What should Egypt exactly learn from Jordan??

30-11-2010 12:00 AM

By Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh

The Washington Institute of Near East Policy released a paper on November 24,2010, entitled “Egypt Should Learn from Jordan at the Polls.” In his gratuitous advice David Schenker urges the Egyptians to follow the Jordanian elections model. Strangely, the author was impressed by the transparency of the process as he was one of the Jordanian elections observers. Accordingly, many would feel curious to know what precisely the process that the observer was monitoring!

Furthermore, the author described the waves of violence during and after the elections as “some isolated incidents of violence”. Besides, he insisted to carry on his incredible marketing, saying that: “the elections themselves set a regional gold-standard for free and fair balloting”

Instead of giving a precise image of the Jordanian political scene, the author explained that the Islamist boycott of elections was an attempt to embrace the monarchy. He forgot totally to discuss the reasons behind the boycott, - the election law - or to give at least a simple introduction about the major political power represented by the Islamist party.

This shallow neo-conservative analysis not just skipped the importance of preserving the moderate Islamist political model that Jordan has but also considered the exclusion of Islamists to be so effective. But, don’t you agree that effectiveness would have increased if we have shown a real intention for genuine political reform?

Americans should understand that their interference today, whether to support or criticize any political process, will never support but will make things worse, obviously, due to the credibility that Arabs and Muslims lack towards American politics. This is what the Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Peter Van Ham confirms: « The problem is that Arabs and Muslims will not attach credibility to US public diplomacy as long as US policies in the Middle East and beyond remain unchanged. »

Washington Institute for Near East Policy that was established by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 1985 with the aim to advance a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East should understand that its way of seeing things is one of the main sources of anti-Americanism. Those feelings have clearly expanded over the last ten years, as many of the political polls show. For example, fully three-quarters of respondents in Jordan, the fourth largest recipient of U.S. assistance, have a poor image of the United States. This phenomenon is closely linked to the exercise of American power and how the world perceives U.S. actions.

Today, the “trust building process” seems to be impossible. US politics can never be credible to Arab citizens. The American slogans of “Democratizing the Middle East” was born dead as a result of many reasons; The bad political players, blatant bias, incapacity of seeing the real needs of the people, the contradiction of slogans and applications. All this proved that in the Arab world at least Americans are the last to talk about “Democracy” and rights.

The gap between the US and the Arabs and Muslim people is in continuous expansion, which predicts a close definitive split in the relation of the two, it’s a one way street (no exist). Therefore neither the financial aids nor the democracy and freedom slogans will help the US to find its way out.

That’s why advice to the Washington Institute and David Schenker should be given; it is time to try to be somehow logical and sincere. Being an observer on the team fielded by the International Republican Institute would make us understand what kind of observation will come out, hence, such advice to the Egyptians to “follow the Jordanian election model” is unwarranted.. and it is time that fooling yourselves and others should come to an end.

Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh

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