“My brothers, you are at a historic moment…in a new cycle of civilization, God willing…we are in sixth caliphate, God willing.”


 “My brothers, you are at a historic moment…in a new cycle of civilization, God willing…we are in sixth caliphate, God willing.”

 

Regional rise of Islamists fraught with challenges

By Lin Noueihed

TUNIS, June 19 (Reuters) – From Libya to the Gulf, the rise of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has buoyed Islamists around the region, but the military’s bid to curb their power has also exposed the fragility of the gains Islamists have made since the Arab Spring.

Banned for decades until Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in the face of popular protest last year, the Brotherhood claimed victory on Monday for its presidential candidate Mohamed Morsy in a runoff against his military rival Ahmed Shafik.

But a sweeping legal manoeuvre byCairo’s military rulers made clear the generals planned to keep control for now, even if Shafik’s counter-claim that he had won the poll proved justified.

Since emerging from the shadows, the Brotherhood has shown it can draw votes, but remains stuck in a high-stakes game forEgypt’s future against an opponent with the power and the will to change the rules when deemed necessary.

The outcome of the power struggle in strategic heavyweightEgypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, is likely to have the biggest impact in the Gaza Strip, where a Morsy win will give a political boost to the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

Hamas hopes an Islamist-led Egypt will loosen the shackles of a long-running Israeli blockade. If the Brotherhood takes control, Hamas also hopes its position in the internal struggle with Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas may be strengthened.

“It is very normal that we are much happier that Mohamed Morsy, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, should be the president ofEgypt,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zohri told Reuters.

But while it could prove a morale boost for Hamas, few believe a victory for Morsy will bring substantial change to either Egypt’s peace deal with Israel or the blockade, which has been maintained with the complicity of Egyptian authorities.

“I do not think that we will see changes regarding the blockade, as the Egyptian intelligence is responsible for this issue, taking into consideration the international agreements with Israel,” said Gaza-based analyst Mohamed Abu Seda.

“Egyptis facing a very complicated period that will lead to political uncertainty … as we witness contradictions of interests between the military council and the … Brotherhood.”

THE BACKLASH IN THE GULF

Indeed, much as the Brotherhood’s popularity at the polls has alarmedEgypt’s military rulers, it has seen conservative Gulf Arab governments, worried that the tide of revolt would eventually hit their shores, clamp down on their own Islamists.

Emboldened by the growing clout of Islamist groups who have won elections inTunisia,EgyptandMorocco, members of Islah, or Reform, in theUnited Arab Emirateshave stepped up demands for greater power to go to a semi-elected advisory council.

Unwilling to tolerate independent political parties or groups, the UAE has moved against its Islamist dissidents.

At least 10 Islamists were arrested in the past two months, including a ruling family member held at the ruler’s palace in the northern emirate of Ras al-Khaimah. The UAE has revoked the citizenship of seven Islamists it said posed a security threat.

Islamists in the UAE say they share an ideology but no direct link withEgypt’s Brotherhood, which at over 80 years old is seen as the grandfather of Islamist groups around the world.

“The UAE is clearly worried about local Islamists… It has a problem with Islah and its own Islamists,” said Emirati political scientist Abdulkhaleq Abdullah.

While the UAE government is likely to accept whatever leader emerges victorious inEgypt’s run-off, the growing clout of the Brotherhood and its potential emulators at home could yet strain ties within the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

“The UAE has serious problem with the Qataris trying to support a regional role for the Brotherhood,” said Ayham Kamel, London-based analyst at Eurasia Group.

“Abu DhabiandDubaisee the regional rise of the Muslim Brotherhood as a threat. Qatari support for them is likely to create tensions within the GCC and even on a bilateral level.”

NEIGHBOURS WATCH CLOSELY

While Egyptians go through a tortuous transition process that has seen parliamentary polls cancelled and the power of president cast into doubt, Tunisians breathe a sigh of relief.

