Arab dictatorships are what the West likes very much. Compliant thugs who do as they’re told. We give them money and support and wonder why terrorism breeds.
Robert Fisk issues caution over hoping the Arab world could reform post Tunisia:
Yes, we would like a democracy in Tunisia – but not too much democracy. Remember how we wanted Algeria to have a democracy back in the early Nineties?
Then when it looked like the Islamists might win the second round of voting, we supported its military-backed government in suspending elections and crushing the Islamists and initiating a civil war in which 150,000 died.
No, in the Arab world, we want law and order and stability. Even in Hosni Mubarak’s corrupt and corrupted Egypt, that’s what we want. And we will get it.
The truth, of course, is that the Arab world is so dysfunctional, sclerotic, corrupt, humiliated and ruthless – and remember that Mr Ben Ali was calling Tunisian protesters “terrorists” only last week – and so totally incapable of any social or political progress, that the chances of a series of working democracies emerging from the chaos of the Middle East stand at around zero per cent.
The job of the Arab potentates will be what it has always been – to “manage” their people, to control them, to keep the lid on, to love the West and to hate Iran.