Praise Tunisia, not the Iraqi nightmare

By Rami G. Khouri

Iraq since 2003 represents everything that we want to avoid in the Arab world – foreign invasions, simplistic American political engineering, sharp internal  polarization, ethnic cleansing and warfare, a new arena for Al-Qaeda-like  terrorists, millions of internally displaced Iraqis and refugees who fled the  country, massive gaps in basic services like electricity, hundreds of thousands  of injured and traumatized people, and trillions of dollars that should have  been spent on serious development rather than the destruction and continuing  tensions that persist.

The contrast of Iraq with the Tunisian revolution that overthrew President Zine  al-Abidine Ben Ali provides a better model – and in fact the Tunisian revolution  was quickly emulated around the region. The Tunisian way represents a more  legitimate, effective and enduring way to move from authoritarianism to  democracy in the Arab world, because it is based on indigenous popular  sentiments, actors and political change. Millions of Arab men and women who were  inspired by Tunisians rose up peacefully against their oppressive rulers.

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