American Style "Democratization"

By Ghali Hassan

June 26, 2005

The Washington Post reports recently that President George W. Bush has begun
meeting prominent Œforeign dissidents¹ in an attempt to highlight Œhuman
rights¹ abuses committed around the world. Dissidents from Venezuela, North
Korea, Russia and Belarus have all recently met with Mr. Bush or Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice.

Incidentally, the Washington Post also reports that no such meetings took
place with dissidents from US closest allies such as Uzbekistan, Pakistan,
Egypt and Saudi Arabia. All four are the best example (from a long list of
client regimes) of brutal and undemocratic regimes with the worst human
rights records in the world.

Let¹s briefly describe the four countries that President Bush considers
unworthy meeting their dissidents. In Uzbekistan where President Islam
Karimov rules with an iron fist dissidents are tortured to death and
anti-government protesters are killed en masse by Karimov¹s security forces.
In Pakistan there have been no elections since General Pervez Musharraf took
power by coup d¹état. He immediately declared himself the ŒChief Executive¹
of Pakistan, jailed and exiled every dissident in his way. Egypt is not much
different. President Hosni Mubarak took over some 25 years ago and has been
a client of the US since. His prison cells and torture chambers are filled
with dissidents. The regime of Mubarak is the second largest recipient of US
aid after Israel. Saudi Arabia, the US most trusted ally, is a totalitarian
monarchy. In addition, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are
Washington destinations for torture of kidnapped citizens accused of alleged
"terrorism". Furthermore, these despots are welcomed in Washington and
London as guests of honours, and their policies are conducted with the
blessings and approvals of Washington and London.

By contrast, Venezuela is very high on Mr. Bush¹s list of "regime change",
and President Hugo Chávez is not likely to receive an invitation to the
White House soon. The current Venezuelan government of President Chávez is
the most legitimate and democratically elected government in the world.
President Chávez was democratically elected in 1998. He has since been
re-elected in 2000 and had his presidency reconfirmed in a referendum in
August 2004. His current approval rating ­ an outcome of his popular
socio-economic reforms ­ at 70.5 per cent, but the US insists that Chávez is
a threat to democracy. The Bush administration is also involved in
propaganda war and military coup to remove President Chávez from office.
Venezuela of President Chavez is not as lucky as Uzbekistan, Egypt or Saudi
Arabia to be included in US phantom democracy. This example of popular
democracy in Venezuela is the form of democracy that the US most feared in
developing countries.

The recent US fanfare about democracy rising in the Middle East is a phantom
democracy. Saudi Arabia, Mr. Bush tells us, is reforming its decades-long
despotic tyranny and corruption, by introducing a male-only Œdemocracy¹, and
allowing women to obtain driver¹s licence. The reality is that half of the
population (women) were barred from participation in this male-only
democracy. And only half of the seats were allowed to be contested and the
other half were reserved. In Kuwait and the other Gulf States, the Emirs and
Sheikhs select their oppositions. In Egypt, Hosni Mubark has already barred
the Muslim Brotherhood Party and he will choose an opposition to participate
in next year elections. In fact President Mubarak is grooming his son for
the presidency. It is not democracy; it is a farce.

Any constitutional law book defines democracy as "an internal organisation
of the state in which the source and exercise of political power lie with
the people, enabling the governed to govern in turn through their elected
representatives". However, the people have always been mislead and only
allowed to watch as spectators, not participants.

In his Essays on Democracy Promotion, Thomas Carothers, director of the
Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment Program for
International Peace, and a former State Department official in the Reagan
administration writes; "Where democracy appears to fit in well with US
security and economic interests, the United States promotes democracy, [but]
where democracy clashes with other significant interests, it is downplayed
or even ignored". The history of the past sixty years or so shows that the
US has always favoured dictatorial regimes to serve its own interests at the
expense of human rights and democracy. For decades the US has supported and
encouraged Israel¹s terror and oppression against the Palestinian people.

When it comes to genuine democracy, the US is enemy number one of democratic
principles and international law. In 1953, the US intelligence agents, the
CIA, engineered a military coup that toppled Iran's popularly elected Prime
Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and replaced him with the three decades-long
vicious dictatorial regime of Shah Reza Behlavi. The recent elections in
Iran were more transparent and superior democratic processes than the 30
January US-staged elections in Iraq or the last two US elections. However,
the US and Western media continue to attack Iran

The US is never shy to lend hand to brutal dictators. On September 11, 1973,
General Augusto Pinochet, with tacit support from the CIA, led a violent
military and overthrew the democratically elected Popular Unity government
of Salvador Allende. Because of the CIA covert intervention in Chile, and
the repressive character of General Pinochet's rule, the coup became the
most notorious military takeover in the annals of Latin American history.
Thousands of Chilean dissidents have been murdered or disappeared during the
military rule of Augusto Pinochet.

On 29 February 2004, just a year after the invasion of Iraq, the US backed
by Canada and France orchestrated a get together coup d¹état against the
popular government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti.
Deliberately ignored by Western media, a democratically elected government
was replaced by unelected, repressive and murderous "Interim Government"
which committed hundreds of political killings and more than 700 summary
executions (without charges) of political prisoners.

From the Middle East to Latin America, the US administrations play the
"democracy" card and overtly or covertly support dictators and military
dominated regimes that systematically repress and terrorise the local
population. The US "promotion of democracy" is not against the status quo of
dictators, but it is designed for domestic consumption in order to deceive
the public that the US is an "honest broker" interested in "democracy". In
other word, it is a cover for war and control of people¹s natural resources,
including oil.

