Coalitional Insights A Post-Jihad Era? Arab Spring Brings West and Islamists into an Unexpected - and Potentially Transformative - Alliance
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"With the Arab world continuing to experience an unprecedented wave of people-powered revolutions that caught both the West and its Islamist opponents in the War on Terror off guard, we are beginning to see the strategic principles articulated and successfully implemented by Gandhi in his liberation struggle against the militarily more powerful British raj supersede the more bellicose but perhaps less effective efforts by both terrorist and counterterrorist, insurgent and counterinsurgent, in their deadly but inconclusive dance. Tired of this long fight, and its endless use of force and violence by both sides with the civilian populace caught in between as if in a deadly vise, the popular mass of the Arab street has risen up to set things right, using methods overlooked by combatants on both sides, alienated as equally from the nihilistic violence of the terrorists as from the unholy alliance of the West with the repressive dictatorships which stood at the West's side, using Western funds and Western arms to repress their own people. Osama Bin Laden long sought to bring his war to the far enemy, and by striking fear in the hearts of the West, to cut off the benefactors of the 'apostate regimes' he sought to overthrow. And in many ways he has succeeded, putting into a motion a dynamic and cascading series of strategic interactions that empowered the very people he sought to liberate. The irony is, however, that these newly liberated peoples reject not only the tyrannies of these apostate regimes, but the Islamist vision and the violent means employed in the global jihad. What we are seeing, in short, is the start of the post-jihad era, where the polarized bifurcation of secular and Islamist is as unnatural and unsustainable as the ideological split that defined the Cold War."
This article was published in Culture and Conflict Review (Fall 2011), v.5 no.3
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