Their own journey has been far smoother, with no military rulers to turn the tables against the Islamist Ennahda party that won the first election of the Arab Spring in October.

Unlike the Brotherhood, Ennahda kept its promise not to run in presidential elections, going some way to reassuring the powerful secularist establishment, though a victory for the military’s Shafik could embolden members of the former regime who have already formed a party ahead of next year’s polls.

Watching even more closely are the Libyans, who go to the polls in early July for the first national elections since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed rebellion last year.

As in other North African countries, the local incarnation of the Brotherhood has emerged as a key player in elections.

For the first time in their history, youths fromLibya’s once-banned Brotherhood are campaigning onTripolistreets, distributing brochures for their Justice and Development Party.

“Morsy winning will give a boost to our cause inLibya,” said Marwan al-Katib, 21. “Libyans will say: oh, the Brotherhood won inEgyptso we need to learn more about this group and maybe they are the right people for us.” (Reporting by Crispian Balmer inJerusalem, Rania ElGamal inDubaiand Hadeel Al Shalchi inTripoli; editing by Ralph Boulton)

Thanks And H/T to :

http://eastangliandivision.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/rise-of-islamists-in-middle-east-is-fraught-with-challenges/

 

http://af.reuters.com/article/tunisiaNews/idAFL5E8HJCNX20120619?sp=true

TWO MAIN THREATS
Two Main Threats

Mr. Nasr sees two main threats arising from today’s Shiite revival. The first is Iranian nationalism, fueled by perceptions in Iran that a Sunni Arab-U.S. nexus wants to stifle its rise as a regional power. That explains the widespread support among Iranians for their country’s nuclear program, he says. It also explains why some Iranian leaders have been sounding less like Islamic revolutionaries and more like the late shah, a Persian nationalist who extended Iran’s influence into Shiite and Farsi-speaking areas beyond its borders.

The second major threat, he says, is the Sunni reaction to the Shiite revival. As Iraq’s insurgents have shown, hatred of Shiites is ingrained in Sunni militancy, Mr. Nasr says. He worries about a replay of the 1980s and 1990s, when Saudi money poured into Sunni extremist groups throughout the region to counter the Shiite fervor coming out of Iran after the revolution. The same groups became the backbone of al Qaeda, Mr. Nasr says.

In a speech last year in New York, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, said it “seems out of this world” that U.S. forces would protect allies of Iran who are building a power base in Iraq. “Now we are handing the whole country over to Iran without reason,” the prince said.

But Mr. Nasr says U.S. and Iranian interests in Iraq may converge because both want lasting stability there. Comparing Iran to 19th-century Prussia and Japan of the 1930s, he says it is important to manage the rise of regional powers. “You can’t regulate them by isolating them,” he says.

 PETER WALDMAN

 

 

Ennahda’s tight rope act on religion

 

This past Sunday, the Tunisian Islamist party Ennahda — fresh off its win in last month’s elections — came under fire following a rally in Sousse, Tunisia with Houda Naim, a member of Hamas. Besides Naim, Ennahda’s general secretary, Hammadi Jebali, who has been proposed as the new Prime Minister of Tunisia, made some controversial remarks about the return of the Caliphate. Jebali stated: “My brothers, you are at a historic moment…in a new cycle of civilization, God willing…we are in sixth caliphate, God willing.” This quickly raised alarm bells with Tunisia’s secular and liberal elements who had been warning prior to the elections about Ennahada’s purported double speak: saying one thing publicly while saying something more nefarious privately to its followers.

In response to Jebali’s pronouncement, Ettakatol, a party that won the fourth largest bloc of seats in the recent election and is in coalition talks with Ennahda, said the party was suspending its participation in talks on a governing coalition in the forthcoming Tunisian Constituent Assembly. Khemais Ksila, a member of the executive committee of Ettakatol, stated: “We do not accept this statement. We thought we were going to build a second republic with our partner, not a sixth caliphate.” While Lobna Jeribi, an Ettakatol Constituent Assembly member, proclaimed that Jebali’s statements raised major concerns that needed to be clarified before any coalition talks resumed.

