Monday, October 22, 2012

The Beginning of the End

Islamic Awakening Is Not a Revolution -Hussein Agha & Robert Malley
  • Everywhere, Israel faces the rise of Islam, of militancy, of radicalism. Former allies are gone; erstwhile foes reign supreme. But the Islamists have different and broader objectives. They wish to promote their Islamic project, which means consolidating their rule where they can, refraining from alienating the West, and avoiding perilous and precocious clashes with Israel.
  • The quest to establish an independent, sovereign Palestinian state was never at the heart of the Islamist project. Hamas, the Palestinian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood, harbors grander, less territorially confined but also less immediately achievable designs. They can live with a range of transient arrangements: an interim agreement; a long-term truce, or hudna; a possible West Bank confederation with Jordan, with Gaza moving toward Egypt. All will advance the further Islamization of Palestinian society.
  • Israel fears the Islamic awakening. But the more immediate threat could be to the Palestinian national movement. There is no energy left in the independence project; associated with the old politics and long-worn-out leaderships, it has expended itself.
  • Islamists prospered in opposition because they could blame others; they could suffer in power because others will blame them. Dilute their domestic and foreign agenda, and they may well lose their rank-and-file; pursue it and they will alienate non-Islamists and the West. Postpone the struggle against Israel, and their rhetoric will appear disconnected from their policy; wage it, and their policy will appear dangerous to their new allies in the West.
  • If they explain that their moderation is tactical, they will expose themselves; stay silent and they will confuse the base. The power of political Islam flowed chiefly from not exercising it. Its recent successes could signal the eve of its decline.

    How much simpler was life on the other side.
(New York Review of Books)

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