After the Arab Spring, Winter

(Spectator-UK) Douglas Murray - When the Arab Spring arrived in the Middle East and North Africa it was unhesitatingly welcomed by Western leaders. Everyone hoped for the best. But hope is not quite enough. The shooting of protestors in Tahrir Square by the Egyptian army is the latest sign that the Arab Spring is giving way to an Arab winter. Elections have indeed taken place in Tunisia, but as in Algeria, they have simply served as a springboard for well-organized Islamist parties to gain power. In Egypt, the polls already suggest a similar triumph for the Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood's political aims are akin to those of the revolutionary Khomeinists in Iran. Libya's election is further off, but Islamists have a head-start. The end result may well be that this push for democracy produces its antithesis: the rule of militant Islam. it will be far harder to justify the Libyan intervention should it transpire that NATO merely facilitated an Islamist takeover. In the long-term, representative democracy provides the only answers to the failures of the Arab world. But in the short-term this process will be complex, fraught and bloody. The writer is an associate director of the Henry Jackson Society.

2011-11-25 00:00:00

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