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(90,061 posts)
Sat Jan 18, 2014, 09:30 PM Jan 2014

Al-Qaeda has no future in the Arab world

Many people in the Middle East and abroad are rightly concerned about the rise and impact of hard-line Salafist-takfiri Islamist groups that have recently proliferated and controlled territory in Iraq and Syria. Groups like the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the Nusra Front, and many other smaller ones represent perhaps the fastest growing ideological sector in the region – in some cases attracting tens of thousands of adherents. There are real reasons to be concerned by their behavior, from their beheading and torture of opponents to their imposition of draconian social norms. Yet we should not exaggerate their long-term prospects. I suspect these are essentially short-term phenomena that have no place in a future Middle East, because they are essentially gangs of losers: deeply alienated young men who can only try to establish their fantasy lands of pure Islamic values in areas that have experienced a total breakdown of order, governance, services and security.

These transitional movements have no possibility to control significant territory and set up their own self-contained statelets, principalities or emirates for extended periods, because they have no natural support in society and only operate where they can take advantage of lawlessness and fear. They can do plenty of damage in the short run, because of their ability to stoke sectarian conflict across the Middle East, shatter people’s lives and development, kill and main thousands, and provide scores of recruits with training and battle experience that can later be used to carry out terror operations around the world. But as political movements they are total failures, which is why they can only operate by the gun.

Al-Qaeda itself and its offshoots have tried for decades to mobilize popular support across the Arab world, playing on the same grievances (Palestine, corruption, foreign aggressions, domestic injustices and disparities) that have brought millions of adherents to other, nonviolent and locally anchored Islamist movements such the Muslim Brotherhood or the Nour movement in Egypt. ISIS and other Al-Qaeda-like groups have totally and repeatedly failed the test of popular legitimacy. They have never achieved any anchorage because their violent, oppressive operating methods are deeply repulsive and alien to the overwhelming majority of Arab men and women. So we see their presence only in ravaged lands, zones of chaos and ungoverned areas, in places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan’s border areas, rural Yemen, Somalia, Mali and parts of Libya, Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon where governance and order are weak or nonexistent. In the short term, groups such as ISIS can control small patches of land by stabilizing security situations and providing basic services such as food and medical care, allowing them to impose their brand of harsh justice. The populations under their control appreciate the provision of basic human needs, because they do not want to live under the law of the jungle. But neither do they want to live permanently under Salafist-takfiri rule. Yet they are helpless to speak out against or resist the militants who impose their rule by the gun.


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Al-Qaeda has no future in the Arab world (Original Post) bemildred Jan 2014 OP
There was no Al-Qaeda functioning in Iraq while Saddam was in power ConcernedCanuk Jan 2014 #1
That is actually how these things work, look at Syria. bemildred Jan 2014 #2


(13,509 posts)
1. There was no Al-Qaeda functioning in Iraq while Saddam was in power
Sun Jan 19, 2014, 05:05 AM
Jan 2014


USA's meddling in the Middle East is INCREASING Al-Qaeda's relevance and power.

Makes me ponder . . . .



(90,061 posts)
2. That is actually how these things work, look at Syria.
Sun Jan 19, 2014, 07:49 AM
Jan 2014

The more you fuck with it, the more fucked up it gets. Duh.

This is what our military leaders cannot figure out, don't want to figure out. Human societies are not machines you change or fix like a car, not that sort of thing, at all. To change them you have to understand their dynamic functioning, assert incentives and disincentives, and nudge them to grow in the desired direction. And even then if may not work, if you are a lousy ruler, or your ideas are stupid, or the public really doesn't want to be ruled the way you think you want to rule them. Those all lead to trouble.

That is really why all the lying, secrecy, and violence are necessary, because you will NEVER convince people to do what you want voluntarily.

The old-school military theory was destroy your enemies and take all their food, women and stuff. "Crush your enemies, watch them flee before you, listen to the lamentations of da wiimmen." -- Conan. If they surrender, you let some live and be your slaves.

But that only works if a.) Your enemies are not too numerous, or you have fancy weapons that allow mass killings, and b.) they don't come for you first.

And, you cannot control a society that way for long, for duration you must have buy-in, cooperation, the citizenry has to follow the rules without being watched. This is the virtue of being a democracy, people think it's their government, so they have a bias to obey it, to cooperate. This is why hydraulic empires last so long, the citizens must obey to eat.

This is why the authority humpers, the aficianadoes of rules, coercion, manipulation, and "law and "order", want their methods (violence, secrecy, lying) obscured. If the public knew the facts, the corruption, the dishonesty, the pretense of public-service being used for private gain, they would not obey, they would obstruct and ignore and disrupt. And this is happening now.

And this is why OWS is such a threat. The truth sets you free.

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