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Democracy, the Arab world and the West

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Robin Lustig | 18:37 UK time, Sunday, 3 May 2009

Why is it that there are so few democracies in the Arab world? Would there be more of them if powerful Western nations weren't quite so keen on backing brutal dictatorships with no democratic legitimacy?

Ask Arab pro-democracy campaigners those questions, and they'll tell you that all the West really cares about is guaranteed access to oil, and supporting Israel. Now, a new book about the West's dealings with the Arab world argues that although in the short term backing dictatorships might seem to be in the West's interests, in the long term it encourages jihadist radicalism and increases anti-Western sentiment.

The book is called "Last Chance - The Middle East in the balance". Click below to me discussing its thesis with the author, David Gardner of the Financial Times, and the former Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Maher al Sayed.

(broadcast on The World Tonight, 1 May 2009)


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