During the late twentieth century, many authoritarian Islamic states underwent a dramatic transition to democracy. This book examines the process of democratic reform in Islamic countries, the problems it throws up and the cultural ideas and practices that prevail. Concentrating in particular on Algeria, and based on extensive on-the-ground research, Volpi offers a unique insight into the political history of the Algerian conflict and raises serious questions about the relationship between Islam and democracy on an international level. Addressing the problem of the radicalisation of political Islam in the region, he suggests possible solutions to the security and foreign policy dilemmas linked to international terrorism. A bitter battle has been faught between the civil state and the Islamic fundamentalists in Algeria since the 1980s. It's a paradigmatic 'clash of civilisations' for some, whilst for others it's a distorted and local crisis in which 'democratisation' was introduced in a deeply authoritarian context. Looking in particular at the role of oil resources, which give Algeria great international geo-strategic and economic importance, Volpi explores Algeria's political transition -- a story which continues to have immense potential significance for other non-democratic Muslim countries.