Democracy Can’t Take Root In The Desert Sands
Is there a country with even a semblance of democracy existing across the North African sub-continent or even in southern African regions south of the Maghreb or the strip that stretches from the Red Sea across the Middle East ending in Pakistan? We stand to be corrected but it does appear that democracy does not take root in the desert sands which are entirely Islamic states. Whether failure of democracy to take root in these lands is due to its non- sustainability, cultural differences, historic conditions or the present geopolitical environment, we will refrain from commenting on but the fact is that despite the much vocal protestations of Islamic activists resident in Western democratic countries against deprivation of democratic rights, the desire for establishment of democracies in their countries of birth is not evident. This paradox of the demand for democratic rights in countries they are (mostly) temporary resident in and the total disregard of many of them for democratic rights in the country of their birth needs very close study and investigation.
Do they want democracy?
The concern should not only be confined to political activists. The people of these countries living in the desert sands should also be asked whether they want a democratic forms of government or they prefer to follow laws of their isolated communities or those of mighty Islamic caliphates that ruled the world (which may be the same or with little differences).
Western democracies make no bones about their intentions of establishing democratic societies and expend a great deal of time, human lives and national wealth to spread the message of democracy.
The best and most recent example of the West’s ‘democratic desire’ is of President George W Bush for his invasion of Iraq. It may be that the profits gained from Iraq’s oil resources was a more compelling desire for the invasion than breaking up Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial regime or his threat of manufacture of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs).But George Bush also told the American people that he wanted to build as a modern democracy for the entire Arab world in Iraq for other neighbouring countries to emulate. Most of the Iraqis who had been under the jackboot of Saddam Hussein would have been happy to see his gigantic statue in Baghdad being pulled down by American soldiers but whether they wanted democracy is another question.
Iraq was certainly not a democracy when the British and French colonialists carved the country out of the collapsed Ottoman Empire.
It had been ruled by Sunni dictators since then and Saddam Hussein was the last.
The colonialist knew how to rule empires and keep warring factions at bay. The Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds were kept under tight control by Sunni strong men and when the iron rule of Saddam Hussein was no more all hell broke loose. The Americans put together a loose coalition under Prime Minister Al Maliki who is a Shiite and is able to hold on to power by juggling various sect oral forces. American troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year but whether it would continue to be even a semblance of a democracy in the foreseeable future is much in doubt. George Bush invaded Afghanistan not to make it democracy but to capture Osama bin Laden and he drove the ruling Taliban regime who were hosting bin Laden out of Kabul and other towns into the Tora Bora mountains high up in the Hindu Kush range with their hi-tech armaments and thought the battle was won. On Wednesday American President Barack Obama landed in Kabul in darkness in a secretive visit to sign an agreement with President Hamid Karzai on a 10 year agreement to provide aid to Afghanistan after combat troops leave in 2014. Bombs presumably of the Taliban were reported to have exploded around the American Embassy at the time of Obama’s arrival. These events raise the question whether democracy can in the near future be established in this belt of countries or whether the culture of these people are compatible with the concept of democracy as understood by the West.