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Democracy can't solve violence of the Middle East

Published 03/08/2015

Violence in the Middle East continues, with the recent strife between Turkey and the Kurds. But this is just the latest bout in the boxing match of Middle East politics, going back to the Egyptians and the Hittites at Kadesh - the oldest battle on record.

The problem with the Middle East for liberal and conservative thinking here in the West is that even this upsurge in violence does not seem to deter them from thinking that democracy can work in the Holy Land. Sad to say, but I don't agree.

Inter-tribal and sectarian violence is endemic. Shias, Sunnis, Jews, Christians, communists, fascists and tribes of all descriptions vie for power in an escalating conflict so treacherous that now no outside power will intervene for fear of attracting terrorist attacks on its home soil.

With all this instability, democracy cannot flourish. Even Turkey, supposedly democratic since the 1920s, has been repeatedly under the thumb of military juntas and continues to contend with internal threats to its established secularism, not that its secular democracy prevents it from stomping on the demands made for autonomy by the largest stateless ethnicity in the world.

As the British journalist Nick Cohen pointed out in his book What's Left?, democracy in areas overrun by the ideologies of groups like al-Qaeda, or Isil, would invariably lead to democratically enacted laws to oppress women and other groups. Democracy is not for everyone.

COLIN SMITH

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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