Sunday, February 17, 2013

How Islamists Pick Up The War Against Israel Where Arab Regimes Left Off

Barry Rubin writes about True Belief, Cynical Manipulation, Peer Pressure: How Arab Governments Manage the Israel Issue, explaining the thinking of generations of Arab regimes:
If they could have pressed a button and Israel would have disappeared, almost none of them would have hesitated. But if you have to spend huge amounts of money, fight full-scale wars, and face the possibility (and increasingly they knew the likelihood) of being defeated that was different.

And while the issue was the top priority of the Palestinian Arabs, the leaders of states also had other issues to consider.

Over time in the Arab nationalist era (1952 to 2012), more were convinced that it was just too hard and dangerous to fight Israel, at least directly. The problem is that the rise of Islamism starts over from the beginning. Oh sure, say the Islamists, the nationalists failed or didn’t even try because they were cowards, had the wrong ideology, and were too eager to be friendly with the West.

But with the Islamist approach, in which Allah’s word is followed and everyone is willing to sacrifice himself, things will be different. There is also an element of cynicism even among these folk.

In addition, another way to look at this issue is that some leaders at times believed their own propaganda. And often the nationalist intelligentsia, clerics, and activists believe total victory was not only possible but inevitable.

Remember, too, that these people have their own view of Israel (Yasir Arafat discussed this point in detail) as a failed nation that could not continue to exist—especially if faced with constant terrorism—because it was weak, decadent, divided, and Jews could never constitute a nation. Never underestimate the factor of profoundly believed disinformation in the Middle East. Just because it isn’t true doesn’t mean millions of people don’t fervently believe it.

So far we have True Belief in total victory and Israel’s extinction plus Cynical Manipulation of the Israel card. There is a third element, Peer Pressure. Every leader and politician with few exceptions has known that to be less stridently anti-Israel or to admit openly that victory wasn’t possible would be most dangerous to his career.
Read the whole thing.

An example of how Islamists have reignited the fire of anti-Israel hatred is Iran and Turkey, where for years their leaders rejected the notion of destroying Israel -- until the Islamists took over and now they have "joined the chorus".

It is the failure of the Obama administration to understand the implications of the resurgence of Islamism during its watch that will pose an increasingly potent danger:
One might posit a long-term evolution of Islamism toward failure, cynicism, and a lower priority on the issue. But the emphasis there should be on the word long. Prematurely declaring that Islamists were moderate or helping them into power only increases their True Belief that they are the tidal wave of the future who will successfully commit genocide on the Jewish state.
It is one thing for an American president to ally the US with a dictator in the hopes of maintaining stability -- the US can resort to pressure to keep such a dictator in line and the failure of such a policy may be limited to that country.

But in misjudging and supporting the Islamist resurgence, Obama has opened up an Pandora's box the results of which are slowly and relentlessly become apparent.

At least to some.

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