Democratic Opportunity in the Arab and Muslim World
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The advance of democracy has been dramatic but not smooth, from just one democratic state 230 years ago to over 120 countries at present, accounting for two-thirds of the world's population. In recent years, the last bastions of despotism have bowed before the wave of democracy. Iraq and Palestine were the first breaches in the dyke with three and four electoral experiences, respectively, in the past year alone. Saudi Arabia with its absolutist monarchy saw its own local elections, while in Egypt presidential elections with at least nominally contesting candidates were held. The people of Iraq and Afghanistan braved bombs and defied terrorists to come out in large numbers to vote for a better future for their generations. Although the promotion of democracy in the Muslim world might lead to popular but anti-American governments in the short run, it is in the long-term interests of the US to promote democracy, a business which USAID has been in for a long time now. 2006, Centre of International Studies.
Cambridge Review of International Affairs
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