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Old 09-26-2012   #1
davidbfpo
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Default The transformation of the Arab World

The Arab Spring makes for headline, not understanding and the linked article provides a review. We have a number of threads on the theme in the Middle East forum, each set in a national context, but none for a general discussion.

I've heard the author Olivier Roy speak @ Oxford University and was impressed, so thanks to Twitter a pointer to this long academic article:http://www.journalofdemocracy.org/si...s/Roy-23-3.pdf

It opens with:
Quote:
The “Arab Spring” at first had nothing about it that was specifically “Arab” or “Muslim.” The demonstrators were calling for dignity, elections, democracy, good governance, and human rights. Unlike any Arab revolutionary movements of the past sixty years, they were concerned with individual citizenship and not with some holistic entity such as “the people,” the Muslim umma, or the Arab nation. The demonstrators referred to no Middle Eastern geopolitical conflicts, burned no U.S. or Israeli flags, offered no chants in favor of the main (that is to say, Islamist) opposition parties, and expressed no wish for the establishment of an Islamic state or the implementation of shari‘a
He is rather optimistic and some would disagree that AQ in Iraq has been defeated. On AQ:
Quote:
Al-Qaeda, in short, is yesterday’s news, part and parcel of the old anti-imperialist political culture that the Arab Middle East is now leaving behind.
Lots of examples are given of how the 'Arab Spring' has twisted to adjust to local conditions and popular, sometimes democratic demands upon Islamism.

He ends with:
Quote:
Instead of the secularization of society, we might do better to speak of the “autonomization” of politics from religion and of religion from politics, due to the diversification of the religious field and the inability to reconstruct religion as a political ideology. When religion is everywhere, it is nowhere. That was the underlying meaning that I took away from what Egyptian parliament speaker and Muslim Brother Saad al-Katatni said to a Salafist deputy who wanted to perform the Muslim prayer call while the house was in session: “We are all Muslims; if you want to pray there is a mosque in parliament, but parliament is not a mosque.”

The paradox of re-Islamization is that it leads to political secularization and opens the door to debate about what Islam means. This could lead to the reopening of theological debate, but that would be a consequence and not a cause of the democratization of Muslim societies.
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Old 11-19-2012   #2
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Default Jihadists on the Arab Spring

A long article to absorb at first sight 'Perceptions of the “Arab Spring” Within the Salafi-Jihadi Movement' by Aaron Y. Zelin:http://jihadology.net/2012/11/19/gue...hadi-movement/

So economy of effort or a teaser:
Quote:
Al Qaeda and other salafi jihadis do not see the upheaval of the Arab Spring as the death knell for their movement. Rather, they believe that they will be able to capitalize on the chaos in definable ways, and that their enemies have suffered significant geopolitical setbacks. As previously stated, one cannot take jihadi perceptions of the Arab Spring at face value as representing the true reality. These perceptions are laced with hubris, and frequently conflate the movement’s aspirations with on-the-ground reality. Yet the same can be said of Western analysts who definitively declare the jihadi movement dead: their own proclamations are likewise frequently hubristic, and project their own aspirations upon the events in question.

As McCants has noted, the Arab Spring presents “both promise and peril for the global jihadist movement.” Some of this peril is related to factors that McCants has noted, such as the emergence of Islamist parliamentarians. Other perils may relate to justifications for the use of violence. If extreme salafis embrace strategies of electoral politics and persuasion, does the raison d’être of jihadi groups recede? Although these challenges may be looming, jihadis were less concerned about them during the first year of statements on the Arab Spring, and far more interested in the perceived opportunities presented to the movement.

Our analysis of 101 significant documents produced by jihadi thinkers highlights a rather complex and detailed understanding of the ramifications of the uprisings. This understanding includes a developed outlook regarding the geopolitics of regime change; an assessment of specific advantages that the jihadi movement might enjoy; and a developing doctrine regarding the movement’s goals, and strategy to attain those goals, in the post-revolution world. Without understanding how jihadis view the uprisings, we will be at a great disadvantage in attempting to predict the future of the salafi jihadi movement.
ICSR have a short article 'At the Crossroads: The Arab Spring and the Future of Al Qaeda', with another as yet un-read report:http://icsr.info/2012/10/icsr-insigh...e-of-al-qaeda/

They conclude:
Quote:
....Al Qaeda’s responses to the Arab Spring are of an organization that is losing momentum, while – at the same time – also presenting new opportunities. Al Qaeda, therefore, is at a crossroads: whether or not it survives will be decided by how well it adapts to events that are beyond its control.
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Old 12-17-2012   #3
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Default Al-Qaeda’s Response to the Arab Spring

