The Arab Spring: An Obituary


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Thirteen months after a Tunisian street-vendor immolated himself and sparked the revolutions in the Middle East dubbed the “Arab Spring,” the bipartisan celebrations that attended those events last year appear premature, if not delusional. Now that Islamist parties are consolidating their power in the wake of the regime changes in those countries, President Obama’s claim that Egyptians merely wanted “a government that is fair and just and responsive,” or Senator John McCain’s assertions that Libyans were aiming for “lasting peace, dignity, and justice,” or Senator Joseph Lieberman’s article in Foreign Affairs that summarized the Arab Spring as a struggle for “democracy, dignity, economic opportunity, and involvement in the modern world” each reflects dangerous wishful thinking rather than sober analysis.

This delusional enthusiasm of a year ago has not been chastened by subsequent events that have led to Islamist dominance across the region. That’s because the Arab Spring revolutions seemingly confirm a powerful narrative that for a decade has purported to explain the roots of jihadist terror, and the means for eliminating it. In his second inaugural speech, President Bush formalized this narrative in the Bush Doctrine, which articulated a foreign policy focused on ending the “resentment and tyranny” that left people vulnerable “to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder,” leading to terrorist violence that can “cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat.” Only the “force of human freedom” can “break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant.” When the uprisings of early 2011 removed brutal autocrats like Gaddafi, Mubarak, and Tunisia’s Zin El Abidine ben Ali, the power of democratic freedom seemingly unleashed by our interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan now appeared poised to work its magic in the heartland of the Islamic world.

A year later the dictators are gone and elections have been held, but this optimism about the power of democratic voting now appears simplistic and naive. The liberal democracies some expected to develop in the Middle East appear to be no closer to reality than they did under the tyrants. In Tunisia, an Islamist party, Ennahda, took 90 out of 217 seats on the new National Constituent Assembly. Like most Islamist parties, Ennahda takes it inspiration from Egypt’s Muslim Brothers, whose credo is “God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.” Exploiting the naïveté of Westerners who believe in the oxymoron “moderate Islamist,” Ennahda founder Rachid Gannouchi has assured the West and Tunisian secularists that his party is moderate and does not intend to subordinate their rights and freedoms to shari’a law. Yet Ennahda counts as supporters the more radical Salafists who do want strict adherence to shari’a, and who find broad support among the poorer, more conservative rural Tunisians.

Gannouchi himself sometimes sounds like an Islamist, as when he told listeners at an election rally, “God wants you to vote for the party that will protect your faith.” Some Tunisians are already acting on this imperative to “protect” Islam. Salafists stormed a university in Sousse to protest its refusal to admit a veiled female student. A group of Muslims tried to convert a church into a mosque, and though dispersed by police, they have been invited to ask the government’s faith ministry to effect the conversion. A violent protest erupted against a television screening of the animated movie Persepolis, a negative portrayal of the Iranian revolution in which Allah is depicted as a cartoon. To chants of “Your god has been insulted, come out and defend him!” a mob attempted to burn down the house of the station’s owner. While disavowing the attack, Ennahda called the screening a “provocation” that was equally responsible for the violence. Understandably, secular and liberal Tunisians are skeptical about Ennahda’s promises of moderation, which perhaps are tactical deceptions, given the party’s more hardline base and Muslim Brothers roots. Najib Chebbi, for example, who heads the Progressive Democratic Party, has called Ennahda “a nondemocratic force” with “an ideological project they haven’t acknowledged yet.”

Next door in Libya, the continuing disorder in the wake of Gaddafi’s fall has created even more opportunities for Islamist domination. The epicenter of the rebellion, eastern Libya and the towns of Darnah and Benghazi––where the flag of al Qaeda has been seen flying over the courthouse––supplied proportionately more fighters against our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other country. These veterans of the al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) have now acquired weapons looted from arms depots, including assault rifles, machine guns, mines, grenades, antitank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and thousands of SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles capable of bringing down commercial airliners. The LIFG fighters played a major role in the take-over of Tripoli and the capture of Gaddafi’s compound, and their leader, Abd Al-Hakim Belhadj, is the commander of the Tripoli garrison.  These Islamist allies of al Qaeda will be a major force in whatever government, if any, eventually rules Libya.

