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April 6, 2005
Arab Oppression The Fault Of US, Israel?

Arab intellectuals in Jordan have issued a report that strongly urges Arab nations to reform their governments and democratize in order to broaden their economies and make up a "knowledge deficit". However, the report undermines the serious nature of their recommendations by claiming that Arab oppression and backwardness has its root causes with the United States and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip:

A group of Arab intellectuals have called for rapid progress toward democracy in the Arab world and contended that the United States and Israel have impeded such progress, in a report issued here Tuesday. ...

The report warns that Arab governments may soon face the prospect of civil strife or change forced by outsiders unless swift and fundamental reforms are begun. But, in a departure from two earlier reports on Arab society in which the group focused almost exclusively on problems within the Arab world, this study says the United States and Israel have also played a part in suppressing Arab freedom. The Bush administration, in Washington, objected to that conclusion.

In part, the study blames the dearth of democracy and freedom in the region on the structure of modern Arab states, which have become highly centralized, mostly offering their citizens only a small margin of freedom. Even in the region's limited democracies, the report says, societies and economies are organized in a way that prevents the emergence of an effective opposition. ...

The report also said that one result of the American invasion of Iraq was that "the Iraqi people have emerged from the grip of a despotic regime that violated their basic rights and freedoms, only to fall under a foreign occupation that increased human suffering."

"One-tenth of Arabs live directly under foreign occupation," Ms. Khalaf told an audience on Tuesday.

All this makes sense -- if you believe that Arab oppression began in 1967, which is absolutely ludicrous. The Israeli occupation began as a result of four Arab nations using the West Bank (and the Sinai and Golan Heights as well) as a launching pad (for the second time) for an invasion of Israel, and the Israeli victory over all five hapless Arab armies. Oddly enough, the Israelis didn't feel like allowing the Arabs to give it a third try. None of the five Arab nations involved were liberal democracies at the time. None of them are now, except for Iraq, and that's only because of American intervention.

Arab dictatorships and kleptocracies have a long and sorry history stretching back far beyond the founding of either Israel or the United States. Blaming America for the political disasters that the Arabs have foisted upon themselves only feeds the tinfoil-hat impulses of the Arabs to create their own special victim class. It makes for a handy excuse for inaction, which these so-called intellectuals have glibly provided.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 6, 2005 6:31 AM

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