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16 September 2012


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I think the problem is far worse than the Arab liberal elites wish to admit. Years of stagnation and a lack of opposition has left the MB and other Islamists the only organised political forces. This has taken more than two generations and vast sums of Gulf money to achieve. Whoever is to counter this will need a similar amount of time and money surely.
Worse still, in Libya, a massive turnout by women helped ensure that non-Islamic parties' candidates were returned at the national elections. The MB leader was so incensed he accused the winning coalition of grand fraud. Now the MB, particularly the Qatari-backed elements in the 17 Feb militia in Benghazi and the Special Security Committees in Tripoli are in cahoots with Ansar al-Sharia and both are behind the Sufi shrine desecrations. Why? To sew fear, show the electorate the political authorities are not in charge and (eventually) take direct power.
17 February has been the best funded militia in Cyrenaica since the start. They have never arrested a single person involved in assassinating national army officers, or kidnappers, or the morons who smashed Allied gravestones. This is the fruits of neocon intervention, this is what the Qataris and the Saudis want to see.


On the Egyptian liberals, I found a story in the WSJ on attempts by various secular - and mainly liberal - political groups to form coalitions. Evidently, this is a difficult and painful process. To facilitate matters, they sought the help of a consultant who specialized in business mergers and acquisitions. (No - not Mitt Romney m
moonlighting). His involvement seems not to have produced a stunning success. Perhaps, what they really need is professional facilitator as the WP might advise.

Babak Makkinejad

I emphatically disagree with Ajami and Lewis.

They are taking European History to be normative and they are wrong.

I think what Muslim Civilization experienced is more normative of mankind. That is, people find a comfortable place and then they stay in it.

That happened to Chinese, to Romans, to Indians, and others.

Europe has the (mis)fortune of getting kicked out of her comfort zone by the advent of Islam.

The center of European civilization was pushed North among the barbaric Goths, Estrogoths, Germani, Alemani and others.

It is Europe that is unique.

Jose L Campos

I don't find the Muslim behavior very strange.
I read the psalms and in them the Lord is supposed to rule from the Great River to the ends of the earth. The faithful are supposed to use two edge swords to take vengeance upon the peoples and the foreign princes are to be loaded with chains. All the peoples will go to Jerusalem to worship the Jewish God. In the prophets the wealth of nations will flow to Jerusalem. The inhabitants of Jerusalem have been slaughtered so that the Israelites take full possession of the land that the Lord had granted them.
Is it so strange that another Abrahamic religion follow along those paths?


Mr. Brenner: Will we never escape the false argument that business competence = political competence?

Does anyone remember the first Perot Administration....? How about Meg Whitman's time as Governor of California?

Al Spafford

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLjZoA3GaVE&feature=related In this video on Russian TV with Ex-CIA "Bin Laden" team head, Michael Scheuer, "The Arab Spring" issues were well laid out.

Abu Sinan

I think the religious inclination of the crowds in many of these countries to be over stated. As one person noted about the crowds that gathered in Cairo to protest, when the Adhan went off for morning prayers, almost none of the protesters bothered with what is one of the greatest obligations of religious Muslims, the 5 daily prayers. Almost none of the protesters prayed in the streets or went to the mosque. They completely ignored their prayers. Not the actions of people who are ultra religious.

I think the "religious" angle is being overstated and I believe it has a lot to do with national pride, to which religious identity issues attached, and plain politics.


abu sinan

Keep telling yourself that. you'll feel better. pl


I hope we have better people dealing with the current Chinese-Japanese confrontation over the islands. America has lost control of the Islamic Cultural Continent, let us hope the Far East turns out better.

BHO and HRC have drooped the ball in ignoring China's need for petroleum and the Arab spring mutual needs to confrot America.

Western Civilizations has not done well when fighting both the Middle and Far East Civilizations.

"The center of European civilization was pushed North among the barbaric Goths, Estrogoths, Germani, Alemani and others.

It is Europe that is unique."

Babak Makkinejad, the Europeans were then pulled out by the Moors and Mongols forcing them to develop better technologies to conquer most of the world.




Correct me if I am wrong, but during confrontations Muslims can delay prayers until after the incidents.


http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/NI18Aa01.html This Asia times article is worth a full read on the consequences of an Israeli-Iran conflict on the greater ME


"obviously fueled by a boundless hatred for America"

Perhaps another observation may be, The hatred for US FP!

Just as much, people in US in due time, may come to hate the policies promoted by the corporate interest groups and their wall street bankers against the middle class.. that hatred may not necessarily be hating America.


It was the Greeks who beat the Persians at Marathon and later Thermopylae. That allowed the cultural foundations of Europe to take root. The rise of Rome and its conquest of Carthage and then the Near East allowed the further cultural basis of Europe to coalesce.

r whitman

Poorly written fiction!!


And what happened when Rome/Constantinople fell?


