Levant News | Difficulties of Transplanting Democracy

Levant News – Difficulties of Transplanting Democracy

Although many NCFP readers may not think, or realise, that Cyprus is not affected by Middle East and Muslim world turmoil, I think this excellent letter, which encapsulates an increasingly dire situation, would be beneficial to people’s general comprehension should you see fit to publish it. As the letter claims no copyright, I see no plagiarism involved in its reproduction:

“Shaun, 10 October 2013 , 22:23

You are right to point out the naïve western neo-con mentality that sought to transplant democracy into the Middle East with little though about how such a Western invention could take root in societies that had no history of liberal politics with its emphasis on individual right and freedoms and no history of political parties and compromise. The likelihood of democracy taking root in the Middle East in states such as Afghanistan or Iraq is minimal. In order to undertake this project it was necessary to convince themselves and others that these countries represented a risk to the western world. So Saddam Hussein was not demonised for killing close to half a million of his own citizens or for using poison gas on his Kurdish population, but for allegedly possessing weapons of mass destruction. There is nothing like the perception of an external, or for that matter an internal enemy to bring out the worst in nations, the former provides a ‘raison d’être’ for attacking another nation and the latter for curbing democratic rights of its citizens. Never in the West have individual rights and freedoms been so eroded as they are now in the name of anti-terrorist measures. In many Middle East states there is a majority who simply wish to rid themselves of dictators, presidents for life and more generally authoritarian governments. The problem for these moderates is that they are sandwiched between extreme Islamists who wish to create a theocracy and a predatory military that that refuses to give up its privileges and prefers a military backed president for life. The Muslim Brotherhood is an example of Islamists who would use the democratic process to achieve their authoritarian ends and the Sisi Military are an example of a military that will use any pretext to maintain their power and privileges including massacring their own citizens. Equally the Assad regime which has killed over 100,000 of its own citizens is despicable and deserves to fall, but the opposition includes around 7,000 mainly foreign jihadists affiliated to al-Qaeda that are equally gruesome. A lesson that should have been well learned through bitter experience is that my enemy’s enemy is not my friend. When opposing the Russian invasion of Afghanistan the CIA operation ‘Cyclone’ poured money and training into insurgent groups who were the precursors of the jihadists and who 30 years on have become their most bitter foe. But sadly, no one has really learned, not the US and the West who have been arming them in Syria, not Saudi Arabia their paymaster, nor does it seem Turkey. Al-Qaeda is no friend of the West and in Syria kills Shia Muslims because it does not recognise them as Muslims. They also kill Christians for the same reason, but they also kill the local Sunni population because they are not Muslim enough! The world is clearly a dangerous place and made more so by politicians that prefer the simplistic binary options which blinds them to the complexity of life. My enemy’s enemy is not necessarily my friend and, although a dictatorship is anti-democratic, an Islamist government that plans to supplant democracy with a theocracy is no more so. Equally, developing anti-terrorist legislation that threatens our fundamental rights and freedoms and demonising others to justify prejudices is great for short term popularity, but has long term costs.”


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