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Can Liberal Americans still support the Arab Spring? It's not what you think it is - and most likely it never was


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Initial post: Dec 4, 2011 10:28:32 AM PST
L. King says:
Can we learn from history? I think we can. My purpose in introducing this thread is to invite a comparisson between the current "Arab Spring" and the repressive coups in the Arab World that lead to oppression and dictatorship.
Acccording to a 2010 PEW poll:

At least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan say they would favor making each of the following the law in their countries: stoning people who commit adultery, whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery and the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion. Majorities of Muslims in Jordan and Nigeria also favor these harsh punishments.
At least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan say they would favor making each of the following the law in their countries: stoning people who commit adultery, whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery and the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion. Majorities of Muslims in Jordan and Nigeria also favor these harsh punishments.
Muslim publics offer mixed views of gender segregation in the workplace. Pakistani Muslims are the most supportive: 85% say they would favor making segregation of men and women in the workplace the law in their country. A narrower majority (54%) of Muslims in Egypt also support making gender segregation the law in their country.

Opinions are more divided in Jordan and Nigeria. Half of Jordanian Muslims favor gender segregation and 44% oppose it. Among Nigerian Muslims, nearly the same percentage favor making segregation of men and women in the workplace the law in their country (49%) as oppose it (48%).

In Lebanon, Turkey and Indonesia, majorities of Muslims reject legalized gender segregation in the workplace. More than eight-in-ten in Lebanon (89%) and Turkey (84%) express this opinion, as do 59% of Muslims in Indonesia.

http://www.pewglobal.org/2010/12/02/muslims-around-the-world-divided-on-hamas-and-hezbollah/

Now the results of first round of elections in Egypt are in:
Islamists win 65% of votes in first round of Egypt parliamentary election

Sunday, 04 December 2011

Islamist parties have won 65 percent of votes for party list seats in the first round of parliamentary elections, according to official figures obtained by AFP on Sunday.

The Muslim Brotherhood won 36.62 percent of the vote, followed by the hard-line Salafist al-Nur party with 24.36 and the moderate Al-Wasat with 4.27, according to a chart provided by elections committee secretary general Yusri Abdel Karim.

Abdel Karim said that the committee would not provide percentages until the end of voting on January 10, but according to an official chart he provided the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party list won 3.56 million out of 9.73 million valid ballots.

The al-Nur party won 2.37 million, and the Wasat party 415,590 votes.
Electoral workers count ballots after voting closed at a center for vote counting during the second day of parliamentary elections in Alexandria.

THE LIBERAL COALITION THE EGYPTIAN BLOC RECEIVED 13.35 PERCENT, WITH (only) 1.29 MILLION VOTES. [emphasis added]

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/12/04/180763.html

Instead of an Arab Spring we are seeing a repeat of the populist coups that took place in the Arab world in the 1950s, starting with Nasser's "Free Officers" take over in 1952. While mouthing the phrases of liberation and democracy, the end result, especially for women and minorities will be anything but. Truly I wish this were not the case, but the results are not encouraging.

Posted on Dec 4, 2011 10:41:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 4, 2011 11:50:43 AM PST
Rachel says:
L. King:
As usual when you see people go against a repressive government you have hopes. Yet, this Spring became a fall immediately. Actually, we could have predicted it, the revolt was energetic, but we knew the Muslim brotherhood was strong and we also know that to develop to a democracy is difficult. The best example is Haiti.

Indeed it never was a spring Revolution like in Frankfurt 1848. Or Solidarity in Poland.

Rachel

Posted on Dec 4, 2011 11:13:01 AM PST
Ku says:
It's obviously still much too early to say. There's about to be a huge fight for the soul of Egypt.

So far it looks like the Egyptian parliament will be conservative Islamic in outlook.

But it's not clear which way the Muslim Brotherhood want to go. They've ruled out a coalition with the fundamentalist Nour party.

They may be tempered by going into an alliance with more secular or liberal forces.

I don't know what the MB stands for, truth be told. I doubt many do. They appear to have the backing of the middle class and professional classes in Egypt.

They know that their economy depends to a large extent on tourism. Maybe they'll decide it's fine to scare off the tourists. Maybe they won't.

We'll see.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 11:17:11 AM PST
Susanna says:
As with Iran in 1979, Islamists in Egypt snatched victory from those who sacrificed for reform. The largest Arab nation now belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood - the group that pioneered 20th century Islamic terrorism and still sanctions violence against civilians in the name of Allah.

http://thereligionofpeace.com/

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 11:22:25 AM PST
Ku says:
Meh, sounds like Menachim Begin and Irgun.

We'll see how they behave in power.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 11:33:03 AM PST
Susanna says:
I didn't know that Irgun still sanctions violence against civilians in the name of Allah.

