Friday, July 13, 2012
"The Islamist Ascendancy"
The Islamist ascendancy: What the Arab Spring has wrought
Post-revolutionary Libya appears to have elected a relatively moderate pro-Western government. Good news, but tentative because Libya is less a country than an oil well with a long beach and myriad tribes. Popular allegiance to a central national authority is weak. Yet even if the government of Mahmoud Jibril is able to rein in the militias and establish a functioning democracy, it will be the Arab Spring exception.
Tunisia and Morocco, the most Westernized of all Arab countries, elected Islamist governments. Moderate, to be sure, but Islamist still. Egypt, the largest and most influential, has experienced an Islamist sweep. The Muslim Brotherhood didn’t just win the presidency. It won nearly half the seats in parliament, while more openly radical Islamists won 25 percent. Combined, they command more than 70 percent of parliament — enough to control the writing of a constitution (which is why the generals hastily dissolved parliament).
As for Syria, if and when Bashar al-Assad falls, the Brotherhood will almost certainly inherit power. Jordan could well be next. And the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing (Hamas) already controls Gaza.
What does this mean? That the Arab Spring is a misnomer. This is an Islamist ascendancy, likely to dominate Arab politics for a generation.
Genuinely democratic rule may yet come to Arab lands. Radical Islam is the answer to nothing, as demonstrated by the repression, social backwardness and civil strife of Taliban Afghanistan, Islamist Sudan and clerical Iran.
The only thing we can be sure of today, however, is that Arab nationalism is dead and Islamism is its successor. This is what the Arab Spring has wrought. The beginning of wisdom is facing that difficult reality.
[Jewish World Review]