How the Arab Spring Unleashed Al Qaeda

jihgOpen up a national newspaper and flip to the stories about the Middle East. The daily toll of bombings and shootings, starving refugees and demolished cities have little resemblance to the cheerful stories about the transformation of the Middle East that were running during the boom days of the Arab Spring.

There isn’t much mention of the Arab Spring anymore. The same media outlets that were predicting that the Middle East was about to turn into Europe have fallen silent. They are eager to forget their own lies.

But it was the Arab Spring that unleashed this horror. The Arab Spring was not an outburst of popular democratic sentiment. It was a power struggle of a clearly sectarian nature. It was the rise of Sunni Islam under the black and white Salafist flags.

Obama and his people favored takeovers by “moderate” Salafi groups that appeared to accept Western ideas such as democracy and modernization. The “moderate” Salafis however worked closely with their “immoderate” Salafi cousins playing a game of Good Salafi and Bad Salafi with America.

The “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt opened the door for Al Qaeda in the Sinai. Its Syrian branch, along with other “moderate” Salafist militias in the Free Syrian Army, fought alongside the Al-Nusra Front which was then Al Qaeda in Syria.

The takeovers led to civil war in Egypt and Syria and escalated a sectarian regional conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. The biggest beneficiary of the Arab Spring was Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Al Qaeda in Iraq had defined itself by the killing of Shiites. Its murder of Americans took second place to its fanatical hatred of Shiites. Its killing sprees had alienated other Muslims at a time when America was seen as the central enemy. But the Arab Spring had made the Islamic terrorist group relevant again.

Iraq’s government tilted toward its Shiite roots as the Arab Spring split the region down the middle creating no room for middle ground. Peace in Iraq had depended on locking Al Qaeda out with a political alliance between Sunnis and Shiites. Bush had made that alliance temporarily work. Obama, who had repeatedly denounced the Iraq Surge, washed his hands of it as quickly as he could.

The Arab Spring helped kill what was left of that alliance as Sunni-Shiite civil wars moved the arc of history in the direction that had been carved out by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi during the Iraq War. Al Qaeda in Iraq was no longer seen as a bunch of homicidal lunatics. They had become visionaries.

The media had chosen to wipe Al Qaeda in Iraq out of the headlines after Obama’s victory. The withdrawal cemented the silence.

When Obama claimed that he needed to fight Al Qaeda in Afghanistan where it was hardly a presence, instead of in Iraq where it was still a menace; they didn’t ask many questions. Buried in the news stories were reports that Obama knew that Al Qaeda had ceased to be a major player in Afghanistan.

If Obama had been a Republican, there is no doubt that those stories would have turned into a major issue and the issue into a narrative about a president who lied about a war.

But Obama was a Democrat and those stories and the stories about Al Qaeda in Iraq escalating its attacks remained no more than background noise. Iraq was yesterday’s news. Tomorrow’s news was the Cairo speech and the Arab Spring. Terrorism was over. The tyrants were falling. A new wave of change was coming. And the region would never be the same.

Change did indeed come.

The Arab Spring split the region more sharply than ever across Shiite and Sunni lines. Syria became the fault line in the bloody end of the Arab Spring. And Al Qaeda made its biggest power play yet.

Mali showed that Afghanistan was yesterday’s news. Al Qaeda franchises no longer needed to rely on a Taliban to carve out a territory for their training camps. They could become their own Taliban and seize an entire country.

It took the French to stop them in Mali after the disastrous Libyan War; the most destructive effort at implementing the Arab Spring. But the question is who will stop Al Qaeda in Syria?

The various branches of Al Qaeda and their allies may win in Syria. And Syria is not Afghanistan. It has huge stockpiles of advanced weapons, dwarfing the Gaddafi stockpiles that have already caused a great deal of damage, not to mention the chemical and biological weapons that it will likely hold on to despite the brokered disarmament deal. Syria even had an infant nuclear program.

Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, now envisions a vast territory under its rule. It is surging in Syria and Iraq and has reached into Lebanon to strike at Hezbollah. There is little to mourn about Sunni and Shiite terrorist groups killing each other, but it would be wishful thinking to imagine that a vastly expanded Al Qaeda with access to advanced weaponry and cities full of manpower will not eventually direct that weaponry at the United States.

The Emirate, like most of Al Qaeda’s plans, will probably go nowhere. The various Al Qaeda groups descending from Al Qaeda in Iraq can barely get along with each other. If Syria falls to the Salafist militias already fighting each other over the spoils, they will probably go on killing each other over bakeries, oil refineries and drug smuggling routes.

But there was a time when Western experts thought the same thing about the “Reds” in Russia.

The Syrian Civil War is as chaotic as that civil war with militias battling each other, clumsy attempts at Western intervention and new countries forming out of the rubble of the old. And it may be that the experts predicting that the Arab Spring was just like Europe in 1848 got it very wrong.  Instead of looking at Europe in 1848, they should have been looking at Russia and Eastern Europe in 1919 instead.