What you haven't been told is this: the Moslem Brothers were a small, unpopular group of anti-modern fanatics unable to attract members, until they were adopted by Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich beginning in the 1930s. Under the tutelage of the Third Reich, the Brothers started the modern jihadi movement, complete with a genocidal program against Jews... "[t]he significance of the Brotherhood to Islamism is comparable to that of the Bolshevik Party to communism: It was and remains to this day the ideological reference point and organizational core for all later Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda and Hamas."

What is equally ominous for Jews and Israel is that despite Mubarak's pragmatic coexistence with Israel for the last thirty years, every Egyptian leader from Nasser through Sadat to Mubarak has enshrined Nazi Jew-hatred in mainstream Egyptian culture out of both conviction and political calculation. Nasser, trained by Nazis as a youth, spread the genocidal conspiracy theories of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, making it a bestseller throughout the Arab world. On the Ramadan following 9/11, Mubarak presided over a thirty-week-long TV series dramatizing Elders and its genocidal message.

It is impossible to assess the danger posed by a takeover of Egypt today by the Moslem Brothers without knowing that Nazism launched the Brothers and is still at their core. This response to modernity and to Jews was not predetermined by Egyptian history or culture. It was Germany under Hitler that changed the course of history for Egypt and the Middle East."

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/01/why_we_should_fear_the_moslem.html

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 11:38:16 AM PST
Ku says:
The MB was founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna.

That's somewhat before the Nazis.

You're buying into propaganda.

The wiki article doesn't mention the Germans once.

I'll have to do more research into them but I'll be wary of what you post, Susanna. And I hope other posters will, too.

If they cancel the peace treaty with Israel and decide to immediately implement policies of the Salafist ultra-conservatives, there will obviously be trouble.

But I've looked at their platform on wiki - the page on their party's name Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) - and haven't seen anything that immediately rings alarm bells.

But like I said, we'll see.

Who's 'americanthinker.com', anyway?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 12:11:13 PM PST
Susanna says:
I wouldn't make too many rash judgements based on wiki.

I've been wary of what you post for quite some time, Ku. "And I hope other posters will, too."

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 12:20:53 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 4, 2011 12:21:38 PM PST
Ku says:
I'm glad you've been wary of my posts, Susanna. Skepticism is a sane attitude.

So far my posts have been the opposite of rash. I've said 'wait and see' three times.

The information out there re the MB is highly conflicted.

There's the BBC's Jeremy Bowen saying they're conservative and non-violent.

They are certainly highly critical of the West's Middle East policy. That's definitely a bummer.

I'm sifting through their bye-laws at the moment.

http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/673.pdf

Apparently, they took them down from the website back in January or February. But they're still available.

That can mean either that they have something to hide or that there's a debate going on about the direction they want to go in.

Some of the stuff is obviously negative and disturbing.

You didn't answer the question re 'americanthinker.com', I couldn't help noticing.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 12:26:39 PM PST
Susanna says:
"That can mean either that they have something to hide "

That was my first thought.

I don't know who americanthinker really is (I stole the quote from another poster). I have visited the website only twice.
To me at least they seem right wing. (However, that doesn't mean their reporting is false or bogus.)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 12:32:20 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 4, 2011 12:32:34 PM PST
Ku says:
Have you read about Mursi's interview with Gulf News?

http://gulfnews.com/news/region/egypt/egypt-s-islamists-seek-to-allay-fears-of-minorities-1.942896

Course, if he talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk, we'll know what we're dealing with.

Posted on Dec 4, 2011 12:48:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 4, 2011 1:25:29 PM PST
DarthRad says:
L. King,

Excellent question! And a valid topic for discussion. Sounds very much like the one I started about Israel.

Unlike you, I will take the question seriously and avoid personal attacks.

I think the bottom line answer is that the outcome of the Arab Spring and the drive for democracy in the Muslim world is likely to be mixed. It is quite likely that the outcome will not be favorable for Israel, but ultimately may help the U.S. break the cycle of hatred directed towards our country in the Arab/Muslim world.

The reason? If we vocally support and do not hinder the people of each country in their selection of government, then they have no one to blame but themselves for what happens afterwards.

President Carter was the one who first started this idea of promoting democracy in the Muslim world with Iran - people forget that he stopped supporting the shah unequivocally and more or less signaled that the US would stand by if the shah were overthrown. This marked the start of the Iranian revolution, as the shah's security forces started to flee instead of brutally repressing the protestors as they had in the past.

Khomeni, and the Iranian people, however remembered history differently, and had a much longer memory, remembering that it was the US that had installed the shah in the first place in 1953, using the CIA to overthrow the democratically elected Prime Minister Mosadegh after he made noises about nationalizing the oil industry.

