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America supporting radical Islamic rule?

Reader comment on item: Why Corporations Fund Radical Islam

Submitted by ANGRY! in Seattle (United States), Sep 5, 2005 at 13:35

I just read an article by Chris Zambelis, a Middle East analyst for SAIC, on US strategy in the Middle East with respect to supporting Islamists and democracy. It appears in the US Army War College journal, Parameters. I attached a link and a few paragraphs. I am worried when I see these views inside government, especially in Parameters, which is a very respected publication among military and government types.

"Washington attributes the spread of Islamic radicalism to the persistence of authoritarianism in the Middle East. It acknowledges that the status quo in the region is illegitimate, unacceptable, and unsustainable, given the failure of incumbent autocratic regimes to address social and economic problems and meet the basic demands of their citizens. As a consequence, the issues of reform and democracy were elevated to a level of critical importance.3 In doing so, the Administration reversed a pillar of American policy predicated on the notion that pro-US authoritarian regimes served to protect against radicalism and terrorism. Traditional US policy toward the region was meant to ensure stability and enhance American security. The 9/11 attacks proved the opposite. Indeed, promoting democracy has become a strategic imperative in the Bush Administration's war on terrorism."

"Popular outrage toward the Administration's plans demonstrates the deep-rooted credibility problem the United States faces in the Middle East. Muslims are highly skeptical about Washington's ultimate intentions, given the long-standing US policy of supporting authoritarian regimes in the region. Arabs in particular find it hard to believe that the United States is serious about promoting freedom. They tend to view US support for self-determination and human rights as disingenuous in light of Israel's ongoing occupation of Palestinian land and continued expansion of settlements on territory that Palestinians and the international community envision as part of a future Palestinian state—an issue that resonates deeply among both Muslims and Christians in the Middle East and one that cannot be wished away.24 Moreover, the US decision to oust Saddam Hussein by force confirmed regional perceptions of a militant America that is quick to use force against Arabs and Muslims to further its strategic objectives."

"The fiercely independent instincts of Islamists need not mean confrontation with Washington if and when they take control, however. Even Islamists with populist agendas will be forced to contend with the political realities of everyday governance. They will be put to the test and held to account, unlike their authoritarian counterparts that answered to Washington. This applies to Islamists of all ideological persuasions. In fact, there are many examples where Islamists are participating in concert with other groups in parliaments and other official functions.46 In the long run, they will have to demonstrate progress in practical areas such as tackling unemployment, attracting foreign investment, and increasing economic growth. In this regard, they face many of the same challenges confronting political parties elsewhere. The realities of political life will moderate populist Islamist agendas down the road, forcing them to make concessions and compromise."

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