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.