The U.S. Strategy: Democracy and Internal Stability in the Arab World

Adnan M. Hayajneh*

The aim of this paper is to discuss the impact of the US national strategy on the behavior of the Arab states. Are the US demands having any response from the Arab states? Special attention will be given to the behavior of the Arab states as a response to the US demands. How the US would like to see the Arab world behave? What are the main criteria that the Arab states have to follow in order to meet US standards? More importantly, how these Arab procedures will affect security in the Arab world namely in the Arab Gulf states. The paper will concentrate on one important U.S. demand: democracy and political change. It is worth noting that these demands are not separated from others since they influence other demands and they are influenced by the other demands. The paper will argue that U.S. demands will affect internal stability in the Arab world as well as US interests in the region. The paper will apply Huntington (1968) approach and his gab theory to test the impact of the two main goals on US foreign policy and on internal security in the Arab world. More importantly how such disorder in the Arab world will affect US interests in the region.

The Bush administration, as presented in the Bush speech on November 6, (Forward Strategy speech) asked many countries in the Arab world for more improvement on the economic and political fields. It is part of the US forward Strategy in the region. However, most of the states in the Arab world lack democracy and the institutions to establish it. These countries risk political instability, which will not help US policy in the region, namely its nation-building attempt in Iraq. The paper will try to test the relationship between US national strategy which was published in September 2002 and materialized in the US War on Iraq and other verbal behaviors by US policy makers including the Bush forward strategy for democracy in the Arab world, and the response from the Arab world. In other words, are the actions taken by the Arab states reflecting the US demands? Moreover, what are the implications it will have on internal security of the Arab world and how this will affect US policy toward the Arab world.

US Strategy and Demands:

Addressing the National Endowment for Democracy, November 6, 2003. The US President fleshed out U.S. strategy for the Arab World. The Arab world needs political reform. This Arab world that the US have used and abused for many years using the current regimes that they have supported for the past decades. It is important to note that Bush is not serious. His statements can be hardly believed in the Arab world. According to Marina Ottaway (2003) "The Arab reaction to the Bush Administration's new emphasis on Middle East Democracy indicates that the United States faces a fundamental problem of credibility as a promoter of democracy in the region." (Ottaway, 2003: 5). While other like Thomas Carothers argue that the US has no consistent democratic policy, which implicitly suggest sources of distrust in the US. He said " the clashing imperatives of the war on terrorism with respect to U.S. democracy promotion have led to a split presidential personality and contradictory policies-decreasing interest in democracy in some countries and suddenly increasing interest in one region, the Middle East. " (Carothers, 2003: Internet Ed.).

However, all may agree with the President at the theoretical level that democracies behave differently and it is important for the Arab world and for all to have democratic regimes. And democratic states in the Arab world will have stable and accountable political development and decision making process that serve US interests in the region better than most of the current regime from along term strategic thinking perspective.(1) It is also more likely to help the Arab and the Americans coordinate their relations better than the current approach. However, as many would argue the U.S. wake up call came too late for the Arab states. It is faced with so many doubts from the region and from the rest of the world actors. As the New York Times reported, "He is right that Washington has failed to support the values Americans live at home. Too often, putting realpolitik ahead of freedom has backfired, causing anti-American rage. Mr. Bush is not the first to promise to put democracy at the forefront of American policy. We hope he does a better job delivering on his promises than some of his predecessors. (NY Times, November 8, 2003). Marc Lynch (2003) argued "The failure to find dramatic evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction has spurred widespread debate in the Middle East about the real purpose of the recent war, which most Arab commentators now see as a bid by the United States to consolidate its regional and global hegemony. U.S. threats against Iran and Syria play into this fear, increasing a general determination to resist. And the chaos that followed the fall of Baghdad, the escalating Iraqi anger at what is always described as an American occupation, and the seemingly ambivalent U.S. attitudes toward Iraqi democracy have reinforced deep preexisting skepticism about Washington's intentions."