 

This is not the first controversy that Ennahda has been embroiled in since they won a little more than 40 percent of seats to draft the constitution in the new Constituent Assembly. A little more than a week ago, Souad Abderrahim, a prominent female member of Ennahda, talking to Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya stated that single mothers are a disgrace to Tunisia, “do not have the right to exist,” there are limits on “full and absolute freedom,” and that one should not “make excuses for people who have sinned.” In both cases, Ennahda had to walk back the statements of both Jebali and Abderrahim, downplaying their significance.

Are these two recent examples a sign of double speak finally seeing the light of day in the aftermath of its election victory — or is it a sign of Ennahda’s political immaturity and lack of experience? The latter is more likely. Prior to and following the election there have been no signs of some type of hostile Islamist takeover by Ennahda that would then try and institute a radical interpretation of the shari‘ah.

A few days before the election, the president of Ennahda, Rached Ghannouchi, emphasized the importance of reconciliation even if Ennahda did not win a plurality, stating: “We will congratulate the winner and will collaborate with them just as other parties should do the same if we end up winning; Tunisia is in need of everyone. The keyword is reconciliation, our foremost concern is reconciliation in composing the upcoming government without regard to ideological differences.” Ghannouchi later stressed after the election that Ennahda did not plan to instrumentalize the new constitution as a blunt tool to force a certain interpretation of Islam at Tunisian citizens, arguing, “Egypt says shari‘ah is the main source of its law, but that didn’t prevent (deposed President Hosni) Mubarak from being a dictator.” Ghannouchi in the past has also pointed to Turkey as an example where one can balance both democratic and religious values without compromising either.

Further, Ennahda has been in talks over the past several weeks with two secular parties, Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol, to form a coalition government for the new Constituent Assembly. As one can see from the above comments by Ettakatol, the two secular parties will no doubt play a productive role and provide a check on any potential Ennahda overreach.

One should be cognizant, though, that the transition will not be perfect. Moreover, with every potential accommodation Ennahda makes now that they are in power, it could erode potential grassroots support. More radical youth elements may believe that after years of suffering under the yoke of former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali it is time to finally implement the oft-quoted phrase “al-Islam huwa al-Hal”; or “Islam is the Solution.” By not living up to these words one could foresee a scenario where some support is shifted to the less mainstream Salafi movement, fomenting a potential culture war in Tunisia in the medium future.

Ennahda’s pledge to respect women’s rights and not regulate social issues, such as wearing a bikini at the beach or the sale of alcohol, could become contentious issues in future elections that could pull Ennahda further to the right. Even if they do not, as more time passes since the fall of the Ben Ali regime and there are more freedoms and openness in Tunisian society, the contestation of the role of religion, its meaning, and interpretation will become a heated debate. In the near-term, though, with Ghannouchi stewarding Ennahda through the transition, such potential drift or confrontation is less likely.

Ennahda’s transition from banned opposition party to a leading voice of reform for civic Islamism is still playing out. There will be ups and downs over the next year, but its political discipline and maturity will rise over time. If there is one political party in the Middle East and North Africa that can navigate the tough challenge ahead on debating the contentious issue of the role of religion in society, Tunisia’s Ennahda party is best situated for the task. Although talk of the Caliphate is a head-turning event for many in Tunisia and in the West, since last January, Ennahda’s actual actions to date should be speaking louder than some of their ill-conceived words.

Aaron Y. Zelin is a research associate in the Department of Politics at Brandeis University. He is a co-editor of the al-Wasat blog and maintains the website Jihadology.net.

 The 6th Extinction -The 6th Caliphate-The 6th Extinction-The 6th Caliphate… :

“This is what we feared,” Chelbi said.

