While giving a speech today in Abu Dhabi, President George Bush insisted that “democracy was the only way to defeat extremism.” He also “urged US allies in the Gulf to confront” Iran because they are a “threat to world security.”
So I’ll tell you something now that you probably already know- and I am certain that Mr. Bush also knows: Democracy is NOT the primary form of government for our allies in the Gulf.
Abu Dhabi- the country in which Bush gave this speech- is NOT a democracy. It is controlled by a Sheikh (Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan) who is the hereditary (i.e. not elected) ruler.
And Saudi Arabia, the country who Bush proposes selling $20 billion in super-high-tech weapons to, is pretty much the exact opposite of a democracy: what they call an Absolute monarchy. According to the The Economist’s Democracy Index: “the Saudi government is the ninth most authoritarian regime in the world!”
Funny thing- one of the only countries in the gulf that even comes close to having a democratic government (except for Israel) is Iran! They have a president who is elected (by anyone- man or women- over the age of 15) and a 290 member parliament-type legislative body that is elected for four-year-terms.