MENA is a common abbreviation for the Middle East and North Africa!
The Arab Spring could be an historic turning point for MENA but not yet. Still too soon! But here is what it looks like to me in the long run meaning by end of this decade which of course is NOT long run at all but just around the corner.
In the list of long term reform successes include only Tunisia!
In the list of long term reform failures place the following nation-states:
Emirates of Gulf
Afghanistan–not really part of MENA but included here because I see nothing substantial coming out ofUSA decade long effort.
Note these are all majority Islamic States! 55 nation-states have some significant Islamic population. Indonesia has the largest Islamic population and all of its 90,000+ islands are majority Islamic except Bali!
Disclosure: Before 9/11/01 knew almost nothing about MENA. Had read the Seven Pillars of Wisdom and seen Lawrence of Arabia but otherwise except for energy issues had little knowledge. Tried the best I could after 9/11/01 to read and learn about MENA. Perhaps read a 100 books, including those authored by Lewis, Fiske, Cole and others!
I understand the frustration of young Muslims with incompetent and corrupt leaders. I am 69 two months from now and intolerant of the same in the USA.
The notion of a “crusade” against Islam by the WEST and note Islam is a western religion and the WEST is the west and not Christendom. And the flaws in Western Civilization run deep and are recognizable!
But as the husband of a feminist I also have supported that movement in the past and now. Why? Women are the equals of men are are the key to the future of the human race. Men do not own” women and should not control their bodies or try to control their minds. This is the most fundamental failure of Islam but it has close competitors for ignorance and suffering and inequality in Judiasm and Christianity. After male Jews start the day with that awful prayer “Thank God I am NOT a woman”! That prayer alone makes Judiasm not a religion but a political belief system. The largest Christian sect-Catholicism–in its repudiation of female priests and married clergy–makes that a political belief system also not a religion. An Protestant followers who do NOT renounce violence, the same failure as Judiasm and Islam (all these religions despite what they say spread by violence against innocents and non-believers betray their founders.
The USA however has betrayed women generally and specifically by conducting its wars but only under conditions that reinforce discrimination against women. It is true there is no Equal Rights Amendment in the US Constitution but this historical anomally may well be corrected at some point.
Thus, the USA must conduct its relations with MENA in ways that support the rights of women and to not do so reflects a sordid past,where some women in the USA were owned (slaves and even now trafficked adults and children) and even wives were barred from ownin property until about 1840! Perhaps the Civil War and abolition were about slavery (I certainly think so) but perhaps exact scholarship might well have pointed out differences in treatment of women between north and south.
Thus, don’t argue that Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann are total losers but ask them about Phyllis Schafly and feminism and abortion to find out where they stand. After all if all female eligible voters voted they could elect President on their own. Only time will tell whether the historic suppression of women will continue in MENA. Perhaps energy corrupts male female relationships also not just governments.
Where is the serious scholarship on these issues? FEW of the hundred books I read on MENA discussed women’s issues and almost none were written by women. Why is that?