Wall Street Journal on AQ and the Great Arab Chimpin of '11

3 posts


Some Johnson argues the fall of secularist Anglo-American sponsored despots is bad news for Al Qaeda.


It was never AQ's goal to topple Mubarak themselves. They've often called on the Egyptian people to do this. To incite a population to do something, and they do it, is not a failure.

Egypt hosts a cadre of hard-core extremists who have long fought the regime and Mubarak also vowed to keep cracking down violently on demonstrators.

Because history has no relevance to the now.

They were successful because they were violent. The protesters fought and killed security forces, counter demonstrators, and burned government and ruling party buildings. Anyone who thinks these revolts, whether in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, or elsewhere, are pacifist, is a loon.
To say they are secular is a lie considering polls reveal the majority of these populations to be pro-Shariah and the largest opposition parties are Islamist. If they're pro-democracy, it's in the way Iran's revolution was pro-democracy.

Moral force? Threatening to storm Mubarak's palace after he refuses to resign is moral force? Killing Qaddafi's mercenaries and loyalists with assault rifles is moral force?

If Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia are lessons, post-autocratic interim regimes are very, very prone to Jihadist insurgency. And if there's a sectarian divide, such as in Bahrain or Yemen, we can see a Shia on Sunni civil war as we saw with Saddam's ouster.

A huge exaggeration. Many in Al Ikhwan admire Al Qaeda, and much of their denouncing of terrorism, such as on 9/11, is PR to avoid giving their rivals in power and their Western backers incentive to crack down on them. Al Qaeda's only criticism of Al Ikhwan is that it hasn't realized the necessity of militancy.

They don't have appeal with the Shia opposition in Yemen, but they're in de facto control of Eastern Yemen.
President Camacho
I think this remains to be seen, and we will have to wait for the following year to play out. While Islamists will certainly be more influential and free to operate in the "future" Egypt (assuming the military doesn't impose a permanent dictatorship) it is not at all certain they will dominate or even participate in the successor government. In fact, it might be in the Brotherhood's best interest to play the "long game", allowing Egyptians to experiment for a few election cycles with incompetent secular politicians and then assert themselves once the former have been discredited.

But there are enough Egyptians who have absorbed Western agitprop and materialism (Egypt is the "Hollywood" of the Arab world) and may resist Sharia more than some of the other dominoes.

I am frankly unfamiliar with the social dynamics in the Libyan and Tunisian revolts, while in Bahrain it seems to be Sunni vs. Shiite, with the latter demanding more rights and respresentation in the state. With all that oil wealth and comfort to go around this may or may not involve aggressive Islamic reforms. But an overthrow of the Yemeni government, for example, would almost definitely result in a popular Islamic regime.

The one certainty about these upheavals is that the "popular" successor governments, whether secular or Islamic, will reevaluate and alter their non-confrontational attitude towards Israel. That is why it will be interesting to see the US response when the dust settles...