Thursday, January 5, 2006

The Private Sector as a Force for Change

"Found" a post about political change in the Gulf on the CIPE Development Blog. It talks about how people in the Gulf are using business associations and civil society organizations as engines for change because political parties are technically banned. What is happening is that political parties are forming as associations and acting as NGOs to circumvent the ban.

The Gulf region is the leader in the Arab world in terms of democratic reform, and this is clearly evident in the fact that elections for various positions have been held in Bahrain and Kuwait and will be held in UAE this year. Even the Saudis have gotten into the trend by holding municipal elections and letting women run in elections for the board of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce. (Two even won!) Meanwhile, Iraq is a mess. Sanctions destroyed any hope of democratic development during the Saddamn era (just like they have done for Iran, and yes, I know Clinton kept the sanctions,) and obviously bombs have done nothing to aid democracy in post-Saddamn Iraq. Purple fingers do not make a democracy.

Just goes to show that bombs aren't necessary for democratic development. In fact, they hinder it. What Iraq needs is a strong private sector pushing for change.

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