Equally worrisome, like the other militias in Libya, the LIFG veterans have refused to disband and hand over their weapons, contrary to earlier pledges to surrender them to the National Transitional Council, Libya’s interim government. Just this month, gun battles erupted in Tripoli between militias from that city and those from Misrata, casting in doubt the possibility for a stable government anytime soon. In the east, some of the largest and best- armed of these militias with ties to Islamist groups are forming political parties. The NTC is unlikely to be a liberal counterweight to these well-armed Islamists. Its draft constitutional charter proclaims, “Islam is the religion of the state, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Shari’a).” On “liberation day” after Gaddafi’s death, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of the NTC and Libya’s interim leader, confirmed these intentions when he told the crowd to shouts of “Allahu Akbar,” “We are an Islamic country. We take the Islamic religion as the core of our new government. The constitution will be based on our Islamic religion.” One of his first pledges was to end the old regime’s ban on polygamy, since “the law is contrary to Shari’a and must be stopped.”

The Islamist ascendency is even more troublesome in Egypt, the most populous Muslim country in the region and birthplace of the Muslim Brothers, who have been the biggest beneficiary of regime change. In the first two rounds of voting, Muslim Brothers and Salafist parties took 70% of the vote, marginalizing the parties of the photogenic “Facebook kids” that charmed so many Western observers. Meanwhile, the Egyptian army, trained and financed by the United States and recipient of $1.3 billion in aid, continues its hold on power, joining in the murder of Christian Copts, brutalizing and killing protestors, and recently shutting down 17 international organizations that promote democracy. The outcome of the army’s stranglehold on Egypt and the struggle over control of the country could be yet another military dictatorship and increasing violence and chaos.

A more likely outcome will be a modus vivendi struck between the military and the Islamists, one that lets the army keep its economic privileges, while the Muslim Brothers install an Islamized constitution, something a majority of Egyptians would support. In a Pew survey from last year, 84% of Egyptians support the death penalty for apostates, and 82% support stoning adulterers. In another poll from 2010, 85% of Egyptians said Islam’s influence on politics is positive, 95% said that it is good that Islam plays a large role in politics, 59% identified with Islamic fundamentalists, 54% favored gender segregation in the workplace, 82% favored stoning adulterers, 77% favored whippings and cutting off the hands of thieves and robbers, and 84% favored death for those leaving Islam. And 60% of Egyptians in a Pew poll in 2011 said that laws should strictly follow the teachings of the Koran. All these traditional Islamic beliefs and preferences are inconsistent with the foundational ideals of liberal democracy such as tolerance, separation of church and state, respect for individual rights, a flourishing civil society, and equality for all before the law.

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  • UCSPanther

    Just wait until refugees start streaming out of those countries, bringing with them stories of persecution and politically motivated purges, just like many did after the 1979 coup in Iran.

    • John Saunders-Smith

      And hope Nancy Pelosi, Clinton and Obama will be there to welcome every last one of them to the US.

      • mrbean

        Sure, exact;y what we need are more stinking Muslims, preferrabley blacks from Somolia so they can rape infidel American white women like they do in Sweden.

  • Anamah

    Obama y sus compinches Islámicos quedarán al descubierto por su ideología brutal, su ignorancia y maldad inocultables. A la vista para vergüenza del Partido Demócrata el mundo se espantará de esta nueva alianza de la ultra izquierda Progresiva con los supremacía nazis tan propia de los musulmanes.

  • Anamah

    Obama and his Islamic cronies will be exposed to all the world to see by their own brutal ideology , their ignorance and wickedness, intrinsis evil. The view of the American Democratic Party as a shame to the world is appalling in this new alliance between the Progressive Soros Extreme Left and the Nazi Supremacy so characteristic of Muslims.

  • Kim Bruce

    Obama, Lieberman and McCain…the three stooges. We should send them all on a tour of the great pyramids and the great sphynx…after they're buried in the sand by the Islamists

    • jacob

      I resent the inclusion of OBAMA as one of these 3 stooges…
      .
      McCain is what is commonly called a "SCHLIMAZEL" or rather a " SCHEMIEL"
      while Lieberman should have learned more about tthe Muslims than to praise
      this " ARAB SPRING" the way he did…

      As to OBAMA, it is part of his own agenda…
      After all, since "once a cop, always a cop"………….draw your own conclusions…..

