.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"The West is hijacking the Arab spring - to the benefit of Islamists"

When writers like Barry Rubin warn about the dangers of Islamism in the context of the "Arab Spring," the mainstream media tends to marginalize it and the Left dismisses it as right-wing paranoia and anti-Arab racism.

Which makes this article by Raghida Dergham so vitally important. Not only because she is an Arab woman, but also because it was published in both the pan-Arab Dar al Hayat newspaper and in Al Arabiya:

While the West speaks of the necessity of accepting the results of the democratic process, in terms of Islamists coming to power in the Arab region, there are increased suspicions regarding the goals pursued by the West in its new policy of rapprochement with the Islamist movement, in what is a striking effort at undermining modern, secular and liberal movements. The three North African countries in which revolutions of change have taken place, are witnessing a transitional process that is noteworthy, not just in domestic and local terms, but also in terms of the roles played by foreign forces, both regional and international.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is trying to hijack the youth’s revolution with the help of the West. This is while bearing in mind that Egypt is considered to be the “command center” for the Muslim Brotherhood’s network in different Arab countries. The followers of the Ennahda in Tunisia are wrapping their message with moderation as they prepare to hijack the democracy that Tunisia’s youth dream of, while being met by applause and encouragement from the West in the name of the “fairness” of the electoral process. Libya, where the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) is in a “marriage of convenience” with Islamist rebels, has become a hub of extremism and lawlessness, with a plethora of military aid being collected by an assortment of armed Islamists who aim to exclude others from power. In Yemen, where a struggle for power rages on, a war is taking place between extremism and a harsher and more violent brand of extremism, with so-called “moderate Islam” in the middle as a means of salvation, even as the latter’s ideology remains neither modern nor liberal, and is rather lacking when it comes to the fundamentals of democracy and equality. In Syria, where the battle for freedom is at its most difficult phase, the youths of the revolution fear what could very much be under discussion behind the scenes between the West and the Islamist movements, in terms of collaboration and of strengthening the Islamists’ hold on power, in a clear bid to hijack the revolution of a youth that aspires to freedom in its every sense, not to yet another brand of tyranny and authoritarianism.

Yet despite increasing talk and concern over the unnatural relationship between the West and Islamist movements in the Arab region, there is growing insistence among the region’s enlightened and modern youths that they will not allow this relationship to direct their lives and dictate their course. It would thus be more logical for the West to listen carefully to what is happening at the youths’ scene, as well as on the traditional secularist and modernist scenes, and to realize the danger of what it is doing for these elements and the road to change brought about by the Arab Spring.

The obsession of some Westerners with the so-called “Turkish model” of “moderate Islam,” able to rule with discipline and democracy, seems naïve, essentially because of its assumption that such a model can automatically be applied on the Arab scene, without carefully considering the different background and conditions that exist in Turkey and the Arab countries. There is also some naivety in assuming than the “Iranian model” of religious autocratic rule that oppresses people, forbids pluralism and turns power into tyranny, can be excluded as a possibility.
The New York Times would never dream of publishing such seeming heresy - yet the secular Arab press is anxious to.

The entire article is a must-read.

(h/t JW)