navot introducing the dominant family name in the name of the state, as in Saudi Arabia, but alongside the royal family, there are many tribes that have significant weight and place in the public sphere. The tribe or clan has a prominent role in the political behaviour of Jordanian society, where social circles based on blood ties constitute the most important organised group in Jordanian society (Zayyud, 2010). Some attribute the steadiness and stability of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from its establishment to this day to the Jordanian clans, who were the central backbone that supported the state’s existence (Hattar, 2003). The current study does not attempt to introduce each country’s detailed history, rather it points out pivotal turning points in order to understand the structure of tribalism and to recognize the reasons underlying its persistence. In this context, it is important to note that the Ottoman conquest of the Middle East led to the application of Islamic Sharia law mainly in urban areas, and the recognition of tribal laws and customs in tribal and clan areas, where the Ottoman presence was close to non-existent, which allowed clan leaders to ensure their control and dominance over their tribes and clans. Due to their lack of economic interest in these areas, the Ottomans did not attempt to gain control over these areas and so did not try to subjugate these tribes nor they did not interfere with public order. Consequently, whereas the urban and civil areas of Jordan underwent modernisation and political development, the Bedouin and desert areas remained outside these changes due to their lack of value for the Ottomans. The absence of a central government and the alliance formed between the Ottoman authorities and the tribal leaders for the purpose of limiting raids and invasions gave these frameworks official and legitimate acknowledgment from the Ottoman authorities, contributing to the latter’s continuity at the time (Benny Hassan, 1989). The tribes that inhabited the area east of the Jordan River underwent severe internal conflicts under Ottoman rule, and as a consequence, spared no effort in attacking convoys passing through their territories and looting their contents. This threatened and endangered both trade and the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and the taxes resulting from the two types of convoys (Muhafaza, 1990a). Therefore, the Ottoman authorities sought to appease these tribes, avoid their dangers and assimilate them to the state by offering them numerous privileges through renting their camels for transporting the Hajj convoys, paying money to maintain security and by appointing tribal leaders in administrative positions and providing them with monthly salaries (Haddad, 2003; Zayyud, 2010). The tribes in Jordan also played a major role in calling for independence and rejection of all partition projects and imposing the mandate of the Western colonial powers over the Arab entities that followed the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. The tribal leaders sent telegrams to Britain and France demanding full independence and began to collect donations and prepare volunteers to defend the country (Muhafaza, 1990b). The Ottomans were not the only party to base their rule in Jordan on the tribal structure. The British Mandate, which controlled Jordan in 1920, established four local governments in various parts of Jordan under the balance of power of the tribes and clans in order to gain legitimacy from the political tribes and neutralize their political protest. This project
Hamulas and structural corruption in the Middle East 51 dissipated very quickly with the arrival of Emir Abdullah from the Hijaz in Maan in 1920, and the establishment of his first government in 1921, after the signing of the agreement establishing the Emirate of Transjordan with Winston Churchill in Jerusalem (AlSha’er, 2004). Shortly after the arrival of Emir Abdullah and the beginning of a central government institution, the tribes rebelled, to which the Hashemite forces responded with great violence in order to curb the attempt to destabilize Jordan. This policy quickly changed after the British officer John Bagot Glubb took over leadership of the military desert forces, as he resorted to encouragement and polarisation policies through the integration of clan members in the army and in prestigious administrative positions in the state apparatus, in addition to acquiring lands and resources (Zayyud, 2010; Hattar, 2003). Emir Abdullah’s rule was based on three central powers: the British Mandate, the tribes and clans, and the bureaucracy. His policy took into account the interests and specificities of these powers (Alon, 2015). The majority of the population in Jordan lived for many decades under tribal and clan institutions, which formed their core identity and were their only source of economic and social security (AlSha’er, 2004). The era of the British mandate was characterised by internal revolts by certain clans who refused to obey a central government and to pay taxes. Some were repressed by the royal and British armed forces and others were contained by responding to their demands by distributing lands that were state property to the tribes to ensure their stability and gain their support or by integrating their representatives in the public and political sectors. This era highlighted the tribal-clientelist system, which is based on a system of tenders and privileges in exchange for allegiance to the state. It was also accompanied by raids and an attempt by the Wahhabis to invade Jordan which was confronted by the armed forces of the tribes and the British forces (Benny Hassan, 1989). Glubb’s role was also highlighted in his repeated attempts to absorb the tribes and recruit them to the new emirate through the admission of tribesmen and clans to the armed forces and through the provision of financial resources and weapons to the tribes as well as the political appointments received them (AlSha’er, 2004). Moreover, the agreement between the British and Emir Abdullah stipulated the formation of a legislative council in 1929, formed of various sects (Muslims, Christians, and Circassians). Because of Jordan’s tribal structure, representatives of tribes were also added to the council, as a sector of Jordanian society. Army and law-enforcement forces were also based on tribesmen and clans. In addition, a series of laws were issued in the 1930s which gave tribes and clans a special status in the formation of tribal courts, including an appeals court, and allowed tribal leaders to participate in the census of their tribes’ cattle in exchange for large sums of money (Muhafaza, 1990a). After the transformation of the Emirate of Transjordan into the Hashemite Kingdom in 1936, with Emir Abdullah becoming King Abdullah, the Kingdom recognised the laws, customs, and traditions of the tribes in the judicial system, maintaining the status of tribal values and strengthening their presence in Jordanian society (Al-Rabiya, 1974). These steps gave tribal and clan powers political legitimacy and thus contributed to strengthening them and ensuring their continuity (Alon, 2016).
52 Mohammed Khalaily and Doron Navot A study by Zayyud (2010) shows that tribes had a large and influential role in the five legislative councils that preceded Jordan’s declaration of independence. Tribal representatives received 50 seats out of 80 between the years 1929–1947, constituting 62 percent of the seats. The strength of the clans and their influence showed in their preventing the councils from enacting a law to regulate and determine water usage in the Kingdom in the 1930s. Sheikh Majali, the most powerful figure in Karak, and Sheikh Majid al-Adoun, the strongest man in Balqa, expressed their opposition to this law due to the vast areas in possession of their clans. The government succeeded in reaching an agreement with these clans after the deaths of the two in 1946 (Alon, 2005). Moreover, the period after the Hashemite Kingdom gained independence from the British Mandate in 1946 saw a resurgence of tribalism. This was reflected in these groups’ representation in all of the state’s facilities. Furthermore, King Abdullah’s desire to unify the eastern and western banks of the Jordan after the Nakba in 1948 was realised thanks to clan leaders and powerful families who voted in favour of the proposal at the Jericho Conference in 1950 (Al-sha’er, 2015). The relations between the Kingdom and the clans deepened during the reign of King Hussein, especially through quota policies and allocation of governmental jobs and university scholarships, in confirmation of the influential and fundamental role the clans played in supporting and granting legitimacy to the regime (Zayyud, 2010). As shown in the studies discussed earlier, not only were these relations a system of appointments and the allocation of resources, but they were also reflected in the state’s approach, which formulated policies primarily based on the interests and demands of clans, rather than on professional and objective bases, going beyond the “narrow interests” of tribal leaders. This led to common corrupt practice inside the Hashemite Kingdom which penetrated public facilities in a structural manner. In a related context, Alon (2000) claims that the clans’ influence on public policies was not reflected in the general body of the legislative authority, but behind the closed doors of King Abdullah’s palace, between representatives of these groups and high-level figures in the government. The Jordanian Kingdom succeeded in maintaining a relatively stable political state in comparison with other neighbouring Arab countries, especially when taking into consideration the internal conflicts that characterised it and the wars of the Arab world (Muhafaza, 1990b). This relative stability was mainly the result of the distorted modernisation processes the Kingdom underwent, in addition to the ongoing close relationship between the royal Jordanian regime and the Bedouin tribes and clans, and their intersection of interests (Banny Hassan, 1989). The containment of tribes in the state apparatus and the army, and the granting of material concessions, contributed to the strengthening of internal cohesion between the tribes and the monarchy, which led to the defeat of all attempts to rebel against the Jordanian regime, especially the rebellion of the Palestinian organisations in 1970 (Hattar, 2003). Despite urbanisation processes, the steady rise in the number of academics and the integration of women into the labour force, the tribal and clan system is
Hamulas and structural corruption in the Middle East 53 still rooted in large sectors of Jordanian society, not only affecting its social life, customs, and traditions and dominant value but also playing a pivotal role in politics and influencing parliamentary and local elections. Many political and ideological political parties turn to tribes and clans at times of election in order to gain their trust and support, thus ensuring their political representation (Zayyud, 2010). Moreover, since its establishment and until this day, the successive Jordanian governments have consistently granted ministerial positions to tribesmen of Bedouin origin, as if to assure the deepening of the clan and tribal structures of Jordanian society by granting them highly valued ministries (Adwan & Dabbas, 2017). In addition, the Jordanian Election Law allocated the representation of Bedouin tribes in the House of Representatives, according to the electoral circles of the Bedouin tribes. This law underwent several changes in recent years, when the number of seats allocated to Bedouin tribes and clans in the north, centre, and south changed from 6 in 1986, to 9 after the amendment of the law in 2001 (AlJereiba, 2003). A study by al-Tuwaisi (1998) showed that the presence of tribes in the Jordanian elections in 1993 and in 1997 was more prominent than the presence of ideological parties and political organisations, where tribes emerged as active players and candidates in the elections and a strong electoral base for political elites. The research carried out by Zayyud (2010) found that more than half of the candidates (50.6 percent) of the House of Representatives (Parliament) in the Jordanian elections are driven by tribal motives and about 36 percent identify themselves as belonging to a tribe and political party at the same time. The study also showed that 67 percent of the candidates reported that they resorted to the clans and tribes in the elections, with 24 percent stating that the clan is an electoral base and 38 percent stating that they turn to the clan for help and support. 83 percent said they received support from their families: economic, campaign organisation and voting. It is important to mention that the political elite in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan took tribal and clan considerations into account throughout all its historical turning points, subsequently deriving its political legitimacy from these groups. The historical reading conducted here confirms the tribal and clan considerations within the political elite’s behaviour and that of the state, which was established thanks to their support, and continues to receive their loyalty and support until this day in facing alternative political forces that attempted to enter the Jordanian political arena. This demonstrates the way in which clans and tribes are used as a “security reserve” and a source of political legitimacy gain in the face of leftist political ideologies, Nasserism, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. In brief, it is possible to state that the Jordanian regime is based on tribal and clan support in laying the foundations of its political rule. In return for the support provided to the regime by the tribes, in addition to the acceptance of political arrangements and agreements, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan included tribesmen in high positions of the modern state apparatus and provided them with economic and legal privileges.
