Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Barry Rubin: Tunisia: The “Moderate” Islamists Make a Radical Revolution

By Barry Rubin

After the torch-light red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
The shouting and the crying
Prison and place and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience

–T. S. Eliot, “The Wasteland”

Let’s be 100 percent clear here: In theory there might be such a thing as a moderate who wants more Islamic influence in political life—I can think of some very tiny groups that might be able to claim that distinction—but the party that won the Tunisian election is definitely not in that category and the same applies to the significant Islamist forces in Libya and Egypt, too.

Indeed, the winning party in Tunisia is the Muslim Brotherhood. For years, those of us who have been studying this country and movement have known this to be true. The statements by the Tunisian branch of the Brotherhood, except when they were made for Western ears explicitly, have been very hardline indeed.

Here’s the great Martin Kramer recalling why the United States refused to give Rashid Ghannouchi, the new “moderate Islamist” leader of Tunisia a visa in 1994.
Continue reading Tunisia: The “Moderate” Islamists Make a Radical Revolution

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 Reportsand now on his new blog, Rubin Reports, on Pajamas Media

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