Thinking Through Liberation

Thinking Through Liberation

Mini Teaser: For the past year a four-letter word has emerged as the key to the future of the Middle East.

by Author(s): Amir Taheri

The May 2004 Arab summit in Tunis showed a three-way division within the bloc. One group, led by the new Iraq, and backed by Algeria, Morocco and Jordan, is seeking speedy democratization. Another group led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia advocates slow, largely cosmetic measures in the hope that regime change in Washington in the form of an electoral victory for John F. Kerry would bury the Bush Administration's plans for democracy in the Middle East. A third group, consisting only of Syria and the Sudan, remains opposed to any change, still preaching pan-Arabism and Islamism as ramparts against Western "domination."

To write that Iraq's future is uncertain is to say nothing that is not obvious. What remains less obvious is the power of a future Iraq's example to effect change on the rest of the Middle East. If democracy fails to take root in Iraq, it will almost certainly fail in the rest of the region. Are we willing to live with that?

Essay Types: Essay