The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Marwan Barghouthi, jailed Palestinian, is running to succeed Arafat:
Jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouthi joined the race for president to succeed Yasser Arafat on Wednesday, drawing condemnation from his own Fatah movement and threatening to split the group.

Barghouthi's candidacy as an independent dashed expectations of almost certain victory by the dominant Fatah faction's official nominee, moderate former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, whose only other challengers were fringe figures.

"I officially registered him," Barghouthi's wife Fadwa told reporters after visiting him in jail, where he reversed an earlier decision to opt out of the Jan. 9 poll.
Well, if he wins, that would certainly put Bush in an interesting position.

One of the interesting things about our President is, for however illiterate some think he is, Karl Rove likes to have the media know that Bush is reading certain books. In 2001 he was famously seen walking across the White House lawn carrying Bernie Goldberg's anti-CBS screed Bias (mostly anti-Rather, actually).

A week or two ago, Bush and his people wanted everyone to know that he was reading The Very Hungry Democracy The Case For Democracy by Natan Sharansky who, among other things, argues that Palestinians need to engage in substantial democratic reforms of their own before progress can be made (the linked article isn't particularly fond of him).

Anyway, should Barghouthi win -- and I doubt it -- and should he do so with even a shred of legitimacy, it would put Dubya's near-messianic belief in the "transformative power of freedom" in some degree of limbo. If Palestine embraces the democratic process and turns up leaders not to Bush's liking, which of his bold principles will win out? Democracy at all costs (such as, the deaths of tens of thousands to the east)? Or opposition to perceived "evil-doers", as many see Barghouthi?

From what we know about Bush's public statements on Iraqi elections, one would think that democracy would trump. He has said that should the Iraq elections result in victories for Muslim hardliners and theocrats who are hostile to American interests, then that's alright because democracy is the reward in and of itself. Would such thinking carry over to the Arab-Israeli situation as well?

One last thing: If you want to talk about the Palestinians embracing democracy, particularly American-style democracy, look no further than Barghouthi's announcement. There was speculation that he would run, then last Thursday he said he wasn't going to run, but opted back in today. Doesn't that sound like the typical, run-of-the-mill buzz-building you find among potential candidates in American elections? I almost expected his wife to say something about an "exploratory committee".


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home