Benign Autocracies Produce Terrorism My

“Benign Autocracies” Produce Terrorism

My response to the idea put forward in some circles that something they call a “benign autocracy” should be put in place by the Americans in Iraq:

The “benign autocracies” of the Middle East have been the main producers

of terrorism.

Sadat and Mubarak’s Egypt produced al-Gamaa al-Islamiya (first World Trade

Center bombing) and al-Jihad al-Islami (joined with al-Qaeda in 1998 and

responsible via Muhammad Atta for 9/11).

The Saudi oligarchy produced Bin Laden and the Saudi Mujahidin.

The Shah produced Khomeinism.

There are no benign autocracies. An autocracy deprives people of feeling

they have any input into their own destinies. It is precisely the magic

of parliamentary governance that, whether it is true or not, it can make

people feel empowered. Indira Gandhi was tossed out of office after

Emergency in the late 1970s, because Indian democracy worked. Mubarak,

Fahd, the Shah, and all the other “benign” autocrats never could be.

The imposition on Iraq of any form of autocracy will produce a wave of

terrorism and instability the like of which the world has never seen.

The US should be very, very careful about listening to such irresponsible


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