How the Newly Independent States in the Middle East Created Egalitarian Societies

How the Newly Independent States in the Middle East Created Egalitarian Societies

I will be discussing the role that politics and the economy played in the society of Middle East nations. Politics and economy are two important factors when describing any nation in the world. By examining these two areas of a society, a person can understand the importance or lack of significant elements a country has in regards to other countries. Each nation has seen different results in politics and the economy.

In some societies, traditional authority has been replaced by captivating one-party rule or military dictatorships. Nasser’s regime in Egypt is a good example of a single-party state where the leader won political power by the force of his presence or personality. The Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, Muammar Qadhafi in Libya, and Saddam Hussein in Iraq are other examples of military repression. (Duiker 318) Although their personal characteristics and images differ, all sought to take advantage of their popular appeal. Iraq and Iran have overshadowed politics in all Middle East nations.

The governments of Syria, Yemen, and Turkey have charismatic rule which gives way to modernizing bureaucratic regimes. Turkey has shown democratic tendencies which modified the government by free elections and by sharing power. Arab nations of Bahrain, Kuwait, and Jordan have even engaged in limited forms of democratic experimentation. (Duiker 318) Smaller countries would have difficulty in ranking of power in the Middle East because of less land in the nation. This means that larger size countries like Turkey have more political power overall when examining all of the Middle East nations.

Only in Israel have democratic governments been firmly established. “The Israeli system suffers from the proliferation of minor parties, some of which are able to dictate policy because their support is essential to keeping a government in power.” (Duiker 318) Divisions between religious conservations and secular elements within the Jewish community have become increasingly sharp, which results in harsh arguments over social policy and the negotiating process with the Palestinians. The government usually reflects the popular will, and power is transferred by peaceful and constitutional ways.

The Middle East nations are well-known for their individual and national wealth through economic resources found within the land. The presence of petroleum reserves has obviously been a benefit to several of the states in the region, but it has been an unreliable one. (Duiker 319) The income of oil-producing states has varied considerably because of extreme fluctuations in the price of oil.

The states of the Middle East have adopted diverse approaches to the problem of developing strong and stable economies because of their different resources and political systems. “Nasser in Egypt and the leaders of the Ba’ath Party in Syria have attempted to create a form of government involvement in the economy to relieve the inequities of the free enterprise system.” (Duiker 319) Islam decided to model a Western capitalist system to maximize growth while using taxes or massive developmental projects to build a modern infrastructure, redistribute wealth, and maintain political stability and economic opportunity for all nations in the Middle East region.

Socialist theories of economic development were often suggested as a way to promote economic growth while meeting the requirements of Islamic doctrine. State intervention would bring about rapid development, while land distribution and the nationalization or regulation of industry would minimize the harsh inequalities of the marketplace. (Duiker 319) In general, the socialist approach has shown little success, and most governments including Egypt and Syria decided to shift to a better free enterprise approach while encouraging foreign investment to compensate for a lack of capital or technology.