54 Mohammed Khalaily and Doron Navot The situation of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait The vast majority of the Arab Gulf States are legitimised through loyalties and tribal affiliations on the one hand, and a national affiliation-based state, on the other (Al Yafei, 2018). It appears through various studies that a significant part of these entities is based on alliances and conclusion of agreements between a group of clans and the conflicting tribes, aimed at refraining from fighting among each another and sharing the responsibilities and functional roles of the new states according to the clan/tribe’s logic. Due to the absence of the Ottoman Empire from vast unpopulated areas, the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula were not accustomed to the presence of central governance and a uniform law regulating social, economic, and political life. The agreement between the conflicting tribes formed the beginning of the modern era for these states and entities. This transitional phase was mainly based on the structure of tribal and clan communities. All of the Gulf States and Emirates witnessed a strong and dominant presence of various tribes and clans, such as Al Khalifa in Bahrain, Al Sabah in Kuwait, Al Thani in Qatar, Al Bu Falah in Abu Dhabi (Khoury, 1983). Some of these states have also embodied “tribal confederation,” as in the case of the first and second kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Al-Dakhil, 2014; Al-Atawneh, 2014). After the establishment of second and third Saudi Arabia in 1818 and 1932, Princes of Saudi Arabia realised that the lack of permanent settlements and the nomadic nature of the Bedouin tribes made it difficult to introduce them to the new state which further complicated his efforts to establish the new state’s institutions, the demarcation of its borders and collecting taxes from its population. Therefore, Prince Faisal reached an agreement with the tribes in order to preserve security and stability and to prevent tampering with the sovereignty of the new state, granting them independence in return for paying taxes and a commitment not to prejudice the security and stability of the state (Athimin, 1955). On a related matter, Barkat (2000) pointed out that Saudi Arabia developed on the ruins of tribal wars, but the tribes still form military contingents within the National Guard and did not assimilate into the frameworks of the modern state and its various institutions. To this day, some Bedouin tribes refuse to obey the bureaucracies and the law in the kingdom and prefer to deal directly with the ruling family and achieve their demands through them, bypassing the modern state and its elected and professional bodies. Kuwait was established in the 17th century by a group of tribes that migrated from the Arabian Peninsula and settled in Kuwait. The governor was voluntarily chosen from the Al Sabah family to bear the burdens of government and responsibility. The people produce and finance the governing institution. That was the legacy of the corporate governance before the discovery of oil, as it relied on economic activities related to the sea, such as pearl fishing, ships, and trade in addition to the production of dates (Benny Salameh et al. 2012). Kuwait witnessed a transitional period after its independence that led to significant economic development. A pluralist society appeared as a result of this growth that included great social diversity: city population versus desert population, Shias versus Sunnis,
Hamulas and structural corruption in the Middle East 55 men versus women and merchants versus other citizens. This social transformation led to the emergence of political parties and civil organisations (along with the line of Lipset & Rokkan, 1967) and, but most of them were based on communitarian and tribal norms in order to gain legitimacy and public support which helped them to gain greater power and influence (Ghabra, 1997). The research conducted by Mosalli (1999) concluded that, despite the modernisation processes in Kuwait, the tribe is still strongly present in the public sphere and its continuity is due to its ability to adapt to developments through introducing changes in the form and functions of the tribe. Political participation in Kuwait is highly affected by the tribal and sectarian social structure. Voting is based on consanguinity and not on the base of ideology and electoral platforms. Research of Al-Nakib (1996) has also emphasised the crystallisation of a patron-client model between the state and the tribe on the one hand, and the people of the tribe, on the other hand, so that the tribe grants legitimacy to the ruling body of the state and allocates resources for it, whereas the tribe obtains direct benefits for its members in order to maintain their loyalty and not migrate among political parties and the civil society institutions that are weak already. Ghabra (1997) states that the tribal logic that governs the state extends to the bureaucratic apparatus, which in turn makes public policies compatible with the social power imbalances and takes into account the influence of each of the groups that constitute Kuwaiti society. On balance, public policy in Kuwait is subject to the interests of exclusive categories at the expense of the public interest. The status in Kuwait is the result of the agreement concluded between the merchant families and the Sabah family, which provided for a clear sharing of responsibilities between different families: the Sabah family was given the responsibility for managing public affairs, state affairs, and maintaining security and safety, whereas the merchant families are responsible for managing various economic affairs and facilities. This agreement is considered the source of legitimacy for the ruling family in Kuwait (Coates, 2014). In this context, Khaldoun al-Naqib pointed out that the basic source of the legitimacy of the political system and the current situation in the Gulf States in general and in Kuwait, in particular, is political tribalism. The state apparatus is considered the private property of the ruling elites, thus public resources are allocated according to different tribal alliances. Joseph Kostiner (1993) explained in his study of Kuwait’s history that the “tribal alliance” that was established upon the state’s emergence was able to control all the agencies and institutions of the state. The tribal values system was imposed on the public sphere in Kuwait through the permanent representation of tribes in the Kuwaiti Legislative Council from its establishment in the 1830s until the 1990s when Kostner’s research ended. The various branches of the Sabah family (Salem in the beginning, then Jaber later) recruited the state apparatus in order to maintain control across government and decision making in Kuwait, where they appointed tribesmen to important administrative positions in order to preserve this alliance, and to maintain loyalty between citizens in Kuwait and the ruling family (Al-Nakib, 1996). These appointments were not based on professional grounds nor efficiency and personal
56 Mohammed Khalaily and Doron Navot capabilities, but rather on affiliation to a particular tribe in specific alliance with the Sabah family. This tribal system led to entrenching this mentality and separated the tribe from governance regimes and the decision-making circles. The declaration of the Kuwaiti constitution in 1962 led to the establishment of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, which brought together representatives from different families in Kuwait and opened a dialogue between the ruling family and the merchant families on important and crucial issues related to the state and its relations with Kuwaiti society (Thuroczy, 2010). After the election of the National Assembly, tension began to resurface. These cracks and conflicts led to the Council being dissolved many times and a state of emergency being declared (Coates, 2014). The National Assembly had limited influence on the process of policy formulation and the decision on its continuity remained with the prince, but it contributed to the entrenchment of political tribalism and strengthened the status of those families. The ruling family in Kuwait granted an additional 90,000 people the right to vote in elections in order to strengthen tribal and sectarian identities and thus enhance the status and legitimacy of the ruling family (Thuroczy, 2010). Al Nakib (1996) showed that the institutional changes made by the ruling family during the 1970s and 1980s increased the representation of tribes and different families in Kuwait, especially in the ministries and the public sector, whereas there was a decline of representation in other sectors. In the early 1980s, during the First Gulf War between Iran and Iraq, Kuwait reiterated its position in support of the Baath regime in Iraq against Iran, which in turn tried to incite Shia tribes against the ruling family and to destabilize the regime and its foundations. The outbreak of the Second Gulf War in the late 1990s, after Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait to control its land and natural oil wealth after years of Kuwaiti support for Iraq, led to the strengthening of relations between the tribes and the ruling family, as the latter suffered from decaying legitimation as a result of its economic policies, which caused damage to vulnerable sectors and population groups in Kuwaiti society, and its flight from Kuwait during the Second Gulf War and non-participation in the military resistance that arose in Kuwait at that time (Kostiner, 1993). The Palestinian Arab minority in Israel The question of the status, identity, and patterns of behaviour of the Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel have received considerable attention in the field of research (Ghanem, 2001; Khatib & Ghanem, 2017; Shihade, 2011; Rabinowitz, 2001). Unanimity exists among many researchers regarding the dynamic and changing reality of Arabs lives in Israel (Ali, 2004; Pappe, 2011; Rabinowitz & Abu Bakr, 2002). Arab society is subject to changes in the political and economic spheres which affect and change its identity and patterns of behaviour (Lish, 1989). The 1948 war not only changed the political reality but also caused a deep psychological crisis among Palestinians who remained within the borders of the State of Israel (Matza, 2016). The poor economic situation of Arabs who
