Despite Islam’s explicit antagonism toward non-Muslim political institutions, history shows that Islamic states have tended to be quite flexible and generally adapted their international relations to political and social realities.
The demonstrations against authoritarian regimes in the Arab world have largely been fomented by young people and students. Unfortunately, the ossified education systems from which they sprang may have left them ill-prepared for what comes next.
Anyone looking into a crystal ball to know the future of the Arab world will no doubt find the details clouded by a dust storm. Yet while people’s demands may be similar, each country poses very particular problems when it comes to implementing reforms.
Islamic fundamentalist movements have been keeping a conspicuously low profile throughout the turbulence on their home turf. Are they regrouping, or have the masses definitively rejected their nihilistic ideology?
Libya is not Egypt. And yet the people of both countries have been enflamed by a desire to take their political destiny into their own hands. How each country differs depends largely on its historical relationship to the West and its own indigenous cultures.