The Arab Spring did to the Middle East what WWI did to Russia and Eastern Europe. Al Qaeda, like the Bolsheviks, plans to pick up the pieces. The new Soviet Union may be an Islamic state that stretches across the Middle East while the Salafi preachers and thugs terrorizing Europe play the role of Communist infiltrators in the West. And another world war may be here before we even know it.

It seems unlikely now, but unlikely events can happen faster than we expect.

In 1903 the Bolsheviks were a quarreling band of radicals, in 1923 they had formed the Soviet Union and two decades later they ruled an alliance that reached all the way to Western Europe and was aiming at the conquest of the world.

Lenin and Bin Laden built their respective organizations as a base around a core elite that would serve as the revolutionary vanguard. Lenin’s approach produced the Soviet Union. We have yet to see where Bin Laden’s approach will lead.

  • David Brown

    “It’s their fight” – says the President with no sons.

  • Hass

    In my opinion, the Arab Spring started off as a genuine Democracy movement,but then in came the MB, with the help of the US, they were able to mix Islam with Democracy to fool the masses and the West.
    Now all are Islamic, expect Egypt of course, for now…

    • Erudite Mavin

      Arab Spring started off as typical Radical Islamic take over.
      Obama who enabled this from the start is the one who made it seem it
      was Democratic. This was a Muslim Brotherhood production
      from the start.

    • Well Done

      Arab Spring never had a thing to do with “Democracy”. It was orchestrated by major behind the scenes forces including much of the 0bama administration. That’s why 0bama supplied arms to Libya immediately before the Benghazi incident. That’s why 0bama helped in the killing of Ghadaffi. That’s why 0bama gave arms and money to the Moslem Brotherhood, “democratically” elected gov’t of Egypt. That’s why 0bama gave arms and money to Islamist factions in Syria. A pattern begins to emerge, and people who think the Arab Spring was “democracy” are part of the smoke screen.

    • defcon 4

      Yes, I fondly remember the muslimes screaming: “Khaybar Khaybar ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad saya’ud” in the streets of Cairo and thinking freedom and liberty are right around the corner. Ditto for the muslime mob who attacked one of the few functioning synagogues left in Yemen.

      • Hass

        I also remember reading a lot of tweets out of Egypt thinking wow democracy is finally coming to a Muslime country.
        How wrong I was…. And is there anything Muslimes don’t attack?

  • A Z

    Groups, Al Qaeda or others, would smuggle cars out of Iraq during the war to sell them in Saudi Arabia.

    What does that say about oil rich Saudi Arabia that they are buying stolen used cars from Iraq?

    Now we are hearing that Saudi Arabia is rounding up 3rd world foreigners/workers and kicking them out. How well run can the country be?

    Meanwhile their government is funding mosque building all over the world and their 1%-ers are funding terrorists.


    One group of bandits literally set up next to an interstate overpass and pulled over people. They would shuck & chuck. Take the people out of the car and dispose of them. They were witnesses of course.

  • darnellecheri

    In a message broadcast over state television on Monday, Nouri al-Maliki said tribal leaders should help push fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who last week seized key towns in Anbar province, out of Fallujah. “The prime minister appeals to the tribes and people of Fallujah to expel the terrorists from the city in order to spare themselves the risk of armed clashes,” the statement read.

    Hey, here’s an idea: get a mobile megaphone and start blasting the province with John Kerry’s speeches. That will lull the enemy to sleep, then the “resident families” can slit their throats. Sorry, I jest, but this is more than tragic to me. Are the “people” armed?

    This article is very interesting. I have never heard of the expert comparisons of the 1848 — “Spring of Nations,” “Springtime of the Peoples,” — European revolutions to the 21 century “Arab Spring.” If comparisons are to be made, I will go with the Russian revolution comparison. Adding more fuel to the fire is the actions of Putin/Russian Federation filling in the ME vacuum left from our devoid ME policies.
    “It seems unlikely now, but unlikely events can happen faster than we expect.” Words aptly spoken.

    • defcon 4

      Especially when Iran acquires nuclear capable ICBM’s.

  • johnlittle

    Brilliant Mr. Greenfield. Thank God someone finally reports what is happening in the Mideast.

    The last thing the White House and State Department want is a discussion about Arab Spring, because it would lead to administration ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and, in turn, lead to the discovery of direct involvement of the US government in the Mideast conflagration–an event that kills children and drives up the cost of energy.

    Many thanks, sir, for your insights.
    Cordially, John Little, Sr.

    • Well Done

      Increased U.S. involvement with Islamists, and the accompanying rise in the murderers of women and children by Islamists, has been accompanied by increased propaganda from “palestinian” propagandists involving supposed Israeli violations against children. Never mind that Islamists commonly target women and children, never mind that “palestinans” routinely shoot at Israelis while hiding behind their own children. These propagandists try to make a big thing about Israelis tying children to the hoods of cars to other children won’t throw rocks. Islamists are soulless liars, who will do anything that occurs to them while accusing their opponents of doing it. 0bama is an Islamic Jihadist, BTW.

