In 2004, only a year after Washington toppled the regime of President Saddam Hussein under the pretext of liberating Iraq and the Iraqis from dictatorship, the Bush administration launched a program to promote democracy in the Arab and Muslim worlds. It was termed “The Greater Middle East.” The idea behind this program, for which the U.S. allocated hundreds of millions of dollars, was that fighting terrorism must not be done only through military action, but in conjunction with propagating democracy and consolidating freedoms, in order block or extremism.
A year after the program was carried out, the U.S. administration realized that the theory of ‘‘security and stability’’ in some of the countries that al-Qaida terrorists come from is more important than the project of democracy and democratization in those states. The former Egyptian president succeeded in convincing the Bush administration that democracy in Egypt, for example, means “the rule Brotherhood,’’ which prompted then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to re-adopt the theory of maintaining ‘’stability’’ instead of one that promotes a fragile emerging democracy.
As a consequence, we find now, after years of U.S. confusion on the subject of “democratization,” that the Bush administration left the Arab world without strengthening democracy in it. Bush’s contradictory and unclear policies resulted, in some cases, in supporting “dictatorships” that were born from the womb of frameworks, democratic laws and projects entitled “Democracy.” The most vivid example is the case of Iraq and the results of its 2010 elections, which were decisively won by the Iraqi Bloc led by Iyad Allawi — but whose results Iran managed to manipulate with forceful intervention in favor of Nouri Maliki. This all happened in light of the U.S.’ strange and incomprehensible ability to distort all that is relevant to democracy, and it left far-reaching negative consequences. Things got especially bad under Maliki, who has politically exploited his premiership and command of the army and security services on an unprecedented scale. He has oppressed and tortured his political opponents and exploited the fragile judicature. This has become evident through the fabricated charges he’s made against political opponents belonging to the Baath Party.
The second example is Palestine’s case and the 2006 Legislative Council elections that Hamas won by an overwhelming majority of seats. The whole world admitted the probity and transparency of this demonstration of ‘’Palestinian democracy.” It also constitutes a paradox that Washington pressured the Palestinian Authority into holding those elections and then, because of Israel’s dissatisfaction with the results, changed its mind and proceeded to pressure Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Authority, to obstruct the on-going function of the Government of National Unity. It also adopted the conditions of the Quartet on the Middle East and now the Legislative Council has been disabled. We see Abbas as a president who possesses all the powers of the executive, legislative and “canned” judicial authorities. Despite Washington knowing It has turned Palestine into an obvious dictatorship, we see it indifferent to the blood shed for actual Palestinian democracy, because its basic criterion for success is not democracy, but Israel’s interests and the extent of its satisfaction with the behavior of the Palestinian Authority and its president.
Despite the above-mentioned experiences, and after the Arab spring, Washington is, indeed, still lost as to the position it should take vis-a-vis democracy and political reform in the Middle East. I believe that the U.S. and Israel’s interests are decisive so far, not democratic principles, human rights and freedom.