The US attempt to use democracy as one of its main methods to solve all the challenges it faces in the Arab world is not likely going to work due to the inability of the current Arab regimes to establish democracy and to the lack of US serious intents to do so as this paper will suggest.

The main issues that characterize Arab-American relations, which are part of the U.S. National Strategy, are discussed bellow. It is important to note that they are interrelated and intertwined. They include the following:

" Islam and Terrorism: The US have associated the war against terrorism with the fight against Islam, no matter how many times the US policy makers repeated that Islam is a peaceful religion and the U.S. have nothing against it. They are not convinced. It is part of phony public diplomacy. Many indications confirmed the previous argument concerning US view of Islam and terrorism. They want secular state in Iraq with no reference to religion. It is a US demand to be included in the to be written Iraqi constitution. They want to changes Islamic curriculum in the Arab world especially in Saudi Arabia and most Arab states. They may ask for changes in the teaching of Islam. (See Mellon, 2001, Flint, 2003, Moaddel, 2002, and others)

" Oil and Economic Reform: The US has controlled the Arab oil (Pollack, 2003). It is a matter of time to control the Iraqi oil. The US war on Iraq shows how much the US were interested in the protection of the Oil Ministry and the continuation of Iraqi oil exports. They have been trying to play Russia vs. Saudi Arabia game regarding oil (Morse and Richard, 2002). However, the other part of the oil game is economic reform that will include the Arab states in the world market according to US standards. This is more likely to happen but with high cost for the Arab states. The Arab states based their effectiveness as political regimes on the welfare economies, which they have created, based on oil revenues. What will happen if this is stopped and these states were forced into privatization and foreign investors control oil? Many would argue that to maintain political stability in oil states, the US should maintain higher oil prices to allow oil countries in the Gulf maintain acceptable level of effectiveness. No body wants a failure of these states. (See Katz, 2003).

The Occupation of Iraq and Nation Building attempt. This goal is in the making. However, the US faces so many problems that will affect its strategy. The month of November (2003) has given the US many messages regarding its current strategy in Iraq. This is include the number of deaths, the attacks on the participating nations, terrorists attacks in Turkey, challenges to U.S. power supremacy and much more that is beyond the scope of this paper. Nonetheless, the War on Iraq will make or break any attempt by the U.S in the Middle East. The US is faced with so many difficulties in Iraq. On the top of these, lack of vision, which is evident in the changes of pace and strategies over a short time. The deaths of American soldiers are steady and it is on the rise. According to the Washington Post Report "In all, 437 troops have died in Iraq since the war began, 2,094 have been listed as wounded in action and 2,464 have suffered noncom bat-related injuries, ranging from accidental gunshots to broken bones and injuries in vehicle accidents. Since May 1, when President Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq 298 troops have died." (The Washington Post, Nov. 29, 2003: A14). The rise of the resistance and the sharpening of its attacks against the American forces- average of (40) attacks per day during November according the Washington Post (Nov. 29, 2003), in the Sunni areas and central Iraq, is another indication of the failure of the US to bring security to Iraq. The political situation in Iraq is a resemblance of failing state.

The promised freedom and prosperity for the Iraqi people are translated with economic hardship and 60-75% unemployment and the list can be added to. (Economist: 11/1/2003). A report by the Economist shows that some improvements in the life conditions of the Iraqi people. However, as it is noted about the result of survey in Iraq, many are doubtful of the US success in Iraq for example "while most endorse democracy and women's rights, many wonder whether democracy can work in Iraq." (Economist: 11/1/2003).

" Peace process in the Middle East: The US is not in a hurry to solve this conflict. They were not in the past and they are not likely to do anything about it except to use it, as a tool to absorb Arab demands. The US cannot face or pressure Israel under the current conditions of the state Arab world. A simple question that answer U.S. no interest in the peace process in the Middle East is what happened to the Road Map?

