“Something Wicked This Way Comes?”

"Hamas extended big local election gains from the fractured ruling Fatah party Friday, buoying the group ahead of a Palestinian parliamentary election next month.  Israel said that if Hamas achieved political dominance it would spell an end to all hopes for peace talks."  Beirut Daily Star

"Preliminary results issued Friday by the electoral commission showed Hamas won control of the West Bank city of Jenin, taking more than half of the council seats after Thursday’s vote. Hamas overwhelmed Fatah in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, capturing 73 percent of the vote and 13 of 15 council seats. The other two seats went to a coalition of Fatah and independent candidates. Hamas won eight of 15 seats in the West Bank town of Jenin. Hamas also won 72 percent of the vote in Al-Bireh, a large suburb of Ramallah."  Beirut Daily Star


Stephen King, in his apocalyptic novel "The Stand" makes repeated references to the "Beast" coming slowly out of the west.

We are in the presence of another "beast" this one coming out of the East.  The "beast" is Islamist government and it is approaching assumption of power assisted by the misguided policies and judgments of the Bush Administration.

Islamist movements, political parties and enthusiasts all have two things in common.  One is a determination to install the nightmare of medieval and anti-humanist Sharia law government wherever they can, and the other is un-remitting hostility to the United States as the leader of what the Islamists see as the anti-Islamic and heathen West.  Any person knowledgeable of the nature of such movements knows that this is true.  Muslims know that it is true.  The Bush Administration does not seem to grasp this simple truth.

Instead, the Bush people assure us that the principle problem in the Islamic World is a lack of constitutional democracy and that fair elections and the rule of law will bring forth the "better angels" of peoples’ natures and that having been released from the grasp of dictatorial republican or monarchical rule, the Muslim peoples wil become Western in attitude and abjure support for Islamist Jihadis who wish to attack the United States.  Presumably these "evolved" and "new" Muslims would also no longer desire to eliminate Israel as a factor in the world.  The conjunction of the Bush view of this and the Israeli view is not a coincidence.

What do we see in the world:

-In Lebanon the "Gucci Revolution" has resulted in a re-distribution and re-confirmation of the roles and power of the existing power structure.  The only exception to that is the marked increase in the power and political weight of Hizballah, the Shia surrogate of Iran in Lebanese politics and militia muscle flexing. 

-Syria has now looked at the menace of French and American power and decided that there is less there than it had earlier feared.  In particular, the UN "Mehlis Report" concerning responsibility for the death of Rafik Hariri has been revealed to be unsubstantiated, ambiguous, vague and dubiously sourced.  Syria judges its adversaries incapable of bringing down the Assad government through street action and agitation.  It also sees that the Bush Administration has not yet "imagined" a substitute government and hesitates.  The Bush Administration has also begun to worry about the possibility of a successor government in Syria being an Islamist government.  The House neocons who agitated for the Syria Accountability Act have lost the ability to do anything but write creatively.

-Iran is the major Middle Eastern power about which the neocons have assured us for several years now that pro-American and anti-Mullah sentiment has been so prevalent that a "Youth Revolution" (not enough Gucci types there) was about to sweep the theocracy from power and that the new Iran (Shia and therefore beloved of the neocons) would serve as the "earthquake" that would make the "tsunami" of modernism sweep the region.  As the reader recalls there was a general election in Iran recently and the Bush/neocon theory of the sacramental and transformational power of elections tranformed the Iranian government into one that demands the end of Israel and hoots enthusiastically for theocracy in Iraq.  How did that happen?  Well, folks, elections don’t "transform."  If fair, they simply reveal what people really are and want.  What was revealed in Iran was that discontent with severe Sharia law is not enough to make people vote the way we would like.

-Egypt.  After an election in which the process of campaigning was badly "tilted" in favor of the Mubarak government, the result was that the Muslim Brothers group increased their representation in parliament from 11 to 88.  This will enable them to propose people for cabinet posts as well as to participate in parliamentary business in a serious way.  Do the gullible stil believe the statements of these MB zealots when they attempt to seduce with soft words and protestations of a love of democracy?  Are we really that foolish?

-Palestine.  I wrote some time ago that Fatah’s star was setting and that the Palestinian people would choose Islamist rule.  Now we see that this is coming to be evident.  The trend will continue unless the Palestinian or Israeli government resorts to chicanery in the matter.

