Category Archives: Arab Exceptionalism

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The Arab Awakening: An Antidote Against the Relevance of Al-Qaida

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 23, 2011, No Comments

 When al-Qaida was ranting against the corrupt and inept Arab and Muslim dictators as "slaves" of America, it had captured the sympathy of quite a few people in the Arab world, who agreed with that organization's criticism of their rulers, but not with its brutal ways.  The Arab awakening is bringing about the kind of change that al-Qaida dreamed about, but with at least one major difference.  The falling dictators are likely to be replaced by democratic and transparent governments, which will also learn to govern well. It is aiming to create pluralistic governments in such countries as Egypt and Bahrain, where more than one religion and Islamic sect prevail.  It also aims to make discrimination against women a thing of the past.  If hopes related to these aspirations are dashed, then al-Qaida will have another opportunity to be back with a vengeance.  At least for now, it is watching history fly right by it.  That is just one of the most significant reasons to celebrate the Ara
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The “Bad” Politics of Ousting Libya’s Bad Man

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 22, 2011, No Comments

President Barack Obama is finding out how tricky America's added involvement in the Arab world can be in the aftermath of George W. Bush's adventurism in Iraq of 2003.  Obama cannot seem to win on any side.  One group of conservative Republicans is upset because he took too long to act, another group's complaint is that Libya is not part of U.S. vital interests.  Liberal Democrats are angry about another adventurism in the Arab world.  Even the Arab League, which initially supported a no-fly zone resolution, had second thoughts when the allied coalition eagerly started to bomb Libyan military targets.  Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who specializes in tormenting Muslims of the North Caucasus, was most uncharitable in his rhetoric of comparing the air campaign over Libya as reminiscent of the Crusades.  The Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev, disagreed with his Prime Minister and former boss.  The Libyan bad man, Muammar Qaddafi, cannot be happier over this growing squabb
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Why the Rise and Outcome of a Chinese Awakening are Hard to Predict?

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 13, 2011, No Comments

If the Chinese leaders read Francis Fukuyama's latest essay, "Is China Next?," they should come away with ample mixed feelings.  As much as he relied on a variety of well-chosen variables to develop a highly rational analysis about why China may not be the next country to experience the Chinese version of the Arab awakening (and this part of his argument should please the rulers of China), Fukuyama's most persuasive argument in his essay was the following: "All social revolutions are driven by intense anger over injured dignity, an anger that is sometimes crystallized by a single incident or image that mobilizes previously disorganized individuals and binds them into a community. We can quote statistics on education or job growth, or dig into our knowledge of a society's history and culture, and yet completely miss the way that social consciousness is swiftly evolving through a myriad of text messages, shared videos or simple conversations."  This observation should make them lose a
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Western Military Intervention as a Death-knell for the Arab Awakening

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 9, 2011, No Comments

The natural American interventionist impulse is surging once again.  This time the pretext is to save the Libyans from Muammar Qaddafi.  The United States and the U.K. are reportedly positioning their military assets to impose no-fly zones in Libya.  At least superficially, that sounds like a good measure, which would scare Qaddafi into submission.  But one has to be apprehensive about such "good measures."  Past American interventionism in the Muslim world has established that there is no such thing as intervention to improve the lot of the populace.  That did not happen in 1953, when the CIA and the British intelligence service colluded to bring Mohammad Reza Pahlevi to power.  The post-Saddam Iraq is tenuous at best.  Afghanistan continues to teeter at the brink of disaster.  The CIA-backed intervention that ousted Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965 brought to power a military dictator, Suharto, who ruled that country with an iron fist for several decades.  (more…)
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The Arab Awakening as the End of Arab “Exceptionalism”

by Ehsan Ahrari on February 27, 2011, No Comments

The best promise of the Arab awakening is that, if the ouster of dictators were to lead to democratic governance, the Arab world will be truly freed from all manifestations of the remnant of neo-imperialism.  Arab Exceptionalism, the concept that democratic rule was not meant for Arab regions, is proving itself to be wrong.  In reality, it was as wrong as it was racist.  The Arab autocrats promoted it, but the realpolitik of the West in its uncritical acceptance of it was also responsible for its sustenance throughout the post-World War II era. (more…)