Middle East Notes and Comment: Is It Time to Give Up on Arab Liberals?
June 15, 2004
Arab liberals are in unprecedented demand. Viewed by many in the West as the hope of their region and the antidote to Al Qaeda, government officials dine them (and often wine them) in salons in Washington, London, Paris, and beyond.
A surge in Western support for Arab liberals, however, is more likely to have precisely the opposite effect of what is intended. Rather than strengthening such groups, it more probably will marginalize them further, brand them as foreign agents, and make more doubtful the very change in politics many Westerners aim to promote.