“The mother of all political gambles”Is Iraq really moving to democracy? [Archives:2005/803/Opinion]

January 3 2005

By Adel Al-Khawlani
[email protected]
Yemen Times Staff

What is both laughable and lamentable is the majority of Arab leaders who hold the view that Iraq has gotten rid of a totalitarian regime and now lives under the umbrella of democracy.

Not only keeping silent, they still accuse the former Iraqi leader of being oppressive and support the implantation of the US illusionary democracy. According to only a great number of fools, the US came to democratize Iraq.

Women are abused, innocent children are killed, and others are living in a lifeless desert because the occupier has abolished their houses. The wounded cannot be hospitalized and their lives cannot be saved. Hospitals constantly suffer from the lack of medical facilities and their staff is killed. Cities to the west of Baghdad experience the shortage of basic needs, with no food, no water and no electricity.

Other tragic things we neither see nor hear due to the occupiers' silencing of the media, which is one of the essential components of the foolishly imposed democracy. Bureaus of some televisions are shut down and media personnel are prevented from reporting the tragic facts.

What worsens the tragedy further is the belief of many Muslim jurists issuing their fatwa that resistance is unlawful considering it a kind of terrorism.

Undoubtedly, a UN sanction can be passed on only if it is imposed on the Arab and Muslim regimes. Bombing after bombing and killing after killing, this is what is experienced in the cities of Rafidain lands. By looking at the situation in Iraq with all the U.S. troops still over their with their lives in danger daily, we can see that this is important to get these troops back.

These attacks are not only demolishing Iraq, but it destroys everyone involved, both mentally and physically.

There also have been accusations that “the war in Iraq is about oil.” Many American writers and politicians believe that is true – but for reasons different from those who advance that argument. Clearly, if Iraq was not an oil producer, the United States would not have the same interest in that country. At the same time, no country without energy would have an interest in developing weapons of mass destruction.

The United States has several alternative sources of supply, and despite its dependence on imported oil, it is one of the world's greatest energy producers. Since, unlike the other advanced Western economies, the United States also has the capability of developing other sources of energy – shale, natural gas, hydroelectric, solar and so on – it is a canard to assert that the United States is going to war to dominate Iraq's oil resources.

If the United States pretends to use some of the funds from Iraqi oil to pay for rebuilding the country after the war and the costs of occupation, Washington acknowledges that it is exploiting the situation for controlling Middle Eastern oil for its own purposes or setting up a colonial regime in Iraq.

There is no need to provide an example of democracy to the Arab world. New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman calls Bush's plan for regime change: “the mother of all political gambles. It could help nudge the whole Arab-Muslim world onto a more progressive track.”

There is nothing in the character of Iraq, or any other nation for that matter, that predetermines its attitude to democracy and human rights. Have Iraqis turned to democracy after the war? Who knows? Rightly, there will be numerous calls for democratic reforms. Nations could not make progress on the human and economic development fronts in the absence of such reforms, a simple lesson that most Arab countries seem reluctant to learn.

The end result is a compromise at best. And yet again, this analysis does not take into account external parties who might have set views on the threats and virtues that come with a democratic Iraq.

Similar problems to those that beset Iraq at present have been seen in the past in that country. Equally, other nations have experienced similar trials and tribulations, interspersed with good times as well.

A look at the history of Britain, with its civil wars and conflicts, including two world wars in the twentieth century alone, illustrates the process that nations go through as they evolve.

The tumultuous upheavals that Britons endured in the 16th and 17th centuries (Industrial Revolution, civil wars, end of feudalism, etc) led, in some vague way, to the emergence of the British Empire.

And the two world wars from which Britain was victorious, coincided with the loss of its empire and set that country on a radically different path. The process of transformation, however, was a long time coming. It was caused by numerous factors, and not simply their debilitating world wars.