Bahman Nirumand has witnessed historical events from an eastern and a western perspective, and he is at home somewhere between the two. He is a refugee from the Middle East and an advocate of democracy and human rights, and he is now asking the West to be consistent. He believes that for the foreseeable future its insistence on realpolitik has deprived it of credibility, and that it is ironic that, in order to protect their interests, the proponents of human rights have for a long time been willing to support tyrants. This has incited a great deal of hatred in the Muslim world. And, more to the point, the Europeans and Americans are throwing away an opportunity to champion their values.
That is why the West is unable to come to terms with the Arab Spring in general and the civil war in Syria in particular. How is it possible at one and the same time to insist on the importance of democracy, to impose punitive sanctions, and to continue to give staunch support to Saudi Arabia's feudal masters?
Nirumand calls on Europe and the United States to bring their Middle East policies into line with their own stated values. The region can be stabilized only if the West systematically supports groups which are in favour of democracy.