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30 April 2012


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"what has been gained by the Arab Spring cannot be reduced to an Islamists Spring" I fear that my friend Yusuf is engaging in wishful thinking with this statement. pl

William R. Cumming

I assume that all would agree that ISLAM in MENA cannot reform itself in the sense of separation of church and state?
Rights of women?



No. They can "reform" their interpretation of the requirements laid on them by scripture and hadith. This is more difficult in Sunni Islam where the possibility of new interpretation has been long rejected as Babak wrote, but it is still possible if consensys is reached in some useful way. None ofthe Islamist groups in Egypt sgow any sign of that flexibility. In shia Islam the process should be much easier since the prophetic tradition yet lives among them in the form of the "open" status ofthe "gate" of Ijtihad (interpretation). Some of the Ayatollah Khomenei's teaching was quite modern but never was implemented. pl

Morocco Bama

Well, I think what we're seeing is that the seasons continue to change as Chancey Gardner so aptly and profoundly pointed out, and the "Arab Spring" has now become the Islamist Fall....and Winter's yet to arrive. Everybody better have their Long Johns ready....it could get pretty chilly, approaching Zero Kelvin, even.

Babak Makkinejad

The Kingdom of Morocco where the King carries the title of "Commander of the Faithful" and traces his descent to the Prophet is - conceptually - the country most capable of organic and enduring reform among Arab states.



And why not the king of Jordan? pl

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

In 'The Gathering Storm' Churchill argued that it would have been wise policy, after the defeat of Imperial Germany, to have installed the Kaiser's grandson as Kaiser, with a Council of Regency, as a constitutional monarch.

While the might-have-beens are incalculable, I have long thought that a constitutional monarchy might have weathered the stresses of the 1920s and 1930s, in a way that the Weimar Republic proved unable to do.

Babak Makkinejad

Historical reasons: The Kings have been considered the Commander of the Faithful for much of Moroccan history; from Omavids until today.

And this appellation, as far as I know, enjoys popular legitimacy in Morocco.

Jordanian Kings never assumed that title; they could have.

In Morocco, the secular/religious schism in the government does not obtain; in my opinion. It is much easier, in my opinion, to amalgamate the Principles of Islam and those of Constitutional Representative Monarchy there than in Jordan since such an amalgamation is half-way there already due to the Moroccan histroy.


Cynicism is a characteristic of old age. I suffer from it. However if I make the effort, it is possible to envision a world of hegelian "progress" without making the mistake of Fukuyama - claiming "the end of history".

I would like to remind fellow readers of the disruptive, destabilising, effects of the technologies that are percolating throughout the globe as we write - even towards the poorest of all.

I would speculate that Islam is just as vulnerable to technological upheaval as was the Catholic Church in the Sixteenth Century. The Church completely and comprehensively failed to understand the implications, let alone respond in time to maintain mindshare, to the development of the printing press and the book trade it enabled.

I would therefore ask the experts if it is safe to assume that the Salafists or MB are going to "revert to type" in the Middle East in an internet enabled Youtube world? Information technology development is not slowing down, it is accelerating and ubiquitous. Would be tyrants and theocrats take note.

Pirate Laddie

What with this talk of kingship, we should note the passing the king of the Zionists, Ben-Zion Netanyahu. Just how this plays out in the actions of his loving son Binyamin will be interesting indeed. As someone once said, "When the Lord closes a door, He opens a little window."



"... are going to "revert to type." It is not a question of their reversion to type. These people have always been fundamentally the enemies of modernism. They are no different now. pl



They are both Alids. I do not see much of a difference. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, Germany, like Afghanistan or UK, was unified in the person of the Monarch. Once the Monarch was removed, any upstart could claim the executive power.

This is what happened in 1789 in France, in Spain once the Monarchy was abolished last century, in Hungarian part of Austria-Hugarian Emppire, in Russia in 1917, and in Iraq.

