Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Media Discovers What Obama’s Been Doing All Along: Al-Qaida Bad, Islamists Good

By Barry Rubin

A great controversy has erupted over a National Journal article by Michael Hirsh entitled, "The Post Al Qaida Era." I think this is an important issue there is absolutely nothing new here that couldn’t have been seen—as I’ll show in a moment—five years ago.

The Obama Administration has long thought along the following lines:

Al-Qaida is an evil and terrible organization. It attacked America on September 11, 2001. It is a sworn enemy of the United States and it uses terrorism. Consequently, to protect the American homeland, al-Qaida must be destroyed. Our “war on terror” is then a war on al-Qaida.

Oh, yes, one more thing:

Al-Qaida is the only enemy and the only threat. So once al-Qaida is destroyed there is no more problem, no more conflict.

In this context, then, all other revolutionary Islamist groups—the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizballah, Hamas, and so on—are not enemies. They can be won over or at least neutralized as threats to U.S. interests. And perhaps even they can become allies because they also oppose al-Qaida or, as they are now called, really radical Salafist groups.

So when the administration now says the “war on terror” is over because al-Qaida has been defeated, it is speaking with total consistency....

We need your support. To make a tax-deductible donation to the GLORIA Center by PayPal or credit card: click Donate button: Checks: "American Friends of IDC.” “For GLORIA Center” on memo line. Mail: American Friends of IDC, 116 East 16th St., 11th Fl., NY, NY 10003.

Please be subscriber 29,023. Put email address in upper right-hand box:

The passage that has stirred up so much debate is this one:

"`The war on terror is over,’" one senior State Department official who works on Mideast issues told me. Now that we have killed most of al Qaida, now that people have come to see legitimate means of expression, people who once might have gone into al Qaida see an opportunity for a legitimate Islamism.’"

Yes, the war on terror is over but now it is the struggle against revolutionary Islamism that should begin. But it isn’t. Instead the phrase is “legitimate Islamism,” meaning in effect, good anti-American, antisemitic, totalitarianism.

And yet there is even more that’s nonsense here. Very few people ever went to join al-Qaida! We are talking about at most a few thousand in the whole world. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood, Hamas, and Hizballah recruited tens of thousands in each country.

Of course, those radicals would be damn fools not to realize that it makes more sense to join groups that have taken power in Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Tunisia, and Turkey than guys hanging out in caves. Who are the effective revolutionaries?

Click here to read the entire article.

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 book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press. Other recent books include 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  and of his blog, Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.