It looks like that the U.S. has succeeded in all its goals with the exception of Iraq by the American standards and now they turn to democracy and political change to top their efforts in reshaping the Arab Middle East world! On the other hand, it looks like that the US cannot succeed completely or failed in all their goals in the Arab Middle East world and they turn now to political change and democracy to help achieve these failed goals. In summary, the U.S. does not know what to do. On the other hand, they know what they want to do but they do not know how to do it.

Responses of the Arab States

The Arab states used to be categorized before September 11 as rouge states and pro-West states according to U.S. standards. Now they can be only one type. "Do what the US is telling you what to do or you are next". According to Max Abrahams (2003: 45): "the White House predicted that victory in Iraq would convince our adversaries to fall into line, i.e., moderate their ways to avoid becoming the next U.S. target. It is a kind of domino theory in reverse." Thus, the Arab regimes are united in their strategy for the first time in their modern history. They must do what the US has asked for if they want to survive and they are not likely to survive due to the unstopped U.S. demands which have created so many internal problems for them.

There are no choices for the Arab states. Sanctions, political isolation, containment do no longer exist in the U.S. strategic dictionary regarding the Arab world. They were methods of the past. Preemption is the only game in town. However, Colin L. Powell (2004) disagreed with this general conclusion and did try to defend the President vision. The Secretary of the State argued " The United States' National Security Strategy does commit us to preemption under certain limited circumstances. We stand by that judgment, the novelty of which lies less in its substance than in its explicitness. But our strategy is not defined by preemption. Above all, the president's strategy is one of partnerships that strongly affirms the vital role of NATO and other U.S. alliances-including the UN." He is right. But the Arab and the Islamic world is the exception.

The Arab states are accepting the games according to the US terms. Do they have a choice? They brought it on themselves and on their people as many jokes about it in the Arab world. Yes, they are trying to deliver on US demands. You see political changes in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait. Oman, Jordan, Egypt and many others. They are doing it namely to avoid U.S. military actions. However, the price will be high for both the Arab regimes and for the U.S. The political unrest and instability that might be created by such actions will turn out to be against US wishes in the region.

In addition, many Arab states are rational in reading the US direct and indirect messages. Some of them have started to do what the US has asked for before coming to a point that they may be irritating the US. Libya's latest behavior is a good example. Others will not hesitate to do so.

Most Arab states believe that democracy is not in their own interest if they want to stay in power, if any definition of democracy(2), accepted by the West, is applied in the Arab world, but most believe that no one can face the US and more importantly they cannot survive without U.S. support. Any reluctant role by the US toward supporting these regimes will affect their future in staying in power.

Thus, most Arab states have started to implement some sort of political participation at different levels and in different paces. The whole idea of these initiatives is not their convinced belief on the importance of democracy, because they do not. Why they have not thought about it when their prisons were filled of citizens asking for more freedom? They are doing it because it is a U.S. demand.

However, this is a dangerous thing to do and it will have negative implications on these governments and on the US. At this time no body at the public level buys the American argument toward establishing democracy in the Arab world and they are not likely in the long term for many well-known reasons in the US and in the Arab world. The US does not care much about human rights because it never did care about it in the past. There is no single historical indication of US support for democracy in the Arab world. The question is why now? When the US is doing what it is doing in Iraq, Palestine, and else where. The US had closed eyes and ears for many years in the past regarding political freedom in the Arab World.

In addition, the Arab states cannot do it because it is not in the best interest of the current regimes. Open political system will drive most of them out of power. The result is that they will lose all the advantages that have enjoyed for many years with their own corrupt elite, while most Arab people live under the poverty line. Democracy will not come from the top. It comes from the bottom. Democracy is not a political decision by decayed political systems to repair the declining political legitimacy. Most people will say we have tried these political systems for many years and the result does not need any Arab Human Development Report or a call from the US to establish a democracy in the Arab world. The picture is so clear and democracy will come to the Arab world sooner or latter but not on American tanks.

