We depend on your contributions. Tax-deductible donation through PayPal or credit card: click Donate button, upper-right hand corner of this page: http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/. By check: "American Friends of IDC.” “For GLORIA Center” on memo line. Mail: American Friends of IDC, 116 East 16th St., 11th Floor, NY, NY 10003.
By Barry Rubin
Let me repeat that for the U.S. military's purposes the author is correct: the armed forces are going to have to fight al-Qaida and the Taliban, but not the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas. This has nothing to do, however, with the threat that all of them pose but only with the type of threat they pose at present. The former group pose a terrorist threat, the latter a much larger strategic and political threat.
Al-Qaida destroyed the World Trade Center, hit the Pentagon, and attacked U.S. embassies. But it isn't going to take over whole countries inhabited by millions of people and offering control over regular armies, planes, tanks, and billions of dollars that can be used to wage future wars.
Moreover, the Islamists support the Militant Islamists and generally do everything possible to strengthen them.
Yet there's still more. Many accepted Muslim texts do not limit jihad to being defensive. There is also jihad to expand the lands ruled by Islam. After all, how were all those places conquered starting in the seventh century and for the next eight centuries?
Of course, Westerners can chime in all they want for "moderate" interpretations, even to claim jihad means mainly or only an internal moral struggle, which is a joke. But what Muslims would possibly care about such arguments being made by infidels?
Despite the above criticisms, there is a lot of useful information in the book. Perhaps the best line of all is this one: “Even Muslim Arabs have to be taught how to read the Qur’an.” (page 20). It reminds me of Karl Marx’s parallel line: even the educators must be educated.
The violence will come afterward. After all, Iranian revolution in 1978 wasn’t massively violent either. In the end, the United States even supported regime change there at the time. And look what happened. Repeating this policy in the Arabic-speaking world will bring catastrophe far beyond the imaginations of contemporary Western policymakers. It will also provide whole new missions for the U.S. military: war with "just-plain Islamist" regimes.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com.