According to Judaism, we should not rejoice over our enemies’ downfall, yet it depends on the enemy: I was happy when Saddam Hussein fell, I’m happy to see Muammar Gaddafi fall, and I shall be happy when Bashar Assad falls.
In terms of historical justice, there is no difference between Saddam’s end and Gaddafi’s demise, except for the fact that the former was executed following a showcase trial while the latter was executed before such trial took place. Another difference is that toppling Saddam cost tens of thousands of lives while toppling Gaddafi was relatively “cheaper” in terms of human cost.
The domino effect works in the mad Middle East of all places. The next in line will be Syria’s ruler, a brutal dictator and hopeless psychopath. Sitting alone in his palace, Assad must have watched images of Gaddafi’s death with sadness and anxiety; intuitively, Syria’s leader knew that he and his family can expect the same fate.
Assad’s regime is finished, and if there is any sense left in him he must flee Damascus as early as tonight to a safe haven in Latin America. Assad and his guard dogs already murdered more protestors than the number of fatalities in the entire Libyan war.
It was not only Libya’s ruler who was murdered by armed fellow citizens. Along with him, we saw the murder of the last symbol a political system that dominated the Arab world for more than half a century: “Arab socialism.”
Arab socialism stirred the imagination of the Arab masses in the 1950s, upon their release from the chains of colonialism. It offered a blend of young, powerful Arab nationalism with a modern regime premised on a one-party system and a state-controlled economy. Arab socialism promised its followers a dual paradise, both on earth and in the afterlife. It turned to both the emotions and mind by presenting and implementing development and social modernization plans.
However, by the late 1970s it turned out that Arab socialism was hopeless. The social ideology completely evaporated from it and all that remained was the hunger for power shown by a narrow party and military elite, which was unwilling to give up its perks and clung to its chair until the last moment. Ultimately, the chair was broken by popular fury.
I believe in democracy
History shows that democratic states and even semi-democratic ones do not go to war against each other even when hostility prevails. Hence, Israel ostensibly should not regret the demise of dictators from the decayed “Arab socialism” school of thought or their successors. They fought us and were not among our fans, to put it mildly.
Yet what are the odds of democracy taking root in the Arab world, without being replaced by a zealous Muslim dictatorship? The fears that this could happen are not baseless, yet they are still not rooted in reality. The process of a dictatorial change through the ballot box has not yet occurred in any Arab Muslim state. Not in Iraq, not in Afghanistan and not in Sudan.
Indeed, some predict that in the wake of the Tunisian and Egyptian elections, Islamists shall exploit the democratic game in order to take power and later bury democracy. However, I subscribe to a different view: In my opinion, democracy has an amazing ability to protect itself from the moment it comes to life and takes over a human society.
As democracy is the natural state of man, humans are not willing to renounce it easily, especially after tasting it. There is no reason for Arab world citizens to behave any differently.