Bush Likes Democracy but Doesn't Like Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Posted by Shadi Hamid
I guess Bush didn’t get the memo that trying to oust or destabilize democratically-elected leaders and/or governments is probably not the best idea for a country which claims to be the world’s purveyor of democratic ideals. Doesn't exactly do wonders for our credibility. There seems to be a very troubling trend developing here which is part of the overall democracy promotion backlash which both Derek and I have discussed in previous posts.
First, it started with Hamas, which won a commanding majority in January’s surprisingly clean and violence-free elections, forcing the Bush administration engage in dubious verbal acrobatics. It certainly makes sense to not give financial assistance to a government led by a party which refuses to renounce terrorism. Many have made the point that just as Palestinians have the right to elect Hamas, we have the right to not give a Hamas-led government money. That is one thing. It is quite another matter, however, to actively work toward the destabilization of an elected government, which is apparently what the Bush administration was seriously considering as early as two weeks after the election. The logic went that "destabilization" efforts would make governing impossible for Hamas. This would force Mahmoud Abbas to call new elections, which Fatah would presumably win. Status quo ante restored, Scrowcroft style. (See this excellent post by Andrew Sullivan).
Well, fast forward two months and apparently, we now want to get rid of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, an Islamist who also happens to be democratically elected.