Sunday, April 24, 2011

Myths of the Arab Revolution

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1) Radical Islamic extremists or al Quada instigated or will co-op the revolution. All of the revolutions taking place in Arab countries claim to be secular, non-religious, democratic revolutions seeking the ouster of the long entrenched dictators and the establishing of a new, democratic constitutional government with an open economy. When one anti-Gadhafi fighter was asked about al-Qaeda, he said, “We hate al Qaeda, we fight al Qaeda.” Even the former Gadhafi general who had fought in Afghanistan and defected has stated that al Qaeda has no place in the Libyan revolution. The only way al Qaeda can benefit is if Gadhafi holds on and a protracted stalemate occurs.

2) Non-violent demonstrations and peaceful protests can overwhelm security considerations and force regimes to change. While this tactic was successful in Tunisia and Egypt, opposition to the regime in Libya has been met by snipers and death, and the strategies of non-violence have been replaced by Sun Tzu and the Art of War. Firepower trumps peaceful protests.

3) “The enemies of our enemies are our friends,” is now out the window. It was often used as an excuse to align policy with the dictators of Yeman, Libya and Bahrain who supported US efforts to contain al Quada and other terrorists groups. While Gadhafi and Ali Abdullah Saleh, the head of Yeman were US allies in the war against al Qaeda, they were also at war with their own citizens, and even though the name of the Yeman leader Saleh cannot be said or printed without mention of US support for his anti-al Qaeda stance, there is no indication that his successor or Gadhafi’s successor, whoever they may be, will support al Qaeda and go against US policy.

4) The Arab news organization Aljazeera [ ] is an anti-American, pro-al Qaeda outlet for mis and disinformation. The Omar based syndicate has shown it is independent, has journalistic scruples and is the best authority on all things Arabic, especially the revolution. Its reporters have been targeted and killed in many of the countries, and its English language editors have been consulted by American news organizations as specialists in the region. Polls in March showed 15% of the American people were following the news of the Arab Revolts closely (less than the NCAA Basketball finals), but that is still a sizeable number of millions of people, some of whom can only get Aljeezerez over the internet and have requested the video network be picked up by their cable company.

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