By Barry Rubin
To show whether Islamists and other radicals are not more moderate when achieving power:
We have the example of Egypt in 1952, Iraq starting in 1958, and Syria beginning in 1963.
We have the example of Iran.
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We have the example of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
We have the example of Sudan where many Christians were killed and enslaved along with mass murder against some Muslim groups.
We have the example of Yasir Arafat during the 1990s.
We have the example of Hamas.
We have the example of Hizballah (yes, they are just getting started but it won’t take long to see this).
Why would one possibly think the Muslim Brotherhood might be a problem?
Remember that the Brotherhood and other “less extreme” Islamists is far more dangerous than al-Qaida. After all, the latter can only launch sporadic terrorist attacks, while the former can take over whole countries populated by millions of people.
But they are not terrorists, the media tells us but nice guys. One of the most interesting developments of recent years–and like most of these never discussed–is the switch of most of the Western elites from the Arab nationalists (including the Palestinian Authority) to the Islamists. If one didn’t see it such a thing would be hard to believe.
Groups whose views are totally antithetical to Western democracy, the Enlightenment, women’s rights, fair treatment for gays, and so on, are being embraced and endorsed. Perhaps this comes out of the belief that they are “authentic” and that multiculturalism means that stoning people and repressing freedom is just a quaint local custom.
So when a Lebanese friend went to Washington DC to warn the U.S. government about Hizballah taking over Lebanon, he recounts with frustration, he was repeatedly told: But now that they’re in power won’t they become more moderate?
Makes one yearn for the days when Yasir Arafat was given celebrity treatment and Marxism was all the rage.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict, and Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan), Conflict and Insurgency in the Contemporary Middle Eastand editor of the (seventh edition) (Viking-Penguin), The Israel-Arab Reader the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria(Palgrave-Macmillan), A Chronological History of Terrorism (Sharpe), and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).