Wednesday, April 30, 2003
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A RESPONSIBLE MIDDLE EAST?: Let
A RESPONSIBLE MIDDLE EAST?: Let me preface this post by saying that I'm going to be wildly optimistic. I recognize that terrorism, potential terrorism and general disorder continue to haunt this region.
However, one gets the definite impression that governments in the regime are beginning to comprehend that they need to change their ways.
Consider the new Palestinian prime minister. I don't know how long he will last, but his first speech sent a powerful signal, according to the Washington Post:
Then there is Libya, which today owned up to some previous nastiness:
Acknowledging that democratic representation is important and that terrorism is bad are baby steps for most of the world. In the Middle East, however, their significance should not be understated.
As I said, I'm being wildly optimistic (for example, click here for my last post about the new Palestinian PM, and here for the NYT's skepticism about Saudi Arabia's future). It's possible that terrorism and extremism on both sides will torpedo any chance at an Israeli-Palestinian peace, or that Saudi reforms will go nowhere. But maybe the elimination of the Iraqi problem will cause a genuine move toward more responsible governance.
Developing... in a good way, I hope.
UPDATE: Brian Ulrich e-mails that I missed another promising development -- in a popular referendum, Qatar just approved their first constitution. It's not perfectly democratic, but it does allow for a partially elected legislature, and more importantly, has provisions guaranteeing freedom of speech and freedom from torture.
The Washington Times story on the Qatari referendum also contains some intriguing news about Syria:
Definitely developing....posted by Dan on 04.30.03 at 09:55 AM