Democracy in the Middle East Foundations for a Constructive by grapieroo13


									                                   A Joint Working Paper of the
                  Center for Global Peaceand Conflict Studies and the
                               Center for the Study of Democracy

                             Democracyin the Middle East:
              Foundations a ConstructiveAmericanPolicy

                                             Les Campbell
                                      National DemocraticInstitute
                                      2030 M StreetNW, Fifth Floor
                                      Washington,DC 20036-3306


This paper was first presented at the conference on "Development, Democracy and the Islamic World," held at the
University of California, Irvine (March 7, 2003). The conference was hosted by the Center for the Study of
Democracy and the Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies; for additional information visit the conference
                         Democracy in the Middle East:
              Foundations for a Constructive American Policy

                                   Les Campbell
                            National Democratic Institute

United Statesdiplomatic efforts and foreign aid in the Middle East havelong beenaimed

                                                         and            the
at securinga peacetreaty betweenIsrael andthe Palestinians at encouraging

                   Arab relations. Democracypromotionand political reform have
normalizingof IsraeV

            priorities, most vigorously pursuedin countrieslike Yemenand

Morocco, which, lacking oil wealth and on the geographicfringes of the Arab world,

offereda strategicallylessimportanttestinggroundfor small programsencouragingfair

electionsandwomen's political participation.

       Political, civil societyandgovernance

                                  were often part
efforts, when they were undertaken,

of "dollars and diplomacy" programs,designed

provide incentivesfor cooperation the roadto

peaceand normalization.For example,United States

Agency for InternationalDevelopment(USAID)

programsin Egypt, Jordanandthe West Bank and

                   having a component
Gaza,while sometimes                described

as "democracy and governance", were designed to

show tangible results from the pursuit of regional peace and contained few programs that

challenged entrenched political authorities or that encouraged a more vigorous legislative


       Much of the aid for political and democratic reform was channeled through

official conduits,using fomlal and infomlal hi-lateral agreements, in United Nations

Development Program (UNDP) terms "national execution". This reliance on official

                     aid                         that
sanctionfor democracy programsvirtually guaranteed political reform efforts

would fail to achievethe desiredresult    change. International aid donors seemedto

operateunderan unwritten pact not to "make waves" by demandingpolitical and

democraticreform in the Arab and Muslim world. A seeminginternationalreluctanceto

pushpolitical reform in countrieslike Egypt, SaudiArabia andPakistanhelpedleadto a

                                                     reform of their enemies of
perceptionthat the U. S. and other donorsonly demanded                      or

the powerless.

The Post September11 World

The eventsof September andthe Iraq war havebrought an entirely new setof political

and policy dynamics. There is a consensusin foreign policy circles that repression and

lack of political freedomin much of the Middle East and larger Islamic world helped

breed a new group of violent malcontents willing to abusereligion to help export their

versionora new political order.Radicalpolitical Islam is seenas an avenueof political

participationopento the disenchanted disaffected.

                                            policy-makingthere is a new
       At the highestlevelsof U.S. government

commitmentto a radical shift in U.S. priorities, from the former emphasis peacewith

 Israel first to a willingnessto showmilitary strengthin Iraq concurrentwith a dramatic

                                  to                                 President
 rampingup of initiatives designed supportcitizen demandfor democracy.

                               GeorgeW. Bush's administrationcontains,alongwith

                               traditional military hawks,a group of highly placed

                               democracypromoterswho harboran almost"evangelical"

                               commitmentto the exportationof democraticprinciples.

                               Thesepolicy makers,while willing to usemilitary force in

                               some cases,notably Iraq, believe strongly in a broader

                               U.S. imperativeto promotedemocratic"values", andto

                               createmore freedomin the world.

       This new fervor for democracy promotion aimed at the Arab and Islamic world

                              new        the          beingthe $145
hasbroughtwith it unprecedented resources, bestexamples

million Middle EastPartnershipInitiative (MEPI), run out of the StateDepartment's

Near EastAffairs Bureau(NEA), NEA's Middle EastDemocracyFund andthe State

Department'sBureauof DemocracyHumanRights andLabor (DRL) HumanRights and

DemocracyFund for new initiatives in the Islamic world.

