Tuesday, July 16, 2013

As Washington Dithers, Arabs Rally To Egypt’s Revolt Against Political Islam

Arabs are flocking to support Egypt’s upheaval against political Islam. - YOUSSEF IBRAHIM/New York Sun

In the past ten days alone Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates pledged $12 billion in cash, fuel, food, wheat, interest-free loans, and gifts. Vast shipments of gasoline and wheat have poured in so fast that the four-hour standard waits at gasoline stations and a shortage of bread disappeared overnight.

No doubt the support is sincere, but no doubt, too, that the endorsement is also driven by the danger Islamists represent in these countries’ own backyards. On July 3, the day President Morsi was removed by the army in Cairo, a court at Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, sentenced 61 professionals of the Muslim Brotherhood to between 10 and 25 years for plotting a coup.

As the estrangement between Egypt and its rich allies comes to end, a clearer strategic view is emerging. Oil-rich Arabs are turning the clock back to a time when Egypt stood as top dog in confrontation with Iran, while resuming its leadership role as big brother. Poorer Arab nations including Jordan, Algeria, and Morocco, lost in the wilderness for years, are finding their place in the new order, as with anti-Islamist forces in Tunisia and Syria....

In a new vernacular, radical Islam emerges as malevolent monster conspiring against multi-sectarian, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic societies, advocating Wahhabi Islam, civil wars, and financial ruin.

The new pan-Arab cynicism is rooted in disappointments with such Islamist militias as Hezbollah and Hamas, piled upon multiple atrocities by Islamists against fellow Arabs in Algeria, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq and a loss of interest in the so-called “Peace Process” that has led nowhere.