An article in Perspectives on Terrorism, an e-journal and the Abstract says:
Quote:
The Arab revolutions, often referred to collectively as the ‘Arab Spring’, posed, and continue to present, a considerable challenge for Al-Qaeda. This article assesses how Al-Qaeda’s senior leadership, as well as affiliates and associates, have responded to the Arab Spring, by analysing media material and public communiqués issued in the aftermath of the uprisings. The first section discusses the impact of the Arab Spring on Al-Qaeda. The second section explores the Al-Qaeda core leadership response to the revolutions, especially the ways in which Ayman Al-Zawahiri has chosen to frame the events. The third section examines the way Al-Qaeda’s affiliates and associates have responded to the revolutions, including contributions to the English-language Inspire magazine. Overall, The article describes how Al-Qaeda has sought to interpret the events in its favour and how it hopes to exploit the current turmoil in the wake of the Arab revolutions.
Link:http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/.../view/228/html
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Old 08-22-2014   #4
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Default Explaining the Arab uprisings

Two book reviews:
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A new wave of political science is now digging deep into that remarkable moment, even as its history threatens to be swept away by the new demands of chaos, war and autocratic restoration. I am delighted to highlight two new publications: My edited book “The Arab Uprisings Explained” and “Explaining the Unexpected,” a symposium in the American Political Science Association journal Perspectives on Politics (which Cambridge University Press has kindly un-gated) debating whether and why political scientists failed to predict the uprisings.
Link:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...rab-uprisings/
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Old 09-24-2014   #5
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David,

In hindsight, did the Arab Spring fail? It seems like as of this moment in time, Tunisia is the only country to make the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. The movement was crushed in the Gulf kingdoms. Syria is in civil war and Libya is in a low-level one, while Egypt has cemented the domination of the military. The discourse of revolution and resistance in the region is almost exclusively defined by Islamism - it's a question of degree. What happened to the liberal and secular movements? And was the Arab Spring at least successful in disseminating the language of democracy and human rights?
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Old 09-24-2014   #6
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Not focused on "deep analysis" but worth a read

http://www.politico.com/magazine/sto...l#.VCLZIvldVPw
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Old 09-24-2014   #7
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Default In hindsight, did the Arab Spring fail?

AP asked:
Quote:
In hindsight, did the Arab Spring fail?
I agree today it looks as if it did - Tunisia is the only real gain. Like most popular uprisings, whether they are no-violent or violent, the 'Arab Spring' awakened many, even the majority, that change was possible and the people could achieve change.

It may take a long time for the 'Spring' to really have success. I read this week that population growth across MENA vastly exceeds the ability to generate work and other pressures exist - such as Yemen's lack of potable water.

So like Chou En Lai's comment IIRC on the French Revolution "It is too early to judge its effect".
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Old 09-25-2014   #8
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Default Choosing autocrats: the wrong alliance?

A critical article on the choices of allies and friends in the region, referring to President Obama's UN speech:http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept....lJpdBrd4.dpbs

Quote:
Obama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. Obama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept....lJpdBrd4.dpuf Obama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept....lJpdBrd4.dpuf Obama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept....lJpdBrd4.dpuf Obama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept....lJpdBrd4.dpuf



Obama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept...Brd4.dpufObama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept....lJpdBrd4.dpuf

Obama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept...Brd4.dpufObama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept....lJpdBrd4.dpuf

Obama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept...Brd4.dpufObama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept...Brd4.dpufObama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept....lJpdBrd4.dpuf

Another, academic article asks - rightly - what do these allies now gain from supporting the USA? Link:https://www.opendemocracy.net/opense...rikes-on-syria

Quote:
.. the endurance of authoritarian rule is a major root cause of the Middle East’s chronic instability.
This is the nub of the issue. While "thinking globally and acting cooperatively", Obama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept...dBrd4.dpufThis is the nub of the issue. While "thinking globally and acting cooperatively", Obama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept...dBrd4.dpufThis is the nub of the issue. While "thinking globally and acting cooperatively", Obama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept...dBrd4.dpufThis is the nub of the issue. While "thinking globally and acting cooperatively", Obama is trying to combat religious extremism – aided by some of the countries most responsible for creating it. He is right to say that no counterterrorism strategy can succeed where the only choice for young people is "between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground", but that is exactly the choice that most of the Arab countries provide. - See more at: http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2014/sept....lJpdBrd4.dpuf
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