       Within the group of democracy                                        to
                                    promotersin the Administrationthere seems be

debateamongthose- the hard liners, as it were - who seepost-warIraq as a modelof

democraticchangeand the soft liners who believein facilitating more gradualindigenous

democraticchange.The "Iraq firsters" want to bring abouta seachange forcefully

challengingthe political and economicdynamicin the Islamic world. Under the hard line

scenarioall elseis possible,including a secureIsrael,oncetherehasbeenan imposition

of anew, democraticpolitical order. Among the manyflaws in the "Iraq first" argument

is that U. S. relationswith the Islamic world may be irreparablyharmedby a prolonged

andbloody war, andUnited Statescredibility on democracyissuesin the Middle East,

fragile at the best of times, may mean that post-Iraq democracy initiatives are greeted

with more cynicismthan enthusiasm

       Administration democracy                            by
                               promotersareoften challenged so-calledexperts

with deepknowledgeof the history andcustomsof the Middle East who makecultural

and historical arguments                               in
                        decryinghopesfor true democracy the Islamic world. Their

pessimistic arguments are familiar by now and include assertions about the

                                      a        Arab preference autocracy,
incompatibility of Islam and democracy, supposed             for        and
an oriental aversionto democraticprinciples.As with similar claims about" Asian

values" or a Latin American predisposition for autocracy, these arguments are dubious

but durable.

       A more meaningfuland concretedebate,andthe subjectof this paper,is the one

aboutthe forceful imposition of a narrow westernmodelof democracyversusthe support

                                      and                and
of indigenousArab and Muslim democrats democraticmovements the nurturing

of the universaldemocraticimpulsethat existswithin all societies.

       One of the most remarkable                            11
                                 featuresof the post September world is the

reinvigoratedinterestof Arab activistsin democracy. longercontentto allow their

          to                                                    as
governments usethe Arab-Israeliconflict or the war againstSaddam an excusefor

domesticinaction, Arab activistsare in a demanding                    of
                                                  mood,taking advantage every

opportunityto pushfor more freedomandmore accountabilityfrom their leaders.

                                               within reform-orientedpolitical
Democratsare activein newly electedlegislatures,

parties,in women's organizations amonga plethoraof non-governmental

organizations.                          declaredthe debateaboutthe

compatibility of democracy and Islam dead long ago, and welcome practical assistance

from the United States and other countries. The men and women who form this nascent

indigenousdemocracy                      as
                   network are asconcerned any other Arab citizen aboutthe

perceivedU.S. foreign policy imbalancein the region and many of them harborserious

doubts about the propriety of attacking Iraq, but they are committed to the struggle for

democracy the Middle East andthey hungerfor outsidevalidation of their quest.

                                    phase,it is imperativeto adopta comprehensive
       In the post war reconstruction

                                    and                 throughoutthe
strategyto supportindigenousdemocrats democraticmovements

                                       rightly, that the majority of Arab peoples
Middle East. Sucha strategywould assume,

believein democraticvalues.The currentstateof political affairs in the Arab world is a

result of the mutually reinforcing natureof authoritarianrulers on the one handand

religious (or peopleusing the language imageryof religion) extremistson the other,

                                                          Drawing strengthand
ratherthan any religious or cultural bias againstdemocracy.

legitimacy from eachother,thesetwo extremes in a destabilizingslow dancethat is

destroyingthe fabric of many Arab and Muslim nations.

       This destructivecircle can only be broken

by a democraticor middle alternative,the

emergence which will disrupt the political

monopolyof the extremes, much the sameway

as the emergence of a democratic middle led to a

renewalof politics in the Philippines,Chile and

much of Latin America in the late 1980's.The

democraticmiddle also existswithin the non-governmental           that agitatefor

betterpolicy, bettergovernance morerespectfor humanrights. Democratsarefound

within the ranksof political parties,evenin Islamist groupings,where manydesirethat

                                           and        rules.The democratic
competitiveelectionsbe held undertransparent consistent

middle is also presentwithin officialdom, wheremanytoil anonymously improvethe

state of public affairs.

