Fear of Democracy

(Gannett News - Lancaster Eagle-Gazette) John Yaukey - In its campaign against Saddam, the Bush administration has talked about spreading the seeds of democracy across Arabia, starting with Saddam's replacement. But right now, little would take root in a progressive, Western-friendly way. In Jordan, Palestinian unrest and a looming war with Iraq have prompted Jordan's Abdullah to suspend parliamentary elections twice. Ironically, in Amman it is Muslims from the once-radical Islamic Action Front who are pressing for elections against a reluctant monarchy backed by the United States. "The government here has plenty to fear," said the Front's Jamil Abu-Baker. "If there are elections, we will win seats." In bellwether Egypt, candidates from the terrorist organization Hamas have been winning campus elections running on anti-government, anti-American platforms. In Saudi Arabia, the fear is that the democratic alternative to the strict brand of Islamic rule practiced by the House of Saud could look dangerously like the reactionary Islam espoused by Osama bin Laden. The more the Bush administration talks about regime change in Baghdad, the more leaders in the region quietly shudder at what could happen. "This notion of somehow re-arranging the region and changing regimes and systems of government in a way that fits the interests of the United States is indeed a very scary notion," said Marwan Muasher, Jordan's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

2002-11-04 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive