Democracy Movement in the Middle East

Chapter one

1. Introduction

1.1 Background information

This report provides the history of Middle East and how democracy movement came to be in the Middle Eastern countries. According to Steele, 2009, Middle East is a broad term that involves approximately sixteen countries in Western Asia and North America. Middle East has been a vital centre for most of the worldly affairs.

The region is said to be the main origin of religions like the Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The most widely spread being the Muslim religion in some of the countries. It is said to be the most ancient region for human civilisation (Bernard, 1996). This is one of the regions that is said to have dominated by the European culture mostly in the past because before the 20th century it was highly dominated by the European colonization.

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Middle East possesses an arid and hot climate hence people in this region can only survive under irrigated agriculture with water provided from the major rivers. This is only done under a limited region in the whole of Middle East. It was also the first for introduction of year round agriculture. Currently, Middle East is characterized by strategic, economical, political, cultural and religious based regions.

Middle East has been the centre for serious conflicts from the Persian-Greek Wars to the Crusades to the Iran-Iraq War. Democracy movement in the Middle Eastern countries tackles the issue of the current development of democracy and political systems. In this report, several significant ideas and issues will be addressed. A section of this will cover the results for the successful introduction of democracy in to the Middle Eastern countries (Friedman, 2006).

The other sections will address matters concerning the introduction of democracy in a traditionally based country or region and associated with political systems that do not favour liberalism. In addition, the sections will highlight the assumptions of conflicts of Islamic religion as far as democracy is concerned.

Finally, threats of religious terrorism and extremism will be thoroughly examined and the binding ties of any effective response to terrorism which has a direct impact to the democratic movement success in the Middle East (Paya & Esposito, 2010).

1.2 Objectives of this Study

The main objectives of this report are;

To study and analyse the evolution of the democracy movement in the Middle Eastern countries.
To address matters concerning the introduction of democracy in a traditionally based country or region and associated with political systems that do not favour liberalism.
To find out the results for the successful introduction of democracy in to the Middle Eastern countries.
To identify the benefits and limitations of the democracy movement in the Middle Eastern countries.

1.3 Scope of the report

This report tries to examine the introduction and implementation of democracy movement in the Middle Eastern countries. It covers countries that make up the Middle East that is the western Asia and North America. As far as the democracy movement in Middle Eastern countries is concerned; the report will address the crucial issues arising from the democracy movement in Middle East.

The study also covers the benefits as well as the limitations of the democratic movement in the Middle Eastern countries (Chatterji, 1973).

Chapter two

2.0 Procedures used

To achieve the goals of this study, several procedures have been used to come up with the details of the results of introduction of democracy movement in the Middle Eastern countries. A number of books for reference were part of the resource material that has been used to come up with this report.

Other sources include consultation from colleagues with similar knowledge of democracy movement in the Middle East, history of the Middle Eastern countries, websites of the various countries in the Middle East and consultations from friends who have been to these Middle Eastern countries and have some knowledge on the topic of study. The sources of reference for this report have been taken from the years between 1900 and 2011.

Chapter three

3.0 Discussion analysis of the Report

3.1 Evolution of democracy in Middle East

Democracy in the Middle East began when the Middle Eastern countries decided to overthrow the British government, which had colonized most of the countries. Most of the countries in the Middle East had no freedom before the 20th century. They were operating under the British colonization, meaning that there was no democracy movement in the whole of Middle East.

Some of countries like Iran had a constitutional movement that was highly throttled by the British colonial government. This is the reason why Iran had to operate under the British people without any liberty for quite some time until they had to fight and throw away the British people so as to gain freedom. Fortunately, in the early 1950s the Iran attained a freely elected government with its own constitution which was no longer under the British colonization.

This constitution was led by some of the national heroes who assisted in overthrowing the British colony (Friedman, 2006). In some of the Middle East countries like Iraq, establishment of a democratic process was quite a painful process. This is because it brought some critical issues in the whole of the Iran.