It was only after the fabricated pretexts for the war on Iraq had collapsed,
the Bush administration and its allies turned to imperialism most favoured
propaganda, "democracy". The pretexts keep changing so often that drew
little opposition or protest against this flagrant falsification of history
regarding the war on Iraq. The Bush administration continues to tell the
world that the invasion of Iraq is to "build democracy" throughout the
Middle East, as if democracy is another brick in a wall. One important fact
to remember is that had Iraq¹s Arab neighbours been democratically elected
governments (like Turkey), the US and Britain wouldn¹t have unilaterally
mounted an illegal invasion into Iraq and committed the kind of
international war crimes against the Iraqi people.

Despite the illegality of the war and the enormous war crimes committed
against the Iraqi people, many people, particularly Americans, still believe
that the war on Iraq was initiated because of Iraq¹s procession of WMD and
Iraq¹s links to "terrorism". It is now established that Iraq had no WMD
since 1991 and that Iraq had no link to "terrorism", and posed no threat to
the US, Britain and their allies.

The US invaded and occupied Iraq because: 1. Iraq was a defenceless nation,
destroyed by 13-years long genocidal sanctions and constant US-British
bombing campaigns. 2. Iraq is a resources-rich and strategically vital
nation, and 3. Iraq was and could be a formidable counter to Israel¹s
Zionist expansion. Hence, Iraq was the preferred target for the soon to be
US president long before the 9/11 attacks on the US. Also by attacking Iraq,
the US intended to send a bullying message to other nations.

According to recent reports, Bush believes that, no president is "great"
president without wining one military aggression in his presidency. In 1999
Bush revealed his personal motivation to use war in order to advance his
domestic political ends. When Bush was asked at New Hampshire primary event
in December 1999 about Saddam Hussein, Bush told David Nyhan of the Boston
Globe; "I¹d take Œem [Saddam] out", and, "take out the weapons of mass
destructionŠI¹m surprised he¹s [Saddam] still there". This comment alone
should be taken as an illegal declaration of war against Iraq and violation
of the US Constitution. It follows; the invasion and occupation of Iraq had
nothing to do with "democracy", "liberation" or the propaganda perpetuated
by Western media, the US government and its allies of the "coalition of the
willing". Furthermore, the US invaded Iraq despite massive worldwide
protests against an illegal war.

The war perpetuated by the Anglo-American axis have caused the death of
hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, destroyed the Iraqi state
and the fabric of the Iraqi society. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi
men, women and children as young as 12 years old, are languishing in
hundreds of US-run prison camps and subject to unrestrained torture and
abuse by US forces. In addition to the violence, the Occupation has brought
Iraqis desperate living conditions ­ the destruction of Iraq¹s health care
and education systems ­, ethnic divisions, and a culture of corruption.

Mr. Bush claims that "democracy is spreading" throughout the Middle East is
simply a phantom to justify an illegal war against Iraq and provides a
diversion for the war crimes committed against the Iraqi people. Coupled
with military occupation, the US is in a process of political penetration
under the rubric of "democracy". This involves the promotion of the Iraqi
elites ­ mostly expatriates, including religious groups, criminal elements
and corrupt Kurdish warlords ­ to high offices. It also involves the
corruption of Iraqi and Arab media, trade unions, women organisations and
other professional associations to serve the interests of US corporations
and enhance US imperial agenda.

The US aim in Iraq is to prolong the Occupation, control Iraq¹s vital
resources and rob Iraq¹s of its wealth and sovereignty at the expense of the
Iraqi people. The form of "democracy" the US pretends building in Iraq is a
form of colonial dictatorship dressed in fraudulent elections in order to
re-colonise Iraq economically. The US strategy in Iraq is to rule Iraq by
the proxy of an "Arab façade", serving Washington and Western interests, and
suppressing any alternative popular movement that opposes US design. As
pointed out earlier, democracy is never part of US imperialist agenda. If it
is not so, then the US should let the Iraqi people decide on the presence of
the Occupation forces. If the US is serious about the "spread of democracy"
the US must accept the outcome of free and fair elections.

The January 2005 elections were illegitimate and flawed, because Iraq was
and continues to be under foreign military occupation. The Iraqi people were
deceived to believe that they were voting to end the Occupation. Although
the US-preferred candidate (Iyad Allawi) lost, the elections still won by
those groups who supported the invasion and occupation. Immediately after
the elections, the first act of treason the new "government" committed is to
extend the presence of the Occupation forces in Iraq, and escalate the
violence against the Iraqi people. The London-based Arabic newspaper,
Al-Hayat, reported recently that one-third (83 MPs) of the members of Iraq¹s
275 National Assembly have asked for a timetable for the withdrawal of
foreign troops from Iraq, accusing the Assembly itself of not caring "about
the demands of millions of Iraqis".

Finally, the US strategy is doomed to fail in Iraq. Historically, Iraq is an
anti-imperialism ground. The Iraqi people are politically very engaged and
educated. It is almost near impossible for a pro-Occupation, pro-US policy
regime to survive in Iraq. All Iraqis are united for an immediate withdrawal
of foreign troops and end to the Occupation. They have enough of US
perpetuated violence.

People around the world know that the American form of Œdemocracy¹ has not
benefited the masses. It is an old imperialist tormentor. The invasion and
occupation of Iraq have exposed the true nature of this imperialist
tormentor. It is the duty of decent men and women not to remain silent and
encourage the tormentor to continue tormenting the Iraqi people. Those who
committed war crimes and crimes of deception should be held accountable for
their actions.

Global Research Contributing Editor Ghali Hassan lives in Perth, Western
Australia. He can be reached by e-mail here
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility
of the author and do not  necessarily reflect those of the Centre for
Research on Globalization.