Thursday, April 26, 2012

Barry Rubin: The Media Discovers What Obama’s Been Doing All Along: Al-Qaida Bad, Islamists Good



by Barry Rubin

A great controversy has erupted over a National Journal article by Michael Hirsh entitled, "The Post Al Qaida Era." I think this is an important issue there is absolutely nothing new here that couldn’t have been seen—as I’ll show in a moment—five years ago.

The Obama Administration has long thought along the following lines:

Al-Qaida is an evil and terrible organization. It attacked America on September 11, 2001. It is a sworn enemy of the United States and it uses terrorism. Consequently, to protect the American homeland, al-Qaida must be destroyed. Our “war on terror” is then a war on al-Qaida.

Oh, yes, one more thing:

Al-Qaida is the only enemy and the only threat. So once al-Qaida is destroyed there is no more problem, no more conflict.

In this context, then, all other revolutionary Islamist groups—the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizballah, Hamas, and so on—are not enemies. They can be won over or at least neutralized as threats to U.S. interests. And perhaps even they can become allies because they also oppose al-Qaida or, as they are now called, really radical Salafist groups.

So when the administration now says the “war on terror” is over because al-Qaida has been defeated, it is speaking with total consistency.


Please be patient and let me quote what I wrote about this in 2007 ("Comparing Three Muslims Brotherhoods: Syria,Jordan,Egypt"), which applies completely to today:
Continue reading The Media Discovers What Obama’s Been Doing All Along: Al-Qaida Bad, Islamists Good

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, was published by Yale University Press in January 2012. You can read more of Barry Rubin's posts at Rubin Reportsand now on his new blog, Rubin Reports, on Pajamas Media

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