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Historical
See other Historical Articles

Title: How the West de-democratised the Middle East
Source: Aljazeera
URL Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/op ... 012/03/201232710543250236.html
Published: Mar 30, 2012
Author: Irfan Ahmad
Post Date: 2012-04-02 10:10:33 by lucysmom
Keywords: None
Views: 3357
Comments: 10

With the momentous convulsion in the Middle East sparked by Mohamed Bouazizi's martyrdom in January 2011, it is time to ask what happened to the question which for long dominated Western discourse on the Middle East: Is Islam compatible with democracy? The predominant answer for many years was "no". Among others, Elie Kedourie, MS Lipset, and Huntington advocated such a position. Bernard Lewis, "the most influential postwar historian of Islam and the Middle East", who offered "the intellectual ammunition for the Iraq War", was most vociferous in upholding this position. Their main argument was that, unlike Christianity, Islam was unique in not differentiating religion from the state and hence democracy was impossible in Muslim polities. Against this doxa, I make three arguments.

First, the position that Islam is incompatible with democracy was false from the beginning, because it served imperial ambitions of the West and violated Muslims' self-perception that, not only is Islam compatible with democracy, it was one of the engines of democratic empowerment.

Second, I argue that the West's discourse of democratisation of the Middle East is dubious because it hides how the West actually de-democratised the Middle East. My contention is that, from the 1940s onwards, democratic experiments were well in place and the West subverted them to advance its own interests. I offer three examples of de-democratisation: The reportedly CIA-engineered coup against the elected government of Syria in 1949, the coup orchestrated by the US and UK against the democratic Iran in 1953 and subversion of Bahrain's democracy in the 1970s. I also touch on the West's recent de-democratisation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Third, I explain that the Middle East was de-democratised because the West rarely saw it as a collection of people with dynamic, rich social-cultural textures. The Western power elites viewed the Middle East as no more than a region of multiple resources and strategic interests; hence their aim was to keep it "stable" and "manageable".

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#1. To: A K A Stone, Anti-ping to CE, Fred Mertz, Godwinson, go65, war, no gnu taxes, Skip Intro, ferret mike, jwpegler, brian s, mininggold, mcgowanjm (#0)

Third, I explain that the Middle East was de-democratised because the West rarely saw it as a collection of people with dynamic, rich social-cultural textures. The Western power elites viewed the Middle East as no more than a region of multiple resources and strategic interests; hence their aim was to keep it "stable" and "manageable".

Oh my! What would Ann Coulter say?

Anyone claiming to be an expert is selling something. I brandish my ignorance like a crucifix at vampires. Aaron Bady

lucysmom  posted on  2012-04-02   10:12:14 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: lucysmom, *Arab Spring Jihad* (#0)

Mohamed Bouazizi's martyrdom

Is Islam compatible with democracy?

He died and went to hell like most guys named Mohamed do.

Yes 100% compatible with mob rule. Behead the minority infidels!


"We (government) need to do a lot less, a lot sooner" ~Ron Paul

Obama's watch stopped on 24 May 2008, but he's been too busy smoking crack to notice.

hondo68  posted on  2012-04-02   10:26:37 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: hondo68 (#2)

He died and went to hell like most guys named Mohamed do.

Yes 100% compatible with mob rule. Behead the minority infidels!

Or maybe you're one of the sheeple who has drunk the kool-aid, found it to your liking, and can't wait for more.

Anyone claiming to be an expert is selling something. I brandish my ignorance like a crucifix at vampires. Aaron Bady

lucysmom  posted on  2012-04-02   10:36:53 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: hondo68 (#2) (Edited)

He died and went to hell like most guys named Mohamed do.

Yes 100% compatible with mob rule. Behead the minority infidels!

The rate of meddling of the US in any given the Middle Eastern country besides Israel seems to be a boon for that Muslim population's numbers and conversely to the decline of the population of non Muslims. Allah's got to love your oil buddies.

Almost every country in the Middle East is awash in oil, and we have to side with the one that has nothing but joos. Goddamn, that was good thinkin'. Esso posted on 2012-01-13 7:37:56 ET

mininggold  posted on  2012-04-02   10:41:46 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: All (#0)

Following the Western invasion of Iraq as the government fell in April 2003, people in places as diverse as Mosul (a Kurdish town), Samara (with a Sunni Arab majority), Hilla and Najaf (both Shia towns), and Baghdad spontaneously organised meetings to elect representatives for reconstruction, safety and provision of essential infrastructure. It was a popular democratic initiative in the true sense of the term. However, the US thwarted all such democratic initiatives by nullifying the decisions and plans the elected representatives of various councils had made. In their place, the US appointed their own, reliable (unelected) people, including former Baathists.

Silly Iraqis, they believed the propaganda and thought they had been liberated.

Anyone claiming to be an expert is selling something. I brandish my ignorance like a crucifix at vampires. Aaron Bady

lucysmom  posted on  2012-04-02   10:48:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: lucysmom, *Ron Paul for President* (#3)

found it to your liking, and can't wait for more.

It stinks, bring the troops home so they're not needlessly exposed to the dangers of democracy. They're not toys to satisfy Oilbombers bloodlust and greed for oil profits.


"We (government) need to do a lot less, a lot sooner" ~Ron Paul

Obama's watch stopped on 24 May 2008, but he's been too busy smoking crack to notice.

hondo68  posted on  2012-04-02   11:18:17 ET  (2 images) Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: hondo68 (#6)

They're not toys to satisfy Oilbombers bloodlust and greed for oil profits.

If it had all started with Obama, you would have a point, however, it didn't, and you don't.

Anyone claiming to be an expert is selling something. I brandish my ignorance like a crucifix at vampires. Aaron Bady

lucysmom  posted on  2012-04-02   11:39:32 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: lucysmom (#7) (Edited)

If it had all started with Obama, you would have a point

Bush's reign of terror is over, Obama is the commander in chief now. He could bring them home today, but he won't. There's nothing to be gained by a long drawn out withdrawal, but more death, misery, and profits. Just get out!


"We (government) need to do a lot less, a lot sooner" ~Ron Paul

Obama's watch stopped on 24 May 2008, but he's been too busy smoking crack to notice.

hondo68  posted on  2012-04-02   11:50:41 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: hondo68 (#8)

Bush's reign of terror is over, Obama is the commander in chief now. He could bring them home today, but he won't. There's nothing to be gained by a long drawn out withdrawal, but more death, misery, and profits. Just get out!

Bush said we would be over there for a long, long time. Did you not believe him?

Almost every country in the Middle East is awash in oil, and we have to side with the one that has nothing but joos. Goddamn, that was good thinkin'. Esso posted on 2012-01-13 7:37:56 ET

mininggold  posted on  2012-04-02   12:09:14 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: hondo68 (#8)

Bush's reign of terror is over, Obama is the commander in chief now.

Unfortunatey, it didn't begin with Bush either (I can always tell when youse guys don't read the article).

Anyone claiming to be an expert is selling something. I brandish my ignorance like a crucifix at vampires. Aaron Bady

lucysmom  posted on  2012-04-02   12:12:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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