In its editorial yesterday, The Washington Post advised President Obama to find allies for progressive change in the Middle East, but from outside the rulers' palaces.
The daily added that the letter sent by some 140 political activists from the US and the Islamic world days ago shows that the Obama administration could find many allies if only it looks beyond the rulers’ palaces.
The Bush administration’s push for democracy in the Middle East was invented in Washington and imposed, sometimes with force, on a resistant or indifferent region. In fact, the groundswell for democratic change in Arab States and the broader Islamic World began before the turn of the century and continued growing even after President George W. Bush’s second-term State Department mostly abandoned the cause, the US daily said in an article titled "Democracy’s Appeal".
The Washington Post cited the letter that was sent by a group of more than 140 politicians, scholars and democracy activists from the United States and the Muslim World, who told President Obama: "In order to rebuild relations of mutual respect, it is critical that the United States be on the right side of history regarding the human, civil and political rights of the peoples of the Middle East."
The group reiterated a point that the new administration, with its focus on "direct diplomacy" with leaders, has appeared slow to grasp that support for Arab autocrats was supposed to serve U.S. national interests and regional stability. In reality, it produced a region increasingly tormented by rampant corruption, extremism and instability.