Moreover, Democracy is not an American-made product or a medicine you take three-times a day for one week and then you wake up democratic. Democracy comes from within not from outside. These are facts but the US policy makers seem to ignore. It is amazing to have leaders in the Arab world call for democracy but want to stay in power.

Nonetheless, the Arab regime are doing exactly what the US is asking for with out really calculating the effects of such behavior. They are giving some space for political expression in the Arab world to air the anger of the public but at the same time they are exerting more pressure on the people by prisonering more. The supply and demand relations regarding democracy in the Arab world does not lead any one to think positively of the future. They give some freedom in political participation in one hand and they put more restrictions on the other hand. This has been the trend of partial democracies in the world and the Arab world is not an exception. Others may call it "Liberalized Autocracies". (See Brumberg, 2003 and Fattah, 2000, Haass, 2003).

The State of Democracy in the Arab world

The Arab world lacks democracy. There is no question about it. Fattah (2000) described democracy in the Arab world:

"There is consensus among most Arab politics specialists on three empirical observation:

1- No single Arab country is considered a full democracy.

2- Forces of democratization have been too weak to affect Arab politics

3-From a comparative perspective, Arab countries seem to be exceptionally peculiar in their major trend of anti-democratization. In 1975 Arab countries were responsible for 20 out of 101 authoritarian systems (almost 19.9 %). However, in 1999 they were responsible for 46.51 of total authoritarian regimes in the world (20 out 43)."

He explains the case of lacking Arab democracy but they are beyond the scope and the purpose of the paper. The obvious point is lack of democracy in the Arab world, which is also evident in the Arab Human Development Reports (2002, 2003, See also Haass, 2003).

It seems not right of the US to ask for more openness in the political systems on the Arab world. It is also late and lacks any public support in the Arab world. The US foreign policy has been over the past decades supportive of dictators in the region including Saddam Hussein and many others. Its relationships were never at the grassroots level. It has been of the elite level on all Arab states. The question that comes to the minds of many why democracy now in the Arab world. Is it a way to repair declining legitimacy in most Arab states? Because, most democratic reforms in the Arab world comes from the top and not from the bottom. It is for many cynics in the Arab world anther US strategy to repair political systems that did not deliver in all sectors of life in the Arab world. Richard Haass (2003: 138) argued, "Historically, U.S. efforts to promote democracy throughout the Muslim world have sometimes been halting and incomplete." The new beginning and the forward strategy of the US now brings with it so many questions that has negative implications for the US involvement in the region. One of these many important questions, will the US allow more disorder in the Arab world because it is an expected outcome. If the trend of political instability continues in many core Arab states, that are important to the US, will the US accept it as part of its strategy? Will the US, or is it in the US interests to allow for instability in the Arab world. Can these governing regimes in the Arab world bring democracy to its own people? They do not know how to do it? Will the US teach them to do it and at what cost?

Reviewing political developments in the Arab world reveals many unhappy results about human rights conditions and economic corruption (see Brumberg, 2003). One asks me what all the Arab states have been doing in the past fifty years. They promised us liberation of Palestine! Now we have all Palestine taken and on the top of it, Iraq occupied by the Americans. Where did they spend all of the wealth that was obtained from oil and from loans from U.S. financial institutions? The state of the economy in the Arab world is more disastrous than the political conditions(Selcuk, 1997). It is shameful for the Arab regimes to continue in power under these conditions. People in the region point to many examples of many officials in the West especially when they fail to do their job they turn in their resignations to give other people the chance to mange public affairs. People never heard of it at the official level in the Arab world. Can the Arab come to point where leaders can be changed without the biological factors? It is amazing that most Arab leaders stay in power in average for 20 years (Fattah, 2000). It never happened in the modern democracies in the West. Is this because of Islam? As many would like this is to be the explanatory factor. President Bush answered this question. He said: "…the global wave of democracy has barely reached the Arab states…" He explained the states of human rights and economic development in the Arab world, which the US has known for many years and did nothing about them. "These are not the failures of a culture or a religion…these are the failures of economic and political doctrine…" Is the President serious for leadership change in the Arab world? On the other hand, he only wants changes in specific countries like Syria for example? Yes he said, " referring to Iraq and Syria. "Instead of dwelling on past wrongs and blaming others, governments in the Middle East need to confront real problems and serve the true interests of their nations." Nevertheless, Bush wanted the other regimes to continue and implement democracy; He said that while referring to Saudi Arabia. "By giving the Saudi people a greater role in their own society, the Saudi government can demonstrate true leadership in the region." (See the Bush democracy speech).

