An interview with the former Senior Adviser to the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Vali Nasr's impressive book concludes that the triumph of free markets in the Middle East can defeat extremism and promote social liberalization. But just how will this happen?
The Bush administration wants to contain Iran by rallying the support of Sunni Arab states and now sees Iran's containment as the heart of its Middle East policy: a way to stabilize Iraq, declaw Hezbollah, and restart the Arab-Israeli peace process. But the strategy is unsound and impractical, and it will probably further destabilize an already volatile region.
By toppling Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration has liberated and empowered Iraq's Shiite majority and has helped launch a broad Shiite revival that will upset the sectarian balance in Iraq and the Middle East for years to come. This development is rattling some Sunni Arab governments, but for Washington, it could be a chance to build bridges with the region's Shiites, especially in Iran.