In a stunning indictment Time Magazine places the blame for the U.S embassy squarely on the shoulders of Saudi Arabia while bluntly stating It’s the Salafist stupid.
What We Can Learn from the Attacks on U.S. Embassies
This week’s U.S. embassy attacks are the product of intense jockeying for power in an Arab political landscape riven with both new and familiar challenges. Here are five key lessons to take away from an ugly week.
1. Fear of a Black Flag (or It’s the Salafists, Stupid)Ordinary Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis didn’t come across the latest insults to their religion because they spent hours trolling YouTube for Californian political-porn provocations. It required broadcasting of the offending clips by Egypt’s al-Nas network to trigger this week’s anti-U.S. protests in Cairo, Benghazi, Sana‘a and elsewhere. Al-Nas is owned by a Saudi businessman and promotes the extreme Salafist current within Islam, whose political adherents have emerged as a powerful challenger to the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s de facto ruling party.
The dominant political current to emerge from the Arab rebellion that began in early 2011 has been Islamist, but so diverse is the range of parties broadly grouped under that term that it’s insufficiently precise to explain the political dynamic at work in the embassy demonstrations. The more important signifier, at the embassies in Benghazi, Cairo and Sana‘a, is the ubiquitous black flag bearing an Arabic inscription of Islam’s founding tenet, “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet.” That flag is an icon of political Salafism, having been used by al-Qaeda and also the Taliban, but also by a range of parties and movements across the Arab world that may share Osama bin Laden’s austere brand of Islam but in many cases vehemently reject the terrorism that became his leitmotif. And while Western governments feared the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to fill the void left by ousted dictators, they — and the Brotherhood itself — were largely caught by surprise by the Salafist surge in newly free Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, and lately as an increasingly prominent feature of the armed uprising challenging President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria.
The Salafists’ political game in those countries, as well as in Gaza, where Hamas faces a similar challenge from Palestinian Salafists, is to challenge the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood mainstream from the religious-conservative and anti-Western right.
The movement has surged, lately, not only because of the newfound freedom to operate in postdictatorship societies but also because a number of Salafist groups are reportedly being supported from the center of Salafist thought, Saudi Arabia — a country whose rulers have long been wary of the Muslim Brotherhood. When the Salafists direct popular outrage at the U.S. embassy — or attack the Red Cross or other Western institutions, as they have been doing in Libya — they’re not just challenging the influence of a Western world still viewed with suspicion in their societies, and promoting a religious outlook that advocates a return to the ways of Islam’s founding generations in the 7th century. They’re also cleverly positioning themselves as guardians of an Islamic “purity” against the pragmatism and real-world compromises of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers or similarly inclined parties in Tunisia and Libya, who need pragmatic working relations with the West in order to deliver the development and economic growth their electorates are expecting.
Having long rejected political participation and berated the Brotherhood for contesting elections, Egypt’s Salafists shocked many after Hosni Mubarak’s fall by creating a political party, al-Nour, and running for parliament. Even more shocking was the fact that they won 25% of the seats by challenging the Brotherhood’s Islamic credentials from the right and agitating for the application of Shari‘a — an issue on which the Brotherhood preferred to soft-foot. Although the Brotherhood still won the dominant share of seats in the legislature, the emergence of the Salafists — who gather votes entirely at the expense of the mainstream Islamist party — may have prompted the Brotherhood to tack to the right at a time when many of its leaders had been hoping to engage with the center, reassuring secular parties and Western powers of its benign intent.
The Salafists may represent a more powerful challenge to the Islamist mainstream than to the West, precisely because they are able to turn a section of the Brotherhood’s political base against that mainstream by proclaiming as “un-Islamic” any compromises or willingness to work with the West, maintain the peace treaty with Israel or create a tolerant environment for the Coptic Christian minority. Demagoguery can work a treat in a population facing mounting social and economic stress, and the embassy protests that channeled genuine popular outrage at the contents of a marginal film reflect a strategy of driving a wedge into the emerging relationship between moderate Islamist parties and a Western world trying to adapt to the changes brought on by Arab democracy.
Source: Time Magazine
My first exception with this article the article misleads the reader into thinking the Saudi Arabia plays no role in the Muslim Brotherhood and even worse implies the Saudi government is at odds with the organization.
This is an entirely misleading notion that many western journalists assume simply because they are not familiar with how the Saudi government operates.
The mistake is made based on the assumption while Saudi Arabia does not allow the Muslim Brotherhood to operate within its borders.
However the truth is that Saudi Arabia’s Salafi ideology rejects all concepts that are familiar in western civilizations including organizations, institutions, political parties, government, and even the idea of revolution.
In the Saudi Arabia there is simply Islam, Islamic law and nothing else.
So to clarify while it is true that Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow the Muslim Brotherhood they also do not all any other organization to operate within their borders,
However, in other nations were the Saudi Royal Family is exporting their Salafi ideology Saudi Arabia certain does work with and fund organizations and institutions that are prohibited within their own borders.
Among those organizations is the Muslim Brotherhood and the fact is Saudi Arabia has been funding the Muslim Brotherhood throughout its existence and they continue to do so today.
The other exception I take in the article is on page 5 were they severely understate the role of the Salafi Jihadists in the Syria conflict.
As I have documented on numerous occasions the Salafi Jihadists in Syria are much stronger than the Time article implies.
Specifically Time acknowledges what I reported in-depth which is the Syria rebels are the same Salafi extremists attacking US embassies.
However, Time adopts the official U.S. government narrative that this is a small Salafist element among the rebels.
But there could also be a visceral response to the fact that the same black flag carried by those who attacked the U.S. facilities in Cairo, Benghazi and Sana‘a has been flown by some rebel fighting units in Syria, where a small but unmistakable Salafist element (comprising foreign and local fighters) is trying to claim a growing role in the uprising. The proxy-war strategy adopted by the Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia, on the basis that the Assad regime is a close ally of Iran, has seen a strengthening of some such groups operating in both Lebanon and Syria.The U.S. government’s assertion there is only a small Salafist element among Syria’s rebels is purely for propaganda purposes.
Although their relative strength is hard to assess, Salafist groups, including large numbers of foreign fighters, are sufficiently engaged in the struggle against the Assad regime in Syria to give many in Washington pause. Those who most favor intervention are arguing that the Salafist surge elsewhere simply highlights the need to bring Syria’s conflict to an end by toppling the regime, mindful that extremist influence is more likely to grow in a prolonged war. Skeptics will see in the causes of the events of recent days a vindication of restraint.
Source: Time Magazine
Admitting to the large, in fact overwhelming majority role, the Salafi Jihadists are playing in Syria simply ends the possibility of garnering public support for military intervention.
Recall the same was claimed about Libya and now after Gadaffi has been taken out of power it is openly admitted that the Salafi Jihadists were the primary foot soldiers on the ground.
Numerous videos show massive numbers of Salafi Jihadists executing war crime after war crime and taking to the streets to chant for their Saudi appointed Salafi Sheik to be put in power in Syria.
Just to give you an idea, as I previously pointed out here are the various factions that make up the Syria rebels and as you can see they consist of Islamic Jihadist of varying spectrum of extremist ideology as identified by the Israeli Hurriyet Daily News.
Click to enlarge
The Different Islamic Jihadist Groups In Syria
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
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