Internal Insecurity in the Arab world:

The relationship between political development and political instability is threatening the Arab world in the short term if democracy is implemented in these states taking into considerations the following assumptions and sequence.

" Leaders are not likely to give up power by ballots.

" People have no thing to lose.

" The US creates a political freedom environment in the Arab world.

" The freedom environment will encourage political participation

" The Arab world lacks democratic institutions and culture to cope with increasing people demands

" A created high level of expectations by the people from the current regime.

" No official response by the current governments to people demands

" A gap between expectations and institutions will be created.

" A resort to use of violence by the people to achieve their objectives

" Use of force by the regimes to suppress them to maintain their own power.

" An environment of unrest and political instability in the Arab world.

It is important to note that all U.S. democratic initiatives as well as all measures taking by the current regimes to open political system in the Arab world has one common and dangerous theme, that is to have democracy under the current regimes. This is against the core principles of democracy.

Can the US live with this scenario and risk interests such as oil? Then the future of democracies do not only depend on this but on the process that have already started and will be at no point of return unless the US supported the current regime to use all means to suppress the people. Once you start it you cannot go back. Nonetheless, this is on of the best results that could happen to the Arab world.

Implications for Security:

It is important in this section to cite the Huntington gab theory in his major and important book about political development, which was written more than four decades ago. The theory argues that the political development will be faced by gab between people expectations and the ability of governments' institution to absorb these demands that will lead to frustration by the public and might lead to political instability. Thus, the future of the Arab world is one that carries with it many witness of future political instability if democracy is not able to absorb their demands. This paper argue that democracy in the Arab world will not see the light under the governing conditions and more likely to lead to high political expectations of the people which will lead to more violent actions in the Arab states. The paper argues that the transition of power in the Arab world will not be peacefully. In one hand, the declining hegemony of the regimes will not allow the growing forces of the people to have power. The regimes are more likely to use preemption, replicating the US; this will lead to bloodshed in the Arab world.

It is important to note that instability in the Middle East namely in the Arab states is more likely to increase the level of political oppositions to the current regimes. Because political instability is more likely going to threaten economic stability which will lead to a decline in the effectiveness of these regimes. Lack of effectiveness and legitimacy are integral part of state failure. (Goodson, 2000).

In addition Carothers made a similar argument. He said" …the notion that regime change in Iraq, combined with democratic progress in the Palestinian territories, would produce domino democratization around the region is far-fetched. A U.S. invasion of Iraq would likely trigger a surge in the already prevalent anti-Americanism in the Middle East, strengthening the hand of hard-line Islamist groups and provoking many Arab governments to tighten their grip, rather than experiment more boldly with political liberalization. Throughout the region, the underlying economic, political, and social conditions are unfavorable for a wave of democratic breakthroughs." (Carothers, 2003: Internet Edition)

