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Posts tagged ‘Islam’

Good reading in International Security journal

International Security Journal

International Security

By Diane J. McCree

Managing Editor, International Security

In the lead article of the 2010/11 winter issue of International Security, America’s premier journal on security issues, David Lake examines explanations for the outbreak of the 2003 Iraq War, one of the first truly preventive wars in history. He identifies analytical lessons learned in an effort to better understand how states may avoid war in the future. Read more

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The Power of the Ikhwan

By Richard Clarke

By Richard Clarke

Sitting on the sidelines as students and workers poured into Tahrir Square for the initial demonstrations that ultimately brought down Hosni Mubarak were the well organized cells of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, known in Arabic as the brothers, or the Ikhwan. Their leadership decided to hold back and see what developed in the protests. Why?

Among the many reasons considered by the Ikhwan leaders was probably the simple fact that the protesters in the square were not their people.  Many of the protesters were secular democrats, some were even Coptic Christians. A large number were women. The Ikhwan has always stood for an Islamic religious state, where the government would enforce strict interpretations of Islamic law, not a place for secularists, Christians, or activist women. For decades their view of democracy had been as one possible means to gain power, but in the sense that the Algerian Islamists viewed elections: “one man, one vote, one time.” Read more

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Inshallah, Cairo will be more like Ankara than Tehran

Joshua W. Walker

The Power & Policy Fellows’ Forum

By Joshua W. Walker

As a longtime ally of the West and new partner of Iran and Syria, Turkey has been seeking the role of mediator and model in every available arena, including Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia. As a G-20 founding member, holder of a seat on the UN Security Council, European Union aspirant, and head of the Organization of Islamic Conference, Ankara has transformed itself into an international actor, capable of bringing considerable clout and influence to its regions. Often lost in the debates about Turkey and its potential as a model is the fact that Ankara did not transform itself overnight from a defeated post-Ottoman state led by Ataturk’s military to a flourishing market-democracy led by a conservative Muslim party. It has been almost a century in the making. Read more

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Religious actors can be democratizers

By Monica Duffy Toft

By Monica Duffy Toft

With news of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepping down, the key question becomes “who will govern Egypt?” Although Mubarak has handed power over to the military, there is still the possibility that other actors, including the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), could step in to fill the vacuum. The central question is: If the MB comes to power in Egypt or even becomes a major player, what will its position be on the transformation of the political system in Egypt? Is it a force for democracy or a force for authoritarianism? In essence, will the MB foster a conservative Islamic vision for Egypt?

The evidence is mixed, but on balance I predict the MB will be a force for democratic change. What is my evidence? I have two sorts. The first regards the MB itself and the second is the role of religious actors in politics more generally. Read more

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