DOHA, Qatar, April 19 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama should refrain from sending U.S.-style democracy to the Middle East, an editorial in a Qatari newspaper published Tuesday said.
"Mr. President, we have often written about U.S. foreign policy having double standards and being unmindful of the process of change in the Middle East. We do not want U.S. to export democracy to us because we do not want to repeat the Iraq experience," the editorial in the Doha daily The Peninsula said.
The editorial said Qatar is making progress in practicing democracy in many areas, including media, public debate and education.
"It is true, we do not have party labels and a representative house, but all Qataris are one party behind the emir and parliament and that will come sooner than later," the editorial said.
Dismissing Obama's remarks about being unimpressed by the pace of democratic progress in Qatar, the editorial said, "[Maybe] in Qatar, our pace is slow, but we have no doubt we are in the right direction."
"We strongly believe that change and democracy should come from within and should never be imported or we will have what happened in Iraq," the editorial said.
The editorial was in response to Obama's off-the-record comments last week during a Democratic Party fundraiser in Chicago in which Obama said there was "no big move" toward democracy in Qatar, the Gulf News reported. Instead, the miscue was recorded and posted on the Internet.