Thus, how these actions will affect US strategy in the Arab World? It is more likely for the US to go back to its classical policy of supporting the governing regimes that has been serving US interests. Consequently, events that are more violent will likely happen. Daniel Brumberg argued, "Washington will not be able to simply impose its preferences on the region. For the foreseeable future, the United States will have to work with Arab leaders whose principle concern will be to shore up their legitimacy in the wake of a highly unpopular war. Indeed, because the war in Iraq has reinforced the influence of radical Arab nationalists and Islamists. Arab leaders will resist Washington's call for political reform. In the short run, even the administration's current go-slow approach may encounter resistance. That said, in the medium and the longer term, the public outcry against the Iraq war will probably wane, and with that, the question of domestic political reform will emerge as a central issue throughout the Arab world. The creation of a reasonably stable, open, and most of all popular government in Baghdad-if we are lucky and skillful enough to achieve it- may in turn reinforce the pressure for change in liberalized autocracies." (Brumberg, 2003: 15)

However, the US is more likely to support regimes to replace the current ones under one condition. Be friendly to the US. Thus, most political powers that compete with the current regimes are against the US and more likely will not be friendly with the U.S. The Islamic forces are the strongest opposition forces in the Arab world to take power under future elections. This is may not be accepted by the U.S. According to Marc Lynch (2003) "American policymakers have long hesitated about promoting democracy for the Arabs out of fear that Islamists might win free elections. Now that political liberalization has been put forward as such a prominent American objective, however, the only way for the United States to retain any credibility in Arab eyes is by demonstrating its willingness to accept unpalatable electoral outcomes-as is eventually did, albeit with bad grace, in Turkey recently." However, recent events in Iraq show us unwillingness to allow Islamists to take political power. Namely Islamists do not trust the US.

It is important to note that the targets of military operations carried out by political oppositions in the Arab world is directed namely on US targets. It is interesting to note that the US embassies in most Arab states are under high security alerts. What are messages the Americans are getting? That they are not well liked and welcomed in the Arab world. The American people will argue that US policies have caused such response from the Arab public. Thus, how this state of internal security is going to play out in US initiative in planting democracy in the Arab world if it is not well received by the public and the current regimes. Moreover, the events of military operations against American targets are messages to the current regimes in the Arab world that these regimes cannot maintain stability in their own countries. How this is going to affect the US. Is the continuation of the current situation in the Arab world helping US starting to implement the froward strategy or other strategies? Taking into account the continuation of squeezing the opposition and putting more people in prisons. How such activities will help the US under such circumstance especially when the Arab public is careless and not hopeful of changes and can be characterized as negative passive.

More importantly, there is some growing evidence that the next militant attacks in the Arab world will be against oil fields and pipelines in the Arab Gulf states. Such attacks will have devastating affects including the legitimacy of the Arab states and it will threaten world economy and US if we see any decrease in oil shipment to the rest of the world.

Are the Arab states going to use more force to control such actions and at what cost? How this is go with the increasing level of participation and political freedom in the Arab world. It is a dilemma that will face the current regimes and it is more likely to affect US democratic initiative in the Arab world and US-Arab relations. This is more likely to take us back to square zero regarding democracy in the Arab world unless the US can take and deal with these unpredictable risks.

The US has poor record of building democracy in the World. President Bush has refereed to Japan and Germany. However, they are different cases from the Arab world. According to a recent study by Rand. The authors suggested "The German and Japanese occupations set standers for post conflict transformation that have not since been equaled. One of the most important questions an inquiry such as this must address, therefore, is why those two operations succeeded so well while all subsequent efforts have fallen short to one degree or another, The easiest answer is that Germany and Japan were already highly developed, economically advanced societies. This certainly explains why it was easier to reconstruct the German and Japanese economies that it was to make fundamental reforms to the economies in the other five case studies. However, economics is not a sufficient answer. Nations building is not principally about economic reconstruction; rather, is a bout political transformation." (Dobbins and other, 2003: xix)

Moreover, the US enjoyed international legitimacy at that time which does not have in the Arab world. One also should not forget the Secretary of State and his initiative for democracy in the Arab world. What happened to it? We hear so many good ideas but the delivery system seems to have some problems. There are too many good starting points but with no end-results.

