Brad DeLong gets at the root of the problem for Middle Eastern Islamic countries in an interesting column:
In the early 19th century, Egypt's Mehemet Ali looked at the global balance of economic and military power, and decreed that Egypt must industrialize, fast. He feared that unless Egyptians could learn modern industrial technologies and develop an economy prosperous enough to support modern industrial armies, his descendants would be mere puppets of British and French viceroys. His decree went nowhere: Egypt did not industrialize, and Mehemet Ali's great grandchildren did indeed become puppets of the British and French.
Whole thing here.