RESISTANCE TO REGIME CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST A Liberation Theology of the Neo-con Variety?

Polat N.

INTERVENTIONS-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF POSTCOLONIAL STUDIES, vol.16, no.5, pp.634-654, 2014 (SSCI) identifier identifier


Understanding authoritarian regimes in the Middle East as pure cynicism, or as leftovers of past and native despotisms, with scarce attention paid to the modern complicity in the sustaining of these regimes, arguably lacks a much needed insight into the strength of the regimes. A characteristically modern rationality seems to be implicit in the project of forced and ambitious emancipation of the masses that defines authoritarianisms in countries such as Syria and Turkey. Motivated by a drive to save the locals from themselves', this project is supported by forces, both domestic and international, that perceive the regimes as enforcers of modernity in the face of traditional identities and practices. That is, the dichotomy formidably assumed in such settings is between liberating modernity' and enslaving tradition'. Functioning as a perverse liberation theology for promising agency and deliverance from the tutelage of the local, this ideology not only manufactures a crucial element of consent in respective domestic societies but also brings together strands of global neo-conservative thinking, all ostensibly motivated by a normative commitment to modernity, ultimately in favour of authoritarianisms in the region.