A Vision for U.S. Relations with the Islamic World

A hopeful vision of U.S. relations with the Islamic world could straddle the various

impractical, and ultimately destructive, policy debatesby putting forward a support

mechanism for indigenous democracy in the Arab and Islamic world. A strategy for

indigenous democracy would focus on finding and supporting democrats but would also

recognize that democratic institutions in the Middle East may not fully resemble their

western counter-parts. Traditional tribal and consultative mechanisms, for example, may

substitute for formal parliaments in certain countries and political parties may cultivate a

narrow geographical or ethnic base. A comprehensive strategy should also incorporate a

realistic time frame for the development of true democracy, 20 to 25 years in many cases,

although progress will vary.

       The following are some key principles and programs that could foTDlpart of a

strategy to promote indigenous democracy in the Arab and Islamic worlds:

»                  of
    1. An assessment the countries wheredemocracyis most likely to take hold

    Morocco, Bahrainand Yemen,for example,canbe considered"emerging

               by                                   commitmentto reform and
    democracies" virtue of having both a governmental

    significant citizen demand, and Qatar, Oman and Kuwait are slowly following suit.

   Egypt, Jordan,Lebanon,Algeria and the West Bank and Gazahaveinitiated limited

   political refonn, but are governedin a "soft authoritarian"mannerwith limited

   political freedom,while SaudiArabia, Syriaand Tunisia haveclosedpolitical

         resistantto outsideassistance.
   systems                            Post-warIraq will merit a uniquecategory.

                         programs should be designedto capitalizeon the openings
~ 2. Democratic assistance

                                   assistance be providedin a cooperative
   available. In emergingdemocracies        can

                      oppositionandcivil society.Political partiesand
   mannerto government,

   parliamentarians should be exposed to successful models, and non-governmental

                often the vanguardof the democraticmiddle, shouldhavetraining on

   advocacy          Focusgroupsand scientific opinion research be usedto
           techniques.                                         can

                understand demands voters.
   help democrats        the     of

       In countries like Egypt and Jordan, programs should be designed to reinforce

    constructivecitizen demandfor change.       could includetraining for women

    andyoung peopletrying to breakthe monopolyon political power, training on

                        for                     of
    professionalstandards journalists,development democracyweb sites,andthe

    inclusion of country activistsin regionalnetworking.

~ 3. Elections,political leadershipchangesand other discontinuities often provide an

   opportunity to promote contestationof political power. Ultimately democracywill

                                              stateswhen,or if, power changes
   only take hold in soft or semi-authoritarian                             handsas

   a result of a democraticelection.In the meantime,democracypromotionefforts

   should be aimed at increasing the competitiveness of elections through political party

   training programs,internationaland domesticelectionmonitoring efforts andthrough

   conflict resolutionand coalition building adviceto partiesand political leaders.

~ 4. Supporting women'spolitical empowerment an inherently democraticactivity.

   Women,by virtue of being largely excludedfrom power, havea vestedinterestin the

                                            principlesof democracy.
   dispersionof power, one of the fundamental                     Women's

   leadership                                            and
             training, political party internal democracy, materialsupportand

   training for femalepolitical candidacies help womenbreakpolitical barriers.

~ 5. The terrorists make devastatinguse of international networks,'democratscan

   build networks the greater good Thereare surprisinglyfew links among

           in                                       there are few regionalArab
   democrats the Arab and Islamic world. For example,

   voicesto speakout againsthumanrights violations or other abuses freedomandno

   equivalentof an Organizationfor Securityand Cooperation Europe (OSCE)to

                                                     The         and
   developregion-wideelectionsand political standards. development funding

   of a network of democrats the Islamic world shouldbe actively encouraged.

» 6. Democracywill also comefrom bottom-upinitiatives and democraticactivities

   should be supportedby small grants. Small,easyto apply for grants,totaling

           between$1,000and $5,000shouldbe madeavailablefor individualsand

               with ideasfor pushingthe democraticenvelope.Supported
   organizations                                                    projects

    could include the translationof political party manuals, printing of a newsletter,

    the organizationof town-hall style meetingsor attendance a networkingevent.

