Obama, NATO, Bin Laden, Gaddafi: they are all our enemies

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Devrim
Obama, NATO, Bin Laden, Gaddafi: they are all our enemies
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Obama, NATO, Bin Laden, Gaddafi: they are all our enemies. The discussion was initiated by Devrim.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

Devrim
al-Quida and Political Islam

"Some things have changed since 9/11. In the Middle East, for example, despite the fantasies of Gaddafi, al-Qaida has never really got a foothold, whatever its strengths in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the recent social movements in various Arab countries, whatever their confusions, there has been no sign that protesters have been going in the direction of al-Qaidaist ideas, adoption of sharia law or other Islamic tenets. On the contrary, many of the demonstrators have explicitly rejected the vicious sectarian and gender divisions which al-Qaida stands for."

I think this part of the article completely misunderstands the effects and influence of political Islam. It is true that " there has been no sign that protesters have been going in the direction of al-Qaidaist ideas", but those ideas were pretty marginal before the recent events anyway. There are a whole host of Islamic parties and movements ranging from parties like the Turkish AKP, which could be considered as a Muslim version of the German Christian Democrat party all the way through to the groups like al-Quida. 

Certainly the movement in Libya and most probably the movement in Syria have major Islamicist components. The demonstrations in Libya began after the arrest of the lawyer of some Islamic militants. Equally certainly the movement in Bahrain has been deeply sectarian. Witness the attacks upon foreign workers from Pakistan who happen to belong to the same domination as the majority ruling group.

Yes, al-Quida has been shown up as marginal political groups by passed by the movement of history, but, apart from their capacity to wreck massively destructive terror attacks, outside of the minds of the new crusaders on the far right they always were. That does not mean that Islamic political groups and ideas are not involved in some of these movements.

Devrim

jk1921
Is it possible for a "social

Is it possible for a "social movement" to be motivated by an ideology/movement that is essentially "minoritarian" in nature (Al-Qaidaism)? Could a social movement be motivated by "red briagedism" for example? If Islamism is motivating some of these movements in the ME/NA, they must have a deeper social base than this, right?

What exactly is the "al-Qaidaism" we are talking about here? The quest for an Islamic caliphate?

Android
Islamism

Hi - this is my first post.  I have been lurking for quite a while.  

jk1921, I did not read Devrim's post as saying that the anti-Gaddafi movment that arose was motivated by al-Qaedaism as such but rather Islamism.  So I think it unnecessarily complicates the discussion by using them interchangably.

As far as "social movements" / "social revolts" and minority actionists go - I think this rather misses the point Devrim was making.  Islamism is not reducible to Al Qaeda and such groups.  It has various expressions as alluded to above, just like any other ideology, so of course such ideas can be expressed in a non-minoritarian way.   

 

 

 

 

Alf
Alf

 I agree that islamism is a bigger phenomenon than al Qaida. The latter was the main focus of the article, but the distinction is not clearly made in the forumulation Devrim points to. However, the other article on the Middle East in the same issue does highlight the danger of sectarian conflict in Bahrain and Syria. This danger is in inverse proportion to the strength of the class struggle in a given country or at different moments.  

jk1921
OK

Android wrote:

Hi - this is my first post.  I have been lurking for quite a while.  

jk1921, I did not read Devrim's post as saying that the anti-Gaddafi movment that arose was motivated by al-Qaedaism as such but rather Islamism.  So I think it unnecessarily complicates the discussion by using them interchangably.

As far as "social movements" / "social revolts" and minority actionists go - I think this rather misses the point Devrim was making.  Islamism is not reducible to Al Qaeda and such groups.  It has various expressions as alluded to above, just like any other ideology, so of course such ideas can be expressed in a non-minoritarian way.   

 

My point was that Al-qaidism and Islamism are not synonomous. Al-Qaidism is a minoritarian movement, while some of the various forms of Islamism Devrim mentions have deeper social roots. It's not clear then what solace we can take from the fact that the mass movements we have seen were NOT motivated by al-qaidism as the article argues? Why would they be? Did the article mean to use a broader term? Devrim would then take issue with that empirically it seems. According to some U.S. intelligence sources cited in the press al-Qaida actually had a strong recruiting prescence around Benghazi.

