Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

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Planning that dream N. African vacation? Check out our free travel guide

This is a trav­el guide for any­one plan­ning that North African dream vaca­tion you’ve always want­ed to take. There’s a num­ber of great options, although each one has its own char­ac­ter. And with the Mus­lim Broth­er ascend­ing to pow­er across North Africa, that local char­ac­ter appears to be in flux so a decent trav­el guide is a great way so save mon­ey. You don’t want to have to can­cel those tick­ets.

Egypt, the crown jew­el of North African tourism, is a must-see coun­try. One word. Pyra­mids. That’s all you need to know. And with Egypt being one of the coun­tries in the process of get­ting Mus­lim-Broth­er­hood­ed (it’s a trend), one might rea­son­ably ask the ques­tion, “can I see the pyra­mids AND get trashed in Egypt now that the MB is the Pow­ers that Be?” That’s an excel­lent ques­tion. With the MB poised to take con­trol of all the levers of pow­er in Egypt there have been under­stand­able con­cerns about just how tourism-friend­ly an Islamist Egypt might be. Prospec­tive vis­i­tors look­ing for indi­ca­tions of how an MB-run Egypt might treat future tourists should note that the MB has pro­fessed a strong com­mitt­ment to the health of Egyp­t’s busi­ness sec­tor. While West­ern jour­nal­ist often find this sur­pris­ing, it’s actu­al­ly a high­ly con­sis­tent trait in through­out the his­to­ry of this fas­cist Islamist orga­ni­za­tion of Egyp­i­an ori­gin. Yes, his­to­ry is com­ing alive in Egypt. More specif­i­cal­ly, the his­to­ry of 20th cen­tu­ry Islam­o­fas­cist eco­nom­ic the­o­ry is com­ing alive in Egypt:

Finan­cial Times
May 16, 2012 5:07 pm
Islamists in tune with west over econ­o­my

By Jane Kin­nin­mont

One of the sig­nif­i­cant realign­ments result­ing from the Arab spring is the grow­ing warmth between west­ern pol­i­cy mak­ers and Egypt’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. This is born out of neces­si­ty, but strength­ened by the sur­pris­ing dis­cov­ery that on eco­nom­ic issues, the west and the Islamists often see eye to eye.

Many of the dis­cus­sions between these two groups are not about the veil, alco­hol or even Camp David, but about busi­ness, invest­ment and jobs.


When it comes to the econ­o­my, the Brotherhood’s pol­i­cy frame­work does not rep­re­sent a rad­i­cal change from the past, though there is more focus on social jus­tice and fight­ing cor­rup­tion: one rea­son Islamists are pop­u­lar is because they are seen as untaint­ed by the bribery and crony­ism that bedev­illed the for­mer regime of Hos­ni Mubarak.

Although some Egyp­tians dis­trust the pri­vate sec­tor, Broth­er­hood rep­re­sen­ta­tives see it as the engine of growth. They are keen to reas­sure west­ern investors that Egypt — by far the largest coun­try in the Arab world with a pop­u­la­tion of 85m — remains a promis­ing place for busi­ness­es. Their fail­ure to take a clear stance on a pro­posed $3.2bn Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund loan to Egypt seems to reflect inter­nal pol­i­tick­ing more than eco­nom­ic ide­ol­o­gy; they want the cab­i­net to be replaced, and it is not in their inter­est to see funds roll in to sup­port the cur­rent one.


Main­stream Islamists in Tunisia and Moroc­co have also empha­sised free trade, and they hope inter­na­tion­al investors can help them cre­ate the jobs their con­stituents need. Lead­ers of Egypt’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood have been wel­com­ing west­ern busi­ness del­e­ga­tions to the coun­try, and their polit­i­cal par­ty, Free­dom and Jus­tice, met senior British investors and pol­i­cy mak­ers in the UK in March.


The Salafists are devel­op­ing their own ideas about the econ­o­my, and are doing more than most to flag the need to devel­op the neglect­ed and inse­cure Sinai; one of their MPs said it could become a Dubai-style trade zone. An Al-Nour eco­nom­ic spokesman has said the party’s aims for “halal tourism” are to cre­ate a par­al­lel, sharia-com­pli­ant mar­ket rather than ban­ning alco­hol or swap­ping biki­nis for burki­nis. Any smart politi­cian would think twice before mess­ing with an indus­try that attract­ed 14m vis­i­tors annu­al­ly before the rev­o­lu­tion.


West­ern pol­i­cy mak­ers have bare­ly begun to revise their rec­om­men­da­tions for Egypt’s econ­o­my, despite the large-scale dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the west­ern-backed eco­nom­ic poli­cies of Mubarak’s final years. Investors can help cre­ate jobs, but sus­tain­able devel­op­ment will need to go far beyond boost­ing trade and invest­ment to focus on issues such as decent work­ing con­di­tions, liv­ing wages, lit­er­a­cy, potable water and air pol­lu­tion (the sixth worst in the world).

If the Mus­lim Brotherhood’s pri­vate-sec­tor focus fails to address these issues, there could be an angri­er, hun­gri­er upris­ing to come. Could the next Egypt­ian rev­o­lu­tion be against a west­ern-backed Mus­lim Broth­er­hood?

