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The Arab World’s Democratic Opening

Roughly 400 million Muslims currently live in non-Arab Muslim majority states – including Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Senegal, Mali, and Albania – that have held relatively free elections for their highest political offices. These countries may not yet be full democracies, but, because they hold competitive elections, they have met a necessary condition for being a democracy.

But since Lebanon was torn apart thirty years ago by civil war and violence, exacerbated by PLO, Israeli, Syrian, French, and US military incursions, not a single Muslim has lived in an electorally competitive Arab state. This is why it is so important for the world to think deeply about the current opportunities for democracy in Palestine and its neighbors.

Modern democracies share at least seven preconditions:

· a functioning state;