Only weeks apart and a few hundred miles away, the popular demonstrations in Lebanon and Iraq offer themselves up for such comparisons. Their proximity suggests a connection, possibly one of cause and effect, like the revolutions that swept Eastern Europe in 1989. As went Berlin, Prague and Bucharest; so goes Baghdad, Beirut and Cairo.Omar at Iraq the Model agrees:
President Bush has asserted as much, arguing that the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the holding of elections in Iraq set loose the democratic idea and sent the tyrannies reeling. From a distance, Lebanon looks like a domino. . .
How could Iraq have inspired this?
Chibli Mallat, a Beirut lawyer and opposition leader, has an answer. He believes that for years, Iraq stood as both a positive and malevolent symbol to others in the Middle East. Saddam Hussein's survival following the Persian Gulf war in 1991, Mr. Mallat said, froze the status quo in the region for more than a decade. The Iraqi dictator's prolific human rights abuses had the perverse effect of making every other unelected leader in the Middle East look tame by comparison. The result, he said, was political stasis.
"Saddam's survival created an atmosphere where people literally got away with murder," Mr. Mallat said. "His removal became a precondition for change in the region."
When the Americans finally returned to topple Mr. Hussein two years ago, and, more important, when millions of Iraqis risked their lives to cast ballots in January, the country emerged as a symbol for change across the region.
"Suddenly, there was a demand for democracy," Mr. Mallat said. . .
For many Lebanese, what made significant change possible in Lebanon was not the elections in Iraq, but the events of Sept. 11, 2001, which prompted the Bush administration to re-examine its reluctance to challenge the Syrian regime, as well as other Arab dictatorships that had backed terrorist groups. When the Lebanese began calling for a Syrian withdrawal, the Syrian government had to defy not just the Lebanese people, but the United States as well.
For that reason, more than a few Lebanese believe, President Bush's demands are proving decisive in driving the Syrians out. "This enthusiasm for democracy may not happen again," said Khalil Karam, professor of international relations at University of St. Joseph here, speaking of American foreign policy. "Without it, we could not stop Syria."
The Iraqi elections were truly a source of pride for Iraqis and a scene of bravery that deserves a lot of respect from the world and the time has come for the people to be rewarded for their bravery by their elected future leaders who need to address their responsibilities towards their people.So if Iraqis and the Times "get it," why do most Democratic Party organizers, elected officials and grass-roots supporters still mock or reject the President and his Middle-East policy? Two possible answers:
What's really special about the post-election phase is the obvious consciousness of most political parties about the situation. They have understood that dialogue is the only way we have and everyone is learning how to sit to the negotiations table and show lots of patience. And despite the tension that we can see now, the talks have remained confined to the circle of civilized dialogue. . .
[A memo from Shi'ite cleric Hussain Al-Sadr is the beginning of concensus about] the good and positive role of the clergy, [but also of] the undesirable consequences that may happen if the clerics decided to go into the details of the political game, a thing that could detach the clergy from its original respectable role.
There was also clear call for a strong stand against the interference of the neighboring countries in the internal affairs of Iraq. The statement didn't name those countries but it's obviously pointing to Iran which ha been accused many times by Allawi of directing and instructing some members of the Coalition's list. . .
At the time the media and the interested observers are busy emphasizing on the violence in Iraq counting bodies (like war reporters do) they're missing a great revolutionary change being made in Iraq towards democracy. The talks for democracy are much louder a sound than the noise of guns; words and logic are the victors beyond any doubt and the effects of the change in Iraq are spreading across the region.
Several days ago, Waleed Junbulat, the prominent Lebanese opposition leader who was against the war on Saddam at the beginning said, "I was wrong. The sun that rose on Iraq on the 9th of April is now shedding her bright light on the rest of the region."
- They've abandoned reason for prejudice, defined as:
An opinion or judgment formed without due examination; prejudgment; . . an unreasonable predilection for, or objection against, anything; especially, an opinion or leaning adverse to anything, without just grounds, or before sufficient knowledge.
- Democrat Johnny simply can't read.