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Friday, November 12, 2010

Why aren't Arab countries free? Because of Israel!

The Toronto Star had an amazing interview with Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League.

While the entire thing is the usual nonsense (he whines about how the "peace process" has taken 20 years but doesn't mention a small thing called the "second intifada") it gets really ridiculous at this point:

I asked Moussa about why the Arab states have failed to embrace democracies; why women still do not have equal rights; and why minorities are being mistreated in Arab lands.

“I would say that indeed we have many problems that we have to resolve. As a citizen of this region, I should not deny that there are lot things that need to change.

“At the same time, we have also seen that the U.S. and others in the West hoisted the flag of democracy and wanted the Arab countries to follow the path of democracy. But when the Palestinians called their bluff and conducted elections and Hamas won, they all forgot about democracy.

“That was a major disappointment, a major disappointment that the promoters and proponents of democracy are not really serious.

“Had they been serious, they would’ve accepted the outcome of the Palestinian election. They should not have punished the Palestinians.

“There’s no sincerity in the Western call for democracy.

“On the other hand, the only solution for Arab societies is to (adopt) a democratic system — one man, one vote. We need that, we need that.”

But it is not happening, I tell him.

“It is not happening now. It will happen in the future — the near future, I am sure, not the distant future.

“Arab societies are not the same as 10 years ago. The political scene is full of NGOs, political parties, opposition newspapers, demonstrations and protests . . . These democratic steps have already been taken.”

Does he really see all the kings just giving up power? Does he see Hosni Mubarak in Egypt giving up his autocratic power?

If we succeed in solving the Palestinian problem, things will change dramatically towards social and economic development,” Moussa said. “There’ll be less threats of terrorism, less threats of violence, less regional tensions, which will open up the movement of people, more tourism, railways, highways, etc. Once we embark on it, it will happen quickly. That’s why we need peace.”
So the reason that Mubarak and King Abdullah are autocratic is because there is no peace.

Just one problem - they are at peace with Israel.

But surely, Bahrain and Yemen and Saudi Arabia and Syria will democratize very soon. They don't do it only because they are disappointed in the Palestinian Arab democratic experiment. Yeah, that's the reason.

Of course, Algeria and Libya are keenly interested in freedom and reforms as well, but, after all, there's a remarkably non-violent war going on in Palestine a couple of thousand miles away and that is holding them back.

The problem in the Arab world is that the leaders have no ability to self-criticize and take responsibility for their actions, and Amr Moussa has proven that beautifully.
(h/t Ben Dror Yemini in Ma'ariv)