Remember, Muslim fundamentalists are just acting upon the very fundamentals of Islam.
The U.S. has been on ill fated trajectory in regards to confronting Islam for a very long time, especially since GWBush decided upon nation building in Iraq and calling Islam a ”religion of peace”. Everyone who reads this blog knows full well I refuse the misleading label of ”Islamism/Islamists”, but I have deep respect for Barry Rubin and his work, and so I turn a blind eye to his usage of the term. We have an agreed, but reasoned, difference of opinions on the subject.
The current administration in the White House is hell bent on giving a veneer of respectability to the various Islamic fundamentalist parties in the Middle East and Maghreb, with the vain hope of moderating them in due course. As we have seen with the Hamas, it’s a fools errand, and history will in fact repeat itself in every single Muslim state headed by any of their fellow fundamentalists.
In other words, put your enemies in power and they are no longer your enemies. Moreover, once Islamists get into power they will get entangled in party politics, paving roads, running schools, and doing all the other things that governments do. They will lose their radicalism and certainly stop using violence.
Why the CIA Director is Wrong: Rethinking al-Qaida
By Barry Rubin
It’s time, a dozen years after September 11 and following Islamist coups in the Gaza Strip; Islamist electoral revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Turkey; and a probable Islamist victory during the next year in Syria–to rethink completely our view of al-Qaida.
First, al-Qaida wasn’t involved in any of these events and several more big developments we could list. Second, al-Qaida hasn’t disappeared, contrary to the Obama Administration’s claims. And third, the American homeland is now demonstrably well-protected from terrorist attacks so consequently while success on this front remains important it need not be the top U.S. strategic priority.
So let me propose a new way of looking at things:
Aside from being a problem of counter-terrorism—that is, of law enforcement—al-Qaida is no longer important. It certainly isn’t strategically important nor is it important for the biggest and most essential U.S. national interests. That doesn’t mean al-Qaida should be ignored yet combating it is relatively manageable.
This alternative view is especially significant at a moment when the new CIA director is the father—and the president, secretary of state, and secretary of defense the avid fans—of a theory that places al-Qaida at the center of the world stage.
Basically their theory goes like this:
Al-Qaida is terribly evil and a threat to America. It must be fought. But all Islamism—except for al-Qaida—can be moderated and won over by a sympathetic U.S. policy. The Islamists are the best people to handle and defeat al-Qaida and by giving the people what they want–Islam running the society–their desire to commit terrorism or attack America will subside. After all, if the United States shows itself to be Islamism’s best friend, why should Islamists be angry at it? This strategy began with Obama’s Cairo speech which was a profoundly pro-Islamist statement, and that’s why he invited Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders to sit in the front row.
In other words: put your enemies in power, and they are no longer your enemies. Moreover, once Islamists get into power they will get entangled in party politics, paving roads, running schools, and doing all the other things that governments do. They will lose their radicalism and certainly stop using violence.
There’s a lot to say against this theory.
It either hasn’t worked historically on other radical ideologies — Nazism, Fascism, Communism — or at least only after a very long time in power (including millions of victims) often mixed in with military debacles. It can be said to have worked with radical Arab nationalism, but only after 50 years and multiple military defeats. This was also the precise theory that underpinned the 1990′s Oslo peace process and assumptions about Yasir Arafat settling down to become a great and practical statesman. And that didn’t work either.
Moreover, it ignores the fundamental extremism, anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, anti-Christian, and anti-women tenets of Islamist philosophy, which are rooted in reasonable (but not the only possible) interpretations of Islam. And it also leaves out the power gained once radicals take over institutions. Sure, they’ll be running the schools, but that doesn’t mean they will become entangled in planning curricula so much as to persuade people they should grow up to be radical Islamists and jihad warriors.