Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, November 19, 2012

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, November 19, 2012

James A. Robinson explains why Colombia’s remarkable degree of political stability is not all that it’s cracked up to be.

Malik Al-Abdeh wonders whether the creation of a new umbrella group for the Syrian opposition group will actually help to bring down the Assad regime.

Mohamed El Dahshan argues that the current government ban on pornography in Egypt threatens freedom of expression.

Larry Jagan analyzes the dynamics within the Burmese leadership and explains why fragmentation of the ruling party would be a disaster for the country.

Christian Caryl explores the comparison between two civil war presidents, Bashar al-Assad and Abraham Lincoln.

Besar Likmeta profiles Ina Rama, Albania’s first female general prosecutor and valiant hero in the fight against sleaze.

Jackee Batanda reports on the increasing demoralization of a Ugandan public battered by new revelations of corruption in high places.

And here are this week’s recommended reads:

Thomas Carothers and and Nathan J. Brown explain the real danger for democracy in Egypt.  

Katrin Verclas and Lina Srivastava wonder why a new list of democracy promotion heavyweights is bereft of women.

In a Guardian interview with Colin Poulton, the SOAS research fellow makes the case that the establishment of democratic institutions in developing countries can be detrimental to the rural poor.

A new RAND report assesses the nation-building challenges in post-Qaddafi Libya.

A new report on Burma from the International Crisis Group, Storm Clouds on the Horizon, shows how continuing sectarian conflict is casting a shadow over the reform process. Writing in The Independent, Emanuel Stoakes stresses the need for President Obama to acknowledge the issue during his upcoming trip to Burma.

In an analysis for the Middle East Research and Information Project, Pete Moore explains why — despite the recent turmoil there — Jordan is unlikely to experience its own version of the Arab Spring.

Sarah Kendzior argues that there are good reasons for holding policy forums in authoritarian countries.

Alina Rocha Menocal takes issue with the notion that "building institutions" is the best formula for promoting development.

And finally, Evelyn Lamb, writing in Scientific American, explains the background of the Gini coefficient — and why it’s not like the Kardashians