Robert Springborg – England

Linked with Geneva Centre for the DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OF ARMED FORCES DCAF, with 4th General Conference of the ECPR, and with Political Islam and Europe.

Robert Springborg holds the MBI Al Jaber Chair in Middle East Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and is Director of the London Middle East Institute.

He says: ”We stop the Mohamed Atta’s of the future in the same way that it seems to me to deal with the rest of Egypt and the third world. We help them to develop. That one needs to see opportunities in this society, opportunities for economic development, for the practice of one’s profession, for the expression of one’s beliefs and that can only come about with higher rates of economic growth and as presently constructed, this economy is incapable of taking advantage of opportunities provided by globalisation and is indeed threatened by that globalisation so there needs to be some reconfiguration of the relationship between the first world and the third world and Egypt to enable that development to occur more successfully because if there is not, then there will be protests of various sorts whether of the Islamist variety or others and they will continue odd infinitum so the answer in my mind is one word, it’s development”. (full text).

Look at: Oil and Democracy in Iraq, edited by Robert Springborg, Publication Date 23 Jan 2007: This is the first major study of the alternatives confronting Iraq as it seeks to rebuild its vital oil industry while simultaneously constructing a new political system. A key challenge facing the country is to allocate the revenues oil generates in a way that avoids economic and social instability. Reviewing the present status of the industry, the authors – including Clement Henry, Massoud Karshenas, Roger Owen, Mona Said and John Sfakianakis – use comparative analysis to suggest how it might best be rebuilt. This book is an important and timely assessment of Iraq’s oil industry. (full text).

Robert Springborg - USA.jpg

Robert Springborg – UK AU USA Egypt etc.

He says also: “My impression of Iraq [when I worked there] is that it had been the most effective developer of human resources of any Arab country other than Lebanon. It had built fine institutions in terms of health, education and other human resources. The Iraqi people were talented and great to work with, which makes the present situation all the more tragic. By the early 1980s, before I left, I visited the front with Iran during the Iran-Iraq conflict. The Iraqis had built substantial recreation centres underneath the bunkers with fine fittings and fixtures, with the help of many immigrant workers, including Koreans. It was a pretty opulent situation with Iraqi soldiers commuting to and from Baghdad, almost as weekend soldiers, probably a very different situation than their Iranian counterparts. The Iraqi army was almost a carbon copy of the Red Army under Stalin, with political commissars who were present calling the shots over military commanders”. (full text).

“The neighbouring states have hung back from direct engagement with the Iraqi government and the Iraq problem,” says Robert Springborg, director of the London Middle East Institute. (full text March 10, 2007).

Springborg urges the EU to clarify its policies towards the MENA region and its Muslim democrats, arguing that “the present lack of EU policies on engaging with moderate Islamists leads them to be at best curious about the EU and at worse to be suspicious of it”. (full text, April 17, 2007).

Dr Robert Springborg started by comparing the situation in the Southern Mediterranean with EU’s eastern neighbourhood. The constitutive difference is that there is no major regional power like Russia and hence there is a bigger asymmetry at play there. Also the cultural differences are more evident with regard to the role of the state and religion. One should also be aware that “Europe” has a different echo in these states because of the colonial past. Springborg called for a stronger regional vision: the EU should acknowledge that these states and their societies will never look European and try to develop a relationship that is based on mutual respect and true dialogue. This strategy is not without its problems because there is a relative lack of partners in the Southern Mediterranean: both state and the civil society is relatively weak. (full text, April 17, 2007, scroll down).

Read: Letters to the Editor.

Bio: Robert Springborg completed a PhD in Political Science from Stanford University in 1974. He was associated with Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, for 27 years, where he became a University Professor of Middle East Politics. While there he founded and administered a Middle East Center and served as President of the Australasian Middle East Studies Association. During the course of his teaching career he also taught at the University of California, Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, and for brief periods at the University of Sydney and Canterbury University in Christchurch, New Zealand. He has been invited to lecture at a wide range of academic institutions in the US and elsewhere. He has published two monographs on Egypt, another on the role of legislatures in political transitions in the Middle East, several editions of a textbook that is the most widely used text in the English language on Middle East politics and, most recently, a book on globalization and the politics of economic development in the Middle East and North Africa. His articles have appeared in leading journals and publications on the Middle East. He has extensive administrative experience. For more than three years he was one of two key personnel on the Democratic Institutions Support Project for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington, D.C. In that capacity he administered a project office and interacted with USAID, State and Defense Department staff in the US and the Middle East. From 1997 until August, 2000, he represented an American consulting firm in the Middle East, where he ran an office, administered projects, and conducted various studies for USAID and the US Embassy in Cairo. From August, 2000 to October, 2002, he served as Director of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), which is headquartered in Cairo and which is responsible for the great bulk of research in all disciplines and eras conducted by Americans in Egypt and which conducts an extensive program of conservation and preservation of Egypt’s cultural heritage. In October 2002, he became Director of the London Middle East Institute. (full text, not dated).


links to his publications: on amazon; on CEPS; on; on; on Find Articles; on Cambridge University Press; and his selected writings on SOAS.

Read: Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East, 2001;

Interview (16 October, 2001) with Robert Springborg, the Director of the American Research Center in Egypt: as a video on (click on his name); interview transcript.

Interview with Robert Springborg & Colin Rubenstein, by George Negus, Broadcasted 28/4/1998.


Professor Robert Springborg: The Democratisation Industry And The Middle East, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, 24 May 2005, posted 6 June 2005 by Dean Nicholas;


Saddam Hussein, Role Profile (Spring 1993), Historical Background;
Handover of Iraq Occurs Two Days Early;

Multiple candidate elections in Egypt, diverting pressure for democracy.

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