Dateline, the Levant/Middle East, AD 1931-2011:
“In Iraq … there is still no Iraqi people, but unimaginable masses of human beings, devoid of any patriotic ideal … connected by no common tie, giving ear to evil, prone to anarchy, and perpetually ready to rise against any government whatsoever. Out of these masses we want to fashion a people which we would train, educate and refine … The circumstances being what they are, the immenseness of the efforts needed for this cannot be imagined.”
[Hashemite Syrian-Iraqi King Faisal I’s 1932 observation about his people]
Nobody ever summed up the problem with “Arab Spring” (or any such event) as well or better than the unhappy, British-appointed, King Faisal I of Iraq did in this statement. He was one of the most brilliant Middle East rulers of all times, for which reason his reign was so short-lived. The phrase “Arab Spring” is a piece of propaganda in itself. The phrase was first used in 2005 to refer to short lived pro democracy movements in the Middle East. It became mostly unused until 2011 when a political magazine used the term to discuss the growing civil unrest in the Arab world where it was used to describe the uprisings which took place in the Middle East, and which came to a head sometime toward the end of 2013 with Muslim Brotherhood’s Muhammed Morsi in power in Egypt.
The expression “Arab Spring” is a piece of propaganda by itself, with plenty of geopolitical implications in just two words. The period it describes was rife with other propaganda which is still being rampantly spread today. The reason this propaganda, which would typically die off after the end of a revolution, is still so widely consumed is due to the power of the internet. It was merely a source of entertainment for the sick Western leftists. Calling these revolutions “Arab Spring” sounds very popular in the West because the phrase is meant to imply new beginnings and positive growth because it sounds pleasant and uplifting to the naive Western audiences that are routinely duped by the mainstream media.
The Western audiences are fed selective information to suit the geopolitical and hidden business relationships spanning networks worldwide. So, for instance, we hear about crimes that Muslims commit whenever they can be laid at the doorstep of the designated “bad guys” (like Al-Qaeda, ISIS, etc.) but not when an allied or oil rich Muslim government commits atrocities against the politically unfriendly Muslim populations (as was the case when Saudi Arabia killed and maimed thousands in Yemen using the weaponry bought from the West). There are simply no good guys in the Arab Spring. They are all bad guys! The same principle of double-standard in use by the leftist Western mainstream media was at work throughout the 1990’s when the Yugoslav civil war was fought.
The designated “bad guys” were reported on (blamed for real and imagined crimes) while the “good guys” were shielded from reporting and criticism. Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation (setting himself on fire) in the central Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid, which acted as a media trigger for revolts across the Middle East, was fanned by Facebook and “Open Society” NGO (non-governmental organization) paid by George Soros, and directed by the dangerously incorrect ideas of the former Carter National Security Adviser Zbigniew “Zbig” Brzezinski. The leftist mainstream media has it both ways. When the social media is used successfully by their opponents (such as the followers of Trump in the 2016 election) – they cry foul and seek out ways to prevent or censor their usage or limit their access to Social Media (Facebook, Twitter) – but are delighted whenever their intended users (such as the Arab rebels or the Democrat activists for Hillary Clinton or Bernard Sanders) successfully employ the social media methods of dissemination of propaganda centered around viral posts.
This approach of selective reporting ignores a very disturbing reality, too hard for the shallow Western politicians to handle. The 90 years since the Arab states were established have been fraught with useless discord between the different peasant communities, political and economic discrimination, uprisings, military coups, subversion, pogroms of minorities, attacks on Israel and the West, and conflicts between the Muslim states themselves. These Muslim-on-Muslim conflicts have levied at least 5 million fatalities and many millions of wounded and refugees.
At this stage, no one in the Arab states is thinking about minorities and national unity. There is no talk of reconciliation or minority rights. The situation of minorities has only worsened. In Egypt, social media propaganda was very successful in rallying the population for an Islamist cause that was concealed by its fake mantle of Western human rights concerns. After the 28-year-old Khaled Said was beaten to death by policemen in June 2010, an image of his brutally mangled face went viral online. An internet activist, Wael Ghonim, created the Facebook page “We Are All Khaled Said” and it quickly became a hub to share information about the revolution and organize protests against the Egyptian government. It helped in the fight to finally end the necessary 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak.
The recurrent feature of the Middle East is the readiness to rebel. If rebelliousness could ever be a unifying factor it would cement an adamantine unity in the Arab world. Instead, the rebelliousness of mobs of Muslims is an incurable plague, which must be contained and the only method for that is the secular dictatorship, the last line of defence against rebellions in the Middle East. And Islam’s ideological propaganda always lurks in the background as a framework of inspiration for all kinds of heinous acts. The mass mentality of Muslims is always poised against any physiognomy-rich appearance of a diversifying kind, breaking Islamic taboos, and enjoying happiness for itself; and for that reason, the Muslim mobs always seek out an envious action against the historical minorities in their midst. Islam despises History. In the world of Islam (“Islamistan”) the hatred of history is so pervasive that no significant historian (with one unlikely exception) was ever produced in the 1,500 years of Islam.
