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Likewise, when the demonstrations first began in Tunisia, pro-Sharia MP’s in Kuwait applauded “the courage of the Tunisian people,” and Abdelmalek Deroukdal, a leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, hailed the revolution as a jihad and expressed solidarity with the Tunisians. In Gaza, the jihadist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad were both thrilled at events in Tunisia. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri hailed the victory for democracy, and Gaza Foreign Minister Fathi Hammad emphasized that “we are with the Tunisians in choosing their leaders, no matter what sacrifices it takes.”
Islamic Jihad praised the Tunisian people for liberating themselves “through blood, sacrifices and the expression of free will,” adding ominously that the toppling of Ben Ali was “a message to Arab and Islamic countries to pay attention to the aspirations of their people that are rejecting hegemony and tyranny before it is too late.” Islamic Jihad held a rally in Gaza City, featuring hundreds of jihadists waving Tunisian flags festooned with the words “Revenge against tyranny.”
With Islamic supremacism comes Islamic anti-Semitism, and that abundantly true in the case of these demonstrations. Islamic Jihad spokesman Dawud Shehab sounded a drearily familiar note in accusing the Ben Ali regime of maintaining “suspicious ties” with Israel. In Egypt, meanwhile, demonstrators toted signs depicting Hosni Mubarak with a Star of David drawn on his forehead. CNN’s Nic Robertson, interviewing demonstrators on a street in Alexandria, Egypt, found several who explained that they hated Mubarak for the uneasy peace he maintained with Israel. “Israel is our enemy,” one said flatly, explaining why she wanted Mubarak to go. Another added, “If people are free, they’re gonna destroy Israel. The country who controls the United States is Israel.”
Iran’s PressTV interviewed a lawyer, Marwan al-Ashaal, in Cairo; al-Ashaal also ascribed much of the popular resentment of Mubarak to his non-belligerence toward Israel: “Currently the Egyptians demand a new rule for the country, a new government, a new leader. The American-Egyptian relationships were based on Israeli security and I think Mubarak has been very dedicated to Israeli security more even than to his own people’s security or the national interests.”
The Iranians, Qaradawi and other Islamic supremacist pro-Sharia elements are excited about the events in Tunisia and Egypt because of the great unacknowledged truth about the Islamic world in general: that Islamic jihadists and pro-Sharia forces, far from being the “tiny minority of extremists” of media myth, are actually quite popular. Any genuine democratic uprising is likely to install them in power. That’s why they’re hailing recent events in Tunisia and Egypt. That is also why all lovers of freedom should view those events with extreme reserve – for a Sharia government in either country will be no friend of the United States. If these uprisings continue to spread (there have already been rumblings in Jordan and Yemen), an already hostile anti-American environment could become much, much worse.
All this yet again demonstrates the crying need for realistic analysis in Washington of the jihad threat, rather than the fantasy-based analysis that prevails there now. If Washington had been working to limit the influence of pro-Sharia forces in Egypt and elsewhere, events unfolding now might be very different.
But it is rapidly becoming too late.
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