Tunisian women’s groups also have been skeptical of Al-Nahda’s moderation, saying there has been an increase in verbal and physical abuse since President Zine Abidine Ben Ali resigned in the wake of a popular uprising.

Party leaders tried to contain the damage, telling Reuters that Jbeli was talking about “good governance and a break with corruption … not the establishment of an Islamic regime.”

Although Al-Nahda’s breach of Tunisian secularism dominated reports on the controversial political rally, including Reuters’ article, speakers also promoted the military conquest of Israel. The event also marked the first time Al-Nahda invited a Hamas representative, Houda Naim of the Palestinian Legislative Council inGaza, to address a political rally inTunisia.

Naim expressed hope that the liberation ofTunisiawould lead to the “liberation ofPalestine,” which Hamas believes can only be achieved through violence or “resistance.” Al-Nahda’s secretary general echoed Naim’s call, stating, “The liberation ofTunisiawill, Allah willing, bring about the liberation ofJerusalem.”

Support for Hamas and the complete “liberation of Palestine” have been consistent messages from Al-Nahda’s political leaders and its charter. Hamas has reciprocated with its support forTunisia’s revolt against dictatorship and embracing political Islam.

The Arab Spring “will achieve positive results on the path to the Palestinian cause and threaten the extinction of Israel,” Party leader and ideologue Rashid Ghannouchi said in a May interview with the Al Arab Qatari website. “The liberation ofPalestine from Israeli occupation represents the biggest challenge facing the Umma [Muslim nation] and the Umma cannot have existence in light of the Israeli occupation.”

Further, in the same interview, Ghannouchi said: “I give you the good news that the Arab region will get rid of the bacillus [bacteria] of Israel. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the leader of Hamas, said thatIsraelwill disappear by the year 2027. I say that this date may be too far away, and Israel may disappear before this.”

Ghannouchi has also given his support to specific types of terror carried out by Hamas, including rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and “martyrdom operations.”

In June 2001, Ghannouchi appeared in an al-Jazeerah panel discussion in which he blessed the mothers of Palestinian suicide bombers:

“I would like to send my blessings to the mothers of those youth, those men who succeeded in creating a new balance of power…I bless the mothers who planted in the blessed land of Palestine the amazing seeds of these youths, who taught the international system and the Israel (sic) arrogance, supported by the US, an important lesson. The Palestinian woman, mother of the Shahids (martyrs), is a martyr herself, and she has created a new model of woman.”

Ghannouchi has even gone beyond rhetoric, calling for Muslims to fund and provide logistical support for Hamas. He signed the controversial “Istanbul Declaration,” issued by Muslim clerics in support of Hamas afterIsrael’s January 2009 war inGaza. The declaration stated that there was an “obligation of the Islamic nation to open the crossings – all crossings – in and out of Palestine permanently” to provide supplies and weapons to Hamas to “perform the jihad in the way of Allah Almighty.”

Ghannouchi’s statements are consistent with Al-Nahda’s platform, which declares that the party “struggles to achieve the following goals … To struggle for the liberation of Palestine and consider it as a central mission and a duty required by the need to challenge the Zionist colonial attack. The platform also refers to Israel as an “alien entity planted in the heart of the homeland, which constitutes an obstacle to unity and reflects the image of the conflict between our civilization and its enemies.”

In September, the organization stated that it “supports the struggle of peoples seeking liberation and justice and encourages world peace and aims to promote cooperation and collaboration and unity especially among Arab and Islamic countries and considers the Palestinian struggle for liberation to be a central cause and stands against normalization.”

Standing against peace. Envisioning a new Caliphate. Meet the moderate Al-Nahda party.

 

The 6th Extinction -The 6th Caliphate-The 6th Extinction-The 6th Caliphate… :

We like to thanks Nato for providing Guns and Military Equipments

The UN for the help on misinforming people on bad treatments

The EU for all the money for our infrastructures and personal amusements

And Mr Obama for making it all come true !

Thank You !

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