20 Jun. 2007

Western Promises Of Transparent Democracy Are a Shallow Farce

Eric Margolis looks at the fallout from The Mother of All Scandals:
One of the major reasons for the fast-spreading influence of militant Islamic groups like Hezbullah, Hamas, and Taliban has been their success in uprooting the Muslim world’s endemic corruption and nepotism. We are so used to Islamists being demonized as “terrorists” that their highly effective and popular social accomplishments are rarely noted. In fact, their appeal and popularity is based primarily on their welfare and incorruptibility.

Islamic militants insist the west exploits their nations by keeping deeply corrupt regimes in power. In exchange for protection from their own people and neighbors, and fabulous wealth, these authoritarian Arab regimes – always termed “moderates” by western media – sell oil on the cheap to the west and do its bidding. US-installed governments in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan are all noted for egregious corruption, including secret payoffs from Washington to their leaders.

No wonder Prince Bandar was always so amiable and accommodating. Or that he managed to fly out a planeload of Saudis the day after 9/11 when all US flights were grounded. Or that the Bush administration was trying to position the always amenable prince as the next Saudi monarch.

The Bandar scandal is hugely embarrassing for Blair and Bush, who claim to be leading a crusade to bring democracy and good government to the benighted Muslim world. It starkly confirms Islamists’ accusations that the west promotes corruption. And it dramatically exposes the dirty underbelly of the west’s much-vaunted “special relationship” with the Saudi royal family.