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March 22, 2003

An Arab case for war

An interesting piece that appears at the Nick Denton blog, from his archives and well worth a read

From a discussion on Al-Jazeera, Egyptian historian Ahmad Othman: "If the Americans enter, change the regime in Iraq, and bring in a democratic regime, it will be possible to replace the other regimes later. This is what Napoleon did. When he reached Egypt, the Mamelukes fled and a democratic movement arose, and the Egyptian people began to talk for the first time. The modern Arab renaissance began after Napoleon. But what happened is that after September 11, the Americans realized that the dictatorial regimes in the Arab region produce terrorists who attack America and Europe. The entire world lives in fear of the terrorists that these regimes produce. The Americans realized this. They do not want to establish democracy for our sake, but in order to defend themselves."
The Qatari television station Al-Jazeera broadcast a discussion titled "Why the Arabs Have Become the Joke of the World." Participants in the discussion, moderated by Dr. Faysal Al-Qassem, included Algerian journalist Yahya Abu Zakaria, identified as an Islamist and resident of Sweden, and Egyptian historian Ahmad Othman, identified as a liberal. The following are excerpts from the discussion: (1)

'The Arab Ruler is a Thief, an Agent, a Slaughterer, and a Contemptible Ruler'
Yahya Abu Zakaria: "...I am completely convinced that the Arab ruler, in his cruelty, repression, and oppression of the peoples, bears most, if not all, the responsibility for the collapse of the Arab [world], politically, economically, and culturally. The Arab ruler has not managed to come up with a political plan to advance the country and the people. This Arab ruler made the country his, and his alone; he turned it into a commercial company and appointed his sons and relatives to be supervisors. In addition, the Arab ruler treats the Arab people with disdain. We have rulers in the Arab region who came to power on a tank. Some came out of a British tent, and some out of an American tent, and they have ruled us for decades."

"If they had even a grain of shame, they would withdraw from the political arena and leave it to the young political leaders... But the Arab ruler has turned into a slaughterer and a thief, and he gambles with the livelihood of the peoples. He has become a thief who steals the people's bread." [more]