The recent "Arab spring", with its popular uprisings in many Arab countries, has exposed the ambiguity at the heart of American promotion of democracy in the Middle East. The US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were packaged as democracy promotion, as heralding the beginning of a new phase in the politics of the Middle East when democracy would replace authoritarian regimes. Many of these authoritarian regimes, however, were sustained by US support. The recent popular uprisings threaten to bring democracy without promotion by the US, and threaten to overthrow regimes previously supported by the US and important for US strategy in the region – hence an initial hesitant response by the US to some of the uprisings. This book explores the contradictions in American democracy promotion in the Middle East. It discusses the principles underlying US democracy promotion, and the debates surrounding US policy formation, and examines the application of US democracy promotion in specific cases. It concludes by assessing the likely future patterns of US engagement with democratic reform in the Middle East.
"This is an important and timely publication. Its focus on the changing circumstances of the Middle East is a reflection of the dilemma facing many Western analysts and policy-makers over the tension between stability, that is seen generally to favour the West’s national interests, and change that is long term and uncertain but which is probably the best hope for the democratic project. The book’s chapters cover an interesting range of issues that are particularly relevant to the challenge facing the United States and have a nice blend of the descriptive with the more theoretical." - Dr Anthony Billingsley, University of New South Wales; e-International Relaions, February 2013.
Preface Marina Ottaway 1. An Arab Democratic Spring? US Democracy Promotion Policy and Popular Uprisings in the Middle East Shahram Akbarzadeh and Benjamin MacQueen Part 1: Coercive/Interventionist Democratisation 2.‘Democratisation’, Religious Extremism, Fragile States, and Insurgencies: Bush’s Legacies to Obama and the Challenges Ahead Juan Cole 3. The Americanisation of Democratic Theory: Some Lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan William Maley Part 2: Avenues to Democratisation 4. Political Reconstruction, Democracy and Power-Sharing in Afghanistan and Iraq Benjamin MacQueen 5. Winning Hearts and Minds: US Promotion of a Democratic Islam James Piscatori 6. The Political Economy of Protection: Democratisation and the American Presence in Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain Amy Holmes 7. Energy Security and Democracy Promotion in the Middle East: A Bush-Obama Continuum? Leanne Piggott Part 3: Case Studies 8. Iraq: Elite Fragmentation, Islam and Democracy Amin Saikal 9. Mugged by Reality: Democracy Promotion and Egyptian Political Reform during the Bush Era, and the Options for President Obama Robert Bowker 10. Good Governance and Air Strikes: America’s Awkward Toolkit in Yemen Sarah Pillips 11. Future Patterns of US Engagement with Democratic Reform in the Middle East Amin Saikal and James Piscatori