Two weeks ago, I wrote about my concerns that the turn to democracy in the Muslim world will bring Islamists to power, thereby extending and legitimating the rule of totalitarian imperialists. Within days, this worry took operational form in two small but central polities, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority.
- In Lebanon, Hezbollah flexed its muscles with a mammoth street demonstration on March 8, reminding everyone who is the biggest single powerbroker in the country.
- In the Palestinian territories, Hamas announced its participation in legislative elections scheduled for mid-2005, unlike the last ones in 1996, which it chose to boycott. Polling and student elections at Hebron University suggest it could do very well in these elections, cutting into Mahmoud Abbas's ability to end Palestinian terrorism against Israel.
Further, Hezbollah and Hamas have both indicated they intend to continue to engage in terrorism. The leader of Hezbollah defiantly responded, "We are ready to remain until the end of time a terrorist organization in Bush's view." The Hamas leader in Gaza announced that "Our patience with the cease-fire will not go on forever. The occupation forces will respond to our demands or the resistance will continue." (Those demands include the release of all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and Israel's withdrawal from Palestinian cities.)
The growing power of these two radical Islamic organizations directly threatens the West. They seek to destroy one Western state (Israel) and are already at war with another one (the United States).
I argue in a column today, "Can Hezbollah and Hamas Be Democratic?" that the Western response should be unambiguous – by keeping Hezbollah and Hamas out of the democratic process.
I argue in a column today, "Can Hezbollah and Hamas Be Democratic?" that the Western response should be unambiguous – by keeping Hezbollah and Hamas out of the democratic process. And if anyone doubts whether this can be done, I refer him to the March 8, 2004, "Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period," Article 31, which defines the requirements for members of the Iraqi National Assembly. Two of the provisions read as follows:
(2) He shall not have been a member of the dissolved Ba'ath Party with the rank of Division Member or higher, unless exempted pursuant to the applicable legal rules.
(3) If he was once a member of the dissolved Ba'ath Party with the rank of Full Member, he shall be required to sign a document renouncing the Ba'ath Party and disavowing all of his past links with it before becoming eligible to be a candidate, as well as to swear that he no longer has any dealings or connection with Ba'ath Party organizations. If it is established in court that he lied or fabricated on this score, he shall lose his seat in the National Assembly.
(March 22, 2005)