Civic Islamism: The Brotherhood and Ennahdha
Al Jazeera / Larbi Sadiki
15-Nov-2011 (2 comments)

The Arab Spring has catapulted Islamists onto centre-stage - in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Sooner or later, Syria will follow. This dynamic is not going to go away. It is therefore apposite to know how the Arab Spring has, if at all, transformed Islamism and how, in turn, Islamism is transforming the Arab Spring...

Civic Islamism displays features of impressive organisation for the contest of power, coupled with an aptitude to penetrate secular civil society through coalition-building with non-Islamists.

Only through inclusion, competition, participation and the tests of "power", will this force learn to moderate its politics, gradually learning to take its place amongst the progenitors of civic politics in the Arab spring states.

Civic Islamism will find itself subject to two forms of contestation....


Analysis of change

by FG on

This article is quite lengthy but worth reading.   Let's hope pessimists aren't wrong about Islamists rejecting "purists" and evolving in a far more democratic direction. Who would have predicted such a trend a decade ago? If it's for real, that's good news for everyone everywhere except dictators and their in-crowds. 

That goes double for Iranians.  Given the current domestic and regional environment, could Khamenei have picked a worse time to go against the regional tide?   Recent trends there suggest to domestic and regional observers an effort to "talibanize" an already too western, secularized and too disenchanted people who may see it as the last straw on top of so many other awful developments. 

Khamenei has clearly demonstrated a "green revolution" isn't going to work.  Like it or not, that makes revolution the only option but NOT YET or it will be bloodier than necessary.   The pot needs to simmer some more to shrink Khamenei's base further and erode support among rank-and-file security forces.



The Turkish model is a huge advance but may not suit Iranians

by FG on

While you wait for revolution, look on the sunny side.  The longer the Islamic Regime lasts and the more repulsive its behavior, the better in one respect.

Ironically, no one does a better job of pressuring regional Islamist parties toward moderation than Iran's ruler.  All Khamenei needs to do is continue showing Arab voters the stupidity of opting for extreme Islamist rule.

Compared to Iranians, most Arabs fear secularism and retain considerable trust in clerics.   For them the Turkish model represents an amazing advance.

Thirty years under harsh Islamists naturally gives Iranians a different perspective.  Probably an overwhelming majority will demand complete separation of state and religion, meaning ANY religion.  Islamists will be free to run or it wouldn't be a democracy.  However, anyone who advocates repealing the above restriction will get hammered at the polls.