Monday, January 17, 2011

Could Tunisia Be The First Muslim Democracy In The Middle East?

Michael Totten writes about Tunisia's chance at Democracy
Unlike in war-torn Afghanistan or fanatical Saudi Arabia, Tunisian democracy is a real possibility. It’s a bit unlikely as it’s only one possible option of many, but it could happen. Mebazaa himself is now promising, perhaps even sincerely, “a better political life which will include democracy, plurality and active participation for all the children of Tunis.”

...But this small North African country is in so many ways the opposite kind of place that gives the United States trouble. It lacks the sectarianism that so poisons Lebanon and Iraq and is blessedly free of the ideological lunacy next door in Libya. The country is far less visibly Islamicized than Egypt and Saudi Arabia, it’s — and I’m not kidding here — a thousand years ahead of Afghanistan, and it lacks utterly the cult of suicide-murder and martyrdom that has plunged Gaza and the Hezbollah-ruled parts of Lebanon into death spirals.
Read the whole thing.

If Tunisia does turn towards Democracy, it will send a more powerful message than developments in Iraq have. After all, the change in Iraq can be attributed to the US and its occupation of Iraq. For a Muslim country on its own to kick out a dictator and then turn towards a democratic form of government would unsettle the Muslim dictators of the Middle East even more than Zine El Abidine Ben Ali being kicked out.

It will be interesting to watch what happens in Tunisia.
(Unless you are a Muslim dictator in the Middle East)

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