Sunday, February 27, 2005

Egypt - Democracy Spreading

I've posted several times lately about the "Iraq Effect", that is the effect the US intervention in Iraq has had on spreading democracy throughout the Middle East.

The opposition in Lebanon went so far as to attribute democratic changes in the Middle East directly to the invasion of Iraq.

Now comes confirmation of the "Iraq Effect".

"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

Jumblatt said that just four days ago. Today The BBC reports

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak has asked parliament to change the constitution to allow multiple candidates in presidential polls.

The surprise announcement followed US and domestic pressure for reform in the Arab world's most populous nation.


An official in the opposition Al-Wafd party, Mohamed Ulwan, said it was a historic step.

"For the first time since the days of the pharaohs, the Egyptian people will choose their ruler," Reuters news agency quoted him as saying.

It's early days yet and there is a lot more to be done but it's a start.

The UN has certified the elections in Afghanistan and Iraq were free and fair. Likewise, the Palestinian elections were said to be free and fair. Let's hope Egypt is next.

None of this would have been possible if the left and anti-war types had had their way. If the left had their way millions would still live in oppression or be buried in mass graves. Not only has George Bush lit the fire of freedom around the world, he has exposed the left for what they are, anti-democratic and supporters of terror. And that too may bring about more changes.

Witness this op-ed in the left wing New York Times.

Thanks to eight million Iraqis defying "you vote, you die" terrorist threats, Iraq has been reframed from a story about Iraqi "insurgents" trying to liberate their country from American occupiers and their Iraqi "stooges" to a story of the overwhelming Iraqi majority trying to build a democracy, with U.S. help, against the wishes of Iraqi Baathist-fascists and jihadists.

Almost exactly two years ago, 26 Feb 2003, and prior to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush prophetically proclaimed:

The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. Arab intellectuals have called on Arab governments to address the "freedom gap" so their peoples can fully share in the progress of our times. Leaders in the region speak of a new Arab charter that champions internal reform, greater politics participation, economic openness, and free trade. And from Morocco to Bahrain and beyond, nations are taking genuine steps toward politics reform. A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region. (Applause.)


Much is asked of America in this year 2003. The work ahead is demanding. It will be difficult to help freedom take hold in a country that has known three decades of dictatorship, secret police, internal divisions, and war. It will be difficult to cultivate liberty and peace in the Middle East, after so many generations of strife. Yet, the security of our nation and the hope of millions depend on us, and Americans do not turn away from duties because they are hard. We have met great tests in other times, and we will meet the tests of our time. (Applause.)

We go forward with confidence, because we trust in the power of human freedom to change lives and nations. By the resolve and purpose of America, and of our friends and allies, we will make this an age of progress and liberty. Free people will set the course of history, and free people will keep the peace of the world.

How much faster could these changes be brought about if the rest of the world would join in and help?

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