This article looks at one important aspect of globalization in the Arab World, namely the provision of international finance by the US, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank in support of economic liberalization programs. This flow of international finance has been partly determined by geopolitical factors and in some countries has resulted in a decline in state provision of social welfare, increased poverty, and increased inequality. Not only has this form of globalization been increasingly challenged by Islamist groups, but many such groups have moved in to provide social capital and fill the welfare gap created by the gradual withdrawal of the state from socio-economic affairs. Globalization has thus strengthened the hand of political Islam and undermined the political legitimacy of incumbent regimes.
The Middle East Journal (2006) 60 (3) 444-466