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ISLAMIST SPRING, ARAB FALL,
This review is from: After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked The Middle East Revolts (Hardcover)
John Brady comes across as an angry old man - but that does not mean that he is wrong.
Brady's predominantly strident theme is that the victors in each of the Arab revolutions have been Islamists - "those who wish to create Islamic states and to impose Islamic laws." The result will not be democracy but theocracies in which political liberties will be just as crushed as in the prior regimes and personal liberties, especially including women's rights, even more so while economic competence will be minimal. He does not subscribe to the view that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, say, will govern along the lines of the ATK in Turkey. To the contrary, he sees Turkey moving down the inevitable path to Islamism itself, along with Morocco, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Brady is an old Middle East hand. He tells us that is fluent in Arabic, albeit with an atrocious Egyptian accent. We catch glimpses of the author sitting in Tunisian coffee bars, camped out in cheap hotels in dubious districts and perhaps overly familiar with the seedier side of nightlife in Tunis or Luxor. He has written extensively on the region - "Saudi Arabia Exposed" (a much more superficial analysis than Robert Lacey's "Inside the Kingdom"), and "Inside Egypt " for example - the latter successfully predicting the revolution. He has articles published regularly in such organs as the Daily Mail, the Spectator, Foreign Affairs and the New York Post.
Early in this book, Brady declares his contempt for religious extremism of any kind. His opinions of Islamists are blunt: they are "bearded swine.... propelled by moronic fervor... screaming Alilahu Akbar" as they trample the rights of others. He decries the "self-delusional" naivety of Western pundits who lauded the "Facebook activists" that they saw fronting the public demonstrations. He recounts his experience in one television program in the US when he was abruptly shut down because his views did not fit with the narrative of "joyous Arab Spring" being advanced by its producer. He is almost equally scathing of Western society, with its inequalities, decadence and rioting. Indeed, he seems to view this as inferior to the pre-revolutionary Tunisian state where Ben Ali's benign autocracy was spoiled only by the rampant corruption of the First Lady's horribly nouveau relatives.
Brady attributes the success of the Islamists to their superior organization and skillful playing of the long game. Then, too, they are heavily supported by the Saudi Arabians who, in an extension of their own Faustian pact with the Wahhabis, would rather see theocracy than democracy on the ascendant in the region. Behind the Saudis, naturally, lurk the Americans.
Brady's book is rather short on analysis or on explanations on why these societies appear to be voting for the Islamists (albeit in numbers that represent only a majority of a minority, not unlike, as he points out, the turnout for the current government in the UK). "After The Arab Spring" is a polemic. But it is not necessarily wrong.
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Initial post: 31 Mar 2013 18:05:21 BDT
Nicky Beet says:
thanks for the review,im just reading the book so will look for the errors.at 1st glance he seems to be right about egypt as the crackdown on freedoms will attest,i guess we will have to wait to see if this is a trend that will continue
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