Democracy and Islam
George H. Wittman|The American Spectator
It has to be said: The international media too quickly characterize mob action in North Africa and elsewhere in the Middle East as an expression of democracy. Gatherings of large numbers of people demanding that autocratic leadership be changed does not constitute a willingness to pay the continuing social price of responsibility and compromise that is the basic element of democracy in any form.
The existence of post-colonial, military-created and/or maintained government is a given in the Middle East. The Saudi and Jordanian monarchies were an outgrowth of military action. The Islamic revolution in Iran originally drew its strength from the paramilitary overthrow of Shah Reza Pahlevi whose father had declared himself monarch after rising from the officer ranks of the Persian army. His was originally termed a “democratic revolution” by the military against the then existing Shah. Indeed Islam itself was originally introduced through military force.
Even today after the hundreds of thousands dominated Tahrir Square in Cairo, the nation of Egypt is held together by its military. The army in Tunisia guaranteed the removal of the autocratic Zine el Abidine ben Ali. The question exists as to what militaristic force eventually will dominate tribalized Libya that only gained its independence from the monarchy of King Idris in 1969 by the action of the young officers under Moammar Gaddafi.
There is no cultural tradition of democracy in the Arab and Persian Middle East, perhaps with the exception of Israel and the European-fabricated and religiously divided Lebanon. Islam as the principal religion and culture of the region does not necessarily welcome such a form of governance.