Debating Democracy in the Obama Era
|Thursday, April 9,2009 19:29|
|By Shadi Hamid|
I wrote last month about an open letter, which I"ve helped organize, on the need to make democracy in the Middle East a top priority, which was signed by leading American and Muslim scholars and experts. The Washington Post, in an editorial, cited it, saying "[the letter"s] depth and breadth vividly shows that the Obama administration could find many allies for progressive change in the Middle East - if only it looks beyond the rulers" palaces."
But Osman is sceptical that there can ever be a rapprochement between America and Islamists, even those like the Muslim Brotherhood that are nonviolent. The United States, he rightly points out, is not so concerned with whether the Brotherhood is sufficiently democratic or whether it accepts the rights of women and minorities. The source of enmity, rather, is a clash of interests. "Pax Americana", Osman argues, "aims to ‘stabilise the region"", and this, of course, includes guaranteeing Israel"s security. Meanwhile, "Islam"s opposition is not time-bound but theological: it sees ‘settling" as a sin, and long-term jihad...is divinely ordained."
You can read the whole thing here.