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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The "Arab Spring" Is Actually the “Muslim Brotherhood Spring”

By Barry Rubin

It’s always fascinating to read the work of genuine Arab moderates (or that of non-Arab Muslims) to see how much it differs from the Western-celebrated false moderates and radicals so often prominently featured in the mass media and academia. Indeed, people like the following writer can never be found as heroes of the official West because they tell the inconvenient truths about the Middle East.

Consider a young Saudi named Mshari al-Zaydi. He is the opinion page editor of Al-Sharq al-Awsat, the best Arabic newspaper, where this article first appeared. It was then reprinted on the website of al-Arabiyya, the UAE alternative to the radical Qatari al-Jazira. Funny, how the anti-Western al-Jazira is lionized by the West while al-Arabiyya is ignored.

Al-Zaydi’s article is entitled, “The Muslim Brotherhood Spring,” an apt name for what is otherwise called the “Arab Spring.” One need merely quote what al-Zaydi writes:

“Today, those who supported the Egyptian revolution are in a state of shock with regards to the domination of the political arena by religious parties and currents….What we are seeing is a political Islamist tsunami….

“In Libya, we find [religious] fundamentalists of all backgrounds, from those who have taken up arms, to those who are making speeches and giving sermons, inside the country and abroad, not to mention figures like Ali al-Salabi.

“While in Tunisia, the [Islamist] al-Nahda party, and supporters of its leader Rashid Ghannouchi, are in the political ascendency. As for Yemen, we have the Islah [Reform] party, not to mention the Muslim Brotherhood and the Huthi rebels.

“I recall how many Arab writers at the beginning of this year…prophesied that what we were witnessing were uprisings staged by non-political civilians and youth, and claimed that not a single radical or ideological slogan was chanted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, or any other Arab public square.

“They said that this proves that the Arab regimes were lying to the world–and to the political elites who champion the idea of the civil state–when they said that should their regimes be toppled, this would result in Islamists and religious fundamentalists coming to power. Those who supported the Arab Spring always countered that this was nothing more than a lie fabricated by these regimes to remain in power, and that the Arab Spring youth had proved their mettle and their belief in civil values.

“Now, these same well-intentioned writers – or at least many of them–have returned to warn against the Arab Spring being hijacked and despoiled. They have expressed their confusion about the presence and popularity of these radical Islamists who are overwhelming the political scene, and are asking: where did the Facebook youth go?

“These writes are perplexed. Some have claimed: this situation [hegemony of the Islamists] is the work of the remnants of the former regime that have reformed their ranks and are working to abort the revolution. Whilst others have claimed that there are foreign hands tampering with the revolution and attempting to alter its course, however they then go on to disagree as to just which foreign party is responsible for this. Is it Iran or Israel? The US or Saudi Arabia? Perhaps it is China, or maybe even the Comoro Islands? Who knows?….

“Of course those same writers and media figures were not voicing such opinions at the beginning of the year. In fact, they were attacking anybody who expressed any suspicion or skepticism regarding the outcome of these chaotic uprisings!…

“What guarantee do we have that these religious fundamentalists will relinquish power once their failure is revealed, particularly as all the elements of power will be in their hands? Did this work out in Iran which has been ruled by Khomeneist disciples for over 3 decades?

“Rather than expressing shock and surprise, the question that should be asked is: how should we deal with this critical period which should be called the Muslim Brotherhood Spring, not the Arab Spring?”

The Western establishment pretends to be “pro-Arab” and “pro-Muslim” while subjecting these peoples to a terrible tyranny and decades of socio-economic stagnation and terrible bloodshed.

As I have repeatedly explained, understanding these issues is not based on being liberal or conservative, left or right, Jew or Muslim, American or Saudi. The struggle is between revolutionary Islamists who want to impose a repressive Sharia state and those Western useful idiots who help them against everyone else.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His book, Israel: An Introduction will be published by Yale University Press in January. Latest books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com
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