Here Comes the Revolt of Islam
by JOEL GILBERT
January 24, 2011
As debates rage in the halls of Congress over President Obama's domestic policies, developments in the Middle East may soon dominate the political agenda once again. As 2011 unfolds, a dangerous two-part equation will emerge that could alter the landscape, as Iran and its Islamist allies recognize an historic opportunity:
1 - A vacuum in the balance of power in the Middle East triggered by America’s removal of its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan
2 - President Obama's presidency perceived as a lame duck, to be followed by a Republican with a vastly different strategic agenda.
An Urgent and Irresistible Opportunity
President Obama has repeated many times, and in many places, that “America is not, and will never be at war with Islam." Reconciling America and Islam was one of Obama’s first goals upon taking office. It takes little imagination to conclude that following US withdrawal from the region, President Obama is highly unlikely to re-engage US forces in any Middle East conflict, even if US allies and interests are at risk. As Obama continues to look like a one-term president, the window of opportunity for region-wide uprisings may prove irresistible to Islamists. Meanwhile, the unstable and illegitimate Western backed regimes in the Middle East are becoming easier targets every day:
· Egypt - The Muslim Brotherhood withdrew from recent parliamentary elections due to massive government fraud and are out of the political process. With September elections looming, President Mubarak's 30-year reign, and quite possibly the military backed regime, are on the way out.
· Iraq - When the US withdraws at the end of this year, the real battle for Iraq will begin. Pro-Iranian Islamist forces are likely to try to seize power from what they consider an illegitimate secular regime imposed by the US occupation.
· Lebanon - Hezbollah recently withdrew from the government, has its own army, and is backed by Syria and Iran. A Hezbollah takeover of Lebanon is well within reach.
· Afghanistan - As the US withdraws this year, reconstituted Taliban forces will seek to expel Karzai’s government which has no popular support.
· Pakistan - The nuclear-armed US ally has an unstable government which does not control parts of the country. Pakistan’s security services are linked to the Islamist Taliban movement entrenched in the North along with their Al Qaeda allies.
· Jordan – King Abdullah’s tenuous monarchy rules over a population of 70% Palestinian Arabs, in two-thirds of the original Palestine mandate. Islamists view King Abdullah as an illegitimate Western puppet.
· Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States - The Saudi and other royal families are totally unacceptable to Islamists who see them as rich elites ruling poor masses.
· Yemen - is home to a new Islamist insurgency led by Al Qaeda elements.
· Tunisia - is already in flux, its leaders have fled.
· West Bank - The PLO has no popular support. An Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank could be met with an overthrow by HAMAS, just as they did in Gaza.
Islamism and Reform
By Western standards, reform means the adoption of secular, Western democratic methods of government. For Islamists, reform means exactly the opposite - the removal of secular government institutions borrowed from or imposed by the West, and the restoration of the Koran as the sole authority in Islamic countries.
After World War I, European victors carved up the Ottoman Empire into arbitrary nation-states and introduced “nationalism,” a Western concept based upon geographic boundaries to inspire political loyalty. However, for Muslims, the foundation of identity and loyalty revolves around religion, while the religio-political community defines nationhood. Thus, “nationalism” never successfully integrated into the world of Islam, where loyalty can only be to God, the sovereign of the world and all mankind. In the last century, other Western ideas also failed in the Muslim world. Western government institutions resulted in rubber-stamp parliaments. Western financial systems resulted in rich elites and poor masses, and Western military assistance resulted in defeats to Israel.
Islamism is an indigenous, grass-roots movement championed by both poor and educated Muslims throughout the Muslim world. Islamists do not consider themselves to be revolutionaries, in the sense of revolution changing society in a new way. Rather, Islamists strive to apply traditional principles to reestablish the past strength and glory of Islam. Today, Islamism is the only serious alternative form of government in the Islamic world and meets the aspirations of the vast majority of all Muslims over Western secular government.
Here Comes The Revolt of Islam
The next phases of Obama's presidency will present Islamist movements with an urgent and irresistible opportunity to seize power from non-representative secular rulers, in order to change the reality on the ground before a less sympathetic Republican administration takes office. The “Revolt of Islam” is likely to disrupt oil supplies with the ensuing global ripple effects for Western economies already in crisis.
After two years of policy making in White House, President Obama’s world view is indistinguishable from Reverend Jeremiah’s Wright’s radical left philosophy that mirrors Islamist thought: the world’s problems are due to American dominance, and justice will only be achieved with America’s decline - both economically and militarily. Can anyone argue that a weakened America is not the end result of the administration’s policies, domestic and foreign? For the entire world, this concept is fatally flawed – a strong America has helped maintain world peace for decades. A weak America will invite regional conflict as players like Iran and its Islamist allies with expansionist agendas fill the vacuum in the balance of power voided by American self-doubt.
Get ready, here comes The Revolt of Islam!
Copyright 2011 Joel Gilbert