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  • Egypt: the jihad’s receding tide?

    Posted by Charles Cameron on February 5th, 2011 (All posts by )

    Here’s the evidence I’m seeing for one hopeful outcome…

    From an Egyptian FaceBook page:

    I will NOT accept that religious groups hijack what we have been doing for their own agenda. A large group of the ones organizing them yesterday were people in galabeyas and long beards shouting “Al Jihad fe Sabeel Allah (Jihad in the name of Allah), you have to continue fighting, we will win this war, if you die here today, you will be a martyr and go straight to heaven, don’t stop, fight, fight, fight”. NO! This is NOT why we were in the streets on Friday being tear gassed and dodging rubber bullets and it is not why we have been going to Tahrir everyday to be heard. The reason why this revolt went through and became successful was because it was not religiously or politically charged.
     
    quoted on the The International Centre For The Study Of Radicalisation blog – ICSR is a joint venture between King’s College London, the University of Pennsylvania, Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, and the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy.

    *

    This DoubleQuote first presents a jihadist spin on things, from a legal team member at Minbar al-Tawhid wa’l-Jihad, in Quote #1:

    Below that, and lending it both context and irony, is a comment from one of our best analysts of the situation in the Yemen, a former editor for the Yemen Observer.

    *

    John Robb gives the same general message a little strategic push…

    What’s the best way to defuse Islamic radicalism across the ME and beyond? Help make the protest in Egypt work.

    Sources: ICSRShanqitiO’NeillRobb Feb. 3, 2011.

     

    3 Responses to “Egypt: the jihad’s receding tide?”

    1. Jonathan Says:

      Or the regime imprisons, kills or exiles moderate opponents while blocking reform efforts. Then the dictator dies or the regime tries too late to liberalize, and the extremist minority whose power derives from superior focus, organization and ruthlessness rather than popular support fills the power vacuum and liquidates the remaining moderates before the latter groups can get organized. That’s what happened in Iran and the Palestinian territories. Both places had plenty of urbane reformers back in the day who were full of hope. Egyptian moderates may prevail, but if they do it will be because they have successfully consolidated power before the MB et al take over. Such an outcome may require more luck and competent outside assistance (especially from the USA) than is likely to be forthcoming. I hope I’m wrong about this.

    2. Charles Cameron Says:

      Hi, Jonathan:

      There are certainly a number of different dynamics in play, and a variety of possible outcomes.

      What interests me in these quotes — the ones from the jihadist and the Yemen analyst particularly — is the glimpse they offer of a shift in how popular Arab and / or Muslim opinion views “political means” vs “violent jihad” as the preferred agency for change. AQ and its allies will find recruitment a lot harder if the popular perception is that largely or completely non-violent public action can manage in a month or two what a couple of decades of jihad and martyrdom have signally failed to achieve in terms of removing oppressive dictators…

      But as I say, that post presents “the evidence I’m seeing for one hopeful outcome…” I tried to balance that hope in my comment on an earlier post of mine, where I wrote:

      It doesn’t seem to me that pan-Arabism has worked as a solution to the problems of the Arab world. It doesn’t seem to me that salafi-jihadism has worked, either. My hope, accordingly, is that events in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere spell the emergence of a fresh, less ideological “movement” in that part of the world. …
       
      Against that hope, I set my knowledge of the Egyptian TV series quoting the Protocols with approval and portraying the blood libel that Jews prepare matzohs for Pesach with the blood of children, broadcast during the hours in which the Ramadan supper was eaten only a year or three ago.

      I don’t want to sound too aphoristic here, because we’re talking about a highly volatile situation which I don’t think can be wrapped up with a cute phrase — but while I can admire hope, it generally arouses my suspicions, too.

    3. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I think the public scolding of Mubarak by Obama has convinced Mubarak to crack down and stand firm. US diplomacy has not been so inept since Eisenhower forced the Brits and French to end their invasion of Egypt after Nasser seized the Suez Canal. Eisenhower later admitted that was his worst blunder. Obama never admits a mistake. Possibly because he would spend so much time admitting them.