2002 September 27 Friday
Amir Taheri On Crumbling Arab Support For Saddam

Taheri, a Paris-based Iranian writer, has written an enlightening essay on the reasons why various Arab states supported Saddam in the first place and why now they are now offering tepid support at best:

The first is that the Arabs have now concluded that Washington is no longer bluffing and that President George W Bush is determined to topple Saddam Hussein.

Arab leaders who have read the Siasatnameh, the "Book of Politics" by the 10th century scholar and statesman Nizam al-Mulk, remember his celebrated dictum: "A man who sides with a loser is not fit for political office." When you know that the loser in question is also your bitterest enemy you would have even less reason to side with him.

The second reason why support for Saddam has collapsed is the intra-Arab rivalry around who would be America's favorite ally in the changed context of regional geopolitics.

In another essay Taheri says that, in spite of predictions of all the nervous Nellies to the contrary, firm US intervention has reduced the political influence of Islamic fundamentalism:

No Muslim country has fallen to a radical fundamentalist group. On the contrary there has been a distinct move away from extremist religious-political discourse. In the Sudan, the military-backed regime has disburdened itself from its fundamentalist allies and started an internal peace process brokered by the U.S. At the same time the Turabists have made their mea culpa and are trying to jettison their violent ideology. In Egypt the Gamma Islamiyah (Islamic Society) emirs have declared a complete change of strategy, renouncing terrorism. In Iran the hard-line mullahs are on the defensive, if not yet on the run. In Pakistan the main Islamist movement, led by Ghazi Hussein Ahmad, has renounced violence in pursuit of political goals. Even the Lebanese branch of the Hezbollah has denounced the 11 September attack and the ideology behind it.

UPDATE: The first link was from the Jerusalem Post. The exact same article was also published in The Arab News which comes out of Saudi Arabia. Its curious that an article that is not standard wire service fare would be published in both.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 September 27 02:43 PM 


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