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The Evasion of Liberal Democracy in the Proxy Warfare Narrative


Much of the thinking about the current political instability in the Middle East has been shaped by sectarianism and proxy warfare between the Islamic Republic and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is said that the 1979 Iranian Revolution triggered this conflict and pressed on through the mobilization of the proxies connected to these regimes. This mobilization was reinforced by the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and the outbreak of the Arab Spring movement in 2011. In this narrative, the members of the ordinary public appear as passive bystanders in the making of their country’s future. Considering the current shift in values among the Middle Eastern publics toward secular politics, gender equality, and expressive individualism, this argument tends to obscures the region’s political reality.

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The collection of the data used in this paper was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and Jack Shand Research Grant of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Comments from Kamran Talattof and the editors of The Brown Journal of World Affairs are gratefully acknowledged.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Moaddel, Mansoor. 2024. "The Evasion of Liberal Democracy in the Proxy Warfare Narrative." The Brown Journal of World Affairs, June, 30–2.

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