Hamulas and structural corruption in the Middle East 57 remained in Israel directed the focus to priorities like maintaining the wholeness of their property, their security and the reunification of their families. The Arabs viewed the Hamula as a collective framework that could provide them with security and complete the emotional vacuum created after the war (Bishara, 1993; Rabi’, 2011; Mustafa, 2005, 2010). The marital law imposed on the Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel immediately after the establishment of Israel governed all aspects of the Arab population’s life. At the same time, Mapai, for example, used the marital law to advance its political interests and to gain the Arab citizens as electors by establishing political lists based on the Hamulaistic and sectarian social structure (Mustafa & Ghanem, 2014). In addition, socio-demographic aspects have preserved and strengthened the Hamula’s strength as a social and political framework. First, the demographic balance within Arab communities has hardly changed due to limited immigration processes. Second, some of the neighbourhoods in the Arab localities are homogeneous in terms of the Hamula composition. The geographic-spatial concentration of members of the Hamula strengthened and intensified the social cohesion between them and made the possibility of unity and cooperation easier (Rabi’, 2011). Third, the preserved rural way of life is reflected in the local political patterns of behaviour, which still remain base on the familial association (Khamaisi, 2018). As a result, the Hamula took over (Hlehel, 2011). The strengthening of the Hamula as a political framework after the establishment of the state opened up a window to practices that run counter to democratic values: equality of opportunity, prohibition of discrimination, good governance and transparency (Brick, 2013). In recent years, we are witnessing a form of modern corruption through which the establishment of front companies and money laundering take place. This form of corruption is very sophisticated, for example, the adoption of democratic norms into clearly undemocratic mechanisms which is taking place in recent years. Among other things, the rise of the “family primaries” institution, in which vote is conducted (by means of actual ballot boxes) regarding the choice of candidate for mayor election (of course, the participants are only men), thus perpetuating the power of the family as a real political unit (Brick, 2000, 2005, 2013). Problems in the area of proper administration are not fixed and are essentially various – structural, legal, social, cultural, and sometimes even historical. For the purposes of this study, within the Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel, there is patronage that deals with granting governmental favours in an unequal manner, on a particular and Hamulaistic basis, in exchange for non-monetary political support (Navot & Reches, 2010).
Summary and conclusion Modernist logic assumes that as modernisation processes spread, it will shake and affect the power structure of the tribal and clan frameworks and its basis, which will lead to the eradication of the frameworks. However, the reality of Arab societies shows the continuing existence of clan frameworks in the face of accelerated modernisation and globalisation processes. The cultural context, including social
58 Mohammed Khalaily and Doron Navot norms, values, and attitudes, for corruption in Arabic countries, is thus very clear: the persistence of tribalism. There are several positive aspects that characterize the tribal and Hamula frameworks. Among these positive aspects, it is possible to point out the internal social solidarity among the members of the Hamula during various personal events, especially during mourning and wedding periods. This solidarity is expressed in a genuine and strong support for the bereaved families or those getting their sons and daughters married economically and socially, a fact that helps in lifting up the burden that might have weighed on the families. In addition, in times of economic crisis, all the members of the Hamula usually express readiness to help each other out of the crisis in order to eliminate the destructive consequences of this crisis. Moreover, the existence of tribal and clan frameworks can bring about the resolution of disputes between tribal groups and thereby prevent turning disputes into bloody mass fights (Barkat, 2000). Generally speaking, the negative aspect is that forms of executive constraint that were associated with increased political stability emerged under feudal institutions in Western Europe, did not evolve in the Muslim world (Blaydes and Chaney, 2013; Kuran, 2004). This hindered the development of a healthy relationship between clans and rulers, and of modernisation more generally. Importantly, underdevelopment perverted clans, tribes, and Hamulas, and enabled them to play a major role in the Arab world. Indeed, the article showed that corruption in the Middle East and in many Arab countries is closely linked to the presence of Hamula. Put differently, the continued presence of the Hamula in public life and the process of policy design and implementation increases corruption and thus impedes the political development and economic growth of many Middle East countries. In a similar vein, in order to understand the impasses of modernisation in the Arab world, we must understand the role of primordial frameworks that have the active role to promote corrupt practices that conflict with democratic and progressive values. Our research shows that tribalism and Hamula often manifested in patronage and nepotism. The norm is to appointment workers based not on professional and objective criteria, but on family relations. This, in turn, often leads to many senior officials lacking necessary skills, experience, and abilities. In Western countries, this is regarded not only as corruption but also as illegal corruption. In the Arabic countries, and among the Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel, the perceptions of Hamula is quite different. While many Arabic people, at least in Israel, acknowledge that allocating resources based on such particularistic ties is illegal, most of them see it as a necessary evil. The nature of this phenomenon is ever-changing, influenced by historical, economic, and social contexts, and by regional and global events. Therefore, the tribal phenomenon changes according to internal and external factors and it is constantly in a state of reconstruction and adaptation to internal and external developments in a way that suits its interests and/or the interests of the leading figures within a tribe, acting according to their personal motives or tribal motives as they perceive them. In this regard, corruption is not restricted to a specific period of time and does not have a
Hamulas and structural corruption in the Middle East 59 finite form. Corruption is ever-evolving. That way or another, the extent of these practices, its intensiveness, and complication, all affect the growth processes and interrupt the modernisation and development of the Arab countries. Finally, a growing body of scholarship claims that anti-corruption reforms should be supported by clearer conceptualisations of corruption to succeed (Heywood, 2017; Persson et al. 2013). Likewise, the new literature underscores the prominence of institutions, at the expense of agents and social structures. This research shares the idea that the struggle against corruption suffers from a collective action problem (see also: Mungiu-Pippidi, 2015; for critical review, see: Marquette and Peiffer, 2018). In a society in which Hamula is the social unit, there will be very few actors with incentives to act according to universal ethics. Corruption is thus explained not only by means-end calculation but also by something more fundamental – history, habits, and social pressures. If this research is correct, however, the problem of corruption in the Middle East is much deeper that poor conceptualisation or institutional failures. What this research indicates is that at least in an important part of MENA region corruption is structural, or even the structure. To reduce corruption we thus need more than “anti-corruption” perspectives and definitely more than policies and new conceptions. What we need are new social forces and new politics. Note: This research was supported by the ISRAEL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (grant No. 1609/17).
Notes 1 Equal contribution 2 Lebanon itself continues to be a unique case of a precarious confessional republic. See: Michael Hudson, The Precarious Republic: Modernization in Lebanon (2nd. ed. Boulder & London: Westview Press, 1985).
