One of the stand-out features of those Islamic countries that have had elections as a result of revolution or encouragement from the West is that, when an Islamic party wins that election, the neocons jump up and down complaining about how ‘democracy’ has been hijacked by Islamists.
The neocons have cheered on all of the Arab Spring revolutions in the somewhat naïve and forlorn hope that a US-style democracy will prevail and bring forth Western-friendly secular governments that accept the existence of Israel and their domination over the Palestinian people.
For years the neoconservatives moaned and carried on about how the Palestinians had been denied full and free elections through the Arafat years and the early period of his successor Abbas. And when Abbas did eventually get around to calling an election for the Palestinian Legislative Council, the neocons fell over themselves to support the secular Abbas against his rival the Islamic Hamas party. At long last, the neocons exclaimed, democracy had come to the Arabs.
In the build-up to the election the neocons were convinced their man Abbas would win. But, come election day on 26 January 2006, the unimaginable happened – Hamas won; and not just won, but won convincingly. The neocons and the Bush administration were furious. They refused to recognise the result and the West threatened to withdraw all financial aid if they formed government.
So much for democracy!
Now it’s happening again. Egypt went through the Arab Spring process which led to the downfall of Hosni Murbarak then fair and square elections were held which the Islamists won (through a highly complex distribution voting process) that ultimately gave Morsi the Presidency. The neocons, again, were incensed. From the very beginning they would not accept Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood dominating Egyptian politics. Now that a military coup has effectively ousted Morsi and replaced him with a government nominated by the military, the neocons are jubilant.
So much for democracy!
But the problems for the neocons, or the Egyptian people, are unlikely to go away. When (and if) the next elections are held in, it’s claimed, about a years time, it is likely that some kind of Islamist coalition will win again and the Muslim Brotherhood will likely dominate. There will then be a parting of the ways – yet again – of the various groups that make up the winning coalition and the people will gather yet again in Tahrir Square demanding yet another election.
What the neocons and many in the West have consistently failed to recognise is that the Arab and Islamic world of Africa and the Middle East aren’t interested in a secular-capitalist dominated Western-style ‘democracy’. To be sure they enjoy everyday secularism and they enjoy the notion of participating in capitalism and the prospect of potentially being able to enrich themselves and their families, but, for most Muslims, religion in the end dominates their lives and they see the secular parts of their life and the rewards of capitalism as being a gift that comes from their adherence to their religion rather that something that comes from society. It is for this reason that they don’t separate church from state.
The neocons and the West should simply come to terms with it rather than try to push Western ways on the Arab and Islamic world. All it succeeds in doing is polarising those people and giving them even more grief than they’ve ever had before.
The peoples of the Arab and Islamic worlds must find their own way to becoming a part of the global community and should not be forced into accepting Western ways by bigots and fascists who have agendas that are not in the interests of Arabs and Islam.