The Arab Security Sector Index: Citizens’ Perspectives is a research effort that brings together four Arab research centers to examine public opinion of the security sector in four Arab countries: Tunisia, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen. The index aims to determine the level of progress achieved in security sector reform in the Arab world and the standing of the security services in these countries by diagnosing strengths and weaknesses in performance. Attempts are made to analyze the causes of setbacks and to propose appropriate solutions to policy makers for implementation in reforming and developing the security sector in their countries. Arab security sectors are of growing importance, particularly in their relation to security and the justice system, following the political and accompanying social transformations caused by the Arab Spring in several countries.
The study begins by identifying twelve major indicators that, together, form a general framework from which the security sector in these countries is assessed. Each major indicator is made up of several sub-indicators, and relates to a specific aspect of the security sector. There are 116 sub-indicators reflecting the overall status of the security sector and the justice system as perceived by the general public in the relevant countries.
The status of the Arab security sectors is studied through a public opinion poll in the participating countries. Two rounds have been conducted. The polls for the first round were conducted in the four countries during the period from May 14, 2014 to July 14, 2014. The polls for the second round were conducted in four countries, with Jordan replacing Yemen, during the period between May 2015 and February 2016. The polls included a representative sample of the public in the relevant countries. The sample also included an additional number of interviewees representing those who had direct experience with the security sector in their countries. In light of the scores of the indicators defined in the study, the main strengths and weaknesses of the sector are diagnosed in an overall index assessing performance on the basis of seven types of classification: complete, very advanced, advanced, fair, poor, very poor, non-existent. This index enables interested parties and policy makers to detect strengths and weaknesses in the performance of the Arab security system. The report’s findings may constitute a launching pad for plans for security sector reform- to reinforce strengths and to find solutions to improve performance and address weaknesses- thereby creating a more accountable security sector. Ultimately, the goal is to attain an advanced security system that ensures stability while guaranteeing public freedoms for Arab citizens.