The US does not have the same sort of history with Egypt, as the line of succession has always been determined by the military. So far, the Muslim Brotherhood has not started up any anti-US rhetoric, as I think they appreciate the boost that Obama gave them by encouraging Mubarak to step down.

Similarly, Hamas, after getting elected to power in Gaza, thanks to the full throttled support of Bush Jr. and Condi Rice, who pushed for elections despite warnings from the Israelis, has not started up anti-American rhetoric.

I suspect that the political forces involved in the Arab Spring understand that the US truly does want to see democracy flourish in the Middle, and whether these political forces intend to allow democracy to continue or not in their country after winning, they do see that it is to their advantage to not get the US upset at them with lots of the usual anti-American rhetoric.

One could almost see what Bush Jr. did as a brilliant master stroke, pretending to be the lapdog of Israel while ultimately doing what was in the best interest of the US by allowing Hamas to take over Gaza under the guise of promoting democracy. So, upon rethinking this issue, thanks to your new thread, L. King, it is quite possible that Bush Jr. was not an idiot as I wrote earlier, but a political genius.

This is probably the best way to get the Muslim world off of the backs of the United States.

As an American, that would be a more important priority to me, especially since Israel should be more than capable of defending itself with our perpetual foreign aid grant of over $3 billion, the latest American weapons, and the atomic bomb.

Hey, L. King, thanks, I really couldn't understand what Bush Jr. was doing with that Gaza election thing, letting Hamas win in a hastily called election, etc., and now I think I've figured it out. He was at the end of his second term too. Yeah, can't trust American politicians - once you buy them, they just don't stay bought.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 1:19:37 PM PST
Susanna says:
I met 29-year-old Amna Abdel Aziz as she was going up to the stairs of a school to vote in Sayida Zaynab. "I'm going to vote for the Freedom and Justice Party!" she proclaimed loudly.

If the Muslim Brotherhood run the country, they'll fix everything -- health, housing, jobs, girls who walk around with their hair uncovered.

Office workerAn office worker and mother of three, she listed her reasons for voting for the Brotherhood's Party: "If the Muslim Brotherhood run the country, they'll fix everything - health, housing, jobs, girls who walk around with their hair uncovered, girls who walk around in the wrong clothing. God willing, they'll fix everything."

Amna was wearing a headscarf, hijab, not the full face-covering niqab favoured by the ultra-conservatives, so I was a bit taken aback.

"You mean," I asked, "the Brotherhood will force women to wear the hijab?"

"No, no," she responded. "They'll just convince them it's better for them."

And that seems to be the attitude of many members and supporters of the Brotherhood -- that they'll bring people over not by compulsion but rather by conviction and example.

It's an attitude 27-year-old interior decorator Hind Mohamed vehemently rejects.

The Muslim Brothers, said the unveiled Hind, "are just liars. They don't do what they say. They use religion to convince people to vote for them."

Obviously they hadn't convinced her. She was waiting in line to vote "against the Muslim Brotherhood," she said.

The movement's leaders are well aware that many Egyptians, especially Christians, liberals, leftists and others, are wary of their growing power. Senior Brotherhood leader Issam Al-Arian is quick to reassure them they are all partners in a new democratic Egypt.

"They are our friends, our neighbours, our citizens, they are Egyptians as we [are], and they have the same rights and duties, and nobody can deny that," he told me on the second day of voting. "If they oppose us, they are participating in building this country, and are correcting our mistakes, if we commit a mistake. And this is very important for a democratic system."

A few years ago I interviewed Mahdi Akif, then the leader, or Supreme Guide, of the Muslim Brotherhood. Akif, a doctor, had worked in Germany but had also spent many years behind bars under Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. "A long-term guest of the government," is how he described it with a chuckle.

Like so many Egyptians he had a sharp sense of humor. But the smile evaporated when he told me, "We are a religion, a mission, a programme. I don't care what the government thinks. What concerns me is that God is satisfied."

Rifaat Said, the wizened old leader of the leftist, secular Agama's Party shared with me his concerns about the Brotherhood. "So, if you are not with them, the Brotherhood, with God's party, are you with the devil's party?"

Said spent time in prison with the Brotherhood's Akif, and knows him well. He doesn't trust the group.

"If God's party reaches power," he asked me, "who can move them away?"

"God's party" is closer today to power in Egypt than it's ever been.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/01/world/meast/egypt-muslim-brotherhood/index.html?iref=obnetwork

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 1:39:31 PM PST
Ku says:
Well, since we've now descended to quoting media reports at each other.....here's the Jerusalem Post:

"Ex-Brotherhood leader says Cairo won't resemble Tehran"

http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=248098

"Seeking to allay the fears of Egyptian liberals, Essam el-Erian, the deputy leader of the Freedom and Justice party, said: "We represent a moderate and fair party. We want to apply the basics of Sharia law in a fair way that respects human rights and personal rights.""

