The Counter-Revolutionary Phase of the Arab/Muslim Awakening

(New York Times) Thomas L. Friedman - Recently, looking honestly at the Middle East, one has to conclude that the prospects for stable transitions to democracy anytime soon are dimming. This is because the staying power and mendacity of the entrenched old guards and old ideas in these countries is much deeper than most people realize and the frailty or absence of democratic institutions, traditions and examples much greater. So when the iron lid of autocracy comes off, most of the Arab-Muslim world falls back, not on liberalism, but Islamism, sectarianism, tribalism or military rule. In Egypt, every day it becomes clearer that the Army has used the Tahrir uprising to get rid of its main long-term rival for succession - President Mubarak's son, Gamal. Now, having gotten rid of both father and son, the Army is showing its real hand by prosecuting American, European and Egyptian democracy workers for allegedly working with "foreign agents" - the CIA, Israel and the Jewish lobby - to destabilize Egypt. This is a patently fraudulent charge, but one meant to undermine the democrats demanding that the Army step aside. The Arab/Muslim awakening phase is over. Now we are deep into the counter-revolutionary phase, as the dead hands of the past try to strangle the future.

2012-02-29 00:00:00

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