Democracy movement establishment has also brought in several issues that have to be addressed in the open. In such regions, the Muslims, Christians and other religion hold some posts in the government so as to facilitate equal distribution of power in the various religions (Dalacoura, 2011).

3.2. Measures of Democracy in the Middle East

According to democracy in the Middle Eastern countries several classifications have evolved in order to give each country its own democracy index. The various terms that are used to classify democracy index in the Middle East are; free, partly free, or not free. These are classified in reference to several measures of freedom.

According to Davenport, 2007 approximately 170 countries in the Middle East were classified into five broad categories (Garnham, 1995). These countries have been classified into these five categories, and further subdivide into four broad categories; and then they are ranked according to the current level of democracy. The four categories are full and flawed democracy; hybrid and authoritarian regime and they have been discussed below in the analysis of democratic index (Goldberg, Kasaba & Migdal, 1993).

3.3. Democracy movement in Middle East

From the past history relating to the Middle East, books and websites concerning democracy in the Middle Eastern countries findings indicate that, Democracy movement in the Middle East has been covered in various countries, which record a high democratic index. The country, which records the highest democratic index, is Israel which has 7.53. This figure corresponds to flawed democracy in only one region of the whole continent. The second highest countries have a range between 5.2 and 5.8 which is classified as the hybrid regimes.

These are countries like turkey, Mauritania, Tunisia, Egypt and Iraq among others. The other remaining countries are classified as authoritarian countries with their democratic indices lying below 2 (Yacoubian, 2008).

3.4 benefits of the democracy movement in the Middle East

Democracy in the Middle East is a form of government where the citizens form the governance themselves. This democracy movement involved both direct and representative democracy; whereby direct democracy involves the citizens making the decisions themselves on all government policies while representative democracy is whereby decisions are made by individuals chosen to be representative of the whole number of citizens.

The Middle Eastern countries benefited much from the establishment of this democratic movement (Runciman, 2006). Some of the benefits are;

I. It provides the Middle East countries freedom for frequent elections after a period which ensures that unpopular governments are overthrown and replaced by new regimes to rule. The new office should implement policies that favour citizens so as to retain the office.

ii. Due to the democratic movement the Middle East countries have been able to benefit from leadership that has been elected from their own choice. This has created peace and reduced conflicts in some of the countries.

iii. Middle East countries have benefited from equal distribution of property and wealth due to this democratic movement. This is brought about by the representatives who continue to fight for their people in order to facilitate fair sharing of development funds from the government (Carothers & Ottaway, 2005).

iv. Democratic government in the Middle East has allowed for competition of power where most of the political parties compete. This enables the candidates and the electorate a brad field to make a choice on voting.

v. In the Middle East voices of citizens and their wishes are heard and put in to consideration. This means there is freedom of expression (Halperin, Siegle & Weinstein, 2005).

3.5. Disadvantages of the democratic movement in Middle East

Though democracy movement may have been too beneficial to the citizens in Middle East, it also has some setbacks to the country itself which in turn has affected the individual citizens without their knowledge. Platzdasch (2009) in his book highlighted some of the setbacks of this democratic movement which include;

i. In the Middle East countries the citizens have the right to elect their own representatives to take up the office; from past records it has been observed that most of the citizens are not usually aware of what happens in the political system of their country. This results in most of the citizens making wrong choices during the election period.

ii. A substantial disadvantage that has affected the Middle East countries is the fact that the status quo can influence most people.

This is whereby citizens are forced to vote for a party under the influence of others. This leads to most citizens producing force opinions, which can cause chaos arising after the elections.

iii. Over dependence on the democracy movement in most of the countries in the Middle East has resulted to underdevelopment in the countries. This is because the government constitution is always subject to change after a term is over hence this force the candidates in authority to work towards winning the elections instead of working for the people.

iv. From a detailed study of democracy movement in the Middle Eastern countries, observations made clearly indicate that democracy is inefficient, and the changes are slow.

