“Their expectations have not been met,” warns MENA economy specialist Henry Azzam. “On the contrary, conditions have worsened as businesses have retrenched and labor-intensive sectors such as tourism, services and transport have been harmed by civil strife.”
Transitions invariably generate uncertainty and instability, he writes, while economic conditions are more likely to deteriorate than improve. All the more reason why transitional authorities should pay close attention to several potentially combustible risk factors, including popular expectations, private sector credibility and the rise of political Islam:
Eventually, new forward-looking secular parties with young and progressive leaderships will make their presence felt. In the meantime, the Islamist parties will be obliged to take responsibility and thus take the blame for policies they promote rather than criticizing from the sidelines.
In countries such as Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia, political Islam and democracy have been cohabiting fairly comfortably. …. The world has to accept the realities on the ground that Islamic parties are bound to play a pivotal role in the new governments of the region.