Wise West would accept new Islamic regimes

The Arab Spring has seen secular dictators in the greater Middle East ousted and replaced by moderate Islamist groups. The West’s best move now would be to accept the democratic choice of the people and the anti-Western stance of those new leaders.

The counter-intuitive advice comes from Dr. Ahmed Badawi, co-founder and executive director of Transform: Center for Conflict Analysis, who spoke to RT on what lies ahead for Arab countries now.

“Regardless of whether there will be Islamic governments in these countries, the new leaders will not be as close to the West as the old leaders. The era of Mubaraks, Ben Alis and Gaddafis is gone. Don’t forget that…one of the reasons of the rise or Islamic terrorism is the suppression of Islamist politicians in these countries,”
he argues.

“When these politicians get involved in the politics, when they start playing the political game, they will be a match for the West in the sense that they will definitely take a firmer stance when it comes to things like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They will not accept Western interference in domestic affairs. But other that that it can be a friendly mutually beneficial relationship, if the West accepts the choices that the people will make,” he explained.

Another thing the West may have to learn to live with is a nuclear Iran, Dr. Badawi assesses.

“There are of course fears coming from Israel, because of the rhetoric of Ahmadinejad, and of course this fear is justified. But on the other hand Iran is a state with institutions. It is not a country that is dominated by one madman – that’s a very exaggerated way of looking at it,” he said. He also argued that Iran’s regime may be much more prone to the rapid change of the Arab Spring that foreigners believe it to be.

Dr. Badawi says the situation in Syria is arguably the most complex one among the countries affected by the turmoil, and fears are high that it is sliding towards a full-scale civil war.

“It’s almost impossible to envisage the continuation of the regime in Syria as it used to be. There can never be a return to the status quo ante in Syria after the resent demonstrations. How will the regime change [sic] – whether it will be a total collapse of the regime or a partial transformation – is still unclear. What is clear to me is that the more the violence continues, the closer we get to the point of no-return,”
he said.

However for a number of reasons a Libyan-style military intervention in Syria is most unlikely, the expert believes. Syria has regional allies, unlike the Gaddafi regime. It has much greater density of population, which means that the death toll among the civilians would be much higher in case of a bombing campaign. And also neither the Western countries nor the Arab countries have a clear leader, who would take the responsibility for a military campaign in Syria, Dr. Badawi said.