Arab world is stuck between ballot and bullet
This week Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has decided to hold new elections, completely ignoring the fact that the people did not recognize the results of the previous one.
In Algeria, despite his illness that has confined him to a wheelchair, President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika won the fourth term.
Next month, Gen. Abdel Fattah El-Sissi, the only viable option, waits for the Egyptians to choose him as their sixth president. Then just up the road, the Syrian president is bracing for elections after slaughtering a quarter of a million people and rendering 9 million people homeless. In Libya, the former elected prime minister fled to Germany after receiving death threats.
The question remains, can we see democracy around us? This story is not new. The English tried to impose a form of democracy in the first decades of the 20th Century in Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and Iraq. The Americans, spending trillions of dollars, tried to do a similar thing and created a democracy in Iraq. The result, however, is disastrous. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki has grabbed more power than the former dictator of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein.
From Syria to Mauritania and Sudan, the Arab republics suffer from two problems i.e. the religious and militant institutions. Until and unless these two institutions are not put in order, the region can never advance into an era of civilized democracies.
Observers may recall that following Tahrir Square’s angry demonstrations that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, people turned to the ballot box to choose their next leadership. The first elections crowned a fascist religious party to rule the country contracting the same democracy that got the party to power. When millions of people protested the theocratic rule of the elected people, army emerged as the only savior.
Another example of the religious militant monster was Sudan. Omar Al-Bashir and Hassan Al-Turabi ruled Sudan in the late 1980s. Al-Bashir wanted to grab all the power leading to internal crisis. The couple, fearing ouster, reunited again.
In Libya, the situation is similar where politically immature extremist religious groups are trying to hijack the rule by terrorizing parliamentarians, ministers and embassies. These extremist groups have succeeded in sabotaging the situation by remaining armed while staying in the Parliament. They rule the same way Qaddafi managed the country, by militias.
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