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America's Double Standard on Democracy in the Middle East
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Time Magazine

Time Magazine, December 22, 2006
Posted: December 27th, 2006,8599,1572574,00.htm...

What's good for Beirut is not good for Gaza, according to Washington's playbook. And that discrepancy undermines the credibility of U.S. claims to be promoting democracy in the region. In Lebanon as in Gaza, democratically elected governments are being challenged by political opponents demanding fresh elections and in each place, the standoff threatens to spark a civil war. Yet, the response of the U.S. and Britain to each crisis has been so different as to provoke accusations of double-standards and questions about the West's commitment to democracy in the Arab world. Despite Hamas's democratic victory at the polls in January, the West has imposed a blockade on financial aid to the Palestinian Authority because Hamas refuses to recognize Israel. This apparent double-standard in the West's stances on Lebanon and on Gaza has not gone unnoticed by Arab commentators. "How could the U.S. support the democratically elected government in Lebanon and do just the opposite in Palestine?" asked Talal Salman, the publisher of Lebanon's As-Safir newspaper. Promoting democracy in the Arab world has ostensibly been a cornerstone of Bush Administration policy. [Yet] the focus of the democratization drive has always been on Washington's regional enemies Iraq, Iran and Syria rather than on autocratic friends. So, while the Bush Administration continues ... talk of promoting democracy in the Middle East, many in the Arab world have a jaundiced view of Washington's intentions: Democracy, yes, but only when the outcome serves the interests of the U.S.

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