Events in the Middle East have prompted many questions concerning the conflict between Islam and the European states which have, historically, been seen as a military and political challenge. Why has ideological politics triumphed in the Middle East? Why have attempts to form constitutional governments repeatedly failed in Islamic states? This account provides the historical analysis necessary for a clearer understanding of these questions. In the 19th century Middle Eastern leaders believed that they could surmount the challenge posed by the European "Great Powers" by borrowing European weapons and technology, along with military and administrative organization, and, later, by adopting representative forms of government. These strategies proved a disappointment. The aftermath has been the establishment of military regimes, and an ideological style of politics, whether the ideology is nationalism of fundamentalism. This book describes and discusses the apparent success of ideological politics, and analyzes its character.
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