Thursday, June 14, 2012

Barry Rubin: The Wild Card in Arab “Democratic” Politics: Extra-Parliamentary Violence



by Barry Rubin
Consider just a small part of what’s gone on in Tunisia, a relatively moderate country where the radical Islamists “only” got 40 percent of the vote and were forced to lead the country from within a coalition with moderate, secular parties.

Hundreds of Salafis rioted in several cities and set fire to police stations as well as the offices of non-Islamist parties and secular-led trade unions. A truck carrying alcoholic drinks was set ablaze, too, as were shops selling electronic goods, providing access to “immoral” entertainment. Salafis using clubs and stones attacked police who fired in the air to escape. Shooting at the demonstrators would recall memories of the old regime and lead to even worse rioting. An art gallery whose exhibition was labelled immoral was hit with firebombs, almost killing staff members. Eighty-six rioters were arrested; at least one man died.

But this is only the start.

Do not take this kind of thing in isolation, for it is the harbinger of a new era.
Continue reading The Wild Card in Arab “Democratic” Politics: Extra-Parliamentary Violence

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  Rubin Reports, on Pajamas Media 


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