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3 Assessing the impact of sectarian patronage in Lebanon Patty Zakaria
Lebanon’s political and social context Much of Lebanon’s political framework rests on the 1926 Constitution, the 1943 National Pact and the post-civil war Taif agreement that have established and reinforced, respectively, the country’s sectarian model based on the country’s three major communities. The 1943 National Pact was an agreement between the Maronite and Sunni elite, which set forth the structure for the sectarian government. The pact was based on the 1932 national census, which gave hegemonic power to the Maronite elite, and to a lesser extent, the Sunni elite of the country. The agreement was made between Khuri (a Maronite) and Riyad as Sulh (a Sunni), and they agreed on the following rules: The President must be a Maronite, the prime minister a Sunni, and parliament must be selected based on the 6:5 ratio, where 6 Christian MPs are elected for every 5 Muslim MPs elected. The 6:5 ratio was implemented as a result of an ethnic/religious security dilemma; Maronite leaders feared domination by their Muslim counterparts in the country and so hoped that the power-sharing system based on sectarian divide would preserve their political, economic, and social power. With several failed attempts to end the civil war in Lebanon, a regional conference was held in Taif, Saudi Arabia in 1989, which eventually resulted in the Taif Accord. The Accords ended the ongoing civil war in the country, and consequently contributed to the establishment of a new power-sharing system among the Muslim and Christian factions, it also established a rule for disarmament and disbandment of all militants (Lebanese and Non-Lebanese), and finally, it established the SyrianLebanese security agreement. In that respect, Lebanon has followed a very strict consociational democracy, where governance is based on a power-sharing system between various religious groups in the country.1 Lebanon, like many other divided societies, had established a consociational political system, where a balance of powers among the country’s different religious sects and communal groups were implemented. According to Lijphart (1977): Consociational democracy can be defined in terms of four characteristics. The first and most important element is government by a grand coalition of
66 Patty Zakaria the political leaders of all significant segments of the plural society. This can take several different forms, such as a grand coalition cabinet in a parliamentary system, a grand council or committee with important advisory functions, or a grand coalition of a president and other top office holders in a presidential system. The other three basic elements of consociational democracy are (1) the mutual veto or “concurrent majority” rule, which serves as an additional protection of vital minority interests, (2) proportionality as the principal standard of political representation, civil service appointments, and allocation of public funds, and (3) a high degree of autonomy for each segment to run its own internal affairs. (p. 25) Much of the literature on consociational democracy has argued that power-sharing systems in divided societies will encourage cooperation and avoid outright violence among the various groups in the country. Lebanon, like many other divided societies, has engaged in consociational democracy with proportional representation and a federalist system of government. Within the consociational model of democracy, political elites play a critical role in moderating social cleavages, and at times they can aggravate social cleavages, in turn leading to conflict in society among the various groups (Dekmejian 1978, 253). This circumstance tends to be even more cumbersome when groups in society, as evident with the Shiite Muslim community, are disenfranchised economically and politically. Within Lebanon, various elite groups have exacerbated the religious divide in the country as a result of their political actions and their respective religious sect. The literature on consociational democracy has identified four main features: a coalition of elites representing their group within society, veto power given to each group, proportional representation, and autonomy for social groups (Dryzek 2005; Andeweg 2000; Bogaards 2006). Dryzek contends that states with consociational democracy aspects for their part can sometimes preserve political stability in a real-world divided, but they undermine the ability of groups to live together through deliberative and democratic social learning. (p. 258) It is important to note that power-sharing political systems are not all inherently politically unstable; however, when a country is plagued with several other dilemmas, such as economic and political marginalisation, armed non-state actors and regional instability, then the power-sharing system can contribute to instability in a country. When Lebanon’s power-sharing arrangement was first established in 1943, the arrangement had favoured the more powerful groups in the country, such the Christians, Sunni, and Druze, whereas disenfranchising the Shia population in the country. For example, the arrangement stipulated that a quota of seats for parliament would be 6:5 (Christian:Muslim), which had given the Christians’
Assessing the impact of sectarian patronage in Lebanon 67 significant power within the governing structure of the country, particularly the Maronite Catholics sects. As the population demographics shifted over the years among Christians and Muslims, especially among Shia Muslims, the power-sharing arrangement inflamed real grievances within society. For example, the Shia population increased in 1932 from 154,208 (19.6 percent of the population), to 668,500 (26.2 percent of the population) and further in 1984 to 1,100,000 (30.8 percent of the population) (Hazran 2009). As the country was embroiled in a civil war from 1975 to 1989 and a complete collapse of the state, this contributed to non-state actors stepping in to provide welfare services and security to their respective religious sect, communal group, and region. Following the end of the civil war and the establishment of the Taif Agreement , Lebanon began a long process of reconstruction and peacebuilding after a 15-year civil war that divided the country further and weakened the country’s social welfare infrastructure. The pre-civil war quota was altered, where the national constitution (Chapter II, Article 24 sec. 1(b) and sec. 2) and the Taif Agreement, for example, stipulates equal representation among Christians and Muslims. To be more specific the ratio was set at 64:64 seats in parliament (Christian:Muslim), following the Taif Accords. Besides, the president must be Maronite Christian, the prime minister must be Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of Parliament must be Shiite Muslim. All other public positions in the country must be allocated along sectarian lines. Despite attempts to remedy pre-civil war problems, the country’s political structure continued to experience problems of political deadlock, inter-sectarian bickering, protests, increasing international debt, and a dysfunctional bureaucratic system. To make matters worse, as the country emerged from a 15-year civil war that destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and contributed to the complete collapse of its economy and banking systems, the post-reconstruction government was unable to provide welfare services to their citizens, creating a void which non-state actors mobilised to fill within Lebanese society. Given the country’s sectarian divide this has led “[t]he Lebanese system . . . [to be] based on the idea that sectarian leaders represent communities, they defend their interests, and they regulate their conflicts” (Majed 2017). For example, the Lebanese government has consistently failed to provide its citizen’s water and electricity provisions as well as waste collection and treatment (see Westal 2015). Because of inter-sectarian bickering within government and endemic government corruption, Lebanon’s energy infrastructure has been crumbling even after the end of the civil war, where many citizens rely on private providers or diesel generators for electricity. Westal (2015) notes that electricity is rationed through the country, where Beirut receives three hours of a power outage a day, whereas other areas will only get electricity for a few days. Thus, the combination of the country’s consociational system, weakening state institutions, and increasing international debt, a sectarian patronage network developed in Lebanon. This sectarian patronage network goes beyond the definition of patronage and clientelism in the literature.2 Much of the literature on patronage and clientelism has viewed the concepts as a form of political exchange between the patron-client,
68 Patty Zakaria where the patron would provide favours or employment opportunities and in return, the client would vote for the patron. Patronage has been defined in a variety of ways, where Weingrod (1968) asserted that patronage occurs when political parties allocate jobs and preferential treatment to individuals in return for political support (p. 379). Additionally, Sorauf (1960) has defined patronage as a form of the incentive system in the political arena. For example, when a party member receives benefits in return for their political allegiance. In the case of Lebanon, its patronage system goes beyond doing favours for political or social clients, and instead Lebanon’s network of sectarian patronage provides welfare services to supporters of specific sectarian political parties. Furthermore, Boissevain (1966) defined patronage as reciprocal relations between patrons and clients. By patron, I mean a person who uses his influence to assist and protect some other person, who then becomes his ‘client,’ and in return provides certain services to his patron. The relationship is asymmetrical, for the nature of the services exchanged may differ considerably. (p. 18) In Lebanon, patronage is like this conceptualisation, but another splinter appears in Lebanon concerning the countries sectarian divide, where a sectarian patronage network has evolved during the civil war and has flourished in the post-war period.
The emergence of Hezbollah Within Lebanon, the Shiite community has always lived on the economic and political periphery of society, and when compared to their Christian and Sunni counterparts in society, they were the most disadvantaged group in the country. Despite the Shiite’s demographic size in Lebanon, most Shiites lived in underdeveloped and rural areas, whereas a large proportion of Christians and Sunnis’ lived in more developed and urban areas of the country. The Shiites’ sense of economic and political exclusion and Maronite political hegemony contributed to considerable discontent among the Shiite community, in turn leading to mobilisation and militancy. In addition to internal factors, external factors also aided in the rise of Shiite’s political activism and militancy. By the late 1970s, Shiite global ‘awakening’ was taking hold, and the Shiite population was beginning to find and use its political voice as a means to deal with their dissatisfaction with the political, economic, and social status quo in Lebanon. Consequently, the Shiites began to organize, as evident with the formation of AMAL Movement (formerly the Movement of the Deprived) in 1972 and later Hezbollah, Party of God, in 1985, which acted as champions of the Shiite population, and thereby ensured greater economic and political power in Lebanon for the group. The founders of Hezbollah had emerged from the AMAL Movement.
Assessing the impact of sectarian patronage in Lebanon 69 In 1982, Hezbollah first came onto the scene as a result of the events of the Civil War in the 1970s and 1980s and was not officially recognised as a militant group until 1985. In addition to improving the economic and political power of the Shiite population in Lebanon, Hezbollah also advocated for reform of the political system and the formation of an Islamic republic, respectively. The Taif Accords has stipulated that militant groups must move towards disarmament; however, an expectation was made for Hezbollah, and to a lesser extent, the AMAL Movement. From 1982 to 2000, Hezbollah took on a more active militant stance; however, with the withdrawal of Israel from southern Lebanon, Hezbollah began to take a more active social and political role in Lebanon. Concerning its social welfare role, Hezbollah has increasingly moved to provide health care services, educational services, and other social services to the Shiite community. Within the sectarian mixed area, Hezbollah’s support extends to other sectarian groups within the country as noted by one of Hezbollah’s member [i]n the south, there are very mixed areas, and the relationship with sects or with other political parties is excellent. For example, we are at the center of the work in Shebaa and Kfarshouba, even though they are Sunnis, due to the conflict in those areas on the border with Israel. Sunnis or Christians in those areas receive services from Hezbollah. (Flanigan and Abdel-Samad 2009) Despite access to service and welfare benefits being open to all the “most ardent supporters receive preferential rates and generous benefits” (Cammett 2015).
