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Published on Sep 14, 2011
Recent protests in the Middle East and North Africa highlight the sobering fact that neither Iran nor any of the Arab League's 22 member states is, as yet, a stable, full-fledged democracy with a diversified, vibrant economy. We will examine why most Middle Eastern nations have failed to combine economic growth, equity, and democratization; why economic liberalization has generally given way to crony capitalism and the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few; and how Turkey, which has managed to buck this trend, can serve as a model for the region.
Dariush Zahedi is a lecturer in political science at UC Berkeley. He has published two books on Iran, and his articles have appeared in such publications as Foreign Affairs, New York Times, Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review, Middle East Policy, and Turkish Insight.