One thousand four hundred years later? The Dark Ages, it lasted 300 years. (which is, coincidentally, what John Maynard Keynes alluded to in his converstation with FDR when asked about the last time there was an economic collapse like the Great Depression)


Interesting you mention Wall Street? Today's the 1 year anniversary of the Occupy movement. Mayor Bloomberg (he who spent $100 million of his own money getting the job) is having the NYP keep the streets safe for the bankers.

Abu Sinan

Religion is just the flavour of the day, as was Nassir and the whole pan Arab movement. That failed, so will Islamic extremism and the "Islam" is the answer movement. The fundamental political issues are still at play and have little or nothing to do with religion.

It was the secularists and many Christians who helped lead the movements in the 1970s and 1980s. The first suicide bomber in Lebanon was a leftist Christian. George Habash and the PFLP. To lay it all off on religion is to miss the historical trends and to minimise popular support.

If we think the religion is the issue, what was the issue before Islamism became envogue? When mini-skirts were more popular in Cairo than hijabs, was it still religion motivating anti Western and any American sentiment? If you lay it off on religion you'll get it wrong.


Abu Sinan

Islam is the base layer in the "wedding cake" that is Islamicate civilization. Without Islam the Islamic World would be something very different as it was before Islam. Arab Muslims love to claim that they hate the West because of colonialism, capitalist exploitation, cultural depravity, etc. Hooey! At the bottom of their list of grievances is their conception of the West and America as "the other," the other half of a moiety that opposes the conversion of the world to Islam. Having that as a 'base," Arab/Muslim thinking; structures its arguments to provide rationalizations for its religious hostility Example - Are there unemployed in Egypt? Yes? Did the West make Egypt's masses poor? No, We did not. The Egyptians made themselves poor through internal exploitation by their own upper classes over the last several thousand years and the huge birth-rate that keeps them in poverty. When faced with unpleasant facts like these, the Egyptians (as an example) express their seething hostility towards the West in terms of their underlying religious hostility to the West. pl


After the Romans, Europeans turned to Religion and isolation which required a outside factors to look outwards. The Middle Ages were not the only cause to those events and affected regions differently.

I wonder if the Saudi's could buy al-Andalus given Spain's current financial problems.


If I may add, compare Egypt to Indonesia for an example of PL's arguments.

Abu Sinan

Having spent years in and around the Muslim community that just is not my experience. They dont complain about Americans and the West not converting, they dont complain because the West hasnt seen the wonders of Islam. Their complaints are almost universally about Western foreign policy, Western economic issues, subservience to Israel and issues along these lines.

I know the ultra religious Salafi type and only the most extreme of them talk about a "global caliphate" or anything along those lines. The moderate, practicing Muslims who form the majority of the Muslim world could care less about a Muslim caliphate, and a large chunk of them actually fear and loath the idea because they know the Salafi types would be the ones wanting to control any such entity and force their minority views on the rest of the Muslim world.

In the 1970s and 1980s most of the opposition to the above named grievances, real or perceived, was along nationalist and leftist lines. The religious extremists, and those who used religion to push their agenda, were the minority. If there was this unending, undying hatred of Islam against the West, why would have leftist movements taken the lead in opposition from the late 1940s to the 1980s when the religious movements stepped up and started taking a role?

The leftists and nationalists fail. It is the only reason they are getting any traction in the Middle East. Now that many of them are getting their chance at power, I am convinced they will fail as well. The biggest question is, when the next vote comes around and they are voted out, will they leave or just become religious dictators? The people of the Middle East are looking for answers. They tried the leftists, they failed. They'll try the religious parties and they will fail as well.

Personally I think there are fundamental issues and failures within Middle Eastern cultures, and within the societies in the Muslim world in general. Until these are address and dealt with NO party will be able to move these countries forward. I am just not sure at this time that the cultures are really interested in confronting the real societal issues that are largely to blame for their issues, rather they are are looking for another party to define who is to blame for their woes.

I take the Michael Scheuer view that there are real issues behind the religious rhetoric. It serves the needs of our governments here in the West, and their movements back home, to blame it all on religion. When it is religious it means there cannot be anything to done about it and no one has to look at the real issues involved.

Babak Makkinejad

The Europeans clearly borrowed and learnt from Muslims. But that was not the cause, rather it was the effect.

The reason I say that is that for centuries, even though Muslims were aware of advances in Europe, they cared not one whit to learn and to adopt

The causes of European ascendancy are too complex for me to get into here but I do not believe that those causes could be directly traced to intellectual borrowing from the World of Islam. Modern Empirical Sciences and Modern State Organization both have origins in Medieval Europe.


Again, it falls to Jon Stewart to be our national short-term memory on pushing democracy in the Middle East: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-september-17-2012/actual-democalypse-2012---conservatives-rethink-middle-eastern-democracy.

Babak Makkinejad

What you are observing is that human beings everywhere and all times have been dominated by minorities.

Look no futher than the United States - the Office of Secretary of Defense is penterated and occupied by a certain minority and then set an agenda that has been driving US action for almost 20 years.

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