As a historian, I can see the parallels and the lineage of ancestry connecting the disturbing radical activism of Muslims in the Arab Spring (and this activism has yielded, among other things, movements like the ISIS) and the violent outbursts that had occurred in century after century of the last phase of the Arabian Caliphate a thousand years ago. In both cases, the radicalized Muslims obsessed by a two-track perspective on life (good vs evil) were ready for all kinds of unrealistic demands, visions, and proposals (as if produced by dervishes in a trance) but never ready to settle and focus on one sound proposal for an orderly governance, let alone be capable of setting a functional authority that could limit policy choices as any authority must. Always only mayhem. It’s always about some sort of reform that would satisfy “the good guys” even though nothing can satisfy them.
This is chiefly because the Muslim mass mentality is incapable of inducing a feeling of respect for any authority. To this day the self-appointed intellects of the Arab Spring are all sour grapes about the reasons for the failure of their aims, living in their own mental ghetto where unreality is welcome and anyone speaking about reality is rejected or treated like an enemy. It is always a dualist vision of “us versus them” with no middle ground. They confuse authority with fascism and freedom with democracy. For this reason, it will always be either the non-Muslim outsiders or the Muslim dictators who will control the Muslim populations, if any kind of social order is to exist in Islamistan. We can see the need for unity and order at every Islamic prayer gathering (a faceless parade in which uniformity and alignment are the only distinguishing features) as if to silently tell us about the unreachable ideal of order that the tragic world of Islam is cursed by. The American military will need to always be ready to intervene in the Islamic countries to restore order.
The outcomes of the Arab Spring
The Arab Spring consists of a wave of protests that started in December 2010 in Tunisia followed by other Arab countries. It was positively acclaimed as a social movement demanding an end to human rights violations, government corruption and poverty. However, as Agha and Malley predicted in the New York Book Review, the outcome of these revolutions was contrary to what the original protesters intended:
“The Arab world’s immediate future will very likely unfold in a complex tussle between the army, remnants of old regimes, and the Islamists, all of them with roots, resources, as well as the ability and willpower to shape events. There are many possible outcomes—from restoration of the old order to military takeover, from unruly fragmentation and civil war to creeping Islamization.”
Among other things, the Arab Spring led to the downfall of strongmen in the region. Those strongmen had not built strong state institutions, and their failure led to the state failure and lawlessness. Even in Egypt, one of the oldest states in the world, the state system collapsed following the fall of Hosni Mubarak. And as Christians are the minority in all Arab countries, they became an easy prey for radical Muslims and criminal gangs. Destructions of churches, displacement, kidnapping and assassination of Christians have come at the order of the day.
Indeed, the Arab Spring led to the deterioration of the position of Christians whose rights were to a certain extent safeguarded under authoritarian rule. The ousting of despots like Kaddafi (Libya) or Mubarak (Egypt) left a power vacuum that benefited Islamic fundamentalists and criminal gangs. Anti-Christian sentiments increased, and violence against both historical Christian minorities and Muslim Background Believers has increased. Moreover, the empowerment of Islamic groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria and Salafism has had negative effects on the position of Christians. This was compounded in 2012 by a cycle of protests in different countries under the pretext of opposing an anti-Islam film as a result of which some churches were destroyed.
The outcomes of the Arab Spring have been far from a uniform good for Christians across the Middle East, and differ from country to country. The following four categories of outcomes can be distinguished:
- The Arab Spring brought about a regime change in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. In all these countries, Islamist parties got elected into political office. In the case of Tunisia, the Islamists lost majority control after their first term in office, and in the case of Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood was evicted by a military intervention. This does not mean that the threat of Islamism has been averted any of these countries. In Tunisia, Islamists remain highly visible. Moreover, it’s important to bear in mind that Tunisia’s political developments are not as positive as mainstream media make it seem. In Egypt, Islamists continue to perpetrate frequent attacks, including at Christian targets, and there are no guarantees that the rights of Christians will be respected. Meanwhile, Libya has slipped into a situation of absolute lawlessness, in which Christians, particularly Sub-Saharan migrants are among the most vulnerable groups. Libya has become a safe haven and base for all kinds of terrorists.
- In Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Bahrain, the impact of the Arab Spring remains limited, but could become stronger in the future. Reforms were introduced to restore social peace. In the near future, however, major turmoil in these countries cannot be discarded. In Algeria, for example, when President Bouteflika’s succession will have to be addressed, this is likely to generate massive social unrest. If Islamists capitalize upon the societal discontent as they did in Tunisia and Egypt, the Church may be far worse off. Jordan is currently the stage of a battle against homegrown and foreign jihadists.