  • davarino

    Maybe this is a good thing in that eventually there will be a united states of islam that will declare war on us and we can end this thing once and for all. No more nickel and diming us to death with terrorism, but have a straight up all out war that has a clear and defined enemy that can be put down and humiliated into realizing there is no allah and he didnt save you in jihad.

    • http://www.intellectualconservative.com Steven Laib

      Each one of the different nations wants to run things, so it is unlikely that they will ever truly unite, unless it is by conquest.

      My prediction is that it will take virtual genocide to stop the Islamist fascination with ruling the world.

    • davod

      "Maybe this is a good thing in that eventually there will be a united states of islam that will declare war on us and we can end this thing once and for all."

      Mr. Hoffman's point is that it doesn't matter what the ratbags say, the people in positions of authority in the USA (and elsewhere) refuse to accept the pronouncements of the the ratbag leadership. – Nah, nah, nuh nah, nahnah – I'm not listeninmg.

      According to PBS Al Qaeda declared war on the USA in 1996.

      Yet, despite the Embassy bombings in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole we did very little.to strike back.

      • Davod

        PS:

        While Obama has taken the Islam can do no wrong to a whole new level, this is a bi-partisan problem. The Bush administration was being led by the nose by the likes of pro hezzbollah, Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood CAIR and like organizations.

        I

  • davarino

    Let them have their "freedom". Let them have their way and in the end they will squaunder their "freedom" on a mission to take over the world that is destined to fail, like all others. Islam is the last ideology that needs to be brought to modernity kicking and screeming.

  • bob towilleger

    This was a media designed 'event'and implemented (after the initial true acts of rebellion), it has been co-opted by the money folk and those self same owners of msm who have not missed one politically correct rant and lie so as to further their sneaky under-handed ends. This article is a great example of what to look for as a tool to teach 'how to read between the lines'. I tell you guy's this is going to end in our streets being awash in blood and misery and pain, on all sides concerned. I know this sounds like an escalation that has no merit, I'm hoping that your correct. Having lived long enough to realize a truth or two about human behaviour and how masses react/act towards particular individuals,groups, ethnicity, anything to seperate and direct towards a specified result is going to become ever more prominent in politics and socail reality as they gain better and better footholds within the systems of the Nation. We have precious little time for reaction, let alone continued navel-gazing and appeasment. I say go straight to hell boy, go straight to hell and spend all eternity with mighty Mo. and his kind, like this stupid women.

  • BS77

    Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan….what do these hell holes offer the world?
    Not much.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      A target?……………………….William

  • Marty

    At least islam is exposing itself as a brutal, anti-Semitic, and genocidal ideology making it difficult even forthe delusional fools in congress and the white house to deny reality. It will only get worse as the salafists advance their program and systematically attack western civilization. Once Israel attacks iran’s nuclear installations, the fangs will come out and the leftists and ron paul denounce Zionist imperialism, we will get to see everyone reveal their true colors.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Now that Islamist parties are consolidating their power in the wake of the regime changes in those countries,

    I hate to rain on President Obama, Senator McCain, and Senator Lieberman's incredibly gullible parade, but they all made the same idiotic and incredibly stupid mistakes they made with respect to planning the Afghanistan and Iraq wars that they made with respect to naming and interpreting the so-called Arab Spring, in that all their stupid and idiotic assumptions were based and founded on false PC multicultural myths and fantasies about Islam and Muslims. Thus, just like Afghanistan and Iraq inevitably turned into the two biggest strategic blunders ever in American history, they were likewise all miserably wrong about the significance and the inevitable outcome of the Arab Spring.

    Of course, armies of writers, like Bruce here, that continually bombard their readers on a daily basis with false PC multicultural myths – such as the existence of Islamists – which Bruce does here just like clockwork on a regular and routine basis every day also helps to keep their many readers blinded by false PC multiculturalism. Thus, the inevitable outcome is most people become so blinded by PC multiculturalism that they can't even recognize when they fail much less figure out what went wrong.

    This delusional enthusiasm of a year ago has not been chastened by subsequent events that have led to Islamist dominance across the region.