Hezbollah as a service provider During the civil war, Hezbollah provided social services such as housing, education, health, and financial support to the Shiite community in the country, particularly to Hezbollah members and their families. This network of sectarian patronage system continued and expanded in the post-civil war period as Lebanon’s institutions were too weak and dysfunctional to provide the necessary services. In the realm of education, Hezbollah has established schools and agriculture centres, mainly in the south and Shiite dominate areas. In 1993, the first al-Mahdi school and the Islamic Institute for Education and Teaching were established (Cambanis 2013), when Hezbollah began to take on more social welfare services in the post-civil period.3 Between 1996 and 2001, Hezbollah has spent approximately US$14 million on financial aid and scholarship (Hamzeh 2004). Lebanon’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education’s expenditure on education pales in comparison to private education expenditure, particularly Hezbollah. These public schools are poorly funded by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, and the quality of education of these schools remains worse than the private-sector schools,
70 Patty Zakaria particularly the schools Hezbollah has established. For example, a Hezbollah worker has stated that: [t]here is instability on the financial level and the business level. This weakness is very high in the government. For example, . . . the weakness of the public schools in the poor areas has pushed Hezbollah to create schools, and has caused Amal to create another group of schools . . . There might be a quantity in terms of public schools, but there is no quality. (Flanigan and Abdel-Samad 2009) Table 3.1 presents the schools Hezbollah has established in Lebanon as part of the group’s education outreach programs. At these schools, tuition is significantly lower than other schools in the country, particularly compared to the private schools in the country, and scholarships are provided for the poor that cannot afford the tuition. In the 1980s, the Islamic Health Organization was established, which is responsible for the administration of the medical and health care sector Hezbollah. Hezbollah, for example, has opened private medical clinics or hospitals to compensate for the ineffective government-run medical clinics or hospitals, which are either offered at a very reduced rate or free of charge. Heath services are usually offered free for the very poor in the country. Also, health and education welfare services are open to the entire population; however, given the deep sectarian divided in the country, citizens naturally gravitate towards their sectarian identification. The al-Janoub hospital was established in 1970, and an adjacent nursing home was established in 1983 as the Shiites moved towards mobilisation and militancy during the war, and the hospital has grown since its inception, where it consists of five departments. According to Levitt (2005), “[t]he hospital receives $100,000 a month from Hezbollah and is run by Ahmad Saad, the hospital director who is also a member of Hezbollah’s national health committee.” Also, Hezbollah’s health network also includes the Al Rassoul Al-Aazam hospital (Great Prophet Hospital) in southern Beirut, where Shiites and others get health care services, which consists of 33 departments, such as pediatric neurology, cardiology, and vascular surgery.5 In addition, Hezbollah’s welfare services also include a social organisation arm with the following areas: The Martyrs Foundation (provides financial support Table 3.1 Hezbollah schools School Type
al-Mahdi al-Mustapha al-Imdad4
14 6 5
Kindergarten to grade 6 Secondary school Kindergarten to grade 12
Source: Hamzeh 2004
Assessing the impact of sectarian patronage in Lebanon 71 to the families of martyrs, detainees, and resistance fighters), Foundation for the Wounded (provides financial support to individual non-combatants) who are injured by Israeli attacks. The foundation provided significant financial support in rebuilding efforts, medical services, and financial support to individuals impacted by the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, and finally the Women’s Association (social welfare programs).6 For example, during the 2006 war with Israel, the group had provided between $10,000 and $12,000 to individuals that lost their homes during the war, as well as their medical unit provided free medicine and 25,000 free meals to individuals following the ceasefire (Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East 2014). Besides, in 2006, Hezbollah with the help of Iran had distributed US$400 million to rebuild damaged infrastructure (Lob 2014). As part of its educational initiative, Hezbollah has spent over US$14 million on scholarships and financial aid to its support from 1996 to 2001. When comparing Hezbollah’s welfare provision with the Lebanese government’s welfare services, in terms of monetary investment and quality, the group has unswervingly outperformed the government in terms of both spending and quality of services provided to their beneficiaries. Thus, since public welfare services in Lebanon are highly fragmented and the state is weak as well as dysfunctional, this has allowed non-state actors provide their welfare services; thereby giving rise to the sectarian patronage network in the country. The final section of this chapter will analyse the impact of Hezbollah’s patronage network on governance and stability in Lebanon.
Impact of sectarian patronage network in Lebanon: the case of Hezbollah What impact can this sectarian patronage network have on state stability in Lebanon? These established vertical and horizontal networks among Hezbollah and the Shiite community in Lebanon has helped to facilitate corruption, but these networks have also contributed to the erosion of state legitimacy. Many have associated legitimacy with trust in the state in a democratic context; however, this approach is not feasible given that society’s trust in the state has been declining since the 1960s. Thus, the more feasible approach to understand legitimacy is the agreement among citizens on who has the right to rule, and in turn, this definition of legitimacy will translate whether citizens will be compliant with the rules and regulations of the state (Levi 1997). Additionally, legitimacy is equated with state performance, more specifically the state’s ability to ensure that citizens have access to services and goods as well as ensure security, and the capacity to resolve and ensure the country’s social and economic problems (Linde 2012; Mazepus et al. 2016; Zhao 2009; Zhu 2011; OECD 2009; Putzel 2007; Eldon and Gunby 2009). If the state becomes ineffective in its management of these issues and citizens acknowledge this deficiency, then the state will begin to lose its legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens, and the right to rule will come into question.
72 Patty Zakaria What is the relationship between legitimacy and stability? Lipset (1959) has argued that legitimacy is an essential factor influencing political stability in a given country and is a precondition for stability in democracy. In western and developed countries the provisions of welfare and security are the underpinning of the social contract between citizens and their governments. In terms of the fiscal contract, this contract is established with taxpayers, where citizens pay taxes and in return, the state will provide public service and welfare benefits (Levi 1988). So, when the state can ensure its part of the social and fiscal contracts with citizens then stability well be safeguarded. On the other hand, in developing or fragile and conflict context, the state at times struggles to provide these public services, welfare benefits, and security provisions to its citizens; therefore, this weakens the social and fiscal contracts among the two entities in society. When citizens feel that the state has failed to fulfill its part of its contract, this can weaken citizens’ legitimating perception about the state. As citizens move to depend more on the third-party actor for provisions that the state is responsible for the more likely that citizens will view this third party as having the right to rule as well as citizens’ will be less complaint to the established rules and regulations of the state. Consequently, this situation will contribute to instability as more citizens support the third party as opposed to the state, and perhaps, more importantly, the third party has a contentious relationship with the state. Campos and Gassebner (2009) noted that that the concept of political instability can be defined within three circumstances: domestic instability, regional instability, and international instability. For this analysis, the Hezbollah’s sectarian patronage network contributes to domestic instability. The rest of this section will discuss how Hezbollah’s patronage network is contributing to the second theoretical scenario discussed the harmful impact thirdparty provisions have on the perception of citizen regarding state legitimacy. The sectarian patronage network is evident with the case of Hezbollah, where the sectarian group during the civil war and post-civil war have increasingly moved to provide these provisions and security to the Shiite community in the country. Figure 3.1 illustrates the imbalance in legitimacy created by Hezbollah’s sectarian patronage network. It is important to note that this situation is present not only with Hezbollah but also with other sectarian groups in the country; however, the analysis will only focus on Hezbollah.7 Applying Figure 3.1 to Hezbollah’s patronage network, as the Lebanese government consistently fails8 to provide enough public services and welfare provisions to meet the growing demands of society, particularly the Shiite community, this situation has caused citizens to rely more on their sectarian group for support, as in the case of the Shiite community with Hezbollah. This condition will make the Shiite community, and to a lesser extent, other users of these provisions less dependent on the state and more dependent on Hezbollah; therefore, the process of state delegitimisation begins.9 In short, these provisions through Hezbollah’s patronage network has solidified the group’s domestic legitimacy among the Shiite community.
Assessing the impact of sectarian patronage in Lebanon 73
State unable to provide services
Society becomes less dependent on the state Delegimize the state
Sectarian pares or groups provide services Society becomes more dependent on sectarian pares or groups Bestow legimacy on sectarian pares or groups
Figure 3.1 Hezbollah’s legitimacy and sectarian patronage network, Lebanon
In addition to service delivery and welfare benefits, Hezbollah’s military is better armed and organised than the Lebanese military. The unbalances in military capabilities between Hezbollah, and the Lebanese military has impacted the Shiites community significantly because they perceive Hezbollah as the actual provider of security in the country and not the Lebanese armed forces, particularly against Israel (Alami 2018). The 2000 withdrawal of Israel from Southern Lebanon and the 2006 war with Israel, for example, have amplified Hezbollah’s legitimacy as a security provider in the country. In 2017, Hezbollah launched an offensive attached against ISIS on the Lebanese-Syrian border, which resulted in the removal of ISIS fighters and their families from Lebanese territory. Along with the removal and protection of Lebanese territory from ISIS, Hezbollah leads the ceasefire negotiation with ISIS along with the Lebanese Armed forces. It is important to note that the 2017 military offense also gained Hezbollah handful of support from the Sunni and Christian community in the country. By acting alone to in the military offensive and taking the lead in the ceasefire negotiations with ISIS, Hezbollah had weakened the Lebanese Armed forces, and subsequently the state, as the national provider of security. In short, Hezbollah’s military realm has further strengthened their domestic legitimacy, particularly among the Shiite community as a provider of security. So, how does the weakening of state legitimacy and increasing the legitimacy of Hezbollah among the Shiite community contribute to increased instability? The recent elections can answer this question. On May 6, 2018, a parliamentary
74 Patty Zakaria election was held, and Hezbollah gained 13 seats in parliament with a total of 71 seats out of 128-total seats in parliament due to the Hezbollah’s coalition with other sectarian groups in the country. Subsequently, this will lead to instability as the Shiite-Sunni divided continues to increase within the country since 2004.
