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Tuesday, March 01, 2005
One takes a risk when attempting to identify an historical trend. It can turn out that the events described were simply a blip, and the trend can be proven illusory by subsequent developments. If, however, major historical developments take place that follow the identified trend, this is an indication that one may just be onto something.
One country I left out of my Winds of Change: Democracy and Security Outlook in the Middle East article was Egypt - because nothing in particular had changed. Since the Free Officers' Coup of 1952, all Opposition political parties have been banned, and although elections take place, only the (until now mis-named) National Democratic Party can run.
However, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak recently announced democratic reforms for Egypt (article), involving a referendum to change the constitution so that multiple parties could stand in the upcoming Presidential Election, which had hitherto been expected to serve merely as a rubber stamp.
A number of caveats must be provided here.
Despite the above caveats, it must be reiterated that this is an historic move. Mubarak specifically stated that this reform was conducted in keeping with the times. Let's hope that other countries - such as Syria and Iran - give way to the current of history in the Middle East, so that we can have a happier, freer and ultimately a safer world.
(Originally via Jan Haugland, who is now reporting on calls for democracy in the UAE)