The government watchdog group Judicial Watch has obtained and posted Gen. Al Sisi’s thesis presented to the U.S. Army War College in 2006. The conclusion presents some interesting insights into the general’s opinions on “Democracy in the Middle East.”
To sum up Al Sisi’s main points:
1) The Middle East needs to shift from state-controlled government to people-controlled government.
2) The media must serve the state to help prevent extremism.
3) Religion and politics can be tricky. People must learn to accept the validity and perspectives of other religions.
4) The Arab region should bind together like the European Union. Free-market trading can lead to democracy development.
5) Arabs should ask other countries to come in and promote democracy through educational programs.
Here’s his complete conclusion:
Conclusions and Recommendations
Education and the media will be key enablers towards the establishment of democracy. There must be a shift from state-controlled means to population-controlled means. As media means, such as the internet and television become more prominent, their ability to influence education from the bottom up will tend to energize the masses. Clearly, the extremists understand the power of the media and are attempting to gain influence through their use. To be successful, the media must show that the moderate lifestyle is a better way.
The role of religion in government will be a key issues among many. The moderate view is that there is a place of Islamic beliefs. Historically, for democracies including religion has been a challenge; yet this does not mean the Middle East won’t succeed. A common religious understanding among all ethnicities and cultures must exist and there must be consideration given to non-Islamic beliefs.
The Middle East must view itself much in the same manger as the European Union. They represent various countries and cultures that have varying standards of living, but yet see the need to organize for the betterment of Europe—economics, security and international influence. For these same reasons, the Middle East should organize as a region. This will help galvanize the Middle East as a region and may foster free-market interaction which is conducive to democratic development. And finally, as the Middle East develops the rest of the world should seek ways to assist in promoting democratic values and means. Investing in educational means would be a good starting point.