Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Iraq - this is the big one

Are we making progress in Iraq? Thomas Friedman of the New York Times is very knowledgeable about the Middle East. In his column today he addresses the scope of change that is now taking place. First:
In part the Arab-Muslim world is reaping something it sowed. Way too many Arab intellectuals and religious and political leaders were ready to extol suicide bombing when it was directed against Israelis. Now they are seeing how this weapon of nihilism - once sanctified and glorified - can be used against their own societies. It was wrong when it was used against Jews, and it is wrong when it is used against Muslims. You can't build a decent society on the graves of suicide bombers and their victims.
Second: This is the big one. The current struggle in Baghdad, Cairo and Riyadh is the modern incarnation of several deeply rooted and interlocking wars.
In the modern incarnation of each of these struggles, members of the Sunni-Traditionalist-jihadist minority are losing. And the more that becomes evident, the more violent they will become - because their whole vision is in danger of being repudiated by fellow Arabs and Muslims.
And since they see they are in present danger of losing, they are becoming unhinged.
Having lost the argument with their own community, and unable to offer any program, the Sunni-Traditionalist-jihadists seem to have become totally unhinged, with people becoming suicide bombers at the rate of three and four a day. The jihadists "know that if democracy comes to this part of the world, the Zarqawis and their ilk are done..."
Most people want nothing of this.
"Because the majority of people do not buy their methods or most of their message. They don't want to live like the Taliban. If democracy manages to spread in the Arab world, it will not necessarily be pro-American, but it will definitely be pro-living, not pro-suicide. It will not be a cult of death, but a culture of life." A recent cover of a popular Egyptian magazine, Rose el-Youssef, Mr. Stock noted, shows two well-known female Arab pop singers under the headline: "Stronger than Extremism." So yes, this is a big, deep struggle in Iraq. Yes, the forces of decency and pluralism are slowly winning. But it is not over - not by a long shot.
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1 comment:

tradersmith said...

And he was one of the biggest critics of midEast stratergery.

I don't know if the region will get better for the people, but the Arab aristocracy needed shaking up.

I sometimes wonder if the oil price hikes were done so the sheiks could get a huge influx of money before the people took back their government.