Arab Spring, Islamist Winter

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The Arab Spring has become an Islamist Winter.

Tunisia’s weekend vote, the brutal killing of a brutal dictator in Libya, Egypt’s upcoming legislative elections, and Barack Obama’s announcement of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq are among the current events sparking observers to rethink future events. Might the oppressors we knew prove preferable in some cases to the oppressors we don’t quite know yet?

Tunisia held the first free elections in its history this weekend. The victors appear to be the Ennahda, or Renaissance, party, an Islamist movement which had opposed, sometimes violently, the fallen regime. “Allahu Akbar!” chanted hundreds of supporters gathered outside the headquarters of Ennahda, which some Tunisians regard as “God’s party.” But the party leader (in the temporal world, at least) Rachid Ghannouchi insists that there is no conflict between representative government and a party that represents Allah. “We have declared that we accept democracy without any restrictions and we accept the decision of the people whether they come with us or against us,” he explained in the wake of his political victory. “We accept the notion of citizenship as the basis of rights, so all citizens are equal whether they are Islamist or not Islamist.”

Next door in Libya, the Qaddafi-like torture, summary execution, and corpse humiliation of Muammar Qaddafi suggest that Libya’s “liberators” may have been more interested in replacing their oppressor than deposing him. “Islam is the Religion of the State and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia),” the proposed new constitution decrees. Conversely, it also asserts, “The State shall guarantee for non-Moslems the freedom of practicing religious rights and shall guarantee respect for their systems of personal status.” As with Tunisia, Libya’s new rulers offer rhetorical ambiguity. But Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council, has already lifted the old ban on polygamy and intends to impose a new ban on loan interest. Abdul-Jalil reasons, “Interest creates disease and hatred among people.”

To the east in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party campaigns for the 27 November parliamentary elections under the slogan: “Islam Is the Solution.” They’re not saying what the problem is. Judging by the exodus of 100,000 Coptic Christians in the last six months, and September’s invasion of Israel’s embassy in Cairo by an Islamic mob, the presence of anyone who isn’t a fundamentalist Muslim may be the unnamed problem they seek to solve.

Though Iraq’s liberation from a tyrant came eight springs before the Arab Spring, uncertainty abounds there as well. The announced December pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq will unleash unexpected consequences. Iraq, which some Westerners saw as the model for Middle Eastern democracy, may be so in ways unimagined. Already, the persecution of Christians, continuous terrorist attacks, state support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, and strengthening ties with Iran show a nation at odds with the one envisioned prior to the U.S. invasion. That surprises will follow the withdrawal should not be much of a surprise.

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  • StephenD

    "Democracy can give power to the people. It is more important to establish what the people can’t take away from the person."
    The most important statement ever written on these pages.

    This is why we live in a Democratic REPUBLIC. The majority cannot lord it over the few. All must live by the rule of law; a code of law that recognizes those "inalienable rights" f=of the individual. We should make it clear that we will ONLY support those floundering governments that share our values of Personal Liberty, Individual Responsibility under a Constitutional Code of Law with the INDIVIDUAL as its paramount charge. Then and only then can they expect support form us. If we offer support for any other system, we are ultimately supporting an enemy of our way of life. We would be heaping burning coals upon our own heads.

  • Marty

    This is the rule of political succession in the arab world: however bad the previous regime behaved, the successor regime will be even worse. arab political culture makes it impossible to achieve democracy in any meaningful way. An islamist regime may actually be the ultimate insult to human decency and individual freedom. The egyptians and libyans seem to be in the forefront of achieving this horror. The planet will now have to endure more than 23 corrupt and dysfunctional arab regimes that harmed mainly their own people. The muslim brotherhood will soon come to power and create more violence and outrages than most of us can imagine. Our only hope may be the possibility that different islamic governments target one another for being insufficiently brutal.

  • mrbean

    Keep your religious eco-psycho-babble. All organized religion is a blatantly dishonest attempt to arrive at a comprehensive view of the universe and our place in it as a species. The late George Carlin knows:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o

  • Dispozadaburka

    The conciousness of Islam is doomed.
    It only lives by living off of hosts,
    like cancer.
    Whatever they vote for or think they are voting for is an illusion.
    Secular, Religious Islam, has the same result.
    Let them think that they can include "democracy" in their vocabulary.
    Look at Saudi Arabia, giving women the right to vote.
    Vote for whom?
    Oh yeah, we can all vote for the King……
    But by the by, these votes won't count as much as male votes….
    THe liberated women in Saudi Arabia were given the right to drive in Saudi Arabia..
    but they are beaten by 10 lashes if they are caught driving.,,
    Ahhh, the Arab Spring….what liberation!
    Hail to the King!!!

  • Irandissident

    They KNOW what they're doing .
    Can anyone really believe that the powers who effectively supported the oppositions and without whose involvement, deposing or overthrowing existing dictatorships would have been impossible, did NOT know who is going to replace the old regimes?
    A lot of us knew, just by LOOKING at the live scenes from those countries. When you don't see women in the squares, when you see Friday prayers are the main rallying points, when you hear "Allahu Akbar" all over the news….. you must be really, really stupid to think these are anything but Islamists. No one is really stupid. Everyone learns how to justify and deny, once they get involved in these things for a long time.
    No one can say Obama, Hillary or some other officials in charge of these revolutions are stupid. They know what they are doing.

  • Rick_D

    Violent islam is obvious. Keep it out of your land. "Peaceful" islam entering your land is a Trojan Horse. Beware. Too bad the guards are so complacent and sleepy.

  • BBFmail

    BLACKAGENDAREPORT reports the butchering of Gaddafi.
    http://blackagendareport.com/print/content/butche

    The Butchering of Gaddafi Is America’s Crime

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    “Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton appeared like ghoulish despots at a Roman Coliseum, reveling in their Libyan gladiators’ butchery.”

    Last week the whole world saw, and every decent soul recoiled, at the true face of NATO’s answer to the Arab Spring. An elderly, helpless prisoner struggled to maintain his dignity in a screaming swirl of savages, one of whom thrusts a knife [4] up his rectum. These are Europe and America’s jihadis in the flesh. In a few minutes of joyously recorded bestiality, the rabid pack undid every carefully packaged image of NATO’s “humanitarian” project in North Africa – a horror and revelation indelibly imprinted on the global consciousness by the brutes’ own cell phones.

    Nearly eight months of incessant bombing by the air forces of nations that account for 70 percent of the world’s weapons spending, all culminating in the gang-bang slaughter of Moammar Gaddafi, his son Mutassim and his military chief of staff, outside Sirte. The NATO-armed bands then displayed the battered corpses for days in Misurata – the city that had earlier made good on its vow to “purge Black skin” through the massacre and dispersal of 30,000 darker residents of nearby Tawurgha – before disposing of the bodies in an unknown location.

  • Amused

    BBFmail it may be "indelibly imprinted "on YOUR consciousness , but how about that picture of the remnants of that Pan Am liner in Lockerbie ? Gaddafy went the way of many tyrants , who have presided over [and ordered ] totrture , murder and terrorism . Save your misplaced sympathies . They are disingenuine at best . And please provide FACTS AS PROOF , for your baseless claim that 30,000 were despatched at Tawargha . You could start by a general location of the mass graves , which are hardly concealable ,given satellite capability ,and the recently available unrestricted acces to the press .