»   7. Public attitudesand opinions should bepublic knowledge. For all the talk of

    what the "Arab street"thinks, thereare preciousfew scientific public opinion surveys

    in the Arab world. Local academic commercialorganizationsshouldbe trainedin

                                      techniques the resultsof opinion
    modernfocusgroup and surveyresearch        and

    research                             Scientifically gathered
            shouldbe broadly disseminated.                      public opinion

    information can help offset the claims of authoritarianrulers that only they speakfor

    their populations.

backedby forceful and consistentdiplomacy.A new U. S. democracystrategymust also

      Arab and Islamic perceptions inconsistency hypocrisy.If policy toward
address                           of           and

the Islamic world is going to havean effective moral underpinningand is to result in a

newfoundregionalpriority for democracy humanrights, thanthat policy must be

perceivedto be consistentand fair and must apply equallyto oil rich and strategically

important countries,aswell asto the weak andeventhe hostile.

                                  Leslie Campbell

                                                         National Democratic
Leslie Campbellis a SeniorAssociateat the Washington-based
Institute for InternationalAffairs (NDI) wherehe also directsthe Institute'sdemocratic
          programsin the Middle East andNorth Africa. Beforejoining NDL Mr.
Campbellwas chief of staff to the leaderof the New DemocraticParty in the Canadian
Houseof Commons.
                                          March 7, 2003
                                  1208Social SciencePlaza
                                University of California, Irvine

8:30 Reception/W elcome
       DeanBarbaraDosher,Schoolof SocialSciences,

9:00 The UNDP Arab Human Development Report 2002
       Moderator:GaranceGenicot,UC Irvine
       Moez Doraid,Advisor, RegionalBureaufor Arab State,UNDP

                  Timur Kuran, University of Southern
       Commentator:                                  California

10:30 Citizen Values and Democracy: The 2000-02 World Values Survey
      Moderator:RussellDalton, UC Irvine
       Ronald Ingiehart, University of Michigan
       Mark Tessler, University of Michigan
       Mansoor Moaddel~Eastern Michigan University

       Discussant: Samuel Barnes, Georgeto\vn University

2:00 The Lessonsand Perspectivesfrom other DevelopmentExperiences
     Moderator:             UC
                    Grofman, Irvine

       Rein Taagepera, Irvine andTartu University,Estonia
       Hans-Dieter                                Berlin

       Discussant:     Mozaffar, BridgewaterCollege

3:30 U.S. Relations with the Islamic World
     Moderator:WayneSandholtz, Irvine

       Leslie Campbell, National Democratic Institute
       Amy Hawthorne, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
       Mark Levine, UC Irvine

       Discussant: Richard Matthew, UC Irvine

We are extremely grateful to the Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation (UCSD), the Centerfor the
Study of Democracy (UC Irvine) and the Centerfor Global Peace and Conflict Studies (UC Irvine) for
providing financial support for this researchconference.

Leslie Campbell
        Campbellis a SeniorAssociate the Washington-based       National DemocraticInstitutefor
        International Affairs (NDI)
Moez Doraid
        Doraid is Advisor at the RegionalBureaufor Arab States the United NationsDevelopment
        Program. He contributedto the "Arab HumanDevelopment        Report2002".
Amy Hawthorne
        Hawthorneis a research             of
                                 associate the Carnegie  Endowmentfor InternationalPeace
Ronald F. Inglehart
                  of                  and
        Professor Political Science SeniorResearch        Scientist,Centerfor Political Studies,
        University of Michigan.
Hans-Dieter Klingemann
        Director of the Programon SocialChange,   Wissenschaftszentrum                          at
                                                                          Berlin andProfessor the Free
Timur Kuran
        Holder of King FaisalChair in IslamicThoughtandCulture,Professor EconomicsandLaw,
        University of Southern  California.
Mark Levine
        Professor History, University of CaliforniaIrvine
Shabbir Mansun
        Mansuriis FoundingDirector of the Council on IslamicEducation
Mansoor Moaddel
                   of                of
        Professor the Department Sociology,Anthropology,and Criminologyat Eastern              Michigan
                   of                  at
        Professor Political Science BridgewaterCollegeandResearch           Fellow of the African Studies
        Centerat BostonUniversity.
8aft Qureshey
         CEO,A V AZ Networks. He alsodirectsthe Qureshey      Foundation,  which activelypromotes
         education financially andsociallydisadvantaged     childrenin Pakistan
Rein Taagepera
         Research            in
                  Professor Social Science,                                                 at
                                              University of California,Irvine andProfessor Tartu
Mark Tessler
                                        of                 at
         Tessleris EldersveldProfessor Political Science the University of Michigan andDirector of
         the Centerfor Political Studies.

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