Daily Israel Report

Mideast Expert: Tunisia a Symptom of Islamicization

The revolt in Tunisia and riots in Egypt are symptoms of a worrying trend in the Middle East, says expert David Bukai.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 1/26/2011, 10:11 PM / Last Update: 1/26/2011, 11:14 PM

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The revolt in Tunisia and protests in Egypt are signs of a worrying trend in Middle East regimes, says Mideast expert David Bukai, who spoke Wednesday with Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language news service. Military support for the current Arab regimes is waning, he explained, and Islamic law appears to be making a comeback.

“There was once an Israeli leader who talked about a 'New Middle East,' but it turns out that it's the same old Middle East that has been around for thousands of years. What happened in Tunisia is just a symptom,” Bukai said.

“There was a revolution, and for the first time the people managed to topple the regime. For the first time, the army stopped supporting the government. It happened to the Shah in Iran as well, and now it happened in Tunisia.

“It's likely to happen in Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco as well. The government will fall into the hands of the people.”

The weakening of the existing Arab governments testifies to the growing strength of radical Islamic movements, he argued. “What takes the place of those regimes, as in Tunisia, is the religious alternative. The Islamic movements took over the country there, and that's what is likely to happen in other countries as well.”

The situation in Lebanon shows that Israeli experts have had their eyes shut to the truth for five years, he said. “Hizbullah is the true leader in Lebanon. Until now it preferred to be behind the scenes, but what is developing there is obvious. They are getting people used to the new reality.”

Nasrallah is a hero in the Arab world – thanks in part to Israel's failure to challenge him, Bukai added. “We weren't smart enough to keep repeating the mantra that Nasrallah is a coward who is always hidden away in a bunker,” he explained.