Before Iran’s revolution, for instance, there were revolutionary groups that sometimes attacked Americans in Iran. During the transition, when the regime needed to consolidate power, it seized those in the American embassy as hostages. And there have always been even more extreme Islamist forces in Iran that don’t run the government. So is having a “mainstream” Islamist regime in Iran better?
In other words, to summarize the situation, what if you have both radical Islamist governments and ongoing terrorism from al-Qaida? Isn’t that disastrous?
An organization that can seize about 1,000 hostages in the middle of Algeria, a country whose regime has been so tough on radical Islamists, is not dead. And who needs the rag-tag gunmen of al-Qaida when people with the same basic worldview run all of Egypt and soon Syria as well?
To a greater or lesser extent, all of the people of Iran, Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and probably soon Syria are hostages. Turkey, too, has gone down this road.
There has been a debate based on the image of Islamists “hijacking” Islam. Well, the Obama Administration sees nothing wrong with Islamists hijacking entire countries, an action that will do a great deal to ensure that their interpretation of Islam becomes hegemonic as well, spreading their influence to more states as well.
Originally published at Rubin Reports.Barry Rubin
About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.
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