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The Sunnis Ignited Terrorism and Shia Extinguished Democracy - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It is not wishful thinking inasmuch as the reality of events that demonstrates that democracy has been defeated in our region and in developing countries. These troubled states will enter the stage of the rational dictator rather than a democratic regime.

America’s failure to define its battle and its causes, after 9/11, and Bush’s undeveloped vision to spread democracy has hindered the wave of democracy in many countries throughout the world. The reality of our Arab world is what concerns us here.

Let us look at Libya, Sudan, Syria and Mauritania; Libya had its slate wiped clean because it abandoned its nuclear ambitions, not because it is improving its democratic record. All that Syria has done is negotiate with the Israelis via Turkish mediation whilst French President Nicolas Sarkozy rushed to open the doors for Syria despite the fact that the Syrians are embroiled in cases that make them more deserving of international sanctions than the former Iraqi regime. Then we have Sudan that has been presented with a tempting offer from France to rescue [its president] Omar al Bashir. As for Mauritania, the price for us to accept it as it stands is yet to be determined.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Washington overlooked the important need for stability and protection of humanity in our region that is more vital than the need for democracy. But the Americans rushed to the extent that [US Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice spoke about “creative chaos”.

Rice did not pay attention to the “Islamist chaos” in the region that has more of an impact than creative chaos since the former has the ability to paralyze any system that does not give it absolute authority. The people who are most responsible for deforming and bringing chaos to the democratic process in our region are the Islamist movements.

For example, in Iraq we have the Dawa Party, the Mehdi Army and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. In Egypt, we have the Muslim Brotherhood that wants to reach a position of power in order to breach international conventions and add Islamist fuel to the Coptic fire.

A clearer example is Hamas and the Hamas coup that overthrew the legitimate authority. We also have Hezbollah in Lebanon that brought Lebanese democracy to a close with the Beirut coup. There is no point in protesting the Islamist experience in Turkey as negotiations with Israel are taking place under the supervision of Turkish Islamists!

It is noticeable that all Islamist groups that obstruct the process of democracy in our region are affiliated to Iran, which forms the biggest obstacle to democracy in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Bahrain and Kuwait and even in Iran itself.

It must be said that the Sunni extremists launched the war of terror in 2001, whilst the Iranian Shia blew out the candle of democracy in our region. What is odd is that while Sunni regimes are fighting extremists, Iran is courting them.

Despite that the war on terror and the spread of democracy are two successful issues, their failing defenders such as Bush and Sarkozy, as well as the global financial crisis and the troubles in Iraq and Afghanistan, demonstrate that we are heading towards a just dictator and not democratic regimes. It was neither reconciliation nor democracy that led to a reduction in the level of terrorism in Iraq; this was a result of the Awakening Councils and the retreat of [Muqtada] al Sadr. It is clear that Afghanistan is following in the footsteps of the Iraqi Awakening Councils as democracy has not found its feet in Kabul.

Furthermore, attention must be paid to the fact that Pakistan, as a state, did not wake up until after the Marriot Hotel terrorist operation despite all the victims that have fallen for the sake of democracy. Of course nobody can read the future but the signs indicate that democracy has been defeated.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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