Final remark In the past decades, Hezbollah has moved to fill the gap in services, welfare benefits, and security for the Shiite in Lebanon as well as to a lesser extent other citizen living in mixed areas of the country. After the civil war and 2000 withdraw of Israel from Lebanon, Hezbollah moved with speed to build a school, hospitals, dispensaries, and other services and welfare benefits that the state was falling short of providing to the Shiite community and others in the country. This exploratory analysis has shed light into Hezbollah’s patronage network as discussed earlier, which many have viewed it as a way for the party to generate political and electoral support in the country. However, besides the apparent purpose of these networks and implicit attempt to bribe voters, Hezbollah’s patronage networks also have harmed Shiites’ perception of state legitimacy, which has contributed to instability in the country. Thus, this pervasive sectarian patronage network system acts as a roadblock to governance and creates instability. Besides, as citizens continue to depend on Hezbollah for services such as education, health, and other social services, this will heighten the sectarian divided in the country. Finally, the welfare services of sectarian parties and groups have facilitated and reinforced fragmentation in governance because citizens are only attracted to their sectarian leaders and groups, and in turn, they are less attached to the national government. A final word, as Hezbollah’s patronage network and other sectarian networks, will continue to grow and influence as Lebanon’s national debt grows and its revenues for public services and welfare provision decline. The chapter calls for an additional study to understand the relationship between sectarian patronage network, legitimacy, and stability, and how this form of corruption can contribute to severe problems for the country, as in the cause of Lebanon.
Notes 1 This deeply divided society along sectarian lines has dictated the rules of civic engagement and politics, as well as contributed to periods of instability in the country. Although the country consists of two ethnic groups, Arab and Armenian, individuals tend to use religious sect for identification, and political lines are divided along these. 2 In Lebanon, this patronage system is nothing new and in the pre-war era this network had existed but has become more significant after 1991 and cumbersome for anticorruption measures and governance. 3 Hezbollah’s schools provide religious and applied sciences programs to students. 4 al-Imdad schools are open for the very poor that cannot afford tuition. 5 www.alrassoul.org/en/specialties 6 It should be noted that Hezbollah’s revenues come from various sources such as Iran (Iran also provides weapons to the group through Syria), international sympathizers, and drug trafficking.
Assessing the impact of sectarian patronage in Lebanon 75 7 The Future Movement supports and provides provisions for the Sunni sect in the country. 8 The Lebanese government has failed to provide provisions because the country’s increasing national debt and political gridlock. According to Wheatley (2018) Lebanon’s national debt is approximately 150% of its GDP and it “. . . current account deficit of more than 20 per cent of GDP”. 9 It should be noted that not all the Shiite community in Lebanon support Hezbollah, where former members and other Shiites have criticized Hezbollah military actions, particularly in the 2006 war with Israel.
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4 Does wasta undermine support for democracy? Corruption, clientelism, and attitudes toward political regimes Lindsay J. Benstead, Lonna Rae Atkeson, and Muhammad Adnan Shahid Acknowledgements *We gratefully acknowledge the Social & Economic Survey Research Institute, Qatar University for its support of the presentation of an earlier draft of this paper at the 1st International Conference on Survey Research, “Survey Research in the Gulf: Challenges and Policy Implications,” Doha, Qatar, February 27-March 1, 2011. We thank conference participants and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback. Special thanks to Kim Proctor for assisting with the model estimation and Jennifer Anderson, Michael Figueredo, and Erin Steinkruger for research assistance Corruption is a central theme in discussions of reform in the Arab world (Teti, Abbott, and Cavatorta 2019; Fayed 2017; The National 2016) and the spark that, with the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi in Tunisia, unleashed the Arab uprisings in December 2010. The Arab Human Development Report identifies structural corruption, defined as “personal abuse of public office and misuse of public finances” (United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2014, 17), as pervasive and the cause of economic underdevelopment across the world. Yet while anecdotal evidence suggests that perceived corruption leads citizens to demand democracy, existing research suggests that perceptions of poor government performance (Benstead 2014) and insufficient government control of corruption actually undermines support for democracy (Benstead 2014; Benstead and Atkeson 2011).1 To account for this counterintuitive link, the researchers argue that corruption undermines civil society and regime legitimacy (Manzetti and Wilson 2007; Seligson 2002; Rothstein 2011) and fosters ambivalence about whether free elections would improve transparency. System performance is the first link in a chain that fosters trust in the government and ultimately demand for democracy (Huntington 1968; Karl 1990; Mattes and Bratton 2007). Yet while there is limited research on corruption in the Arab world,2 including its relationship to support for democracy, few studies examine how clientelism relates to support for democracy. This is surprising, given the large volume of research on clientelism more broadly (Kitschelt and Wilkinson 2007; Corstange 2016; Pellicer, Wegner, Benstead, and Lust 2017; Lust-Okar 2006) and emerging evidence that clientelism may – at least at times – be experienced as a form of
78 Lindsay J. Benstead et al. government responsiveness (Benstead 2016) that is demanded by citizens (Pellicer, Wegner, Benstead, and Lust 2017). In this chapter, we argue that corruption and clientelism fall on different ends of a continuum of legitimacy and coerciveness (Piattoni 2001). Corruption is experienced negatively by citizens while clientelism is often perceived as a form of system performance, however imperfect. An empirical implication of this proposition is that, whereas corruption should be negatively related to support for democracy, clientelism should be positively related to support for democracy. To explore our expectations, we use Arab Barometer data from 38 surveys in fourteen nations conducted between 2006 and 2016. Consistently with our previous work (Benstead 2014; Benstead and Atkeson 2011), we find that better perceived government performance in the form of corruption control, freer elections, and satisfaction with the current, nondemocratic government are positively related to support for democracy both before as well as after the Arab Spring. Yet in our test of the relationship between use of clientelism and support for democracy, we find that having used wasta (that is, clientelism) or perceiving it to be widespread, when included in the survey (Wave 1 & 4), is unrelated to support for democracy. We find that higher education, in support of modernisation theory, predicts support for democracy, but that religiosity is inconsistently related to preferences for democracy (Tessler 2002a; Tessler 2002b; Collins and Owen 2012).3 The underlying determinants of support for democracy changed little when comparing the periods before and after the Arab Spring. Our findings add to existing literature by empirically testing how the overlapping but distinct concepts of corruption and clientelism (Rothstein and Varraich 2017) differently shape attitudes toward political regimes. Our results suggest that perceptions of government performance and corruption are omitted variables in models of support for democracy in authoritarian Arab countries and that corruption contributes to the region’s democratic lag in counterintuitive ways. They complement studies of corruption and institutional development by showing in a novel, authoritarian context that perceptions of good governance increase popular demand for democracy (e.g. D’Arcy and Nistotskaya 2017). And they encourage new lines of inquiry into Arab public opinion that can help better understand the formation of support for democracy as well as the interconnections between perceptions of corruption, wasta, electoral integrity, and demand for democratic reform. From a policy perspective, our findings suggest that democracy promotion efforts should support fairer and more responsive governance and service provision, rather than strengthening civil society as a sole means of supporting democracy. Supplying the benefits of democracy to authoritarian and transitional societies may be critical to their advancement and fuel their interest in democracy; otherwise, democracy can easily be seen as tyranny by the majority.