-Iraq………  I will write on this when the vote is final or has been re-counted enough to be interesting.

Pat Lang


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9 Responses to “Something Wicked This Way Comes?”

  1. Some Guy says:

    Interesting. The way Bush talks about elections, they are like magic that undo centuries of customs and divisions. He has consistently used the word “democracies” as if they have a singular character with different wardrobes. I suppose he would say any nation that used democratic processes to elect authoritarians is not truly a democracy. But that is simply defining away the flawed assumption guiding his foreign policy.

  2. Patrick henry says:

    Thanks for another good commentary that realistically reports Facts and Projections ..Instead of Fantasy and Big Dreams and Misguided Policys..
    The Bush Camp plan has not gone well from the Beginning..
    The Strategy has beeen to Alibi and Adapt..
    I’ll bet they Hold Thier Breath every day..
    Let us remember that our Historical Interventions in the Middle east have Fueled alot of this ..
    We took the Psha out..a Coup for the islamists..
    WQe tryed with egypt and saddat..and the Islamists Gained..
    Isrel withdrew from lebonon and the islamists gained..
    Reality is..they are far more Powerful and united Today..
    They Planned and Carried out a MASSIVE and Brutal attack on the United States after Years of Brutal attacks else where..including Western assets and Countrys..
    Reality Check..They aint gonna quit now…and they Ain’t going Away..
    We should began that six point plan for withdraw and Strategic parimeter Locations..for Draw Down with Maximum Defensive capabilitys to the Last Moment and Last day of Our Presence/Occupation there..
    Let the Iraqis Form the New Government..and Pray for Reasonable minds..
    Hope they Co-operate..and set prioritys like..Hospitals..Power..and rebuilding the sturucture
    Hopefully in co-operation with the West..
    Let the Iraqi Policy and milita take over security and Patrol activitys..Hopefully in co-operation with Coalition Forces..who take a much lowert profile..
    VN style but with better and more dedicated results..
    (BLESS all you guys Pat..you did the best you Could..While you could…)
    I will always Hope for the Best..
    Achieving the best requires..Being Informed..
    And TEAM WORK…

  3. angela says:

    I thought the most plausible model of “advancement” was through development of a complex modern economy and society. The institutions, needs and habits associated with this might lay the basis for a functional democracy.
    S Korea and Taiwan would be examples,.
    Latin America has been having elections for over 2 centuries, the rest of the 3rd world since WWII.
    Conservatives were once wary of populist forces and the modern record would show the limits of political structures without the rest.

  4. Curious says:

    Colonel, relax.
    If you notice, all hard Islamic revolution sort of dies in banal bureaucratic bickering once in power. It is the military tyrants that we need to be afraid of.
    example of Islamic revolution tht fizz out:
    -Iran. After initial year of internal turmoil, it sort of calm itself down. (yes, I now Iran exports Hezbollah, but how long does it last? 10 years? they got bored afterward)
    -Algeir (so where is it? the Islamic revolution?)
    -Hesbollah in Lebanon? They are going legit and mellow out instead of being that super evil organisation people has been talking about during the 80’s.
    The more we meddle the more we sutain Islamic wackos existence. Because they are the best when pressure underground.
    The alarmist hysteria is the one feeding the feedback loop.
    Take out the top most dangerous guy from the circulation, and the entire system will cool off with right social condition.
    Fan it with bad social engineering, coup, failed invasion… yer feeding the beast.
    Frankly, All propaganda effort in middle east should be stopped. It distract the natural evolution of political discourse. Average folks gets bored of conservative religious talk after several years. Then they kicked out the wackos. (observe Iran. before and after Bush rethoric, his kiss of death.)

