Behind the Bush administration’s launch this weekend in
The as yet unknown outcome of the debate, policy advisers say, will be critical for
“There is a great debate in the administration whether the
Mr Gerecht argues it is inevitable that Islamists will come to play leading roles. He says it is better for Islamists, who have more credibility and popular support, to emerge through democratic processes rather than “top-down Islamic revolution”. Continuing to support dictators while slowly nudging them in the direction of giving a political opening to liberals will not work.
But Elizabeth Cheney, who is leading the State Department’s freedom and democracy agenda, argued this week against moving too fast. The US, she said, should not push the Egyptian regime in a direction so quickly that would open the door to the Muslim Brotherhood, the most organised opposition group in the country, before suppressed liberals were strong enough to contest them at the polls.
The challenge for the
The Forum for the Future conference in Bahrain this weekend, co-hosted by the UK as the rotating head of the Group of Eight industrialised nations, is set to launch two foundations backed by $150m (€128m, £86m) to promote democracy and free market economic reforms. Various governments have contributed, including
But the first round of parliamentary elections in
Ayman Nour, leader of the Ghad party which complained of violations, lost his seat to Mr Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic party. The banned Muslim Brotherhood, which fielded candidates as independents, appeared set to maintain its position as the leading opposition group in parliament.
Daniel Pipes, an academic and anti-Islamist, told a debate at the Nixon Centre think-tank in
Democracy was not an antidote to radicalism and it was better to have Mr Mubarak in power than the Islamists, he argued.
Mr Pipes regretted that President George W. Bush had not blocked the militant group Hamas from contesting Palestinian legislative elections due in January.
Officials said that after another intense internal debate, the official
By Guy Dinmore in Published:
By Guy Dinmore in
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