Building support for democracy: the role of supply Institutional theories of democratic political development (Huntington 1968; Karl 1990; Mattes and Bratton 2007) posit that, in order for democracy to
Does wasta undermine support for democracy? 79 develop, institutions must provide democratic outputs (that is, a supply of democracy) which prompt citizens to demand fairer and more responsive institutions (that is, demand for democracy). This leads to the consolidation and maintenance of a democratic state. Unlike modernisation theory (Ciftci 2010; Jamal 2007a) or cultural and religious theories of democracy (Collins and Owen 2012; Ciftci 2013), institutional theories argue that the first step in developing demand for democracy is satisfaction with government and regime legitimacy (Abramson and Inglehart 1995; Anderson and Guillory 1997; Anderson and Tverdova 2003; Barnes and Kaase 1979; Brittan 1975; Cusack 1999; Dalton 1996; Easton 1965; Huntington 1974; Jennings 1990; Kaase and Newton 1995; Lipset 1960; Moe and Caldwell 1994; Powell 1986). Satisfaction represents a, “running tally that citizens keep on the performance of a system” (Kuechler 1991, 280). When government is more responsive, citizens are more satisfied and less likely to engage in protest or other activities that undermine government stability. Conceptually, not all aspects of system performance are equally important for building satisfaction with government. According to Tyler (1990, 1998), procedural justice – evaluations of the fairness displayed by political and legal authorities – is at the root of public support for satisfaction with government. Assessments are not based on whether individuals obtain specific outcomes, but instead on the fairness of decisions (Casper, Tyler, and Fisher 1988; Lind, Kulik, Ambrose, and de Vera Park 1993; Tyler 2001). This is key to understanding why when citizens experience corruption, their trust in and satisfaction with the government is undermined. Perceptions of fairness and transparency are more important in determining satisfaction than specific outputs, such as policies that directly improve one’s financial circumstances. Concrete actions taken by the government to establish fair and transparent agencies are more critical for building satisfaction than overall perceptions of fairness and transparency. Some theorists argue that the negative impact of corruption on support for democracy occurs because corruption diminishes social trust (Herreros 2012; Richey 2010; Rothstein and Eek 2009; Scholz and Lubell 1998; Stulhofer 2004; Uslaner 2003); institutional trust (Anderson and Tverdova 2003; La Porta et al. 1997); and, trust in officials (Rose-Ackerman 1999; Chang and Chu 2006). Corruption is a major threat to perceptions of supply of democracy and confidence in the political system needed for citizens to demand democracy. Fair administration, lack of corruption, and social equality are strongly linked to social trust across eighty countries (You 2012) and corruption has been directly linked to lower regime legitimacy and support for democracy (Mattes and Bratton 2007; Rose, Mishler, and Haerpfer 1998; Seligson 2002). Indeed, Rothstein and Uslaner (2005) argue that nondemocratic and highly unequal countries are locked in a cycle in which: “Social trust will not increase because massive social inequality prevails, but the public policies that could remedy this situation cannot be established precisely because there is a lack of trust” (70–71). Without satisfaction with the government and a belief that the regime is legitimate, citizens lack confidence that the situation will improve under democracy.
80 Lindsay J. Benstead et al. Extensive comparative political research examines how the quality of institutional outputs (i.e. supply of democracy) shapes demand for democracy – the second link in the process of democratic consolidation. Mattes and Bratton (2007) find that better evaluations of political performance are more critical than economic evaluations for shaping demand for democracy in sub-Saharan Africa. Better evaluations of the fairness and transparency of government institutions have been shown to deepen demand for democracy in Germany (Cusack 1999), South Korea (Shin and McDonough 1999), and Taiwan (Chu, Diamond, and Shin 2001). But the role of clientelism in fostering or undermining support for democracy remains untested.
Corruption and clientelism: two sides of the same coin? In this chapter, we thus distinguish between corruption and clientelism, which we see as being on opposite ends of a continuum of coerciveness, and test how they relate to support for democracy. Corruption is “an illegal transaction,” through which “public officials and private actors exchange goods for their own enrichment at the expense of society at large” (Manzetti and Wilson 2007, 952). Examples of corruption abound. In field interviews conducted by the author in Algeria (Benstead), for example, a man stated that bribes are common. Citizens, he said, are often unsure whether medical facilities are public or private and, thus, whether payments for services are received by a private doctor (and are thus justified) or by a doctor working for the state (and thus are examples of corruption).4 An Algerian woman, who viewed government agencies as “rotten,” stated that tax authorities collude with citizens to cheat, ensure mutual culpability, and avoid punishment in the event of a government crackdown or regime change.5 Another Algerian woman the author interviewed recounted an ordeal with a judge, whom she suspected of taking a bribe from her husband in order to prevent their divorce.6 Describing a similar theme under the Ben Ali regime, a Tunisian discussed the absurdity of having to pay a bribe to pay one’s taxes for importing and registering a car: “In order to pay, I have to pay.”7 In contrast, clientelism (interchangeably, patronage or wasta) is an exchange in which, “the mediator uses his influence with a state or private provider to assist the other party in obtaining something which she/he may or may not be entitled to” (Lackner 2016, 35). While it is preferential, it is generally not illegal. Clientelism does not elicit a strong negative reaction as is often the case with experiences of corruption. In standard Arabic and several spoken dialects, wasta is an intermediary or the use of an intermediary to obtain services or solve a problem (Kilani and Sakijha 2002). Several examples from the author’s field research illustrate how wasta functions as a form of government responsiveness.8 In one example, a woman came to the office hours of a Member of Parliament (MP) to seek help obtaining a university dorm room for her daughter. The MP facilitated the service and, in exchange, the mother was socially obligated to support the MP in the elections. The MP explained that he held office hours to support his reelection campaign.
Does wasta undermine support for democracy? 81 The university official, who facilitated the obtaining of the dorm room as a favour to the MP, could call on the MP to help with one of his or her problems with the government in the future. In authoritarian regimes, the provision of government services happens outside the rule of law and often through clientelistic relationships between government officials and citizens. Yet interactions between government agents and citizens, such as those involved when seeking medical treatment, asking for help from the police, or obtaining government documents, represent one type of specific performance that influences satisfaction. In authoritarian contexts, provision of services – despite the clientelistic nature of the relationship – is often a form of government responsiveness or system performance. Corruption and clientelism are both illegitimate because they are an abuse of power by the client and involve the cross-over between private and public realms (Kilani and Sakijha 2002). Clientelism is the antithesis of representation, in that citizens trade their ability to hold the government accountable in exchange for selective benefits (Roniger and Güneş-Ayata 1994). But clientelism is an important source of services and support to citizens who are often marginalised and lack reliable means to circumvent corrupt or ineffective bureaucracies (Benstead 2016). Accordingly, we argue that corruption and clientelism fall on opposite ends of the spectrum of coerciveness (Piattoni 2001). An empirical implication of this proposition based on the literature on supply and demand for democracy is that corruption should be negatively related to support for democracy, whereas clientelism should be unrelated or positively related to support for democracy. Because many different types of clientelistic exchanges exist, and some are more satisfying to citizens than others, the relationship between clientelism and support for democracy could be ambiguous, but it should not be negatively related.
Data and methodology To test the role of government performance, perceived corruption, and experiences with clientelism on support for democracy, we use data from the 38 Arab Barometer (2018) surveys (Waves 1–4) conducted in fourteen nations between 2006 and 2016 (Jamal and Tessler 2014). The Arab Barometer is a survey of political attitudes conducted face-to-face among nationally representative samples of citizens (Table A1). The cases include a diverse set of nations with small and large populations, as well as high to low oil dependency. Per capita wealth varies dramatically from $1,070 in Yemen to $21,720 in Saudi Arabia. The cases are drawn from the conservative Arab Gulf, as well as the Levant and North Africa. The cases also have different types of political institutions: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, and Jordan monarchies, whereas Algeria, the Palestinian Authority, and Yemen are ruled by single-party dominant regimes. Lebanon is a minimalist democracy; its political system is a form of consociationalism which divides parliamentary and executive power across the country’s eighteen recognised sects. Iraq holds free elections, but like Libya and Sudan, its transition to democracy has been halted by insurgent groups which have challenged
82 Lindsay J. Benstead et al. the military’s monopoly on the use of force. Egypt and Tunisia are transitional countries with a reversal to authoritarianism in the former and transition to a minimalist democracy in the latter in the Arab Spring. At the time of the surveys, Freedom House did not consider any of the countries free except for Tunisia (Freedom House 2012). Citizens mean many things by democracy and may associate it to some degree or another with receiving services rather than rights and freedoms. Yet these understandings only underscore our argument. When government fails to supply fair and transparent government, confidence in its institutions and satisfaction with the government decrease, further deepening ambivalence about free elections and democracy as a pathway to less corrupt government.
