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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘arab nationalism’

Why US Policy Betrayed the Moderates

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

In 1848, the new Communist movement issued a manifesto. It began with the opening line:

“A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism.”

For our purposes today, this threat might be reworded as:

“A specter is haunting the Middle East—the specter of America.”

For example, about a year ago Dubai’s police chief addressed a major international Gulf Arab security conference. He said that there were about three dozen security threats to the Gulf Arab countries. But this well-respected security expert said the number-one threat was the United States.

Since that time, this American specter has become vivid. For instance, The New York Times had a recent editorial which stated that the only protection for Egypt’s democracy–meaning Muslim Brotherhood participation in the next Egyptian government–was the United States and Europe. The Egyptian regime, Israel, and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states were bad for wanting to protect their societies from Islamic ideology, revolution, and anti-Western Sharia states!

Might the United States and its allies rather be expected to battle Turkey, Iran, Hamas, Hizballah, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Hamas or otherwise might it support Islamists while Saudi Arabia fought Europe’s and America’s response as too soft on Hizballah?

But what if a crazy notion seizes policymakers, blessed with the mush of ignorance about the Middle East, that they can take control of the troublemakers? Perhaps Germany (World War One and Two jihads), or the Soviet control of radical nationalist regimes in the 1950s and 1960, or the French rescue of the Palestinian leadership in the late 1940s, or Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran during the 1970s, or America in the 1950s (Arab nationalism), or the 2010 Muslim Brotherhood would turn nominal extremists into friends?

Imagine, dunderheads in Washington, London, Paris, and so on thinking they are masterfully preserving stability, making peace, and harnessing Sharia in the cause of boosting democracy!

How smug would be the smiles when those who perpetrated September 11, 2001, were supposedly defeated by those mentored into power a decade later by the West in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, or in the Arab Spring or the Syrian revolution!

Look at it through the eyes of the Arabs, Iranians, Turks, Kurds, and Israelis who think they will try to impose a new order the region?

Consider a famous speech by Winston Churchill at Fulton, Missouri, on March 5, 1946. In contrast to the Communist Manifesto,100 years later, Churchill began, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain is descended across the continent.” It might be strange that these two statements are compared to the current situation in the Middle East. But actually, they make a lot of sense.

The intention of great powers seemed to impose one (European) system on the region. In the first case, it was Communism. In Churchill’s case, it was anti-Communism he advocated, which in parallel would be Anti-Islamism.

But today, what is the system that Arabs, Iranians, Turks, and Israelis think they will try to impose on the region? The answer for those who have been watching in recent years is revolutionary Islamism.

It might seem strange that this is the thinking, but it isn’t. The question is whether there is a system that Western Europeans want to impose. And the answer is that to the Arabs and others in the region–although this does not mean it has to be true–since the 1979 Iranian revolution, they have supported radical Islamism. In fact, it should be understood that after the Arab Spring, Arabs did not generally identify Western interests with support for moderate democracy, but with support for Islamism.

Incidentally, Churchill’s title was the Sinews of Strength, and he favored policy leading a coalition of the Free world which would be welcome today.

To summarize, in the 1930s, Churchill favored anti-fascism and advocated a united front against Nazi Germany. After World War Two, he supported an alliance of the Free World against the Iron Curtain.

Where is the Churchill of today?

Well, directly his bust was quickly chucked from the White House because he was the symbol for Obama of Western colonialism.

Who was the genuine symbol of anti-colonialism for Obama? The left wing anti-Western revolutionary ideological movement represented by the Muslim Brotherhood or Chavez, and other demagogues.

How Arab Governments Manage the Israel Issue

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

“They got them poor boys makin’ frontal assaults with fixed bayonets on that damned ridge and they can’t see the damned Nips that are shootin’ at ‘em….There just ain’t no sense in that….”

“Yeah, some goddamn glory-happy officer wants another medal, I guess, and the guys get shot up for it. The officer gets the medal and goes back to the States, and he’s a big hero. Hero, my ass; getting troops slaughtered ain’t being no hero.”

–Front-line Marines talking on Peleliu, 1943, in E.B. Sledge, With the Old Breed, p. 103 A reader has asked an excellent question. Is it that Arab leaders (and Iranian leaders today) actually believe they’ll wipe Israel off the map? Do they want to do so? Or are they just using this issue cynically to mobilize support for themselves and distract their people’s attention from their domestic failings?

As a starting point, it should be emphasized that using the Israel issue is so attractive and useful because there is a lot of popular support for this attitude. Such a view is deeply rooted in the self-conception of Arabs and Muslims due to their ideology and goals. The “neo-conservative” concept–based on a view of Communist states in Europe–that the pro-democratic masses are being held back by authoritarian rulers who force them to mouth slogans they don’t believe–doesn’t apply so well with the Middle East.

Yet long-term indoctrination has also contributed to this view over the decades as well. Moreover, Muslim Kurds, Turks, and Iranians are far less obsessed with the issue, showing the relative importance of the Arab factor. Still, though, the same thing is now arguable with Islam, when wanting to destroy Israel becomes almost a requirement. On the contrary, however, the Israel card has ceased to protect dictators in Iraq after 2003 and in Syria today.

In other words, there is a long-term and popular basis for this passion but the temperature can be turned up or down by events and rulers.

So the answer, of course, depends on the leader, country, and time. Briefly, I’d say that virtually all Arab leaders have wanted to wipe out Israel but that some have decided that success was impossible and that trying to do so was too costly and risky.

A clear way to put it is this: If they could have pressed a button and Israel would have disappeared, almost none of them would have hesitated. But if you have to spend huge amounts of money, fight full-scale wars, and face the possibility (and increasingly they knew the likelihood) of being defeated that was different.

And while the issue was the top priority of the Palestinian Arabs, the leaders of states also had other issues to consider.

Over time in the Arab nationalist era (1952-2012), more were convinced that it was just too hard and dangerous to fight Israel, at least directly. The problem is that the rise of Islamism starts over from the beginning. Oh sure, say the Islamists, the nationalists failed or didn’t even try because they were cowards, had the wrong ideology and were too eager to be friendly with the West.

But with the Islamist approach, in which Allah’s word is followed and everyone is willing to sacrifice himself, things will be different. There is also an element of cynicism even among these folk.

In addition, another way to look at this issue is that some leaders at times believed their own propaganda. And often the nationalist intelligentsia, clerics, and activists believe total victory was not only possible but inevitable.

Remember, too, that these people have their own view of Israel (Yasir Arafat discussed this point in detail) as a failed nation that could not continue to exist—especially if faced with constant terrorism—because it was weak, decadent, divided, and Jews could never constitute a nation. Never underestimate the factor of profoundly believed disinformation in the Middle East. Just because it isn’t true doesn’t mean millions of people don’t fervently believe it.

So far we have true belief in total victory and Israel’s extinction plus cynical manipulation of the Israel card. There is a third element, peer pressure. Every leader and politician with few exceptions has known that to be less stridently anti-Israel or to admit openly that victory wasn’t possible would be most dangerous to his career.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/true-belief-cynical-manipulation-peer-pressure-how-arab-governments-manage-the-israel-issue/2013/02/17/

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