In Iran, this consequence was avoided due to the existence of the Office of the Supreme Jurisprudent.

That is why I alos think that those who advocate a Republic in UK are just plain nuts.

Babak Makkinejad

The difference is that the Moroccan Monarch has a very long histroy comapred to that of the Jordanian one. His position is strong on basis of the existence of the Moroccan state over many centuries and the acceptance of the title "Amir al Mo'amenin" by his subjects.

The Jordanian Monrach could have claimed that, but he did not. Nor the history of Jordan is as long.

Babak Makkinejad

You can see in India the deep peneteration of cell-phones, radio-stations etc.

But they remain what they were at the time of Al Beiruni - who described them as people vastly different than you and I (him).

One cannot alter Hinduism through some sort of technological mumbo-jumbo nor can oen do likesise for Islam.

Religions change or die because of ideas and not technologies.

Catholic Church suffered not due to its lack of appreciation for the printing press but because it failed to heed the advise of Dante (and many others) to reform herself internally. The rot was there in 15-th century.



Come now! A Moroccan state headed by a sultan has existed under the Alaouite(Alid)Dynasty since the 17th Century, but the French created the modern Moroccan state. The Hashemite family (Alid)were amirs in the Hijaz throughout that period. They received control of present Jordan from the British about the same time the French gave the "malik" (king) of Morocco permission to use the title. What matters in these two cases is descent from the prophet. This is what confers baraka on these men. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I am aware of the descent.

But the Monarch is accepted to be the "Amir al Moa'menin" and is so accepted by the population.

Not so the Jordanin Kings.

Regardless, I only stated my opinion about the feasibility of an Islamic Constitutional Monarchy - one which amalgamates the principles of Islam and that of Monarchical Constitutionalism.

One such experiment failed in Iran, I think, however, that Morocco has a better chance.



Yes. The king of Morocco claims the title. does the Maliki Mathab ulema' accept that. i don't know. Perhaps they do not have a choice. So far as I know the Pahlavis had no claim to be anything but descended from a cavalry sergeant. pl


Mother Church understood the implications of the 15th-16th IT revolution very well. It did the wrong thing, which resulted in most of the best Paris printers moving to Protestant countries by mid 1500s.

The Twisted Genius


The salafist jihadists have embraced the internet and made it one of their most powerful tools. I was amazed at the level of sophistication they exhibited in their use of this technology. I was even more amazed at the level of open debate and discussion tolerated by those that ran these forums. Believe me, many here in the IC and DoD were equally impressed... and concerned. Of course, the IC always wanted to mine it for intelligence and the DoD, CENTCOM in particular, wanted to silence it. I was disappointed that a greater effort wasn't made to engage this online community in "the marketplace of ideas." What are we afraid of?


Rjj, in the century following the invention of the press, Protestants published some Five thousand works, not including reprints of Luther.

The Catholic Church produced some Fifty. I have the citation for that. The Church missed the boat, although their battle with secular humanism continues to this day.

Can a Wahabist interpretation of Islam survive and prosper in the age of the memory stick and DVD and the net? Is it too early to pronounce these technologies as tools of liberation or repression? Has nothing changed?


In my very humble and 'naqis' (faulty) opinion there is simply no way that Islamic world in general and Arab world in particular will be able to fend off technology's advance. They may not become completely western in their outlook and thinking but it will have a moderating effect on them. It will create room for debate (in fact i believe it already has done that) and it will be hard for Islamists or anyone for that matter to shut people off back into cocoon they were in.


What are we afraid of? Why heresy Sir!

If we engaged, we would need to recall Col. Lang to act as Grand Inquisitor :P


You mean Ludwig the Second? Cause one hell of a lot 'Germans' would have desire unification under the throne of the Wittelsbach Dynasty. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems. At least to me.


Re: the marketplace of ideas. "even invading armies can be resisted but not an idea who's time has come". Afraid of free market (of) ideas?

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