Call it a case of why you should be careful what you wish for.
President Bush's efforts to spread democracy to the Middle East have strengthened Islamists across the region, posing fresh challenges for the United States, according to U.S. officials, foreign diplomats and democracy experts.
Islamist parties trounced secular opponents in recent elections in Iraq and Egypt.
Hamas, the armed Islamic Palestinian group, appears set to fare well in Palestinian parliamentary elections Jan. 25, posing a quandary for how the United States and Israel pursue peace efforts. Hamas has carried out suicide bombings against Israel and calls for the country's destruction.
In Lebanon, the Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah is part of the government for the first time.