PLCP 3410 Study Guide --PART II

First caliph abu bakr told people they had the power

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First Caliph, Abu Bakr, told people they had the power to remove him if he failed to act according to God’s laws Today, Islamic parties in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Turkey take an active role in democratic governance In the end, little evidence that Islam and democracy are incompatible Argument: “mobilization outside the state is foreign to Muslims” Civil society organizations are not new in the region Grown during the past two decades True civil society is restricted by ruling elites and suffer from lack of democratization within organizations Argument: Islam has provided authoritarian rulers with a particularly compelling, symbolic repertoire by which to legitimize their rule Case in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Jordan King’s legitimacy is based on part on religious authority Madawi Al-Rasheed argues that the Saudi monarchy was able to conflate obedience to the state with the notion of being a good muslim However, opposition forces can also use Islam to reinforce their claim on political authority So, while this is an important element for how Islam shapes politics, it does not necessarily explain authoritarianism Strategic Concerns
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Geopolitics of the region and particularly the presence of Israel Argument: authoritarian leader have used Arab-Israeli conflict to justify: Building a large military apparatus Maintaining martial law Repressing the people However, regimes that lie far from the conflict still have authoritarian regimes Argument: US and other Western powers support pro-Western authoritarian regimes to protect their access to oil and support Israel Shaykk Fadlallah says “US has pressed Arab rulers into service as watchdogs for their policies and interest in the Islamic world” Consequently, Muslims repress Muslims US doesn’t have to get “hands dirty” Argument: Citizens support authoritarian regimes because they fear that an alternative, likely Islamist, regime would lose US support and endanger state security However, US has not controlled political change in the region as completely as these perspective suggest US didn’t support shah of Iran or maintain alliance with Hussein US does not fully determine regions politics Rethinking Islam and Authoritarian Understanding prospects of democratization in the MENA Focus more on the contestation between opposition and ruling elites and the relative power between them Where the radical forces are too strong, reforms are stalled Moderate forces of ruling elite don’t want to side with radicals The belief that the MENA contains strong, radical, antidemocratic, Islamist forces has undermined the prospects of democratization in the region Problem is not Islam, problem is expansion of Islamist political movements (since 1980s) that seek to establish political regimes based on Islam Problem is also not that these forces would seek to take advantage of political
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  • Spring '13
  • The Land, Saudi Arabia, Palestinian identity, Al Saud

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