Saad Eddin Ibrahim is the founder of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Democracy and Civil Rights in Cairo, Egypt. Currently he is visiting professor of sociology at Drew University in Madison New Jersey. His opening lecture at Drew gives a glimpse of the Freedom Agenda America pursued by Bush in the wake of September 11.
Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria and Turkey each have been democratizing. All other Arab countries are in retreat of embracing democratic reforms. Islam today counts for 1.2 billion people, 300 million (one fourth) are locked into tyrannic regimes. “One year after President Barack Obama’s highly celebrated speech in Cairo supporting Arab democracy, their is a clear and loud expression of disappointment in the region. Arab political regimes thrive on pathologies. It is clear that the current American administration favors stability over democratic governance.”
But perhaps the keenest insight Ibrahim has regards Arab autocrats who continually favor intervention in the Israeli Palestinian conflict. His retort is searing: “Keeping that hope alive allows Arab autocrats to continue ruling without serious Western challenge.”
There are many throughout the Near East who understand the orientation and trajectory of Arab autocratic policies better than we do, yet we continue to ignore them. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Moheb Zaki and others at the Ibn Khaldun Center for Democracy & Civil Rights understand the challenges that liberty, freedom and democracy pose for Islam.
The fiasco is the hapless diplomatic strategy the American’s have pursued. When will we realize the triangulation that dominates so much of this intractable region.
We continue to play checkers, while our adversaries play chess.