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  1. #1
    Cycleon is offline AR-Hall of Famer / Retired
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    just for u Tock - Iraqi Election May Affect Middle East

    While it isnt a constitutional convention we are accomplishing what diplomacy and direct force have been unable to do via our Iraq proxy.


    Iraqi Election May Affect Middle East

    By SAM F. GHATTAS, Associated Press Writer

    BEIRUT, Lebanon - Iraq (news - web sites)'s election, however imperfect, could increase pressure on other authoritarian Arab countries to begin political reforms and hold free balloting.

    "The Americans were able to hold elections in Iraq and that made them much more comfortable in carrying on with their policies in the Middle East," said Lebanese political analyst Ali Hamadeh. "They showed everybody that you can carry on with an electoral process even when you have security problems."

    Hamadeh said the message of the election is that if Iraq could carry out "an all-weather democratic process" there is no excuse for other countries not to reform.

    Many are feeling the pressure at least to make a show of democratic reform, and 2005 is shaping up to be the year of Middle East elections, even if few of them are expected to threaten the established regimes.

    The Palestinians held a poll — widely praised, despite a few irregularities — that brought Mahmoud Abbas to power earlier this month to replace the late Yasser Arafat (news - web sites).

    Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy, will hold its first municipal elections in 45 years beginning Feb. 10 — a vote postponed from September.

    A parliamentary election in Lebanon, expected by May, will test Syria's grip on the country as the West pushes Damascus to withdraw its army. Three previous elections were influenced deeply by Syria, which will face pressure to back off.

    Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, holds presidential and parliamentary elections later this year, although the presidential vote is essentially a referendum on one candidate approved by a parliament dominated by President Hosni Mubarak (news - web sites)'s party. Mubarak, 76 and in power since 1981, is seeking a fifth six-year term despite calls to retire.

    Jordan's King Abdullah II announced plans last week to introduce limited democratic reforms by establishing elected councils to oversee development. In a CNN interview shown Monday, he said the Iraqi elections set a positive tone for the region.

    "Once you open the door of reform and it's allowed to be discussed in society, as it is throughout the Middle East, it's very difficult to close again. So I think that people are waking up, leaders are understanding that they have to push reform forward and I don't think there's any looking back," he said.

    Others were more hesitant, saying the regional impact of the elections remained to be seen.

    "The United States considers that just holding an election is a triumph by itself. This is hollow talk," said Hassan Nafaa, a political science professor at Cairo University. "The core of the issue is whether the elections are the beginning of a solution to the Iraq crisis or whether they are part of an escalation."

    After toppling Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) in 2003, the United States promised Iraq would become a model for Arab democracy, and it pushed regimes in the region to yield to some local demands for change. Reform, Washington says, will make Muslim and Arab societies less fertile ground for extremists.

    That policy was broadly reinforced in President Bush (news - web sites)'s second inaugural speech.

    "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world," Bush said.

    With the Iraq elections over, Saudi Arabia could feel the pressure to proceed with reforms and Syria to seal off its border with Iraq and to stop interfering in Lebanon. There may also be the opportunity for an American dialogue with Iran, Hamadeh said.

    Despite the praise for Iraq's vote, some Arab media questioned its legitimacy, notably because of the minimal turnout by Sunni Arabs, many of whom boycotted. Other Arab opinion-makers deplored the U.S. role in the elections.

    In the Jordanian newspaper Ad-Dustour, columnist Oraib al Rintawi wrote: "The election in Iraq was dictated by American arrogance against the will of most of its people."

    Critics of American policy in the region say the U.S. push for democracy is only another effort to further the U.S. agenda.

    Fahmi Howeidi, a liberal Islamic writer in Egypt, viewed the Iraqi balloting as "a moment that served American interests and not the interests of the Iraqi people."

    "It will have no bearing on the Middle East, except Iraq," he said.

  2. #2
    CAUSASIAN's Avatar
    CAUSASIAN is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by CYCLEON
    The Palestinians held a poll — widely praised, despite a few irregularities — that brought Mahmoud Abbas to power earlier this month to replace the late Yasser Arafat (news - web sites).
    This was before the American elections, and because Arafat had died.

    Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy, will hold its first municipal elections in 45 years beginning Feb. 10 — a vote postponed from September.
    This was decided upon before the Iraqi invasion.

    A parliamentary election in Lebanon, expected by May, will test Syria's grip on the country as the West pushes Damascus to withdraw its army. Three previous elections were influenced deeply by Syria, which will face pressure to back off.
    These elections have already taken place, before the elections in Iraq, but they felt it was influenced by Syria.

    Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, holds presidential and parliamentary elections later this year, although the presidential vote is essentially a referendum on one candidate approved by a parliament dominated by President Hosni Mubarak (news - web sites)'s party. Mubarak, 76 and in power since 1981, is seeking a fifth six-year term despite calls to retire.
    There has been a rise against dicatorships in Egypt, even before the assasination of Saddat. But in this case if the Iraqi elections succed, it will help, the election process in Egypt, but the Iraq elections will not be the only cause of elections in Egypt, because there is a strong tide of people wanting more voice in their government in Egypt, even before the Iraqi invasion.

    There was already a shift for more people's voice in their governments in Islamic societies before the Iraqi invasion.

    Belive it or not, Osama Bin Laden is fighting a same cause, he wants to overthrow the monarchcies in the Middle East, because it is Unislamic, and the main Monarchies are Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria. He has called against Jihad against these governments.

    America has helped, but taking credit for everything is decieving.

  3. #3
    KAEW44's Avatar
    KAEW44 is offline Senior Member
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    The Gulf countries of the Middle east Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman (sorry Yemen doesnt count as much as they try) all these governments were ruled by a royal family for as long as any of us has been alive!! In the past 3 years with the US taking full revenge on anyone brown for the attacks of 9-11, These governments grew very aware that they will be pressured or destroyed by the "spread of democracy" which basically means u cant have a king-type rule, u must have elections and freedom of citizens to choose their leader.....being very afraid that would mean the end of their ruling days, all these goverments decided to take a very smart scapegoat, which is to switch the goverment to a British Parliment type government!!! They will offer elections and votes for parliment members, but the Prince/King remians in their position and cannot be voted out!!! Th eonly difference is that in England the Queen is really a figure and doesnt have direct and full control of the country and government, however in these gulf countries the King/Prince has supreme, dictatorship type rule! and the parliment is just the figure! But if the US tries to critisize these governments then guess what "we are just like england, what u do to us u must do to them too!!"

    Not all of these countries have adapted this yet, but Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait have and Saudi and Oman have already stated they will do do aswell!!
    All these countires have great ties with the USA in terms of Government-to-Government relations, but they wouldnt let the "spread of democracy" cause them to lose their many years of one-man-ruling over all.

  4. #4
    symatech's Avatar
    symatech is offline Retired Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by KAEW44
    All these countires have great ties with the USA in terms of Government-to-Government relations, but they wouldnt let the "spread of democracy" cause them to lose their many years of one-man-ruling over all.
    correct me if I am wrong but isn't saudi arabia a very young country? Before oil was discovered in the early 40s I think it was just a bunch of nomads with no country?

  5. #5
    CAUSASIAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by symatech
    correct me if I am wrong but isn't saudi arabia a very young country? Before oil was discovered in the early 40s I think it was just a bunch of nomads with no country?
    All Middle Eastern Countries are young, Saudi Arabia as a country was established in 1932.

  6. #6
    Cycleon is offline AR-Hall of Famer / Retired
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
    Belive it or not, Osama Bin Laden is fighting a same cause, he wants to overthrow the monarchcies in the Middle East, because it is Unislamic, and the main Monarchies are Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria. He has called against Jihad against these governments.

    America has helped, but taking credit for everything is decieving.
    Hardly - its true that OBL does not liek the monarchies but he is fighting to install THEOCRACIES there not democracy - Zarqawi clearly stated that "we are the enemy of democracy" - basically because it is unislamic

    secondly - while some of the elections did take place prior to this one - the fact is that the Iraqi election has been the main focus of news in the ME for more than a year now and the pressure for the various governments to act "democratic" has been palatable

    now that it is accomplished (at least the first stage) - people must ask "if Iraq can have an election with such a rough security situation, why cant we?" and that is the drip of water that I believe will eventually crack the stone

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