Major Challenge to Arab Democracy
|Tuesday, November 4,2008 05:28|
In a debate at Bitter Lemons, Saad N. Jawad argues that while the failure to create a Palestinian state is the greatest challenge to the region, “the lack of democracy is the second important challenge facing the Arab Middle East.” Noting the relationship between the two, Jawad suggests that “many regimes have argued that in order to meet Israeli aggression they have had to rule with an iron hand. The truth is probably the opposite. Most regimes have seen their popular legitimacy eroded because of their adherence to dictatorial methods, while opposition movements have gained legitimacy as a result of regimes’ failure to find a just solution to the Palestinian problem.”
Shlomo Avineri agrees that the democracy deficit is the major challenge facing the Arab countries of the region, however, he notes that “any attempt to impose democratization from outside by force (e.g., in Iraq) is both morally reprehensible and politically doomed to failure. The burden is on Arab societies themselves to create the preconditions necessary for the emergence of democracy. This means not only elections but the whole panoply of democratic culture, including how to integrate Islam into a modern, open society.”
Meanwhile, Safa A. Hussein asks what are the chances that political and economic reforms will take place in the region during the next decade, and what are the obstacles to reform.