What do you Do if Democracies Defy You?
The US and British support for democratization in the Middle East is a deeply contradictory policy, since Washington and London also want friendly regimes that agree with their policies and crack down on radicals.
The contradiction was pitched ironically by Lebanese Speaker of the House Nabih Berri, a Shiite leader of the Amal Party, on Friday. UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw expressed dismay that the president of Lebanon, Emile Lahoud, had reappointed Omar Karami as prime minister. Berri sent a telegram to Straw informing him that the president cannot unilaterally appoint a prime minister in Lebanon, but must consult with parliament (to ensure that the PM has enough votes to survive a vote of no confindence).
Berri ironically suggested that since Straw disliked parliament’s choice, he should please appoint a prime minister for Lebanon.
Berri went on to make other suggestions, saying he spoke out because “the appointment of the prime minister in Lebanon is in the hands of Parliament, not the president, and second because we hope we would be able to express our opinion in naming the British prime minister.”
The Daily Star notes, ‘ Berri concluded his telegram by expressing his “thanks for the planned democracy for our region,” in reference to U.S., British and European efforts to establish democracy throughout the Middle East. ‘ I suppose we now know what some experienced parliamentarians in the region think of Bush’s ‘democratization.’
Newshounds report that democracy is only allowed in Lebanon if it comes to the right decisions. Otherwise, can you spell J-DAM-ocracy?