Op-Ed: Who Still Has His Head in the Sand on the Arab Spring?
MP Fiamma NirensteinHon. Fiamma Nirenstein is the Vice-President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Committee for the Inquiry into Antisemitism in the Italian Chamber of Deputies
Who can now claim not to understand, not to know?
As its first revolutionary sign, Tunisia has issued a democratic constitution draft envisaging a ban for whoever has contacts and establishes relations with Israel; after their long victorious struggle, the Libyan revolutionaries have announced, as a great result of that bloodshed, that sharia would be coming and polygamy would be reinstated; the reformist Morocco has ben the stage of another Islamist victory; in Yemen, El Qaeda is prowling for power; in Egypt – and this is the worst news – not only have the Muslim Brothers won with about 47% of the votes, but they are immediately followed, with as much as 20% of the votes, by the Salaphites of the Nour party, always referred to by the West as an irrelevant group of crazy extremists.
In this connection, it is certainly not by chance that the “moderate”, indeed extremely “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas - the pet of all European governments and of Mrs. Clinton – is finalizing an alliance with Hamas.
Is this so bad? Yes, it’s very bad. But the goals are so heterogeneous that they can dramatically change – and for the better – the whole European and American policy-making. For decades we have closed our eyes and we had slipped into rem sleep when the so-called Arab Spring revolutions erupted.
We hadn’t even woken up when Iran, Syria, the Hizbullah, Hamas, that is the whole anti-western axis, rejoiced and immediately supported the insurgents. Ahmadinejad’s crest fell only when his best friend Assad was attacked by his people, mostly led by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Syria is out of the game, the Hizbullah are suffering a great deal and so is Hamas. Iran has an open flank, while the IAEA report tells the truth about the preparation of nuclear weapons.
And this is good. But it is especially good because the true identity of the Islamic forces is revealing itself to the large audience of the Western world, like in a mystery movie.
The West has ignored the significant and evident reality of the Islamic force for decades. It has deceived itself into thinking that the main actor in the movie is a friend, that rejecting to shake our hand, masterminding terrorist attacks, preaching the destruction of Israel and of the West, all alone in a corner of the Islamic world, is the result of the unresolved issue of the Palestinian brothers.
We have thought that, in the end, Islam would be willing to accept the inevitable westernization of its society, to grant equal status to women, to envisage monogamous marriage, to allow homosexuals to live their lives, to enable Israel to survive and Christians to practice their religion. We have deceived ourselves with the expectation that the Islamic world may have nice surprises in store for us.
And the idea of a war of religion elicited compassionate smiles among the most distinguished observers. Even Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, combined with Ahmadinejad’s messianic promise to bring about chaos and the destruction of Israel for the return of the Mahdi on earth, have been perceived as a fastidious epiphenomenon.
And never dare say the word war.
Now, it is possible to see extremely well even from the second row, even in the daily Repubblica (or in The New York Times) pages : the decade-long ongoing war against the West has ideologists who are able to lead huge crowds, armies, institutions…. the elections have given power to forces of which to beware.
Will we be able to work out a strategy in line with this not new but very clear strategy? For the time being we are only talking about a huge amount of aid to the revolutions, of Marshall plans: at least, let’s link all this to fundamental human rights and to peace with Israel.
And let’s get ready for an uncertain future.
(First appeared in Italy's Il Giornale, sent to Arutz Sheva in translation by MP Firenstein)