This question shall be addressed by the different contributions to this Special Issue, from the perspectives of state and non-state organizations. The former Prime Minister cannot be considered to bear sole responsibility for the authoritarian character of the Ethiopian regime well discussed in the literature as the election recently confirmed.
However, movements contesting the ethno-federal regime and governmental policies still exist and sometimes have increased in the last years. Ethiopia without Meles has thus been deprived of political opponents in the Parliament, but possible contest or protest should not be underestimated. Contributions about legal opposition groups are thus welcome, as well as papers considering the origins, evolution and role played by armed groups.
In this domain, one can wonder if the main lines drawn by Meles Zenawi at the beginning of the s or even before have remained the same and question the level of originality of the Democratic Developmental State that has been implemented in the last decade Lefort ; Planel ; Gagliardone ; Emmenegger But the concrete implementation of the Democratic Developmental State still needs to be investigated, for it cannot be merely considered as practices inherited from Meles.
How do state agents concretely implement these political and economic projects, and how do they play with their margins at their scale, between the local and the central State land reform, irrigation projects, agriculture etc. How do these projects impact the power balance between the regions? What are the concrete articulations of such a developmental project implemented with authoritarian practice of power?
After Meles, Ethiopia has also further diversified its external partners. But their increasing investment and involvement may result into weakening relationship toward other actors, like Western European countries.
And if they have, how? In fact, Ethiopia stands as the big and stable country in the Horn of Africa. Above all, Ethiopia has proved its capacity to intervene in neighboring countries. Despite its increasing military and diplomatic involvement in the region, Ethiopia has remained less affected by terrorism al-Shabaab for instance than its Kenyan or Ugandan counterparts — which might be explained by the efficiency of its intelligence services.
While Ethiopia had always been intervening unilaterally in Somalia, the Ethiopian decision to join the AMISOM troops at the beginning of may be a good case in point. Contributions stressing and analyzing periods of fear or confusion — or on the contrary the absence of fear and confusion — for state and non-state agents, will be most welcome.
Articles can be written in French or English the journal will translate the accepted articles in French. Perhaps, but even so, the nation's Constitution ensures the supremacy of the Baath -- any changes the congress makes will be cosmetic, simply modernizing the regime's authoritarianism. Of course no one expects the "emergency laws," in place since the Baathists took power, to be lifted. And the murder on Thursday of the Lebanese journalist Samir Kassir, a prominent critic of the Syrian regime, will make things harder for reformers, though official sources vehemently denied any Syrian involvement in that act of terrorism.
News of violence is always good for the hard-liners.
Paradoxically, outside pressure has weakened the government as a whole but strengthened President Assad and his "young guard" in its internal clash with the older followers of his father, the former strongman Hafez al-Assad. The president will probably use this congress to remove many of his father's associates, but he cannot do so without entering into a Faustian bargain -- namely committing himself to Syria's archaic one-party system, to the omnipotent and omnipresent security services, to a continued state monopoly over all media and, most important, to a ruling political elite that continues to hoard Syria's national wealth.
These interests, not the members of the "old guard," are the most unyielding obstacles to reform. As for average Syrians, many want to see real change, but the events in Iraq over the last two years have convinced them that dietetique hockey jersey outside intervention would be a disaster. The approach that the United States adopted in Iraq -- first dissolving the Iraqi state and then engaging in a "nation-building" social engineering program -- is the one thing that all Syrians wish to avoid.
Rather, when it comes to international pressure, an alternative approach is preferable: one based on multilateral efforts by the global powers and international organizations; financial penalties directed specifically against the businesses and foreign assets of the Syrian elites who have helped themselves to public money; constant moral demands from the international community for domestic political and economic change; and, most important, progress in negotiations with Israel.
Until the occupied Golan Heights are returned to Syria, there will be a strong tendency toward the militarization of politics here. And America has an unrivaled role in speeding that transfer. As we have seen in Iraq, "regime change" is easy but ensuring stability afterwards is very difficult.
Despite the authoritarian nature of the Syrian leadership, gradual change is preferable to abrupt change. A slower pace would not only provide a better chance at avoiding bloodshed, but would give a larger number of Syrians a chance to gain some experience in public affairs, as many have started doing recently by more openly criticizing the regime. True democracy requires a maturation process with respect to participation.
For how long will the Baathist regime survive?