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Overview of the Arab Security Sector amidst Political Transition: A Reflection on Legacies, Functions and Perceptions

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Many security services in the Arab countries do not utilize modern or computer-based administrative and management systems, and lack human resources and career development departments, let alone inspection offices to ensure discipline, or internal affairs sections to address public complaints. Security sector reform, especially in the Arab countries in transition, is therefore of crucial importance.

This study presents an overview of the status of the security sector in Arab countries in transition, highlighting its functions and working methods, as well as its underlying legacies and surrounding perceptions. It argues that ensuring the sustainability of governance reform in Arab countries in transition is inextricably linked to a new concept of the security sector, based on good governance principles.  The study stresses that security services must change to serve the public rather than political interests and that a civilian oversight of the security sector is essential to ensure accountability, efficiency and professionalism.