  5. W. Patrick Lang says:

    You are far too complacent. None of the situations that you mention have become benign. pl

  6. Patrick Henry says:

    Pat..You sare the expert on All aspects of the middle East..You know the History..The Mind Set and the Players..
    Just because various faction have gone Political to Gain Influence and power doens’t mean they are going away..
    They have learned how to Play the Game..
    One must do Long term Analysis and Projections
    and Anticipate Worst Case Scenarios while Hoping for the Best..
    That is REALISTIC..Thats Good Intelligence..
    The Germans Learned about the Perils of Buying the TRUST ME..and BUY THE LIE Nationalistic Speechs until it was too late and they lost all thier Civil Libertys and had to gather in small Groups and whisper thier Concerns while constantly looking over thier shoulders..
    We must be Vigilant at all times..Safeguard our Liberties..Question Our Leaders..Have checks and Balances..
    Yes…Support the Patriot Act with Appropiate Safe Guards and Over Sight..
    The Republicans refusal to do that while criticizing those who want checks and Blanaces and safeguards..Makes them suspect..
    Refusing a offer to extend the Patriot act during a Review Process ..makes them suspect..
    If the deadline pass’s without extension…the Republicans are to Blame for lack of Bi partisan Co-operation.. Not the Democrats.,.
    in Spite of the Hyped Exileration over Democracy in Iraq..wait at least TWO YEARS..Before any Firm Analysis of how well the PLAN worked..
    If Iraq has turned to Alliances with Iran for Security and Domestic Reasons ..and they form thier own Cartels..
    That wont be so good for the STATES STATES..
    i am not anti Bush..but I will watch him like a Hawk
    form my own opinions..
    Thats My perogative in a Free Society..and i will Exercise My free Speech Rights..
    Like our Founding Fathers Intended.
    Pat is a Realist..
    He Understands History..

  7. Curious says:

    You are far too complacent. None of the situations that you mention have become benign. pl
    Posted by: W. Patrick Lang | 19 December 2005 at 08:15 AM
    Iran is definitely not paradise of freedom and democracy, I can go with that. But at least in the early 90’s there is a popular movement against the mullah and Iran finally reduces the support for hezbollah. They simply realized they can’t afford supporting underground terror organisations.
    we can argue it’s combination of oil price, diplomatic pressure, etc. But they are cooling off, the people start putting in more reform minded leaders. The internal political evolution rolls that way.
    Rigging the natural political evolution of a country stunt progress. If we prevent bad/incomptent politicians to raise to power, the people will not learn why they should elect bad politiicans. They will not develop strong institutions/laws/education system/ etc….
    Frontal antagonizing, such as ‘axis of evil’ speech, threatening, etc… are counter productive. Nationalism is still alive and well.
    Had we not invade Iraq, Sadam probably will fall on his own in 10 years, and the Iraqis people will learn the internal lesson. Had W not give ‘axis of evil’ speech, Iran would put another moderate reformist instead of far right candidate.
    …anyway, I got the feeling Lebanon will soon turning into chaos again, with all external powers meddling/assasinating/rigging, etc…
    If there is bad terrorists, take out the bad terrorists. Leave the political process alone. once the process is disrupted, it’s very hard to cycle it back on. (see: Iraq, afghanistan, lebanon, etc) Grandiose strategems is bad idea. Not a single CIA projects from the 60’s turn into democracy (middle east, latin america). All of them turns into tyrannical dictatorship, until we give up and leave them alone. The statistic says, re-engineering internal politics doesn’t create democracy.

  8. BadTux says:

    The whole notion of “democracies are peaceful” is belied by the fact that the United States, purportedly one of these “democracies”, attacked a nation in the Middle East which had never attacked the US and which posed no threat to the US.
    I personally do not feel that the Islamist extremists have any *inherent* reason to believe the United States to be the “beast of the West”. If the US did not play the Game of Empire so often in the Middle East, it’d just be another Western country, and the Islamists would focus more on countries nearer to them which have much harsher policies towards those of the Islamic faith or Middle Eastern origin. On the other hand, 50+ years of meddling in the Middle East have most certainly focused their ire, as well as gained them much popular support — enough popular support that, as we see, they would win any truly free and democratic election in the Middle East.
    In the end, the notion that a free and democratic election in the Middle East would produce a pro-American government is delusional, and only morons, cretins, liars, or madmen would ever make such a ludicrous statement. Alas, that is what we are ruled by today…

  9. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Whoa!! I never said anything about interfering in their wretched political processes. You forget that I am an intelligence guy. I don’t make policy recommendations because I don’t want to participate in any of their stupid wars that I am not carrying a gun in. Is that cowardly, you bet but I made that decision after VN and have stuck to it ever since.
    You want my policy recommendation? Let them do what they want, and wage war against anything that threatens us, anything that REALLY threatens US. pl

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