Revolts Could Imply a New, Less Radical Middle EastRevolts Could Imply a New, Less Radical Middle East
With the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia to the fall of Egypt’s 30-year tyrant to the uprisings in Libya, Iran, Yemen, Bahrain, Morocco and other North African and Middle Eastern nations, citizens have been exercising or attempting to exercise their God-given right to peacefully overthrow their governments. Thus far, we have seen the peaceful overthrow of the tyrants in Tunisia and Egypt. As of the time of the writing of this article, the protests in Bahrain and Libya have become violent to the extent that the governments have contracted foreign mercenaries to subdue the protesters. Without a doubt, the unrest in the region has many U.S. officials and foreign diplomats biting their nails. The situation can ultimately go either way: genocide by the tyrants or democratization. The officials hope, however, that the political power goes from civilian dictatorships to the hands of the military to, finally, the formation of democratic states. Without fear in citizens’ hearts and the domino effect the uprisings are having, I believe that the significance of al-Qaeda will also be reduced as a result of these revolts.
For the last century, U.S. foreign policy has been essentially enabling the tyranny that has had overwhelming control of the Middle East, with the notion that the people are not yet ready for or capable of democracy. Also, even if they were capable of democracy, they may elect governments against the interests of the United States and her western allies. However, these revolutions instead prove just the opposite — that the people of this war-torn region are capable of not only protesting against and overthrowing their tyrannical governments, but that they simply want normalcy and the pursuit of happiness.
After Hosni Mubarak released all criminals from the Egyptian prison system with the hope of paralyzing the protests, the people set up local militias and checkpoints to protect their homes and families, in an attempt to defend and preserve the infrastructure of their homeland. When Mubarak told his soldiers to attack and disperse the protestors, they disobeyed and allowed their brothers and sisters to demonstrate peacefully.
In Libya, when mercenaries fired at protesters from helicopters, the demonstrators instead found cover for themselves and their countrymen. Rather than going home, more came out to the streets to replace the dead and the wounded. Similarly, in Bahrain, the people have recently been defending one another from pro-government loyalists and militias.
The majority of Middle Eastern countries are in a state of political unrest with their governments, but yet, even without law and order, the people have vowed to defend their countrymen and proceed with their cause — democracy, and the allowance of economic growth, prosperity, and liberty.
These protests and peaceful overthrows are being reported on by nearly every news network around the world, especially Al-Jazeera. The youth in Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Kurdistan, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and other states in the region are inspired by the revolutions, which are broadcast continually on these networks and are therefore following suit. What’s most miraculous is that there have been no suicide bombers or violent attacks against governments, and yet, for the most part, the people have been seeing their demands executed. Tyrants, kings, sultans and sheiks, have fallen at their knees and, in an attempt to save face and prevent international prosecution, they have been giving in to the needs and demands of their people.
These revolutions have provided the one thing that al-Qaeda has been unable to furnish since its organized inception in the caves of Afghanistan over two decades ago — success. For the first time in modern Middle Eastern history, people have become empowered, inspired and determined to control their future and seek prosperity, order, and liberty through peaceful and democratic means.
In solidarity with one another, they have shaken the very foundation of the traditional authoritarian rule to which these nations had become accustomed. The protests have weakened the foundation of al-Qaeda, which thrives during suppression and recruits easily only during high unemployment and harsh living conditions. Now, for the first time since modern Jihadism, the youth of the Middle East have something other than al-Qaeda to look to for assistance — each other — and with that should come the gradual downfall of their governments, al-Qaeda and organized Islamic terrorism as we know it.