A Joint Working Paper of the Center for Global Peaceand Conflict Studies and the Center for the Study of Democracy Democracyin the Middle East: for Foundations a ConstructiveAmericanPolicy Les Campbell National DemocraticInstitute 2030 M StreetNW, Fifth Floor Washington,DC 20036-3306 E-mail: leS@ndi.org 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 website: http://www.democ.uci.edu/confer/islamconf.html. 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 beensecondary Morocco, which, lacking oil wealth and on the geographicfringes of the Arab world, offereda strategicallylessimportanttestinggroundfor small programsencouragingfair electionsandwomen's political participation. refoml Political, civil societyandgovernance were often part efforts, when they were undertaken, to of "dollars and diplomacy" programs,designed on 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 2 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 branch. Much of the aid for political and democratic reform was channeled through or, 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 11 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 and participationopento the disenchanted disaffected. policy-makingthere is a new At the highestlevelsof U.S. government on commitmentto a radical shift in U.S. priorities, from the former emphasis peacewith 3 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 by 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 4 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 No 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, and parties,in women's organizations amonga plethoraof non-governmental 5 Theseindigenousdemocratizers 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 in 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 and religious (or peopleusing the language imageryof religion) extremistson the other, Drawing strengthand ratherthan any religious or cultural bias againstdemocracy. are 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 of emergence which will disrupt the political in 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 6 organizations democraticmiddle also existswithin the non-governmental that agitatefor and betterpolicy, bettergovernance morerespectfor humanrights. Democratsarefound within the ranksof political parties,evenin Islamist groupings,where manydesirethat and rules.The democratic competitiveelectionsbe held undertransparent consistent to 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 7 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 organizations, 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 Programs 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 8 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. is ~ 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 can training for femalepolitical candidacies help womenbreakpolitical barriers. ~ 5. The terrorists make devastatinguse of international networks,'democratscan for build networks the greater good Thereare surprisinglyfew links among in there are few regionalArab democrats the Arab and Islamic world. For example, of voicesto speakout againsthumanrights violations or other abuses freedomandno in equivalentof an Organizationfor Securityand Cooperation Europe (OSCE)to The and developregion-wideelectionsand political standards. development funding of 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 somewhere with ideasfor pushingthe democraticenvelope.Supported organizations projects 9 the could include the translationof political party manuals, printing of a newsletter, at 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 and 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 and 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. 10 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. development 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 UCI 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 Bernard Moderator: UC Grofman, Irvine UC Rein Taagepera, Irvine andTartu University,Estonia Klingemann,Wissenschaftszentrwn Hans-Dieter Berlin Shaheen Discussant: Mozaffar, BridgewaterCollege 3:30 U.S. Relations with the Islamic World UC 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. Presenters Leslie Campbell at Campbellis a SeniorAssociate the Washington-based National DemocraticInstitutefor International Affairs (NDI) Moez Doraid at 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 UniversityBerlin. Timur Kuran of Holder of King FaisalChair in IslamicThoughtandCulture,Professor EconomicsandLaw, University of Southern California. Mark Levine of 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 University. ShaheenMozaffar 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 for education financially andsociallydisadvantaged childrenin Pakistan Rein Taagepera Research in Professor Social Science, at University of California,Irvine andProfessor Tartu University,Estonia. Mark Tessler of at Tessleris EldersveldProfessor Political Science the University of Michigan andDirector of the Centerfor Political Studies.
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