No democracy, but totalitarian regimes exist in Arab World: Qaddomi [Archives:2004/704/Front Page]

January 19 2004

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister, Farooq Qaddomi strongly criticized Arab regimes, describing them as totalitarian and dictatorial and said there is no democracy in the Arab countries at all.
Qaddomi told Yemen Times that “democracy in the Arab world does not exist because of the totalitarian political regimes and absolute monarchies.” He said democracy does not mean election only and that democracy is practiced in Lebanon and Palestine where people have the right to express their own views and the newspapers can criticize. He observed that newspapers in other countries just praise the rulers who are far away even from self-criticism, adding that these countries have nice constitutions but they are not followed and that these regimes are concerned with how they can control the people, mainly through the intelligence offices which are “watching the people rather than the enemies of these countries.” He said that the only way to get rid of these dictatorships is not by ousting them by the U.S. like Saddam but through the continuous struggle of the people ,which will of course need time.
He said that his participation in the Inter-Governmental Regional Conference on Democracy, Human Rights and the role of the International Criminal Court which was held in Sana'a during 11-12 January was meant to “convey an actual picture of what is happening inside the occupied territories and to tell the participants that there is an absence of respect for human rights there.” He pointed out that he wanted to convey this situation to the Europeans who are friends of Israel and they ,with the U.S., support it. He demanded that their attitude towards Israel should be changed and support the just cause of the Palestinians, establishing democracy in the Palestinian territories.
He said that there are no recent negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israeli government as the Israelis, to him, have no credibility. He asserted that resistance will continue. “Our resistance is continuing as we do not trust the Israelis; they have no credibility as they sign agreements and do not fulfill their decisions; they continue their atrocities against the Palestinian people; they kill, arrest and destroy houses on a daily basis. We try to deal with them openly and truly. Unfortunately, they continue their acts of assassinations. Instead of building confidence measures, they build new settlements and finally they started constructing the separation wall,” he said. He claimed that the Palestinians accepted the Road Map endorsed by the U.S., EU, UN and Russia but it has been frozen as the Israelis refused to implement it.
He indicated that the U.S. instead of curbing such practices of the Israelis, it is extending its assistance, as it recently provided Israel with around $USD 8 billion.
Concerning on the recent initiative made by Israel to resume negotiations with Syria, Qaddomi said that Israel is not serious about this as they want the negotiations to start from zero or first square. “This initiative is meant to cheat the public opinion as the Israelis want to show they are ready for peace. If they are ready, why are they building new settlements at Golan Heights and continue to threaten Syria?” he observed.
He confirmed that Syria is not at all in a fix but he said the Syrians are facing difficulties because of the Iraqi resistance against the U.S. occupation which, to him, is refused by the Iraqi people who want the U.S. to leave their country as soon as possible so that they can run elections and elect their own rulers. He said the U.S. is sending warnings to Syria to stop the infiltration of resistance militants from Syria to Iraq which, to him, is already not permitted by the Syrian government and that the Iraqi resistance has nothing to do with the strangers claimed to be infiltrated from Syria. He expressed his full support for such resistance and fighting against the occupying forces in Iraq. When I asked him if there is a possibility for some other Arab rulers to face the same end of Saddam Hussein, he dismissed the idea by saying “at this specific time, I do not think so, as the U.S. was blamed by the international community when attacking Iraq, putting itself as the policeman of the world. What they have done is contrary to what they have claimed to do; they occupied Iraq and did not combat terrorism. The same thing took place in Afghanistan. The main purpose of their occupation is to control oil producing countries.”