- 2012.11.04 Sunday
From December of 2010 and through 2011, violence erupted throughout the middle east and northern Africa and rulers have been forced from power. We called it "Arab Spring". We thought we were seeing spring season's finally coming to the desert of the middle east after centuries of "cold winter" and sprout of "freedom" growing like flower garden.
And yet, in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen… and now, Syria, "Arab Spring" is falling apart. "Spring" is turning to "mayhem". "Spring season" is now a "bloodshed season". We are learning a hard lesson from Arab Spring. We have learned it with blood - blood of soldiers and people of those countries.
Let us look at Egypt. We, the West, let Egyptian riots oust Hosni Mubarak. Who was Hosni Mubarak? What did he do?
- He maintained peace with Israel (if not warm in nature) and the West
- He was secular and not Islamist
- He kept Islamic fundamentalist movement in check
- He secured Christian's freedom of religion
- He was pro-America (if not overtly pro-Israel)
- He was the strongman
After Mubarak was dragged from power, Mohamed Morsi came to power. Who is he and what is he doing?
- Morsi trashes peace treaty with Israel, overtly violating it by allowing terrorists to infiltrate Sinai
- Morsi is the Islamist and enforcer of Sharia (Islamic Law)
- Morsi is one of the leaders of Muslim Brotherhood, the fundamentalist group
- Morsi is allowing mobs' savaging Copt Christian minority
- Morsi hates Israel, US and the West
- Morsi is now the strongman of the Egypt
People of Egypt used "democratic system" to choose Mohamed Morsi. We in the West demanded military establishment of Egypt to honor the result of the "democratic" election and to hand the power over to Morsi. All was done "democratically". It was people's wish. Is there anything wrong about it, even if it threatens our friend Israel, the only country in the middle east with civil liberty and flourishing economy?
One after the other, countries have come through "democratic" processes and ended up handing over powers to Islamist, fundamentalist and Jihadist. With no exception, the first ones to suffer are religious and ethnic minorities and women. Next one to suffer is the rest of the citizens.
In Syria… Bashir Assad's regime is under attack by mobs that are heavily infiltrated by Muslim Brotherhoods. Bashir Assad was no friend of Israel and the West. But, let us not forget, under his and his father's secular rule, that Christian community enjoyed a relative security and freedom of worship and that women enjoyed freedom to live in secular fashion. Bashir Assad may have done a lot of thuggish things, but he is not Jihadist.
Jihad is a duty of Muslim, and Shariah is the law of Islam.
Here is a glimpse of what Shariah is. "Reliance of the Traveller", a classic manual of Islamic law of Shariah dictates;
- Apostasy from Islam is punishable by death (o 8.0 & ff)
- Jihad means to war against non-Muslims (o 9.0)
- Offenses committed against Muslims are more serious than offenses committed against non-Muslims (o 1.0 & ff; p2.0-1)
- The penalty for fornification is to be stoned to death (0 12.0 & ff)
- The penalty for homosexual activity is death (p17.0 & ff)
- A Muslim woman may only marry a Muslim man
- A woman is required to be obedient to her husband and is prohibited from leaving the marital home without permission (p42.0 & ff)
- The penalty of accepting interest is death (p7.0 & ff)
- Musical instrument of all types are unlawful. Singing is generally prohibited (r 40.0 & ff)
- The testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man (o24.9)
Islam doesn't tell us to be nice, respectful and tolerant to each other. Islam just demands everybody - believers and non-believers - submits to Allah. This means everybody must follow teachings of Quran. This means everybody must abide by the law of Islam, Shariah.
In short, Islam does not allow a person to have compassion, conscience and tolerance. In short, Islam is an oppressive system to lock people in jail, mentally or physically. In short, society governed by Islam is inhumane. In short, Islam is worse than dictatorship.
We in the west may feel we are free, freer than ever before and will be even more free. In fact, we have these people in millions who choose to submit themselves to oppression, spread the oppression and punish those who dare to criticize it and refuse to accept it. As we disguise ourselves of being "free", Jihadist Islam is spreading throughout the middle east and it is reaching further and further into Asia, Europe and US. And, they are threatening our civil societies while liberal left tries to accommodate them.
Mubarak was a dictator. We hated dictatorship. We thought dictatorship was unconditionally a bad thing. We thought democracy was unconditionally a good thing. We were wrong. What we now know, and if not, must know is that Hosni Mubarak was "the ideal" leader for Egypt and is the "model ruler" for that region of the world - Arab-Muslim Middle East.
Democracy won't work by itself. It works when it is installed upon the civil society. Civil society where people respect each other comes first. Civil society where people respect the norm and culture of the society comes first. Civil society where people are allowed to act on their sense of duty, conscience and compassion comes first. Only these society "can" have working democracy. Countries in the middle east with exception of Israel don't have that society. Therefore, these countries are not compatible with democracy, never has been and perhaps never will be.
Foreign policy is about protecting national interest by navigating the country through conflicting interests of many other countries. This requires getting priorities straight. Our number one priority should be national security. What we need for our national security is stability and less hostility - especially in volatile region like middle east. What we don't want is turmoil and hostility. What we need to secure stability in the middle east is "friendly" strongmen who have capability to govern the "uncivil" societies.
Therefore, the hard lesson we learned from Arab Spring is this;
Dictatorship in that region is not at all a bad thing. Instead, it is a good thing. We support friendly dictators while urging unfriendly dictators to come to our side. If the rulers get openly hostile to us and wage subversive activities against us, as in the case of Saddam Hussein, we replace them; First, we locate "another" "friendly" strongman who is "secular minded" and "can govern" the country with "iron fist". Second, we go in there and crush the enemy to the smithereens. Third, we impose military curfew and secure stability. Fourth, we hand over the power to the strongman. Fifth, we get the "hell out" damn quick.
The mistake in Iraq and Afghanistan was we thought we can install democracy in those countries. Maybe we would have to go in there once again sometimes in the future. And, for this time around we won't make the same mistake again.
This is how Islam affects the minds of people here in Asia. Jihadist Muslims in Indonesia slaughters Ahamadiyya minority. Caution! This video shows people getting killed in front of the camera.
Islam is coming to Japan.