By Barry RubinContinue reading Out of Tune in Tunisia: What’s Really Going on There and Throughout the Arab World
Let’s step back, keep an open mind, avoid stereotypes and preconceptions, and ask: What is the current political situation in Tunisia? Simple. The Islamists aren’t ready for the concern. They are just tuning up. Still, they’ve handed out programs so we should know what’s going to be played at the concert.
First and foremost, let’s remember that Tunisia is not going to become a radical Islamist state within the next year. The whole revolution in the Islamist revolution is the understanding—learned largely from Turkey—that the movement can operate by stealth, one step at a time, winning elections, taking over institutions, and only emerging fully at the end of that process.
This does not prove they are moderate; it proves that they are smart. And you know what that proves about those gullible enough to be taken in by the trickery.
Remember what happened with Communism. Karl Marx started by proclaiming that the Communists disdained to conceal their aims and the next thing you know they are all wearing costumes labeled “agrarian reformers,” “progressives,” and moderates.
So far I have not seen a single analyst quoted in any “mainstream” publication warning about the Tunisian Islamists possibly not being moderate. The unanimity of opinions, the lack of doubt, and the censoring out of evidence to the contrary is astonishing. We can’t even get a story that says most people say they are okay while others warn that this isn’t true. If these elements in the Western elite were fish, all anglers wouldn’t need bait, they’d just put a note on the hook saying, “This is not a hook.”
With this kind of start, the fact that the Ennahda party doesn’t start cutting off heads next week will be used by Western governments, experts, and media to “prove” that it’s moderate.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His latest book is Israel: An Introduction, to be published by Yale University Press in January 2012. You can read more of Barry Rubin's posts at Rubin Reports, and now on his new blog, Rubin Reports, on Pajamas Media
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