2 Articles; A Saudi Writer Explains the “Muslim Brotherhood Spring”; * Happy New Jumblatt! A Lebanese Leader Gets Brave and What it Means
Posted: 16 Nov 2011 02:21 AM PST
By Barry Rubin
It’s always fascinating to read the work of genuine Arab moderates(or that of non-Arab Muslims) to see how much it differs from theWestern-celebrated false moderates and radicals so often prominently featuredin the mass media and academia. Indeed, people like the following writer cannever be found as heroes of the official West because they tell theinconvenient truths about the Middle East.
Consider a young Saudi named Mshari al-Zaydi. He is the opinionpage editor of Al-Sharqal-Awsat, the best Arabic newspaper, where this article firstappeared. It was then reprinted on the website of al-Arabiyya, the UAEalternative to the radical Qatari al-Jazira. Funny, how the anti-Western al-Jazirais lionized by the West while al-Arabiyya is ignored.
Al-Zaydi’sarticle is entitled, “The Muslim Brotherhood Spring,” an apt name for whatis otherwise called the “Arab Spring.” One need merely quote what al-Zaydiwrites:
“Today, those who supported the Egyptian revolution are in a stateof shock with regards to the domination of the political arena by religiousparties and currents….What we are seeing is a political Islamist tsunami….
Posted: 15 Nov 2011 10:01 PM PST
By Barry Rubin
Happy New Jumblatt! What’s a Jumblatt? Well, it’s a joke that tells us a lot about Middle East politics. A friend of mine created the “Jumblatt” as a unit of time, one complete rotation in the political maneuvers of Lebanese Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt.
For example, during the previous Jumblatt, he moved from being a stalwart client of Syria to join the March 14 Coalition to push Syrian troops out of Lebanon. At the peak of the last Jumblatt, he gave a rather unforgettable interview which I will paraphrase here (note: this is my wording not a precise quote):
Interviewer: Is it true that you called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a dog?
Jumblatt: Yes, I did. But I want to apologize to all dogs for comparing them to Assad.
But like all Jumblatts the last one came to an end. Threatened with death, facing a powerful Hizballah militia, and knowing full well that he and his coalition allies couldn’t depend on the United States or France, Jumblatt surrendered in August 2009, deserting the pro-democratic alliance and joining Hizballah’s coalition! He made his peace with Syria, going to Damascus and bowing to Bashar al-Assad.
This was not something easy for a man whose father was murdered by Bashar’s father.
I’m not suggesting that Jumblatt is a coward or a buffoon though, certainly, his life has given him a sense of irony. After all, Jumblatt is the feudal hereditary leader of the Progressive Socialist Party. See, names don’t necessarily tell you what’s really going on, a good idea to keep in mind when examining the humanitarian-style slogans of “Moderate Islamists.”