Follow by Email

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thomas Friedman, "In the Arab World, It’s the Past vs. the Future": Detached From Reality

In his latest New York Times op-ed, "In the Arab World, It’s the Past vs. the Future" (, Thomas Friedman is back to pretending that the chaos in Egypt and Syria derives from a struggle for liberty and democracy. Friedman writes:

"This is the grand drama now being played out in the Arab world — the deeply sincere youth-led quest for liberty and the deeply rooted quests for sectarian, factional, class and tribal advantage. One day it looks as though the revolutions in Egypt, Syria and Tunisia are going to be hijacked by forces and passions from the past while the next day that longing of young people to be free and modern pushes them back."

Remarkably, there is not a single mention in Friedman's opinion piece of the poverty and unemployment in Syria and Egypt, which fuel both revolts. No mention by Friedman that if elections are held today in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood will emerge as the clear winner, whereupon Islamic justice will become the law of the land.

According to statistics released by the Pew Research Center in December 2010 (

"At least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt . . . say they would favor making each of the following the law in their countries: stoning people who commit adultery, whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery and the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion."

As per the Pew data, unshackled Egyptian "democracy" under the Muslim Brotherhood would see the ongoing brutalization of women, who are inevitably the primary victims of stoning, and hordes of limbless waifs. Also without freedom of religion, Egypt's Christian Copt minority would face a level of oppression never before witnessed in the past.

Syria? The struggle between Sunnis, comprising some 70% of Syria's population, and the ruling Alawites, deemed heretics by many Muslims, has absolutely nothing to do with Western notions of democracy. Here, too, the Muslim Brotherhood stands to take power, and all that remains to be seen is whether a bloodbath directed at the Alawites will ensue.

Friedman concludes:

"The same drama played out in Iraq, but there the process was managed, at a huge cost, by an American midwife — managed enough so that the communities were able to write a new, rudimentary social contract on how to live together and, thereby, give the future a chance to bury the past. But we still do not know how it will end in Iraq."

We don't know how it will end in Iraq? Speak for yourself, Tom. Expect renewed sectarian fighting between Sunnis and Shiites, as Iran explores via proxies the power vacuum created in this country by the US departure. The Kurds, who have already begun to make overtures to Tehran, will seek to safeguard their autonomy in the north. Meanwhile, I anticipate the recrudescence of al-Qaeda the moment American troops are gone.

Democracy in Egypt, Syria or Iraq? Get real!

1 comment:

  1. "Iran explores via proxies the power vacuum created in this country by the US departure."
    It also exploits the power vacuum.