IT is a historical fact that many of the Arab elites who call for Western-style democracy are missing, as they choose to forget that importing ready-made templates of rule for societies that are not prepared for it leads to deep problems and stirs up strife and divisions, which in turn contribute to the weakening and even collapse of the state in many cases.
Western societies, which are praised by many in the Arab world, did not stabilize their current paths until after about 450 years of bloody wars, revolutions and coups, starting with the English revolution in the 17th century. This revolution had led to a civil war that began with the uprising of parliamentarians and the execution of King Charles I, and ended with the crucifixion of its leader Oliver Cromwell, which restored the monarch to this day.
Likewise, the French Revolution in the late 18th century did not reach its desired results until after a bitter bloody struggle among the components of society, and the fall of the republic and its revival several times. The same applies to the United States of America, where the Constitution was amended 27 times. The Constitution of India, which is the largest democracy in the world, was amended 103 times, and it is still working on democratic and social development.
These facts are not taken into account by the adventurous Arab political forces, as they jump on historical experiences, and burn the stages through their quest to benefit from the facade without considering the essence.
This is where the artificial democracy in Lebanon led its people to two sectarian wars, and sharpen the social division that threatens the disintegration of the state. This is what Iran is facing as well. it was a leading country during its era of monarchy but the Mullahs regime brought it down into the depths of backwardness.
As for Iraq, after the coup against the monarchy in 1958, the state became plundered by retarded dictatorships that made killing, torture and abuse their method of control. This huge state is seen today as weak and divided, and prey to Iranian interventions.
In Egypt, the “Free Officers Movement” revolution led to the formation of opportunistic centers of power that worked to obstruct the progress of the state. This continued until President Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi took power, and through him, Egypt restored its renaissance at all levels.
In the Gulf, Kuwait was the first country to take democracy as its path in governance. However, experience has revealed that this led to the exacerbation of tribalism, sectarianism and regionalism, which subsequently destabilized the internal situation to such an extent that it opened Saddam Hussein’s appetite to take it as a pretext to invade the country.
On the other hand, the Gulf countries that did not adopt this imported recipe are walking on the path of development. If the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, this great country, had taken the Kuwaiti approach, it would not have reached where it is today in development. Also, the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman have become active Gulf and Arab economic powers, as well as global leaders in several fields.
In conclusion, there are countries that are small in size, and with limited population, going through this kind of experience for the first time without considering the negatives. Therefore, if their people do not learn from history and avoid falling into the trap of importing canned democracy, they will turn into a weak state like those that failed to understand the lesson. The picture is clearly visible. Salute to the people of Qatar!
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times