    Thanks in large part to you Bruce and your army of ilk. You reap what you sow. By the way, I hate to rain on your naive PC multicultural blinded parade again, but the existence of so-called Islamists, just like the existence of so-called radical, extremist, and moderate Muslims, are false PC multicultural myths. Keep up the good; you are doing a good job, as we can all see.

    In Tunisia, an Islamist party, Ennahda, took 90 out of 217 seats on the new National Constituent Assembly.

    Instead of using the PC multicultural loaded term like Islamists, which connotes that non-existent Islamists are non-existent radicals. Why can't you writers instead use terms and words like Sharia compliant parties that doesn't imply that they are radicals or part of some tiny minority of radicals and extremists that are hijacking the so-called Religion of Peace™? Why do you writers always insist upon misleading your readers and blinding them at the same time?

    Exploiting the naïveté of Westerners who believe in the oxymoron “moderate Islamist,” Ennahda founder Rachid Gannouchi has assured the West and Tunisian secularists that his party is moderate and does not intend to subordinate their rights and freedoms to shari’a law.

    Gee…I wonder where those naïve Westerners got such unhinged PC multicultural ideas like that one above from? Oh….see below.

    Gannouchi himself sometimes sounds like an Islamist

    Yeah right….he sounds like a radical, an extremist, and an Islamist to you. To me he sounds exactly like a MAINSTEAM OTRHODOX MUSLIM.

    These Islamist allies of al Qaeda will be a major force in whatever government, if any, eventually rules Libya.

    In other words, Islamist are not moderate Muslims. Instead, according to the writer, they are radical, extremist, and Islamist Muslims, and never mind the fact that the existence of radical, extremist, Islamist, and moderate Muslims are really a false PC multicultural myth. As there is only MAINSTREAM ORTHODOX MULSIMS AND MAINSTREAM ORTHODOX ISLAM.

    Man oh man Bruce sees Islamists, i.e., radical and extremist Muslims, crawling all over North Africa, no doubt spreading what is radical and extremist Islam, even though those thing only exist in the dark recesses of his mind and in the minds of people like him that are also blinded by PC multiculturalism as well.

    A more likely outcome will be a modus vivendi struck between the military and the Islamists

    That is between the military and imaginary radicals and extremist Muslims. Indeed, if Bruce was planning a new Iraq and Afghanistan war today, he would inevitably repeat all the same PC multiculturalism mistakes that led to the inevitable gross failures in Iraq and Afghanistan again.

    Anyway, I finally gave up. I couldn't take the PC multicultural brain damage any longer.

    • Western Canadian

      Hey turkey, save a few e-trees and your keyboard, create a web page somewhere, and instead of repeating your drivel ad infinitem and ad nauseum, just link to it.

      You closet jihadist you.

  • BLJ

    Once again the fools in the MSM had it wrong. The only thing to "spring" from the Arab world is misery and violence. Islam has never been, nor will it ever be, about anything relating to peace and democratic ideals.

    They have made their objectives quite clear. When will the rest of the world wake up and smell the coffee?

  • KKKK

    our LAMEstreamMedia bias about the "Arab Spring" is completely shown to be hallow. just because elections are held does not make a democray; one can be only be as productive as the values that inform its participants. we msut due allwe can to show the delusion associated with the "Arab Spring" for what it is.

  • Mickey Oberman

    Spring usually signifies rebirth. A new beginning. Hope. Brightness. Life.

    The Arab Spring has become none of those. It is a return, or restrengthening of a death cult, a return to despair, cruelty and hoplessness, a submission to he who holds the reigns of power.

    Abba Eban's "The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." once again proves its truth. It keeps echoing and re-echoing without end.

  • mlcblog

    Knowing the left the way I do and observing the media, I always thought Arab "spring" was likely more an Arab "death" ( to all of us!).

    Who are these dunderheads who lead our nation into such foolishness?

