Socio-Economic Roots of Radicalism? Towards Explaining the Appeal of Islamic Radicals [open pdf - 626KB]
Why do "Islamic radicals" enjoy so much sympathy in the Middle East and wider Muslim world? The author argues that such radicalism is a political response to the deepening economic, social, political, and cultural crisis in the Muslim World. Rapid demographic growth, educational changes, government policy failure, and rapid urbanization are among the causes of high unemployment, and increasing poverty, which, together with other other forces, have alienated large sectors of Muslim youth. The regional crisis has deep historical roots, and simple "solutions" do not exist. A long-term strategy is needed. Elements of that strategy include recognition of the limits of American power in the face of this multidimensional crisis, concrete steps to resolve the Palestinian problem, and improved intelligence cooperation and covert actions. The future of the region belongs to young Muslims: we should ask of any proposed policy: how will they interpret our actions?