Welcoming Egypt to the World of Democracy

The Conundrum of Democracy in Middle East

There are two views that can be inferred from the torrential analysis of trends of democracy in the Middle East. One of them is that the push that was led by President Bush in trying to democratize the region is ultimately paying up. The Middle East can be seen to be on a democratic path even though the path has not been very pleasing. This can be attested by the rigorous demonstrations and political feuds that characterized elections in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. Lebanon also saw some deadly demonstrations. The other view is that the intervention of the United States has aggravated tensions in the region and led to an increase in violent Islamic extremism.

This extremism has been widespread in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Qatar is also affected by the same radicalism. The intervention of the United States also led to the emergence of Afghanistan which was considered a narco-state as well as the Islamic State which is mainly Iraq. Lebanon could be on the verge of a lethal civil war since Arabic volunteers are fleeing to Iraq. Iran is considered as the eventual winner of the elections in Iran, and the American army is finding it hard to cope with the happenings.

Regardless of the view that was held by any researcher, it is apparent that the intervention of the United States was an item that changed the strategic and political scene of the Middle East. It is this context that needs to be understood to comprehend the patterns that are there in the long term.

First and foremost, democracy is gaining popularity in the Middle East. This is in spite of the dislike that the Arabs might have for the role that America plays. Arabs are suspicious of the role Washington is playing in trying to democratize the region. The anti-American demonstrations cannot be misconstrued to mean they are anti-democracy. The kind of democracy that the Middle East wants has little to do with the kind that was being implemented by the Jefferson administration. Developing a working and real democracy is not as easy as pie. There are practical challenges that have to be fought for, such as the one of holding credible elections that can guarantee everyone good governance.

Moreover, it was believed that a seemingly democratic regime would conform to the interests of the United States. Democracy, however, has little to do with the creation of a regime that is perceived to be friendly. As a matter of fact, democratization in the Middle East cannot function without a valid and recognized political legitimacy. This legitimacy is upheld by Islamic beliefs and nationalism in the Middle East. The so-called democrats in Palestine are not any different from the militants.

However, a positive occurrence in the region is the merger of pro-democratic followers and nationalists. This has led to the severing of links between anti-western crusaders, locals and international radicals who claim to support the Middle East against a common enemy. This practice has been tried by the Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq. Successful elections held in the Middle East have led to the widening of the autocratic leadership gap.

Such polarization is being experienced in Afghanistan. The Taliban lost the immense support it had. The group did not lose its support simply because they opposed the Americans, they were opposed for the reason that they were seen and heard calling for a forceful interference with the process of elections. Even though the American troops are still at work in Afghanistan, foreign volunteers have not been coming in large numbers as they used to. It is factual that when the domestic agendas of a nation are prevalent in the political scene, outsiders who come in to discuss their international agendas cannot find room since they are said to ignore the touching local issues. It has been noted that most of the Taliban members are quitting the combative nature of the group and opting for the political arena. This could be happening in Iraq. The foreign volunteers who were being viewed as friendly to the local people have been complaining of being unduly targeted for the alleged killing of Iraq citizens. They have also been accused of causing disruptions and strife in the political field.