    All I know to do now is pray and try to reach as many as I can whilst still being a productive member of our society here.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    America deteriorates and is bankrupt but Obama wants to spend on Islam and
    support the Muslim Brotherhood after helping to rid the Arabs of tyrants that
    would not submit to anything but their own mania. What will be the end of the
    story and how will man be able to keep up the insanity without a final chapter
    that is taken out of some nightmare scenario from inner sanctum? If we get
    out of this part of the world except for keeping true to Israel we may yet save
    ourselves from total bankruptcy. One day at a time, November may make it
    yet……………………………………….William

  • esperantominoria

    The only thing to do is show Muslims their religion is false.One argument is that the evidence is the Koran has evolved,er,changed,over time,so it can NOT be from GOD:

    Here is the evidence,the Sanaa Korans of Yemen,the earliest Korans

    WATCH

    "Video about the Evidence that the Koran we Have has Evolved,it is Not the Same as the one we have Today"
    http://www.antisharia.com/2012/01/06/video-about-

  • esperantominoria

    AND ALSO

    "A Short Introduction to Jauhar,Mass Suicide by Hindu Women to Avoid being the Sex-Slaves of Muslims"
    http://www.antisharia.com/2011/10/08/a-short-intr

    • Fred Dawes

      that is the world that monkeys live in, and its coming here soon if not here?

  • ObamaYoMoma

    President Bush formalized this narrative in the Bush Doctrine, which articulated a foreign policy focused on ending the “resentment and tyranny” that left people vulnerable “to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder,” leading to terrorist violence that can “cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat.”

    Indeed, it is probably one of the most divorced from reality doctrines ever issued in the history of mankind. In other words, per the strictures of PC multiculturalism, not only are all civilizations, cultures, and societies all equal and morally equivalent, but also the root cause of all resentment, tyranny, and oppression in the world is poverty and despair that leads to terrorist violence that can cross the most defended borders and raise a mortal threat. Just like with Obama, the words Islam and jihad are conspicuously absent.

    Not to mention that the only reason that 9/11 was even possible to begin with is because we foolishly allow what is in reality non-violent stealth and deceptive jihad to manifest in the way of mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage for the purpose of stealth demographic conquest to make Islam supreme completely unopposed like it is also still to this day. Indeed, without the millions of stealth jihadists conveniently already living in the USA with their thousands of mosques and madrassas as a fifth column, the 9/11 jihad attacks would have been completely impossible, especially when you consider the fact that those violent jihadists were foreigners and most couldn't even speak English.

    Nevertheless, how did Bush respond to protect the homeland? Did he state the obvious that Islam is at war against all non-Muslim unbelievers in the world and act accordingly to outlaw Islam and ban and reveres mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage ASAP? No, instead he proclaimed Islam to be a so-called Religion of Peace™ being hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists. Then like a Dhimmicrat on steroids used the 9/11 jihad attacks as a crisis to justify doubling the size, scope, and power of the federal government while usurping at the same time the heretofore constitutionally protected rights and freedoms of the American people. Ostensibly to protect the homeland from so-called terrorism, which, by the way, is a Western manifestation only, but in reality to create a false sense of security so that Bush could continue making his Saudi friends happy by increasing mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage, which he also did, by the way.

    Hence, the inevitable results is that federal deficits and the national debt skyrocketed the instant the economy headed south in 2008, and Congress is proposing to do everything else except for outlawing Islam and banning and reversing mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage so that we can roll back all of Bush's massive expansion in the size, scope, and power of the federal government in order to get our financial house back in order. Thus, yesterday we saw the first round of the gutting of the military and we are doing it so that we can continue accommodating mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage. The US doesn't really have much of a future. It's practically already over.

    the power of democratic freedom seemingly unleashed by our interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan now appeared poised to work its magic in the heartland of the Islamic world.

    Yeah right and I'm the moon God.

    • Fred Dawes

      It was the one world bankers who setup Foreign Policy, and mass murder which will become the third world war.

  • Fred Dawes

    Its all about control and the next war that will kill 5 billion people.

  • Ellman

    Revolutions have an internal dynamic which is beyond anyone's control or management. There is no revolution in history whose outcome was predictable when it first began. Furthermore, most of the revolutions have resulted in more tyranny, despotism and suffering. The Arab Spring will be no different. Iraq and Afghanistan will not be 'models' for other Islamist states to emulate. You can take the boy out of the country but you can't take the country out of the boy. Islam and Sharia will determine the destinies of these countries not wishful thinking or wasteful funding. It is Iran which is the prototype for Egypt, Tunisia and Lybia. How free and prosperous are the Iranians?