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/8934361/Egypt-elections-Islamists-seize-two-thirds-of-votes.html

If they form a coalition with the psychos of Nour, I'll know who they are.

Before then, I'm not going to base my judgement on a few quotes. Neither the pros nor the cons.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 1:57:12 PM PST
Susanna says:
"Well, since we've now descended to quoting media reports "

Hardly descended. Someone is sure to say : what's your source/back up your claim/etc.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 1:58:50 PM PST
Susanna says:
"basics of Sharia law in a fair way that respects human rights and personal rights.""

Oxymoron alert: Sharia law and human rights in same sentence. I'd like to see how that works.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 1:59:34 PM PST
Ku says:
'Descended' from the pov of not adding any original input of one's own.

No personal assessment of the information.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 2:00:36 PM PST
Ku says:
'basics of Sharia law' was the precise term.

I don't know what his interpretation of that term is.

Do you?

Posted on Dec 4, 2011 2:04:23 PM PST
freedom4all says:
Democracy--The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 2:11:03 PM PST
Diva says:
As usual Ku sticks his head in his behind and hopes for the best.

"
FBI Chief: Muslim Brotherhood Supports Terrorism

IPT News
February 10, 2011

Elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group whose ideology has inspired terrorists such as Osama bin Laden, are in the United States and have supported terrorism here and overseas, FBI Director Robert Mueller told a House committee Thursday."

http://www.investigativeproject.org/2581/fbi-chief-muslim-brotherhood-supports-terrorism

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 2:11:41 PM PST
Ku says:
Do you know what your Hoppe dude believes?

"Die meisten Personen, immer und überall, sind töricht und dumm."

Translation: Most people, always and everywhere, are foolish and stupid.

What a misanthrope.

Mises alumnus, of course.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 2:14:39 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 4, 2011 2:50:47 PM PST
Ku says:
"As usual Ku sticks his head in his behind and hopes for the best."

Thanks, Diva. Much appreciated.

I even went to read your source.

You should've done the same.

It speaks of 'elements'.

Here's a passage I found illuminating:

"Clapper also characterized the Brotherhood in Egypt as a mostly secular umbrella organization. "The term 'Muslim Brotherhood'...is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam," Clapper said in response to a question from Myrick. "They have pursued social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt, et cetera.....In other countries, there are also chapters or franchises of the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence, at least internationally.""

EDIT: The reference to them being a mostly secular movement was later corrected by the DNI's office.

"in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood makes efforts to work through a political system that has been, under Mubarak's rule, one that is largely secular in its orientation," a spokesman for Clapper, Jamie Smith, said Thursday afternoon. "He is well aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization.""

Yeah, it's not secular. Obviously.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 2:22:09 PM PST
Diva says:
My source is the FBI, what is yours?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 2:23:34 PM PST
Ku says:
What do you mean?

Posted on Dec 4, 2011 2:23:40 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 4, 2011 2:24:23 PM PST
DarthRad says:
L. King and Diva,

Continuing from the other Liberal American Jew thread (p.11):

Natan Sharansky, strangely enough, thinks the Arab Spring will turn out wonderfully for Israel. Ah, since L. King loves him, Sharanksy must be right!

Here's the reference:

http://www.momentmag.com/moment/issues/2011/06/IsraelsNextMove.html

And the pertinent passage:

_____

NATAN SHARANKSY

There are attempts to say that now is the time for Israel to urgently make peace, but there's no leadership on the Palestinian side for it. Will we sign agreements with dictators whose days are numbered? The simple answer, "let's make peace and that's it," doesn't cut it. To sign an agreement you must have a partner who is dependent on the well-being of his people, which is what democracy means.

If the democratic forces in the Arab world have a serious chance, is it good for Israel? Of course it is good for Israel! Israel should be saying more strongly that we believe in the democratic process on the Palestinian side, that it will make it easier for us to make concessions and that we are ready to embrace any leader who accepts necessary reforms, political freedom and education-real education, not hatred. But only the Palestinians can democratize themselves; the most we can do is offer support, express our sympathy and give economic assistance. Israeli leaders don't believe that any democratic changes are possible, but whatever Israel says will have very little meaning if the free world doesn't support democratic reforms.

I believe that the free world-including Israel-will be responsive to the Arab street. Democratic reforms will produce great partners for peace negotiations and conditions for an agreement very quickly-in just a few years. In 1993, in 1996, in 2000, people said, "a few years is too much time," and all we ended up with was terror. I say the peace process has no chance without democracy, with dictatorships whose people hate Israel.

Natan Sharansky, a former Knesset minister and Soviet dissident, is chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

______

So I am being much too pessimistic and cynical about the Arab Spring. Or else Sharansky has no idea what he is talking about and just makes stuff up.
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