Archive for June, 2011

08
Jun
11

Understanding the Revolutions of 2011 Weakness and Resilience in Middle Eastern Autocracies

By Jack A Goldstone
Foreign Affairs, May/Jun 2011, Volume 90, Issue 3,

The wave of revolutions sweeping the Middle East bears a striking resemblance to previous political earthquakes. As in Europe in 1848, rising food prices and high unemployment have fueled popular protests from Morocco to Oman. As in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in 1989, frustration with closed, corrupt, and unresponsive political systems has led to defections among elites and the fall of once powerful regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, and perhaps Libya. Yet 1848 and 1989 are not the right analogies for this past winter’s events. The revolutions of 1848 sought to overturn traditional monarchies, and those in 1989 were aimed at toppling communist governments. The revolutions of 2011 are fighting something quite different: “sultanistic” dictatorships. Although such regimes often appear unshakable, they are actually highly vulnerable, because the very strategies they use to stay in power make them brittle, not resilient. It is no coincidence that although popular protests have shaken much of the Middle East, the only revolutions to succeed so far- those in Tunisia and Egypt-have been against modern sultans.
Continue reading ‘Understanding the Revolutions of 2011 Weakness and Resilience in Middle Eastern Autocracies’

01
Jun
11

The Rise of the Islamists How Islamists Will Change Politics, and Vice Versa

By Shadi Hamid
Foreign Affairs, May/Jun 2011, Volume 90, Issue 3

For decades, U.S. policy toward the Middle East has been paralyzed by “the Islamist dilemma”-how can the United States promote democracy in the region without risking bringing Islamists to power? Now, it seems, the United States no longer has a choice. Popular revolutions have swept U.S.-backed authoritarian regimes from power in Tunisia and Egypt and put Libya’s on notice. If truly democratic governments form in their wake, they are likely to include significant representation of mainstream Islamist groups. Like it or not, the United States will have to learn to live with political Islam.
Continue reading ‘The Rise of the Islamists How Islamists Will Change Politics, and Vice Versa’




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