Chapter four

4. Conclusions

From the objectives, it is clear that;

Democracy movement in the Middle Eastern countries has been well established and implemented. In addition, it can be concluded that democracy movement in the Middle East countries has benefited the citizens, as well as various regions, which could not have been developed without the introduction of the democracy movement.

Clear records of the study of the democracy movement in the region show that the introduction of democracy has had a significant impact as analysed and discussed in section 3.5 of the report. That is, it has had some limitations to the countries’ constitution which has in turn has a great impact on the citizens.

4.1 Recommendations

From the analysis of the findings, I can highly recommend that most of the countries surrounding the Middle East should establish a democratic government. This will help to create freedom between the citizens and leaders. This is because the democratic movement has caused the development of some of the countries in the Middle East.

In addition, I can recommend that, as much as introduction of democracy has been found to benefit most of the countries in the Middle East; countries should not over rely on democracy. This is because detailed research shows that, democracy movement in the Middle East has created a lot of conflicts amongst the people.

Research shows that democracy in a country can be of a considerable disadvantage to the country, as well as the citizens without their knowledge. This is as discussed in section 3.5 above. A Middle Eastern country is a particularly compelling example as seen from the analysed results (Chaurasia, 2005).

Chapter five

5. Self evaluation

From the entire research, the following evaluations have been provided;

The sources from which the information was obtained were much helpful in the analysis of the democratic movement in the Middle East. For example, the history of the Middle Eastern countries assisted in discussion of the evolution and establishment of the democratic movement in the Middle East. The most relevant information source was the books and websites. These gave adequate information to discuss the topic and analyse various issues in the entire report.

The most intriguing section of this report was basically the area of the discussion and analysis of the findings. This is because it is the body of the whole report and it is the main part of the report which touches the major critical issues in the entire report. My ability to plan the steps and complete report on time was highly accelerated by having various sources of reference and selection of the most significant sources.

This helped me in achieving my objectives. I highly recommend that students should be able to plan their report first before they start writing down the report content. This is achieved by getting all the resources that are required for reference; and choosing from them the most influential sources that will help achieve one’s objectives and complete report on the time allocated.

List of References

Bernard, L 1996, The Middle East. New York, ISBN Publishers.

Carothers, T & Ottaway, M 2005, Uncharted journey: promoting democracy in the Middle East, Washington, D.C, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Chatterji, C 1973, Muddle of the Middle East, New Delhi, Abhinav Publications.

Chaurasia, R S 2005, History of Middle East, New Delhi, Atlantic Publ. & Distributors.

Dalacoura, K 2011 Islamist terrorism and democracy in the Middle East, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Davenport, J C 2007, Democracy in the Middle East, New York, Chelsea House.

Friedman, S S 2006, A history of the Middle East, Jefferson, N.C. [u.a.], McFarland.

Garnham, D 1995, Democracy, war, and peace in the Middle East, Bloomington [u.a.], Indiana Univ. Press.

Goldberg, E, Kasaba, R & Migdal, J S 1993, Rules and rights in the Middle East: democracy, law, and society, Seattle, University of Washington.

Halperin, M H, Siegle, J T & Weinstein, M 2005, The democracy advantage: how democracies promote prosperity and peace, New York, Routledge.

Paya, A & Esposito, J L 2010, Iraq, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World, Iraq, Routledge.

Platzdasch, B 2009, Islamism in Indonesia: politics in the emerging democracy, Singapore, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Runciman, D, 2006, The politics of good intentions: history, fear, and hypocrisy in the new world order, Princeton, Princeton University Press.

Steele, P, 2009, The Middle East, New York, Kingfisher Books.

Yacoubian, M 2008, Promoting Middle East Democracy II: Arab Initiatives, Washington, D.C, DIANE Publishing.

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