The Economist Intelligence Unit has released an index of freedom in the Middle East, ranking countries on elections, transparency, corruption, freedom of assembly, and the rule of law. Israel rightly heads the list as the freeest and most democratic country in the Middle East (at least if you're Israeli), and Libya, Syria and Saudi Arabia are at the bottom. But what's most striking about the list is this: every country on it uses torture. Every single one. While its good to see the Middle East democratising (and there has been real progress in Lebanon, and some in Egypt, Palestine, and Iraq), it won't be properly free until they stop chaining people to walls and sticking cattle prods on their genitals.
Unfortunately, the country which could best push for change in this area - the United States - is not exactly setting a good example, and is even co-opting these nations' torturers to serve its own ends. Which shows exactly how much they support freedom in the Middle East.