Essay on Transformation in the Middle East

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A profound transformation is occurring in the Middle East over the past few months. Since January of this year the region has seen the overthrow of two long standing regimes, that of Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hussein Mubarak in Egypt. Nearly every other country in the region has seen protests of varying severity and outright bloodshed in Libya. The upheaval appears to have been unforeseen by much of the international community. How America and its allies react to this situation may well determine the future of relations between the West and the Arab world. There is much speculation concerning what happens next for the region, it may still be too early to give a definitive answer though caution is clearly advised. Optimism would suggest …show more content…
While these events pre date the current revolutions occurring in the Middle East and Iraq is slightly different as the fall of the regime there was due to foreign intervention, they nonetheless highlight the violence typically associated with regime change. Another characteristic shared by most of the Middle Eastern countries is their strong emphasis on traditionalism and religion. Islam is certain to play a significant role in whatever comes next for these countries. This begs a commonly asked question; can Islam play a significant role in government without undermining the ideals of democracy? Historically, it's hard to find an example of a country that is both truly democratic and significantly influenced by Islam. This not to single out Islam, a country that is too influenced by any religion risks weakening the values of democracy. One country that has commonly been cited as a potential for emulation is Turkey. It is viewed has being secular but certain of its Muslim identity but with free elections. A lot steps will have to be taken for countries of the Arab world to reach the Turkish model if they indeed choose to follow that path. Turkey is member of many western organizations such as NATO and has been seeking membership in the EU. They have a better history of cooperation with the west than most Arab nations. Also, the country has a much higher standard of living and better economic condition

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