      • defcon 4

        “Islamic Jihadist” is a redundancy. After all, is there ANY other kind of Jihadist? I’m sure the apologists and collaborators of islam0nazism would like us to believe there is.

  • mtnhikerdude

    Where does the money come from to arm them ? Who is footing the bill ?

    • Erudite Mavin

      especially Iran

    • Well Done

      Iran makes a lot of money from oil, as do the Saudis. Each funds a different flavor of Islam; one “shiite”, the other “sunni”. Which is which? What difference does it make?

      • defcon 4

        Some islam0fascist apologists and collaborators prefer Shi’a islam, others prefer Sunni islam. Maybe it all depends on which faction is shoving islam0fascist petrodollars in your offshore back accounts.

  • joshuasweet

    now show how the Obama administration used the “Arab Spring” to advance the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood is treasonous and grounds to remove him and his administration under the law.
    that the continued support and advancement of the Al Qaeda via the Muslim Brotherhood up to an including their placement inside of our government at several levels violates our security and safety as a Nation.

    • Well Done

      0bama administration appointed Mohamed Elibiary, well known to be with the Moslem Brotherhood, to Homeland Security. He was even given exclusive security clearance, which he used to rifle through classified documents and leak them to a lefty media group. To their credit, that media was too smart to release such documents. Was Elibiary dismissed and deported? HAHAHAHAHAHA! Nothing like it.

      • Drakken

        Maybe we can give Egyptian Intelligence Elibiarys address and let them take care of his traitor within? Along with about 10 others in this administration.

        • joshuasweet

          they already have Obama’s

      • joshuasweet

        strange how all of the CIA’s agents in the Middle East were named, hunted down and killed soon after their admittance into Homeland Security and the White house as well as the Office of the Secretary of State.
        got to love how all the weapons deals were delivered even after the Benghazi events. all the great deals for weapons and fund to affiliated groups world wide for the Muslim Brotherhood

  • Dallas25305

    Of course the Arab Spring unleashed the forces of Islamo Fascism. Just as Obama intended. Take note, in every conflict recently in the Middle East, Obama has aided the terrorist side. In Libya and hasn’t that worked out well. He has supported the evil Muslim Brotherhood over the army in Egypt. Though Assad is not a good man he did not attack the Christian or other minorities in Syria. Obama has supplied weapons to the Islamo Terrorist who have destroyed Christian towns that existed hundreds of years before islam was invented. Obama seems happy with this. He is a Marxist and a liar without honor and nothing more.

    • defcon 4

      I disagree. Millions of Hindus were slaughtered by muslimes in Bangladesh in the 1970’s. Tens of thousands of assorted kufr (mostly Catholic) were slaughtered by Indonesian muslimes in E. Timor. Another million or so assorted kufr (mostly animists and Christians) were slaughtered by muslimes in the Sudan/Darfur in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Islamofascism hasn’t just recently been released, it’s been here all along, quietly killing and persecuting people in the name of allah and muhammad.

  • Jason P

    The parallel is appropriate.

    I used to draw another parallel. Wilson’s “make the world safe for democracy” brought the Weimar republic and eventually elected Hitler, a once obscure putch leader in Bavaria. Bush’s Wilsonian policy of bringing democracy to the Middle East encouraged the Arab Spring movement and it immediately elected Morsi, a leader of what was once a fringe movement.

    The problem is that democracy is not a proper end (if we mean unconstrained majority rule). It’s a tool if it is subjugated to natural rights. “We hold these rights as unalienable … to secure these rights governments are instituted …”

    How could an Arab understand this when the vast majority of Americans have no idea … including Bush and Obama.

  • Nhóm Đào Tạo

    Take the people out of the car and dispose of them. They were witnesses of course.

    ve may bay di Malaysia
    ve may bay di Singapore
    ve máy bay di My

  • Drakken

    We should be doing what the bloody Russians are doing, encouraging the muslim savages to kill each other to their little muslim jihadist hearts content, if they get a little too strong in one area, bring in some B-52’s for a nice Arclight strike and call it a day, then to really have some fun, throw some weapons at the Kurds and encourage them to be independent, grab a cocktail and sit back and watch as they tear each other to pieces, good hajis are dead hajis, no matter the bloody stripe and less for us to kill later.

    • defcon 4

      I’ve read that the Russian military has a huge number of muslimes in its ranks.

      • Drakken

        Tartar mostly, they learned their lessons from Chechnya not to let muslims from the Stans into the ranks.

        • defcon 4

          You would trust the Tartar muslimes why?

  • Hard Little Machine

    If the whole region turns into a lunar landscape like Somalia as a result would that be so bad?