Iraq is the watchful case for the US and the Arab leaders to see what is going to happen with it and then they will decide. The US is taking a road that is not well perceived by Arab world namely the neighboring Arab states. They include US plan to accept a Shiite government in Iraq and establish a federalist system. A Shiites government is not well received by states like Saudi Arabia and other states in the region that has Shiite population. Steven Weisman wrote in the New York Times "American officials say that the main fear concerning a Shiite government is more external than internal. Some of Iraq's neighbors-Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the Gulf states-are more said to be worried that a new Shiite-ruled nation in their midst might inflame their own restive Shiite populations." (NY Times, November 20, 2003).

Moreover, a federal system of Iraq is perceived in the Arab world as paving the way to divide Iraq into three states with so many problem between them and more likely to heighten already suspicion in the US that the latter is going to divided the other large Arab states including Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. The US policy in Iraq has raised the level of suspicion in the US by the Arab public and their regimes.

The U.S. plan to transfer power to the Iraqi people is not relying on elections and democratic norms. This is an additional and real policy challenge for the US in the Arab world.

How preemption match with freedom wanted in the region. The US is concentrated so much in the Arab world? It is important to note that the roots of preemption in its usage in the internal affairs were part of Arab States behavior toward emerging opposition in their countries. Is the US ready to go to other wars to protect and implement or plant democracy in the Arab world?

The Arab states are under tremendous pressure internally and externally due to US unilateral behavior. The US is ignorant of any alternative view of how to do things in the Arab world. Thus, the unilaterlist approach is not helping the Arab world. Continuation of Unilateralism will lead to more isolation of the US in the world. It is important for the US to rethink its policy in the Arab world. Its current policy is more likely to bring trouble to the region and is likely to affect negatively US interests in the region namely in the oil states as well as the neighboring states of US major ally, Israel? How the fall of the pro-US regimes will help the US?


The paper have posed several important questions regarding future security inside the Arab world as a result of US demands for changes in almost all aspects of life and especially regarding political reform that is democracy. The answers to these important questions have raised several other important issues including: how the fall of the non-democratic regimes in the Arab world will affect stability in the region? What is the affect of internal instability in the Arab states on U.S. interests in the region.

The paper suggests that the affect of instability and political change in the Arab world is going to threaten US interests in the region. However, the paper suggests that the US must finished the unfinished US business in the region as perquisite to avoid more setbacks in its policy in the region and to regain the already lost credibility by the regimes and the public in the Arab world. The U.S. must do:

" Implement the Road map and create a viable Palestinian State.

" Establish security in Iraq and show US success in nation building in Iraq and stick to democratic process and norms in transferring power to the Iraqi people.

" Leave US other goals for the right time, which it will come eventually if the two other goals are achieved.

" The US strategy of buying time and jumpy approach is not helping the US and the Arab world. It is helping the extremists to have their say in the Middle East future.

However, the democracy speech by Bush has an implicit message that the US will deal with factors that have delayed democracy in the Arab world. The US may want to solve that factors that have been used by the Arab leaders as an excuse for not opening their political systems. These include the Palestinian state and Iraq. The Road map is waiting to be buried since The Israeli killed it. While the Iraq situation is not likely to improve. According to study by a Rand. "Nation-building in Iraq faces number of Challenges. Iraq has no tradition of Pluralist democracy; politics has always been about authoritarian rule and the settlement of disputes by forces. Moreover, the strategies of the US regarding democracy in the Arab world are out of action up to the last minutes of writing this article. Consulting experts in the Middle East will help. Walking the talk is essential. According the March Lynch (2003)"The Bush team's practice, however, has worked against its stated goals, largely because it has been based on misguided assumptions about the Arab world."

* Associate Professor of International Relations, International Relations and Strategic Studies Program, The Hashemite University, Jordan


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1) The international literature in the leading journals suggests that democracies do not fight democracies This was the trend of research in the early 1990s.

2) The paper recommends a definition by Lipset (1959) "a political system which supplies regular constitutional opportunities for changing government officials."