"What we’re seeing now in Egypt is something that might be called electoral bin Ladenism. Take the group Gamaa Islamiya, which under its spiritual leader, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, made the first unsuccessful attempt to destroy the World Trade Center in 1993. Today, the organization has formed a Salafist political party with the benign name Building and Development Party. This organization, which like al-Qaeda traces its roots to the Islamist theorist Sayyid Qutb, has 13 seats in the new Egyptian parliament.
Syria will be a test of whether this post-bin Laden Islamist movement can continue to reject violence or will instead be radicalized by the jihadist magnet that is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The successor to bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has tried to use the anti-Assad battle to rehabilitate the al-Qaeda brand — even though it’s another fight that embodies the Muslim-on-Muslim violence that bin Laden came to abhor." Ignatius
"... a year of mostly nonviolent democratic revolution. But it has brought to power some Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood groups that share common theological roots with bin Laden. And the al-Qaeda goal of driving the “apostate,” pro-American President Hosni Mubarak from power has been achieved." Ignatius
Truer words were never..., etc. Islamic revivalism (especially in Sunni Islam) is a cyclical phenomenon. Islam sees itself as a universal truth that should become a way of life for all. All else is tactics.
The fervor for an active pursuit of God's Kingdom on earth ebbs and flows with the tides of world history. Every hundred tears or so since the failure of the Ottomans before Vienna a new generation has arisen willing to try the issue at arms with the West, Islam's principal rival in the contest for the souls and obedience of men. In our days, AQ became the standard bearer for this effort. AQ has largely been defeated but that does not mean that Sunni Islamic revivalism has been defeated.
The "Arab Spring," like the "Arab Awakening " written of so pationately by George Antonius, was to a large extent the result of the influence of Western elites sympathetic to the "causes" of "authenticity" in the Islamic World and a standard of purity of behavior that does not exist in their own countries.
In the "Arab Spring," bemused by the presence in the Middle Eastern countries of amall acculturated minorities of leftists who "talked the talk," of Western political values, the academic, media and governmental elites of the West collaborated in the destreuction of the Old Regimes in various states. They continue ot hope for more downfalls in places like Syria, Bahrein and Saudi Arabia. These Western encouragements for what they see as modernity in the Easterm polities have about them the odor of university bull sessions with Ivory Tower ignorance as a basis. At the same time, the Western elites are incredibly vulnerable to the self serving views of Middle Easterners who have their agendas and delusions.
In Egypt, a great "political" crash is coming when the generals have to face the fact that the various Islamist parties are merely a continuation of AQ's jihad by other means. If the MB, Nur or some combination of Islamist groups achieve effective control of Egypt, the generals are finished as a group. There will be other generals in that future but they will be Islamist generals. pl