The view from Israel is often not pretty. Last week our forces apparently accidentally killed four civilians in Gaza as collateral damage to killing terrorists after rocket strikes on Israeli communities. The honorable Mr. Ban Ki-moon erupted in fury.
Given yesterday. Complete with--at least at first--self-conscious, stammering Israeli newscaster. Note that, apart from some questions that can be called "neutral," all the questions asked by the newscaster, or picked from around the world, are from the Left--Lieberman, settlements. The Lefty grilling that right-of-center Israeli leaders automatically receive in the media. Instead one could ask, for instance, how many rockets and mortars will be allowed to fall on southern communities, living in terror and stress, until Israel acts militarily against Hamas? Is it true that building even in East Jerusalem has largely been frozen de facto, something that was never done under any Labor or Kadima government since 1967? But those are questions that right-wingers or conservatives--nonpersons--would ask. In any case, Bibi does a pretty good PR job with the answers, though he belabors the Arabs-in-Israel-have-rights points rather too much. It's an important point--but saying it clearly and concisely once or twice is more effective.
Reports of the growing influence of al Qaeda and other radical groups in Libya raise the question of exactly what Mr. Obama’s end game is for Operation Odyssey Dawn. “Protecting civilians” is an objective but not a strategy. If the Libyan uprising succeeds through the support of coalition arms and the country falls under the sway of Islamic radicals - who could well perpetrate their own bloodbath - it would be worse than if Moammar Gadhafi had been left to win the civil war two weeks ago. The question then would be what sense intervention made in the first place.
Indeed. Maybe this won't happen. But it seems like a huge, unjustifiable risk to take. Now, over to Yaya Ibrahim, editor of Al Qaeda's English-language propaganda magazine Inspire:
“It is our opinion that the revolutions that are shaking the thrones of dictators are good for the Muslims, good for the [mujaheedin] and bad for the imperialists of the West and their henchmen in the Muslim world. We are very optimistic and have great expectations of what is to come.”
The Washington Times comments: "The al Qaeda leadership hasn’t been this excited since Sept. 10, 2001."
Dan Calic sums this up briefly and very well. Allegiances to the family unit, the clan, and the imam all supersede allegiance to the law, or what we might call the institutions of civil society; fundamentalism is strong and, even where not constituting a demographic majority, is well organized and powerfully devoted to the cause. The latter point is not so hard to grasp for most Westerners; the former--a different, hierarchical societal structure, with basic family, clan, and what we might call "clerical" loyalties--is indeed difficult to grasp for people who unthinkingly assume that Western societal structures prevail everywhere, and that a supposed universal desire for freedom means democracy is just waiting to spring forth. Again and again and again, cultures and civilizations differ from each other, sometimes radically.
To the points Calic emphasizes can be added the ideologies of sharia, jihad, Islamic supremacism, male supremacism/misogyny, anti-Semitism, anti-Christianism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Westernism. Not, of course, universal in Arab (or other Muslim countries), but very widespread and sedulously inculcated.
Plus: widespread consanguinal marriage; very high frequency of child abuse and spousal abuse.
Mix, and you get...something other than democracy.