ISLAMABAD – Can Muslim governments free themselves from their countries’ powerful militaries and establish civilian control comparable to that found in liberal democracies? This question is now paramount in countries as disparate as Egypt, Pakistan, and Turkey.
To predict how this struggle will play out, it helps to understand the region’s past. Since Islam’s founding in the seventh century, it has maintained a tradition of deep military engagement in politics and governance. Indeed, Islam’s increasing military prowess helped it to spread rapidly around the world.