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Critical Analysis of Forces of Fortune: The Rise of the New Muslim Middle-Class Book Authored by Nasr

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Nasr writes that it is not any other business that will change the Islamic majority, but “ business with a small ‘ b’ ” . Capitalism in the Middle East can only be encouraged by the middle-class business people and not the state-sponsored elite. In Chapter Two, the writer talks about ‘ The World According to Dubai’ . Nasr notes that large conglomerates that are financed by the government of Dubai but not run by the government itself are said to largely contribute to the success of Dubai. Nasr points out that Dubai has turned into a critical regional investment hub (Nasr 34-35).

However, competition still arises from Abu Dhabi and Qatar (Nasr 42). There is also an unusually high risk of conflict that stands to impede the economy of Dubai (Nasr 41). Despite the challenges and competition that Dubai has faced, it still stands to be a desirable destination for the global economy. Furthermore, Dubai is Iran’ s gateway to the world since it provides goods and services that economic sanctions have denied Iran (Nasr 46). The middle class of Iran holds the future of political and social reform, and this is why the West sees the link between them as an excellent opportunity (Nasr 47).

Chapter three of the book focuses on ‘ Iran’ s predicament, ’ whereby, a support surge for reform is found within the Iranian citizens (Nasr 50). Nasr points out the threat of political and economic reform led to clerical support for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad between 2005 and 2009. Iran’ s influence in Afghanistan and Iraq originates from its economic ties (Nasr 53). Iran was also willing to cooperate with the Westerners, and in particular, the United States after 9/11, and they worked to rebuild Afghanistan together.

Even after the election of Muhammad Khatami as president in 1997, there was more hope for further reforms in Iran (Nasr 71). The sanctions in Iran were thought to help contain the influence and power of Iran’ s elite, but, they also had an impact on the middle-class individuals (Nasr 83). Nasr also shows how cultural and social activism prevailed under the rule of President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (Nasr 66-70). As Nasr continues to develop his story in chapter four of the book, he clearly presents the tragic failures of secularism in the Middle East.

Nasr notes that there are three main flaws with modernity promotion of the states in the Middle East, which are known as Kemalism. They include the development of patronage states, failure of an independent bourgeoisie, and over-emphasis of secularism that has alienated much of the public by their attempts to repress Islam (Nasr 85).    

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