 

 

Devrim
Libya and Bahrain

Alf wrote:
However, the other article on the Middle East in the same issue does highlight the danger of sectarian conflict in Bahrain and Syria. This danger is in inverse proportion to the strength of the class struggle in a given country or at different moments.

Could it be though Alf that the struggles in Libya and Bahrain are not class struggles and never were?

Devrim

 

baboon
In International Review 145,

In International Review 145, in the article on the Middle East covering a wide range of complex events, it talks about the divisions in the EU and NATO over the Libyan war: ".... with Britain and France most strongly in favour of military action and the US and Germany most reluctant. The Obama administration is not opposed to military action on principle, but it will not relish exposing itself to the danger of being drawn into yet another intractable mess in the Arab world".

I think that this is a misunderstanding. This has been and remains a US-led war. After some, not much, internal discussion that US gave the war its go-ahead and has been at its cutting edge, initially in the bombing and to this day in supplying intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance air capacity, air-to-air refuelling, diplomatic support and probably a lot more we don't know about. That "each for themselves" is a factor in this theatre of war is not in doubt but it's not the Anglo-French on one side and the US/Germans on the other.

In fact, the UK and France are doing exactly what the US (specifically Robert Gates fronting for the Pentagon) has been asking them to do for years, ie, take up some of the "burden" of being policemen over particular areas of the globe. The new "Entente" is not a contingent alliance over Libya (though France and the UK could well have imperialist antagonisms elsewhere - or even here) but one that has been developing for a few years now. There are integrated command structures and cooperation at many levels of the military/diplomatic machine.

Today's Guardian quotes US defence secretary Gates at a recent Brussels meeting: "Those who are bearing the brunt of the strike burden are increasingly pressed.... But the question is just how much more painful it becomes, if other countries that have the capabilities ... don't step up". A few days ago, Gates "...singled out the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey for refusing to take part in strikes. He also voiced his exasperation with Germany and Poland, which have refused to commit to any aspects of the Libyan operations".

Centrifugal tendencies certainly, but no great opposition between the US, France and the UK.

jk1921
I think there were

I think there were significant differences within the U.S. bourgeoise regarding the intervention in Libya. Gates was actually quite opposed to it, while Clinton pushed for getting involved. I think there was actually an initial hope that Gadaffi would simply crush this movement in short order. That didn't happen, Britain and France clamored to get involved, so the U.S. was, in a sense, pushed to take action. Of course, they couldn't pass off responsibility/blame for this to someone else fast enough. Gates' recent comments at the NATO meeting are interesting and need to be further analyzed.

Red Hughs
Here in the US of A, with its

Here in the US of A, with its promise of "separation of church and state", just about every politician swears his or her allegiance to Christianity in one fashion or another, with some being more screamingly insane than others. I would imagine that "Islamic nations" face a similar situation.

 

 

A.Simpleton
Screamingly Insane : reply to Red Hughs

Indeed :

Re: Christianity , Judaism , Islam et al. 

Have you read even some sections of 'Marx and Engels on Religion' ?

Engels writes a chapter 'Bruno Bauer And Early Christianity' ( pages 173 -182 ) : yes , naturally much is 'sociologically' out of date , for the history that men and women make moves on of course : but many points made - both historically and politically - are not .

And  it shows not only the incredible depth , breadth and thoroughness of Marx and Engels knowledge and the application thereof , but also it still has relevance and vitality and at times is upliftingly witty .

Engels ( page 181 ) commenting ( ironically) on how Christian consciousness of sin answered         '......all complaints about the wickednes of the times and the material and moral distress....'

 

The Church Proclaimed

'...thou art to blame, ye are all to blame for the corruption of the world , thine and your own internal corruption ! And where was the man who could deny it ? MEA CULPA ! The admission of each one's share in the responsibility in the general unhappiness was irrefutable . ....'

If only the alleged allegiance ( ha!) you mention above were real , then it would amount to bourgeois politicians crying " Ah! forgive us ! It's all our fault ....

Please excuse this moment of levity : I realise this is a political forum not a chat room

AS