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15 February 2011
 
Has America Won In The Middle East As Demands For Democracy Spread From Egypt To Iran And Yemen?
 
Since the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolution, American foreign policy seems to be fluid and dangerously close to vague.  
 
As US allies fall and foes seem about to tumble what must be on the minds of political analysts is a fundamental question: is this a success of the influence of western thought, a pure demand by people to participate in government, democracy.
 
Today our eyes are cast from Tahrir Square in Egypt where the revolution was won, to Iran where opposition forces have once again found their feet and have begun to march against the government controlled by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
 
It was in 2009 that Iran broke into disarray after the election that saw Ahmadinejad returned to power, an election that was branded a sham, with claims of widespread electoral fraud.
 
After months of discontent and opposition leaders jailed the streets of Tehran quietened.  Until today.  
 
Today the streets are filled with thousands of people marching into the Azadi square, windows smashed, protesters clashing with government riot police.  Their demands, simple, democracy, free and fair elections.
 
This call is being echoed  in Bahrain, Yemen even Jordan.
 
As we view the events it doesn’t seem to matter what how the government of Iran, or Bahrain views the west.  The old times were our media was littered with so many Arabic nationals flying anti-American messages, the burning of the American flag, the hate of American culture, these are not on our screens. 
 
As we in the west watch the events unfold in the middle east, Governments are toppling, some the best of allies of the USA, others are deemed still part of the Axis of Evil.  That now seems secondary to the basis of each demonstration, each demand, that is for democracy.
 
For some it may seem an impossible dream as many western commentators questioned whether the Arabic states would ever culturally accept democracy. 
 
It was George Bush who relentlessly pushed for the democratization of the middle east, many questioned his success:
 
“Today, the Middle East lacks the conditions, such as a democratic
political history, high standards of living, and high literacy rates,
which stimulated democratic change in, for example, central Europe and
East Asia. Ironically, many Arab countries are ruled by authoritarian
leaders who are more liberal than the citizenry they lead,” said Patrick Basham, CATO Institute in 2003 in his paper ‘The Trouble With Democracy In The Middle East’.
 
Now the text book is being rewritten as King Abdulah of Jordon has already moved to quell protests, sacking the parliament, and swearing in a new.  He promised major reforms, wider public freedoms and ease censorship controls.
 
Freedom and democracy, two pillars of Western nations, now embedded in the political thought of the middle east.

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References:

http://www.news.com.au/world/in-iran-bahrain-and-yemen-protesters-take-to-streets/story-e6frfkyi-1226006210602

http://articles.cnn.com/2009-06-13/world/iran.election_1_street-protests-voter-irregularities-iranian-president-mahmoud-ahmadinejad?_s=PM:WORLD

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3325

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/19/AR2007111901497.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/09/us-jordan-government-idUSTRE7185AG20110209

 
 
 
 
 
 

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