The Arab World: It Ain't Switzerland

Here's the problem I'm having with some of my friends who point out that Islamists make up a portion of the opposition of [insert name of Arab country here], therefore any show of support for the opposition is de facto a support for Islamism.

Ummmm, okay.

Look, we are not talking here about the choice between Dictator X and liberal reformer Y. The choices in the world just aren't that clear cut.

I'd love for those to be our choices, but they're not. Given the choice between a dictator like Ghaddafi with American blood on his hands and an imperfect opposition movement, I choose the opposition.

Further, if the choice is between the enemy of my enemy spilling blood or my own troops, I choose the enemy of my enemy.

No, the enemy of my enemy is not my friend. He's my ally.

Better they die in a mutually beneficial cause then us.

The same principle holds in Yemen where a woman with ties to Islamists won the Nobel Peace prize. I don't give the Nobel Prize much credence as anything more than what Norwegian politicians think, but the reaction about Tawakkol Karman sharing in the prize has been, well, kinda stupid.

This isn't the choice between a pro-American dictator and Lockean liberals, it's the choice between a Pakistani like "ally" which pays lip service to the GWOT but who had deep ties to al Qaeda and Saudi style Islamists and those that oppose him. That the opposition is made up of other Islamists is just part of the game you play in the Arab world. It's also made up of socialists, Baathists, and whatever other insane and discredited ideology still lingering in the region.

Our own Jane has an article over at PJM about the controversy and sums it up nicely thus:

Those questioning Ms. Karman’s beliefs might do well to consider the positive impact of her work and the courage necessary to stand in Yemen as a woman and proclaim freedom as a birthright. These scholars may do better exploring broader issues like the long standing democratic consensus at the heart of the Yemeni revolution, President Saleh’s payments to al-Qaeda, and the Sana’a regime’s expansive criminal enterprises including gun running, currency forgery, drug smuggling, and, sadly, human trafficking.

Posted by: Rusty at 12:51 PM


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