Rachid Ghannouchi: A Democrat within Islamism

By Azzam S. Tamimi | Go to book overview

6
The Territorial State and
the New World Order

If a modern democracy has been defined as a system of governance in which rulers are held accountable for their actions in the public realm by citizens, and if popularly elected governments are supposed be able to exercise their powers without obstruction or control by unelected officials (for example, the military), 1 the territorial state in the Arab world is far from being democratic. The policies of modern Arab states have generally been aimed at stifling the public will and concentrating power in the hands of military or quasi-military bodies that consolidate their power through the unchecked use of violence. A genuine democratic transition would inevitably mean changing the very character and mandate of this state, a development the prevalent “world order” is most anxious to prevent. Evidently, the position of the world order, both old and new, is calculated purely on the basis of economic interests, and thus principles are excluded from the equation. In this way, a double standard policy is justified and consequently the most democratic nations of the world stand vehemently opposed to the transition to democracy in regions where their interests are best served by autocratic or oligarchic systems of governance. This chapter will discuss Ghannouchi's theory that both the territorial state and foreign influence, or the “world order, ” are two major “symbiotically” interrelated obstacles that hinder the progress of democracy in the Arab world, and particularly in North Africa.


The Territorial State

Ad-dawlah al-qutriyah (territorial state) is the term widely used in Arabic literature to describe the political entity that came to being following the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Although founded following the example of the nation-state in the European tradition, the territorial state is not a natural growth of its own socio-economic history or its own cultural and intellectual tradition. 2 It has in the main come to the region as an “imported commodity, ” partly under colonial pressure and partly under the influence of imitation and mimicry. 3 Some researchers go as far as considering the state exclusively European and insist that until the nineteenth century no mention of

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Rachid Ghannouchi: A Democrat within Islamism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Religion and Global Politics *
  • Title Page *
  • Preface v
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents *
  • Rachid Ghannouchi *
  • 1 - From Qabis to Paris 3
  • 2 - The Journey to Democracy 30
  • 3 - The Question of Democracy 63
  • 4 - Secularism 105
  • 5 - Civil Society 125
  • 6 - The Territorial State and the New World Order 154
  • 7 - Islamist Obstacles to Democracy 182
  • 8 - Ghannouchi's Detractors 200
  • Conclusion 215
  • Notes 221
  • Bibliography 247
  • Index 259
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