Jul 29, 2006

The Future of Democracy in Middle East

The Middle East is known for conflict, oil, the periodic US invasions (recently) and of course the never ending debate about democracy with little - if any – progress to show for it. After the invasion of Iraq, it was clear that Bush’s government was serious about democracy and that unsettled Arab regimes a great deal; they could be next if they did not act quickly. These effort were quickly put to test in Egypt and Palestine with some interesting results.

In Egypt, the banned Islamic Brotherhood won almost 100 seats in the parliament though their party was banned and facing imprisonment, torture and all kinds of government pressure possible. In Palestine, Hamas won the election – elections supervised by the UN, the people of Palestine voted against the corruption of Fatah.

It became clear that the major force in the Arab – suppressed by the regimes - are the Islamic parties, they’re more organized, more educated and have grass root support. Of course that didn’t go down well the West. They see all Islamic parties and groups as enemies regardless of their ideology or action. Now the debate shifted to whether democracy is a good thing for the Middle East after all. It seems - at least in the US - that this point view is taking hold among neoconservative policy makers and academics. Perhaps the US will speak less of democracy in Middle East from now on.

3 comments:

Black River Eagle said...

First of all, thanks for listing my blog in your blogroll and welcome to the blogosphere. It will be very, very interesting to periodically read your views on issues about Africa and the Middle East. It's one of my favorite subjects and I'm sure that we will disagree on several points. Peacefully and respectfully disagree.

The future of democracy in the Middle East does not depend wholly on U.S. foreign policy but to a large extent on what the people of the Middle East want for themselves. In addition, there are many, many more countries other than the U.S. who are attempting to promote democracy in the Middle East and across North Africa. I think what frightens people in the West and elsewhere around the world is that radical groups backed by armed militias and armed fanatics will attempt to use "democracy" and the ballot box to gain political power in the Middle East and then once in power exert their own brand of repression and suppression upon the former elites and the masses, abandoning democratic principles altogether along the way.

I believe that over the next decade or so the U.S. will become less and less involved with politics and crises in the Middle East, as the U.S. public is totally fed up with the whole mess and will use the ballot box to express their discontent starting this November. The EU and neighboring countries in the region may gradually replace the U.S. as a dominant player in the Middle East over the same period. This of course will be just fine with U.S.

In your profile, you write that you are an ex-pat grad student working for Aljazzera. What is your job at Aljazzera and what is your home country? Again, good luck with your new blog and hope that you attract zillions of readers.

BRE @ Jewels in the Jungle

Abdurahman Warsame said...

Thanks for your comment, it’s both stimulating and of course the first one I get. Thanks for adding to your blogrol as well.

I hope to create a conversation and it can only be interesting if there is an occasional disagreement.

Well, I agree with you that any sustainable change has to come from the inside, in a way the election of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood showed that people are ready for change. But there are two obstacles, the first is the authoritarian rulers in Arab world are supported by the US. Popular opinion in the Middle East is not in favor of the US and any government will have to appeal to the people to be elected.

The second problem is the lack of institutions. Dictators make sure everything revolves around them so there are no independ institutions. The intellectuals end up fleeing the country or in jail. if these dictator go, stability usually follows and that is dangerous in the Middle East. The US has realized these two things and is slowly turning away from democracy I think.

The US will have to maintain it’s influence in the Middle East in order to accomplish it’s main foreign policy goals in the Middle East; the flow of oil and protecting Israel. Russia, China and Iran have been trying to increase their influence in the Middle East and that irritates the US.

I'm Somali-Australian, born in Saudi. I had my schooling in Somalia, Egypt and Australia. I'm working as a business analyst (graduated with info sys). I'm now doing a postgrad course in public policy. How about you? Where are you from?

I would like to hear your opinion on the blog and if there are issues you think I should discuss. I would like ask you for tips – if that is OK – to get more people to contribute to the conversion. Thank you so much.

Black River Eagle said...

I'm from St. Louis, Missouri in the American Midwest but have lived and in worked in Europe for many years. I presently live in Germany. Technology management is my profession.

Be sure to register your blog with Technorati.com (or a similar service) and use TAGS in your posts so that people will be able to easily find your writing in blog search engines. Interacting with the Global Voices community over at Harvard University's Berkman Center is also a big help.

Two other bloggers who write a great deal about Somalia are Bill Ainishe (Ainishe.net) and Yvette Lopez (Inside Somaliland) in case you haven't read their work yet.

Whenever you have a question get in touch with me over at my place (comments section), I'll be glad to help out wherever I can. Your themes so far are fine, just keep on writing until you build-up a readership and be sure to leave comments on other people's blogs.

I'll check back with you regularly.