The New York Times and BBC headlines on the Tunisian elections tell us it is a victory for “moderate Islamists.” I'm putting those headlines in my file alongside Moderate Islamists Take Power in Iran; Moderate Islamists Take Power in the Gaza Strip, Moderate Islamists Take Power in Lebanon, and Moderate Islamists Take Power in Turkey. And I'm leaving room for Moderate Islamists Take Power in Egypt.
By Barry Rubin
Ladies and gentlemen, liberals and conservatives, Obama-lovers and Obama-haters, no matter what your race, creed, gender, national origin, or level of unpaid college loans, two things should be clear to all of you:
First, to describe the Obama Administration’s Middle East policy as a disaster--I cannot think of a bigger, deadlier mess created by any U.S. foreign policy in the last century--is an understatement.
Second, the dominant analysis being used by the media, academia, and the talking heads on television has been proven dangerously wrong.
I won’t review all the evidence here, but it amounts to a retreat for moderates, allies of the West, and American interests coupled with an advanced for revolutionary Islamists.
On the morning of July 23, 1952, the Middle East entered a new era. The Free Officers movement took over Egypt and there followed more than a half-century of war, anti-Western hysteria, terrorism, repression, social stagnation, and the basic Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse type stuff in the Middle East. That was the Era of Arab Nationalism.
On February 11 or October 23, or November 28, 2011 the Middle East entered a new era. Whether you date it to the fall of Mubarak, the Tunisian election, or the Egyptian election what do you think is going to happen in the next half-century in the region? This is now—I call it officially—the Era of Revolutionary Islamism.
There is a great deal that will ensure the Islamists aren’t ultimately triumphant, but there’s nothing that can stop them now from being dominant ideologically in the region and politically in the majority of countries between Tunisia and Iran, probably Afghanistan and possibly Pakistan.
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