¿Es posible la democracia en el mundo árabe?

Con el rápido descenso de Irak a un caos sangriento, las perspectivas de realizar elecciones democráticas con éxito en enero, como han prometido EE.UU. y el gobierno iraquí interino, parecen sombrías. Algunos escépticos van más allá, argumentando que la debacle de Irak prueba lo débiles que son las perspectivas de la democracia en el mundo árabe. ¿Tienen razón?

La mitad de los países del mundo son democracias, pero ninguno de los 22 países árabes es una de ellas. El Informe sobre Desarrollo Humano en el Mundo Árabe de las Naciones Unidas es franco en su crítica a los avances económicos y sociales de la región. El crecimiento económico ha sido lento, aproximadamente la mitad de las mujeres son analfabetas y la región no se encuentra bien integrada a la economía mundial. De hecho, con una población de más de 300 millones, los países árabes exportan menos al resto del mundo, si se excluyen el petróleo y el gas, que Finlandia.

Se está gestando una enorme "curva juvenil" en las tablas demográficas del mundo árabe: actualmente un 45% de la población tiene menos de 14 años y la población como un todo se duplicará durante el próximo cuarto de siglo. Sin embargo, la región tiene oportunidades inadecuadas para que los jóvenes encuentren trabajos significativos. El desempleo llega al 20%. Al mismo tiempo, el Oriente Próximo está inundado de modernas comunicaciones, muchas de ellas con un sesgo antioccidental.

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