Hypotheses and measurement We pool 24,858 interviews and analyse them in four OLS regressions, one for each of the four Barometer waves.9 This approach allows us to capture the link between perceptions of corruption and government satisfaction at different points in time – especially to examine the relationship before and after the Arab Spring. Our primary explanatory variables are satisfaction with government and six measures of government performance. We also include the use of wasta and control for indicators of economic modernisation theory and the Islam thesis (that is, social modernisation theory). Government performance To measure the supply of democracy, we include a variable that taps satisfaction with the current regime. This variable is measured on a ten-point scale, where ten is most satisfied and one is least satisfied (Table A2 and A3). Because satisfaction with government is a summary of government performance, we expect those who are more satisfied to be more supportive of democracy. H1a: Satisfaction with the authoritarian government will be positively related to support for democracy. We examine six additional dimensions of government performance: perceptions of government crackdown on corruption, attitudes about the freeness and fairness of elections, a count of the number of administrative or social services that are difficult to obtain, the condition of the national economy, and an index of institutional trust. For all indicators except difficulty receiving services, higher scores reflect more positive outcomes. We expect perceptions of better government performance to relate to higher support for democracy, and that perceptions of fair and responsive institutions will be more strongly related to support for democracy than will specific responsiveness, such as the receipt of services. Except for difficulty receiving services, which is included only in Wave 1 (that is,
Does wasta undermine support for democracy? 83 it was not asked in subsequent waves of the Arab Barometer), all other measures of government performance are positive. H1b: Perceptions of better government performance will be positively related to support for democracy. H1c: Perceptions of fair and responsive institutions will be more strongly related to support for democracy than will specific responsiveness, such as the receipt of services. We include a measure of the perception that the government is taking measures to reduce corruption, which we expect to be strongly related to support for democracy.10 H1d: Perceptions that the government is addressing corruption will be more strongly related to support for democracy. Use of wasta We include a measure for the use of wasta in the two waves that include it. In Wave 1, our measure of wasta is blunt in that it includes different types of intermediaries, such as government officials, religious representatives, and private citizens. Since using a wasta is a common practice and the question allows only one form of wasta to be specified (that is, not allowing “check all that apply”), we include all sources of wasta. Wave 2 and 3 do not include a measure of wasta perception or use. In Wave 4, we use an item tapping whether the individual believes that wasta is needed to obtain jobs: sometimes obtained by wasta, mostly obtained by wasta, and wasta is extremely widespread. As noted, some literature considers wasta to be a form of corruption (Manzetti and Wilson 2007; UNDP 2014), and thus might expect corruption and wasta to be negatively related to support for democracy. Yet we take a different perspective than much of the literature. We believe that clientelism, whereas it takes different forms, if often experienced as government responsiveness (Benstead 2016) and should be positively related to support for democracy. Yet since there are many types of clientelism, including some that overlap with corruption, and because we are using a blunt measure of wasta, the link between wasta and support for democracy may be positive or non-significant. H2: Having received a clientelistic benefit will be positively related to support for democracy. Economic satisfaction We include an indicator of whether an individual is a public employee. We also include a measure of household economic satisfaction (Wave 1 and 4). Benstead
84 Lindsay J. Benstead et al. and Tessler (2014) found greater economic satisfaction in Morocco and Jordan to be correlated with lower support for democracy, perhaps because more affluent individuals risk economic losses in a democratic transition. We expect individuals who are more satisfied financially or who hold public positions to be more committed to the status quo and, thus, less supportive of democracy. H3a: Being a public employee will be negatively related to support for democracy. H3b: Greater household economic satisfaction will be negatively related to support for democracy. Social capital We include two measures of social capital – interpersonal trust and associational membership. Social trust is a component of social capital needed for effective economic cooperation and democratic governance (Braithwaite and Levi 1998; Newton 2001). The relationship between social trust and support for democracy in the Arab world is inconsistent. Jamal (2007a, 2007b) argues that the relationship between social trust and support for democracy depends on the overall level of democracy, as well as membership in different types of associations, which could be part of the authoritarian regime or independent from it. Ciftci (2010) finds a positive relationship between interpersonal trust and support for democracy in Jordan and Morocco. The relationship between associational membership and attitudes toward democracy has also been assessed. As with social trust, not all research finds consistent effects, making expectations about social capital difficult to formulate a priori. Jamal finds membership in pro-regime associations fostered generalised trust, but lower support for democracy (Jamal 2007a). However, when membership in different types of associations is not disaggregated, it is positively related to support (Jamal and Nooruddin 2010). Our theory leads us to expect corruption undermines the demand for democratic change. Thus, we expect social trust will be related to support for democracy. H4a: Social trust will be positively related to support for democracy. H4b: Associational membership will be positively related to support for democracy. Modernisation theory Economic modernisation theory suggests that economic development and urbanisation contribute to higher education, rising incomes, and more complex interactions between citizens, fostering greater support for democracy (Inglehart and Norris 2003a, 2003b; Lerner 1958; Lipset 1960). Classic modernisation theory (that is, social modernisation theory) argues that modernisation also entails secularisation, and thus, expects Islamic faith or religiosity to be associated with lower support for democracy (Inglehart and Norris 2003a).
Does wasta undermine support for democracy? 85 We include variables measuring social and economic modernisation theory. To measure religiosity, we use self-reported religiosity. Apart from isolated studies (Grant and Tessler 2002), most literature examining religiosity and support for democracy finds a modest (Ciftci 2010; Tessler 2002b) or inconsistent effect (Tessler 2002a) or no relationship at all (Benstead and Tessler 2014; Hofmann 2004; Jamal 2006; Jamal and Tessler 2008; Rose 2002). Since our theory leads us to believe that support for democracy is driven by system performance, we expect religiosity to have no effect on support for democracy. H5a: Religiosity will be unrelated to support for democracy. We also control for education, which modernisation theory suggests should be positively related to support for democracy. Jamal finds higher education predicts support for democracy in Egypt and Jordan (Jamal 2006), consistent with other studies (Ciftci 2010; Grant and Tessler 2002; Tessler 2002b). The effect of education on the dependent variables is not linear; thus, we include dummy variables capturing different levels of education. All things equal, we expect higher education to be related to greater support for democracy. Urbanisation is not available. H6b: Education will be positively related to support for democracy. Demographics We control for age and gender. Several studies show women to have lower support for democracy s than men (Ciftci 2010; Jamal 2006; Tessler 2002a).
Results and discussion We use ordered probit to investigate the relationship between government performance and support for democracy, measured on a 1–10 point scale in Wave 1, conducted before the Arab Spring (2006–2008), and a 0–11 scale in Wave 2–4, conducted after the Arab Spring. To examine change over time in the relationships between the variables, we run each wave separately and include country fixed effects to control for contextual differences.11 Running separate models for each country produced similar findings. We use multiple imputation because there was substantial missing data for some variables. The results suggest that better perceptions of government performance, in the form of crackdown on corruption, belief that elections are freer, and satisfaction in the authoritarian regime, are missing variables in existing models of support for democracy, in support of H1a. The model predicts that for a one-unit increase in satisfaction with how the government is handling affairs, there is a .267 unit increase in the scale of belief that democracy is suitable. This was the case in authoritarian regimes and minimalist democracies in Wave 1 and in later Waves following the Arab Spring. Perceptions of freer elections is positively related to
Table 4.1 Determinants, support for democracy Independent variables Government performance
Higher government satisfaction Higher perception of corruption crackdown Perception freer elections Better perception of national economy Higher institutional trust More difficulty getting services Clientelism Used Wasta Sometimes wasta is used1 Wasta widespread1 Political economy Public employee Higher personal economic satisfaction Social capital Interpersonal trust2 Member of an organisation Demographics Age Male Modernisation Elementary3 Basic3 Secondary3
Wave 4 (2016) Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia
Wave 2 (2010– 2011) Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen
Wave 3 (2013– 2015) Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen
Wave 1 (2006– 2009) Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Yemen, Bahrain
0.070(0.16) –0.059(0.16) 0.013(0.16)
–0.107(0.18) 0.041(0.18) –0.064(0.18)
0.051(0.12) 0.176(0.12) 0.169(0.12)
–0.119(0.15) –0.224(0.15) –0.083(0.14)
Does wasta undermine support for democracy? 87 Independent variables Government performance
Wave 1 (2006– 2009) Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Yemen, Bahrain
Wave 2 (2010– 2011) Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen
Mid-level diploma3 BA3 MA and above3 Somewhat religious4 Religious4 Fixed effects Jordan5 Lebanon5 Palestine5 Yemen5 Kuwait5 Morocco5 Iraq5 Sudan5 Egypt5 Libya5 Tunisia5 N
0.082(0.18) 0.471(0.25)* –0.391(0.19)** –0.050(0.11)
Wave 3 (2013– 2015) Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen
Wave 4 (2016) Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia
0.284(0.19) 0.555(0.29)* –0.011(0.17)
0.371(0.13)*** 0.400(0.25) 0.224(0.13)*
0.001(0.17) –0.180(0.30) 0.066(0.12)
–0.958(0.10)*** –0.584(0.14)*** –1.244(0.14)*** –0.829(0.14)*** –0.961(0.13)*** –1.013(0.14)*** –1.306(0.12)*** 0.701(0.17)*** –1.317(0.14)*** –0.723(0.16)*** –1.677(0.15)*** 8,822
0.577(0.12)*** 0.934(0.12)*** –0.375(0.12)*** – – 1.458(0.12)*** – – –0.848(0.13)*** – –0.647(0.14)*** 6,348
0.911(0.17)*** 0.232(0.14) 1.863(0.19)*** 0.962(0.15)*** 0.360(0.21)* –0.568(0.16)*** 0.812(0.20)*** 0.324(0.16)** 2.453(0.22)*** – 2.983(0.19)*** – – –0.280(0.13)** – 0.169(0.16) – – – – – – 4,585 5,103
Note: Robust standard errors in parenthesis. Reference groups: 1 Employment mostly obtained without wasta. 2 People are not trustworthy. 3 Illiterate. 4 Not religious. 5 Algeria. * p