Reform in the Muslim World: The Role of Islamists and Outside Powers

Shibley Telhami


The Bush Administration’s focus on spreading democracyin the Middle East has been much discussed over the past several years, not only in the United Statesand Arab and Muslim countries but also around theworld. In truth, neither the regional discourse about theneed for political and economic reform nor the Americantalk of spreading democracy is new. Over the pasttwo decades, particularly beginning with the end of theCold War, intellectuals and governments in the MiddleEast have spoken about reform. The American policyprior to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 also aimedto spread democracy in the Arab world. But in that case,the first Gulf War and the need to forge alliances withautocratic regimes were one reason talk of democracydeclined. The other reason was the discovery that politicalreform provided openings to Islamist political groupsthat seemed very much at odd with American objectives.The fear that Islamist groups supported democracy onlybased on the principle of “one man, one vote, one time,”as former Assistant Secretary of State Edward Djerejianonce put it, led the United States to backtrack. Evenearly in the Clinton Administration, Secretary of StateWarren Christopher initially focused on democracy inhis Middle East policy but quickly sidelined the issueas the administration moved to broker Palestinian-Israelinegotiation in the shadow of militant Islamist groups,especially Hamas.

να Κοινωνικότητα, Μερίδιο!

Filed Under: ΑίγυπτοςΠροτεινόμεναΗ Χαμάςαδελφός & δυτικάΙράνJemaah IslamiyahΜουσουλμανική ΑδερφότηταΠαλαιστίνη

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