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Hezbollah sweeps S Lebanon in elections.

GarzaUK

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The group that the US and Israel condemn as terrorists have won ALL seats in South Lebanon in the elections. As I say democracy is a double edged sword. It appears that the more democracy that is spread in the Middle East, the more powerful the anti-US movement becomes.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4610655.stm
 

shuamort

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Lebanon is such an interesting country, the president is a Maronite Christian, the prime minister is a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of the legislature is a Shia Muslim. This is part of a troika that was setup in 1990 (IIRC).

Of course, they're coming off a 16 year long civil war that ended in 91 and they're having some huge disputes with the occupying Syrian troops as well. Except for the disputed territory in the south with Israel, I would think that the US would largely be ignored (supporting Israel as we do, seems to annoy its neighbors). (But we did help out in the early 80s in getting the syrian troops and PLO fighters out of Beirut). In93, the US resumed the International Military Education and Training program in Lebanon to support the armed forces, which is lebanon's only non-religious government institution.

Of course, all of that is years ago, but we have been helpful to Lebanon in the past to some degree.

Of course, other countries have been electing terrorists themselves, just not the anti-US kind. (See: Ireland)
 

Billo_Really

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Do you know what the literal translation of what "Hezbollah" is?

"Party of God"
 
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Simon W. Moon

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It should give one pause to wonder if the objections Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft and James Baker III are said to've raised about the "democratic transformation of the ME via military invention" strategy being "a mad, hubristic dream likely to backfire with tragic consequences" are more than merely the mumblings of malcontents.


Reposted from here: Democratic Domino Theory

We're all familiar with the domino theory currently being pimped- a liberated Iraq will create a democratic ME. (Yes, I realize that this is an oversimplification.)
But, as we all also know, saying something doesn't make it so.
What's the evidence that the domino theory'll work?

The domino theory is an essential element of the social engineering rationale for the invasion of Iraq presented by various neocons.
There should be some serious effort to explain and understand the mechanics that will effect the democratization of the ME and how this democratization will make the US safer.

How will a liberated Baghdad be so different from Cairo, and Islamabad?
Both Egypt and Pakistan are rife with Islamists, militant ones even.

Why will Iraqi democracy have more effect on the region than Turkish, Jordanian and Israeli democracy, (not to mention the various nominal democracies in the region)? Turkey and Jordan are arguably proximate to Iraq, yet the signs of their proximity having had this reformist effect on Iraq are hard to come by.

What mechanisms will cause the spread of democratic reforms from Iraq outward to the rest of the region?

If this spread does indeed occur via whatever mechanisms, what will make the reformed ME any different than Egypt, Pakistan et al?

And most importantly, how will this make the US any safer?


from Bounding the Global War on Terrorism,
(An Army War College paper
):
The problem with this new domino theory is the same as the problem with the old one: it assumes that states and societies are essentially equal in vulnerability to the “threat” (i.e., democracy in the Middle East today, Communism in Southeast Asia in the 1960s).
It ignores local circumstance, societal differences, separate national histories, and cultural asymmetries. It also ignores the prospect of those opposed to democracy using the democratic process to seize power, as did Hitler in Germany in 1933. “One man, one vote, one time.” It was this very threat of Islamists using democracy to win power that provoked the suppression of budding democratic institutions in Algeria in the early 1990s. Indeed, fear of an Islamist electorate accounts in no small measure for the persistence of autocracy in Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Are U.S. strategic interests in the Muslim world really better served by hostile democracies than by friendly autocracies?

It is...not...self-evident that anti-Western Islamist terrorism would cease or even significantly diminish with the emergence of friendly democracies and economic opportunity in the Middle East. Home-grown terrorism is certainly no stranger to the democratic West (the second deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history was Timothy McVeigh’s destruction of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people), and at least one study concludes that the incidence of nonstate terrorism is higher in free societies than in nonfree ones. (Nonstate terrorism was notable for its absence in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.)
RECONSTRUCTING IRAQ: INSIGHTS,
CHALLENGES, AND MISSIONS FOR MILITARY
FORCES IN A POST-CONFLICT SCENARIO
p. 25
Another paper from the Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute (.pdf)
hould democracy or even pluralistic political stability
be established in Iraq, this would be a tremendous
achievement of which all could be proud. Nevertheless, U.S.
policymakers sometimes assume that a democratic
government will also be friendly to U.S. policies in the
Middle East. This cannot be assumed in the case of Iraq. At
the present time, the only Arab leader who has been elected in a fair election is Palestinian President Yassir Arafat, who is clearly not the favored U.S. choice.
Likewise, in the Gulf,Islamists have done extremely well in recent legislativeelections in Bahrain. The Kuwaiti parliament has a strong Islamist grouping, and free elections in other states could duplicate this situation. Free elections in the Arab world seldom produce pro-Western governments.
 
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