Friday, May 11, 2012

Barry Rubin: What Do Egyptians Want? A Democratically Elected Islamist Dictatorship



by Barry Rubin
Yes, friends, it’s once again time for that exciting game of Spin the Polls by the Pew Foundation. Here are the rules:
  • Rule 1: Pew does a good job on the poll itself.
  • Rule 2: The Pew analysis ignores or misunderstands the implications of the poll.
  • Rule 3: The Western media and government misread the poll, often misinterpreting the results into the exact opposite of what they actually mean. They then adopt the wrong policies.
  • Rule 4: If correctly interpreted the polls are a gold mine that can help us comprehend the present and predict the future.
Some years ago, for example, I analyzed a Pew poll. The poll showed that people in Arab countries had a low opinion of al-Qaida. It was then interpreted as meaning that they were moderate. In fact, as I wrote the poll showed a shockingly high level of support for revolutionary Islamism, especially in Egypt and Jordan.

Once again we have the misleading spin beginning with the headline: “Egyptians Remain Optimistic, Embrace Democracy and Religion in Political Life.”
If I were writing the headline it would be: “Egyptians Want Radical Islamist State More Than Anything Else.”
Continue reading What Do Egyptians Want? A Democratically Elected Islamist Dictatorship

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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