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The Center for the Study of Islam Democracy

Promoting Democracy in the Arab World: New Ideas for U.S. Policy

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States government pledged to make democracy promotion in the Middle East a primary objective of U.S. foreign policy and an official centerpiece of its long-term strategy for winning the “War on Terror.” Notwithstanding the strong rhetoric and creation of several high-profile initiatives, official efforts to foster democratic transformation in the Arab world have so far failed to effect substantial change. Overall, American policies have tended to favor security interests over democracy promotion. With indigenous democratic forces in most of the Arab region still fragile, the support of the United States and other international actors is critical if reforms are to take root. In my Paper  I will discuss ways in which the United States can encourage democracy in the region. And i will provide recommendations for a more effective approach to political reform in the region, specially with  new leadership in Washington,  so it is timely for the US to reevaluate its strategies for promoting democracy in the Middle East. The United States must make a clear distinction between forcible regime change and democracy promotion and acknowledge that peaceful means are the only legitimate methods for building democracy. It must accept democratic outcomes in transitional countries, even when such results conflict with its short-term interests. It must reorganize and consolidate its democracy assistance programs and increase their budget. Above all, the United States must work to improve its image abroad and take genuine steps toward regaining its credibility among the Arab peoples.”


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