Democratic movements in the Middle East have the potential to mobilize a pan-Arab public both on local issues and transnational issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, argues Professor Marc Lynch in his book The Arab Uprising. Focusing largely on the events unfolding in 2011, Professor Lynch hails Al-Jazeera as a singular force pushing for mobilization across nation-state boundaries, while criticizing it as pushing, in the later stages, too much of Qatar’s foreign policy over its alleged reputation for unbiased news reporting. “Al-Jazeera has become a major weapon in Qatar’s arsenal, allowing that tiny state to play an outsized role in shaping the Arab agenda,” he writes. For example, “Al-Jazeera framed the Tunisian protest as a pan-Arab event and the fall of Ben Ali as an unmitigated good.” Continue reading
Both Egypt and Tunisia have looked to Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) as a model for the Arab Spring in their own states. In his recent book, Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, Andrew C. McCarthy condemns this outlook as “perverse.” “It is perverse to regard the Islamist AKP as a ‘model for the Arab Spring,’” he argues. “The main lesson of the Arab Spring is that the mirage of Islam as a moderating force hospitable to democratic transformation exists solely in our own minds, for our own consumption.” Continue reading
In Afghanistan, farmers grow poppy for opium, which is later processed into heroin and, ultimately, sold as heroin on the black market. How, when the Quran defines drugs as “the filth of Satan’s handiwork,” does the Islamic populace in Afghanistan justify growing this illicit crop? For one thing, the sale, but not consumption, of opium is acceptable to the locals because it is supposedly consumed by the West–by infidels–and thus furthers the war on them, outlines Gretchen Peters in her book Seeds of Terror: How Drugs, Thugs, and Crime Are Reshaping the Afghan War. Peters has worked for the Associated Press and ABC News. Continue reading
It’s been nearly a year since the death of Osama bin Laden, and the American public has become accustomed to hearing about an al Qaeda no longer under his leadership, be it in Yemen, Mali, or elsewhere. However, even while bin Laden was in hiding, al Qaeda was dominated by his micromanagement skills, whether it was the decision not to institute Anwar al-Awlaki head of Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) or suggestions on how to avoid drone strikes.
In his book, Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad, Peter L. Bergen argues that al Qaeda is in twilight and that its new leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, “is unlikely to turn things around” for this terrorist organization. Continue reading
The American Left and the Islamists work together to sabotage American, spreading their social justice (or sharia) values in a way that is inimical to American values, argues Andrew C. McCarthy in his book The Grand Jihad. For the hard left, social justice translates into Marxism and communism. For the Islamist, social justice leads to implementing Sharia and an Islamic state. These two are natural partners, he argues, because of their pursuit of “power” and opposition to American liberties. (McCarthy’s newest book is Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.) Continue reading