- In Saudi Arabia and Oman, the impact of the Arab Spring was short-lived. Demonstrations were violently suppressed, with the country’s ruling powers still firmly in place.
- The Arab Spring escalated into unprecedented violence in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and to a lesser extent Bahrain. For more than four years, Syria has been the stage of a bloody conflict with Islamist rebels desperately trying to get rid of the al-Assad regime, with extremely dire consequences for the country’s Christian population. The violence of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has dominated international news headlines. In Syria, Christians’ relative pre-civil war amount of freedom has virtually disappeared with the coming of violent Islamic jihadist groups, reaching an all-time low with the Islamic State caliphate. Since Islamic State proclaimed a caliphate in parts of Iraq, a stream of Christians as well as Yazidis, Shia Muslims and Shabaq have been forced to flee their homes. Many Christians have become internally displaced and have fled to the Kurdish region.
A number of cross-cutting themes can also be considered the consequences of the Arab Spring:
- A large number of historical churches have been destroyed in the Middle-East, as reported in the annual publication of the World Watch List.
- Islamic State is responsible for ethnic cleansing and genocide of Christians: The atrocities committed by Islamic State include mass killings. The facts speak for themselves. What the world is witnessing in Syria and Iraq is a clear genocide, as “crimes [are] committed with intent to annihilate a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
- Displacement and internal displacement of Christians from the Middle-East: Because of the chaotic and threatening situation in the region, many Christians are leaving their countries in large numbers. A precise accounting is impossible, but their forced displacement represents a blow the last remnants of a vivid Christian community in the heartland of Christianity. A further decline in numbers is highly likely.
- Of the 1.8 million pre-war Christian population in Syria, only 1.1 million has remained. This means that since the civil war began in 2011, 700,000 Christians have fled the country, of which 200,000 left in the past year. Since Islamic State proclaimed a caliphate in parts of Iraq, a stream of Christians as well as Yazidis, Shia Muslims and Shabaq have been forced to flee their homes. Many Christians have become internally displaced and have fled to the Kurdish region. Nevertheless, the fear is growing that the Kurdish region will be next in line. Especially in regions controlled by Islamic State, virtually the whole Christian community has disappeared, such as. It is reported that 140,000 Christians have fled from Mosul and the Nineveh plain, either to the Kurdish region or abroad.
- Christian women and girls have become victims of human trafficking, forced marriage and sexual slavery: Specifically, Christian women and girls are at increased risk of human trafficking. Although Christian men also suffer enormously when persecution increases, for Christian women and girls the situation is often worse because they are culturally the weaker part and their persecutors are like predators, very often preying on their bodies for sexual abuse, or marrying them off to Muslim fighters (or other Muslim men). For example, Muslim men from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have asked their embassies to help them find Syrian girls living in makeshift refugee camps in Jordan and Iraq. “Syrian female refugees aged 14 and 15 who have fled their country to Jordan and Iraq are being forced into “pleasure marriages” [Nikah al-Mut’ah] – a pre-Islamic custom allowing men to marry for a limited period. Apart from being a cover for legalized prostitution (the marriage can last for as little as 30 minutes), Nikah al-Mut’ah deprives the wife of many rights. No divorce is necessary in “pleasure marriages,” for instance, and the husband may void the marriage earlier than agreed,” Gatestone reports. The institute concludes, “Many of these girls, according to reports in a number of Arab media outlets, are being returned to their families after hours or days of the temporary marriage”.
- Christians at risk in refugee camps: Based on in-country sources, World Watch Research has established that Christians do not always feel safe in UN refugee camps in and outside Syria. Christians prefer not to stay in refugee camps administrated by the UN because other refugees in those camps, some of whom are militant Muslims themselves, cause them to suffer great hostilities. This situation is particularly poignant, as Christians who fled the violence in Syria also have to flee from UN refugee camps.
- Risk of horizontal and vertical expansion of Islamic State: Under the influence of Islamic State, radical sentiments have increased in the Middle East region, posing threats to the Church worldwide. Indeed, outside the Arab world, the Arab Spring has also inspired the growth of radical violent Islamism in West and East Africa, and poses threats to the West, Asia and the Gulf. The potential for horizontal expansion of Islamic State by inspiring other radical groups is considerable. Besides this horizontal expansion, the potential for vertical expansion of Islamic State seems realistic too and could be greater than many expect.
- Increasing ties between Islamic extremism and Organized corruption: There are increasing ties between Islamist organizations and organized crime, particularly in the Maghreb, as a recent terrorist attack in Tunisia clearly reveals.