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The Forum > Article Comments > Yemen - financially the poorest but democratically the richest Arab nation > Comments

Yemen - financially the poorest but democratically the richest Arab nation : Comments

By Vanessa Johanson, published 4/8/2006

Yemen is worth watching as an example of democratisation in an otherwise discouraging regional landscape.

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An execellent, and optimistic article. Helps with the general understadning and analysis of the region. Might be useful to also consider this arciel http://weekbyweek7.blogspot.com/ and be reminded of the optimism running in Yemen
Posted by The Examiner, Friday, 4 August 2006 9:30:25 AM
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So a country with massive illiteracy that has had the same president for 35 years is more democratic than today's Iraq?

That would be the Iraq that has had three elections with large turn-outs, even though terrorists threatened to attack anyone who voted?

The country that has proportional representation and has a multi-party government broadly representative of the people? That has unions and bloggers?

The country that US forces will leave as soon as the Iraqi government asks them to?

Or are we forgetting that Iraq is an Arab nation too? (The author talks about nations from "Morocco to Kuwait", so does not limit herself to the Arabian Peninsula)

David Jackmanson
http://www.letstakeover.blogspot.com

What is the pseudo-left?
http://www.lastsuperpower.net/disc/members/568578247191
Posted by David Jackmanson, Friday, 4 August 2006 10:14:42 AM
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David Jackmason,

ROTFL

I think the Iraqi's are far more concerned about electricity and having enough food before they are concerned with democracy

Multi party system? as long as that party approves of oil drilling by US multinationals.

I think you should take a visit to Iraq and test out this theory of yours Mr Jackmanson
Posted by Carl, Friday, 4 August 2006 5:22:16 PM
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Please do tell me how your visit to Iraq provides evidence for _your_ point of view.

Obviously all those Iraqis who lined up to vote, at the risk of terrorist bombing, don't care about democracy at _all_.

David Jackmanson
http://letstakeover.blogspot.com

What is the pseudo-left?
http://www.lastsuperpower.net/disc/members/568578247191
Posted by David Jackmanson, Saturday, 5 August 2006 8:11:20 AM
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David Jackmanson,

I havenít been to Iraq, so perhaps I am just as unqualified to make an assessment of the situation as you are.

I am a true believer in democracy and I hope very much that one day the Iraqi people can live in a free and democratic country of their own making.

I do however believe that before you can even begin to class a nation as a democracy there a number of pre-requisites that Iraq is not even close to.

Firstly, a democratic nation should exercise some control over security, in Iraq the 120,000 foreign troops in the country canít even do it.

Secondly, they need to have some sort of control over the national economy. Reconstruction of Iraq was booked in for Halliburton and co. long ago, hardly Iraqi control.

Finally, there should be something regarding the rule of law and free media. There is nothing resembling an impartial judicial process and the national media has been exploited by the US many times.

I am sure someone more qualified than myself can go on much longer, but this is how I read the situation

Putting it simply the Iraqi elections were putting the cart waaaay before the horse.
Posted by Carl, Saturday, 5 August 2006 3:54:59 PM
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To say that Iraq is doing better than Yemen, which is the poorest country in the region and does not benefit from the natural resources its neighbors do, is plain silly. U.S. and British officials have in recent days said that Iraq is more likely to fall into civil war and shatter as a result than to grow into a full-fledged democracy. And you don't take my word for it, just look at what the UK's former ambassador to the country and top US military chiefs said just this last week.

Anyway, what Ms. Johanson's story does is give us an example of how democracy can be built -- it is a messy, difficult and unpredictable process. What this story shows is that democracy takes years and fits-and-starts. It may require making deals with people whose ideas are rather close to those "terrorists" we are intent on destroying. It takes gentle and not-so-gentle pressure from international bodies such as the U.N. It takes the population's involvement. It takes experts' measured and non-judgmental opinions. In short, it takes a lot more than an ill-conceived invasion, a corrupt occupation and blatantly badly prepared puppet gov't, which is what we see right now in Iraq (and don't get me started on Afghanistan).

Good on Ms. Johanson -- if the US, et al only taken the time to listen to folks like her before they embarked on this disastrous drive to democratise the Middle East.
Posted by bott, Saturday, 5 August 2006 9:15:42 PM
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