the crisis of authority in the muslim middle east
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The Crisis of Authority in the Muslim Middle East. POLS 168 – Politics of the Middle East and North Africa – Fall 2008. A Violent Region. Violence in Iraq Violence in Gaza Violence in Lebanon What unites these crises? Iran? The United States?. The Crisis of Authority.

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the crisis of authority in the muslim middle east

The Crisis of Authority in the Muslim Middle East

POLS 168 – Politics of the Middle East and North Africa – Fall 2008

a violent region
A Violent Region
  • Violence in Iraq
  • Violence in Gaza
  • Violence in Lebanon
  • What unites these crises?
      • Iran?
      • The United States?
the crisis of authority
The Crisis of Authority
  • It is not one actor or even one issue that unites these violent situations with other, less violent, political struggles in the Middle East.
  • What unites these situations is a crisis of authority in the Muslim Middle East.
what is the crisis
What is the Crisis?
  • How and to what extent will Islam define political identity in the Middle East?
  • The details differ from place to place, but this is the organizing theme of regional politics.
it can be violent
It Can Be Violent

Golden Mosque, Samarra, Iraq

before and after Feb. 22, 2006 attack

it can be peaceful
It Can Be Peaceful

Voters in the Turkish parliamentary election, August 2007

but it is not only violent
But it is not only violent

Turkish election of 2007: AK Party victory

it is not simply islamists vs secularists
It is not simply “Islamists” vs. “secularists”

The Islamists are divided by sect (Sunni and Shi’a) – sectarian tensions and fighting in Iraq, Lebanon.

slide16
The Islamists are divided by strategy: violence of al-Qaeda, electoral politics of Turkish AK Party, mixed strategies elsewhere
the secularists
The “secularists”

Secularists are not really secular – they do not believe in a separation of mosque and state.

the secularists1
The “secularists”

But they are not in favor of the complete Islamization of politics, as their Islamist opponents advocate.

the secularists2
The “secularists”

The secularists are divided themselves: authoritarian leaders, liberals who see their best hope with the regimes, democrats willing to ally with Islamists

who will win
Who Will Win?
  • Islamists certainly have the momentum
      • Iranian Revolution of 1979
      • Islamist victory in Afghanistan against Soviet Union in the 1980’s
      • Islamist electoral victories in Turkey, Iraq, Palestine, Iran and good showings elsewhere
      • Hizballah in Lebanon standing up to Israelis in summer of 2006, facing down the government in spring of 2008
      • Hamas taking power in Gaza in summer of 2007
but don t count the secular elites out quite yet
But don’t count the “secular” elites out quite yet
  • Longevity of Arab regimes
  • Arab secular elites win civil wars
      • Syria in early 1980’s
      • Algeria in 1990’s
      • Egypt in 1990’s
      • Saudi Arabia against al-Qaeda now
  • How will the Turkish secular elite react to AKP victory?
  • Unpopularity of Ahmadinejad in Iran
why are arab regimes so enduring
Why are Arab regimes so enduring?
  • Strong security forces +
  • Control of the economy +
  • Steady revenue sources: oil, aid +
  • Outside support =

Arab states with the ability

to control their societies

the course
The Course
  • Elements of Islamic history that are relevant
  • State formation in the 20th century
  • State Building and the Economy
  • The Rise of Islamist Politics
  • Country cases: Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia
  • Why no Arab Democracies? Iraq as case
  • Bin Laden and the Future of Political Islam
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