New York City — By pushing the doctrine of democratization of the Middle East, it seems, US and Great Britain, have embarked on an international experiment that clearly they lack the expertise or foresight to see to a successful conclusion. Ultimately this policy lends itself to promoting the very undemocratic forces that the United States and its allies have been trying so hard to isolate in the Middle East for past few years.
One can not help but to notice the over arching themes and commonalities amongst the election results of past few months in Iran, Lebanon, Palestinian occupied territories and Egypt. The victorious parties in these elections have following themes in common:
1- they all have received their legitimacy through use of ballots box,
2- they all run effective and smart campaigns against corrupt and inept establishment,
3- they all use populist themes in their campaigns such as job creation, lack of economic prosperity and widening gaps between rich and poor,
4- they all do not believe in democracy in the real sense since they all advocate non secular governments,
5- they all lack experience and hence are unable to govern at national and international level.
Chances are if similar elections are held in the remaining Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, etc., we will witness similar results where militant Islamist groups will sweep to power using populist themes.
By legitimizing populist non secular movements that are inherently anti-democratic through ballet box in the Middle East, and then putting pre conditions for recognizing and negotiating with their elected officials, US reinforces its perception in the Muslim world as a hypocrite who is willing to simply change the rules of democracy once is not happy with the election results.
Recent sweep of Hamas organization to power in Gaza and West bank could serve as an example of such failed US policy. The failure of the US administration to persuade Israel to make concrete tangible concessions to president Abbass that could have had meaningful effect in daily lives of Palestinians on one hand, and lack of influence on Abbass and Palestinian Authority to curb corruption and cronyism on the other, provided Hamas with an opportunity to exploit all that is wrong in Palestinian society and propel itself to power.
With Hamas in power, US and other western powers, although don't dispute the result or the process of the election, are changing the rules of the game by refusing to negotiate or deal with the democratically elected Hamas government. This refusal ultimately plays in the hands of Hamas and other Islamists in the region who have been preaching all along their distrust and suspicious of US intentions in the Muslim world.
Election of Ahmadinejad to presidency of Iran in last June was yet another example of the US miscalculation in the Middle East. During the 2 term presidency of president Khatami , a socially moderate cleric in Iran who was elected with more than 65% of the votes, United States refused to negotiate with Iran on mutually substantive issues that could have resulted on producing concrete benefits to the Iranian people.
As a result of both Bush and Clinton administration's disengagement policy with the government of Iran for over many years, Ahmadinejad, a relatively unknown mayor of Tehran who represents a much more militant version of Islam, was able to exploit the public disgust with the government corruption and discontent with the status quo and hence came to power.
The biggest problem and danger with the recent populist Islamist movements such as the ones in Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestinian territories is not their dislike for Israel, US or other western powers. Rather, is their animosity towards secular democratic governments and institutions. This animosity in long run will destroy the secular middle class of the region who ultimately will be the backbone of any democratic and civil society in the region and much needed partner for the west.