The Repercussions Of Bringing Former Terrorists To Mainstream Politics

Written by Angelique van Engelen

Continued from page 1
Some viewrepparttar moves ofrepparttar 135916 radicalists to mainstream politics as a positive transformation and it is surely to be hoped thatrepparttar 135917 organizations involved inrepparttar 135918 decades-long strife inrepparttar 135919 region that are now close to becoming involved in mainstream politics, will ultimately disarm. Yet their popularity might be evidencing real hardship onrepparttar 135920 ground. Aside from what’s drivingrepparttar 135921 islamist vote, Israel’s reaction to a possible Hamas inclusion intorepparttar 135922 PA might not be favorable and it might be unwilling to negotiate with Hamas leaders. But then, this might not turn out to berepparttar 135923 case. Prime Minister Sharon who is said by some to favor a peace process that is open ended might think he has a better negotiating partner in a Hamas partipated PA. It is also going to be interesting what is going to be happening with Hizbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah leaders have expressed opposition to disarmament that’s as strong asrepparttar 135924 the Palestinian Hamas leaders. So far, this issue,repparttar 135925 groups’ status as terrorist and their unwillingness to recognize Israel as a state has always deterred countries likerepparttar 135926 US to deal with them as mature political entities. This is changing. Word inrepparttar 135927 diplomatic corridors has it thatrepparttar 135928 State Department might acquiesce in Hizballah's entry into Lebanese politics if it abandons terrorism and severs its political and operational ties with Syria. This US recognition of Hizballah could serve as a precedent for US acceptance of a political role for Hamas.

So far it looks like every major move thatrepparttar 135929 islamist groups make by definition will continue to go accompanied with pledges to hold onto arms. But one ought to bear in mind that oftenrepparttar 135930 public rhetoric is different than any private action. The leader of Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrullah, recently reiterated that his group will not give up their weapons. In an interview with Reuters he said that his party will keep its weapons and will not give it up, noting that this decision is because ofrepparttar 135931 continued Israeli occupation andrepparttar 135932 risks of occupation against his country. He even snubbedrepparttar 135933 UN, saying that its Security Council resolution demanding Hizbullah to hand over its weapons is ‘meaningless’ and ‘of no value’.

Meanwhile, in Iraq Al Qaeda’s Jordanian-born leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi also recently publicly rejected a call fromrepparttar 135934 new Iraqi president for militants to lay down their arms. Callingrepparttar 135935 new Iraqi leader President Jalal Talabani an agent ofrepparttar 135936 US and Jews,repparttar 135937 rebels said they would continue their strife until Sharia law was established inrepparttar 135938 country and never forgiverepparttar 135939 leader for his "infidelity" and "spilling ofrepparttar 135940 blood of Muslims". It is not clear whetherrepparttar 135941 statement, posted on a website used by Islamist militants is authentic. It is a smack inrepparttar 135942 face however of Mr Talabani, who has been quite lenient to those Iraqi’s who have taken to violence overrepparttar 135943 past few years, saying a peaceful solution should be found with Iraqis who were ‘led astray’ by terrorism. He even invited them in to participate inrepparttar 135944 democratic process and offered some convicted terrorists an amnesty.

Angelique van Engelen is a freelance writer who's lived in the Middle East for over three years. She runs, a writing agency based in the Netherlands. She also contributes to a writing ring

Just how democratic is the Middle East getting?

Written by Angelique van Engelen

Continued from page 1
To truly affect Arab countries inrepparttar heart of their political systems would first neccessitate an overhaul ofrepparttar 135915 legal system, in order for constitutions to be reformed, And this is something that needs most governments’ approval before it can go underway. The way an opposition party recently has started out in Egypt is an example of just how precarious it is to tread this water. To be legitimate, a party needs approval fromrepparttar 135916 incumbent rules, who controlrepparttar 135917 entire judicial system. The push for democracy hits a brick wall here. You can have as many programs as you like assessingrepparttar 135918 possibilities for democracy in a society, but so long as working outrepparttar 135919 practical recommendations of such programs remains an illegal activity, democracy will be a higly desirable, yet unachievable goal. What is needed is a change in countries’ judicial systems if any ofrepparttar 135920 over-researched ideas can begin to become plausible in reality. In a paper entitled ‘Beyond Liberalisation’, Daniel Brumberg, an associate professor of government at Georgetown University hitsrepparttar 135921 nail onrepparttar 135922 head, drawing a sharp distinction between democracy and political liberalization. The latter is about promoting a freer debate and competition inrepparttar 135923 media, civil society, and political parties. Democracy rests on rules, institutions, and political practices through which voters regularly and constitutionally replace or modify their leadership byrepparttar 135924 exercise of representative political power. “Political liberalization is a necessary but far from sufficient condition for democracy, which is something that is effected when you have a most opportune intersection between demand and supply”, says Brumberg in his article which is published inrepparttar 135925 Wilson Quarterly. Work on creatingrepparttar 135926 necessary ingredients forrepparttar 135927 democratic pie has long gone underway and hopeful signals are being heard thatrepparttar 135928 puzzle might begin to come together. Civil society organizations are virtually agents of what Brumberg terms ‘a demand-driven model of slow reforms’. And now more than ever, given their refocused agendas. The grassroot demand combined with greater participation inrepparttar 135929 discourse onrepparttar 135930 possibilities of democracy is slowly bearing fruit. Incumbent Arab regimes are protected from all too dramatic challenges but will have to bow down to people demanding their rights. What was taking place in Lebanon and Syriarepparttar 135931 last few weeks was a good testcase of how a power struggle is donerepparttar 135932 peaceful way. Events have proved that governments do not necessarily cede control when street rallies take place. In a senserepparttar 135933 Arab people’s love for their leaders is something Western states might even envie. If democratisation inrepparttar 135934 Middle East becomes a reality, these societies are likely to flourish in ways hardly seen elsewhere. It will be interesting to see ifrepparttar 135935 US role inrepparttar 135936 Middle East will stay largelyrepparttar 135937 same as its Cold War programs to aid democracy, a policy wherebyrepparttar 135938 country aided its friends by supporting government structures and undermined its foes inrepparttar 135939 hope that communist regimes would collapse. Later onrepparttar 135940 friendly stance was seen as inducing terrorism. It remains to be seen whether in future, Arab states will lend themselves as easily for such accusations.

Angelique van Engelen is a freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for over three years and currently runs She also contributes to a writing ring

    <Back to Page 1 © 2005
Terms of Use