As you can see, with the ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive Salafists call­ing for ‘Dubai-style’ free-trade zone in the SInai (sounds saucy!), there appears to be a direct cor­re­la­tion between a par­ty’s reli­gious fer­vor and their com­mitt­ment to far-right eco­nom­ic argle-bar­gle in today’s Egypt. And that seems to be true in Moroc­co an Tunisia too! Plus, the Salafist calls for ‘halal tourism’ are mere­ly intend­ed for a par­al­lel tourist sec­tor. So take heart, dear trav­el­ers, the gen­er­al con­sen­sus amongst inter­na­tion­al obser­vors is that the MB is mere­ly talk­ing about laws like ban­ning alco­hol, gen­der-sep­a­rat­ed beach­es, and gen­er­al reli­gious lunatic stuff that will kill tourism, etc. They won’t, it appears, actu­al­ly do it:

Biki­ni, alco­hol ban ‘just attempt to win votes’
Oliv­er Smith
The Tele­graph, Lon­don
June 1, 2012

Egypt­ian tourism author­i­ties have sought to reas­sure trav­ellers about the future of the coun­try as a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion, despite fears of a crack­down on the sale of alco­hol and calls for seg­re­gat­ed beach­es.

Last week Mohamed Mor­si of the Free­dom and Jus­tice Par­ty (FJP) received a quar­ter of the votes in the coun­try’s first pres­i­den­tial elec­tions since the over­throw of Hos­ni Mubarak. A run-off for the pres­i­den­cy between Mor­si and Ahmed Shafik — a prime min­is­ter under Mubarak — is due to take place on June 16 and 17.

Extreme fac­tions with­in the FJP, which pos­sess­es a par­lia­men­tary major­i­ty and has strong links to the Islamist Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, have demand­ed a ban on the sale of alco­hol across the coun­try, while calls have also been made for Egyp­t’s beach­es to be seg­re­gat­ed by sex and for reveal­ing swimwear to be out­lawed. It is feared that the elec­tion of Mor­si could see such poli­cies put in place, but rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the coun­try’s tourism indus­try said any changes would face strong oppo­si­tion.

These calls are just rhetoric — it is an attempt to win votes,” said Omay­ma El Hus­sei­ni, direc­tor of the Egypt­ian Tourist Office. “These peo­ple can say and promise what they want but they will not deliv­er any­thing.”

She added that eco­nom­ic con­cerns would make such changes dis­as­trous and sug­gest­ed that an “intel­lec­tu­al con­flict” was devel­op­ing in the coun­try.

“Tourism is very impor­tant to Egypt — it is the sec­ond high­est con­trib­u­tor to GDP,” she said. “The tourism indus­try and the lib­er­al Mus­lims in Egypt will not let them screw it up.”


So are the calls for alco­hol bans, biki­ni bans, and gen­der seg­re­gat­ed beach­es all just cam­paign lies rhetoric in order to secure votes? Well, that’s cer­tain­ly a pos­si­bil­i­ty, espe­cial­ly giv­en the MB’s rapid­ly earned rep­u­ta­tion for lying to the pub­lic agres­sive cam­paign tac­tics. Then again, Mohammed Mor­si is report­ed to be ‘more con­ser­v­a­tive than the con­ser­v­a­tives’ accord­ing to MB insid­ers so the sig­nals are rather mixed at this time.

So if you hap­pen to be plan­ning a booze & biki­nis-based vaca­tion some­where near a pyra­mid any time soon, you might want to make it REALLY soon. Next week-ish could word. Or you may need to post­pone those tick­et pur­chas­es for a cou­ple of weeks. The 2nd round of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion between Mohommed Mor­si and Mubarak-era strong­man Ahmed Shafiq is sched­uled for June 16th, so this issue might be resolved by then. That assumes Shafiq wins, in which case the beach­es should definit­ly be open for busi­ness, although you might want to avoid pissed off look­ing men rid­ing camels.

And if you’re real­ly anx­ious to book those plane tick­ets and can’t wait until the 16th to decide, well...you’re sort of in luck because we might know how this all plays out even soon­er. And why is that? Well, because the MB, along with ‘ex’-MB can­di­date Abde Mon­eim Aboul Fotuoh and youth-backed can­di­date Hamdeen Sabahi, are mov­ing to get Shafiq thrown off the bal­lot. This is expect­ed to inval­i­date the elec­tion, post­pone the mil­i­tary’s hand over of pow­er, and force a new pres­i­den­tial vote, sans Shafiq:

NY Times
More Protests Loom in Egypt, Tar­get­ing Can­di­da­cy of Mubarak’s Prime Min­is­ter
Pub­lished: June 4, 2012

CAIRO — The pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and two pop­u­lar rivals elim­i­nat­ed before the runoff called on Mon­day for fur­ther street protests until Egypt’s cur­rent mil­i­tary rulers enforce leg­is­la­tion dis­qual­i­fy­ing the oth­er remain­ing can­di­date, for­mer Pres­i­dent Hos­ni Mubarak’s last prime min­is­ter, Ahmed Shafik.

In a joint state­ment, the can­di­dates also endorsed a call for a major demon­stra­tion on Tues­day to protest what they called the weak ver­dict hand­ed down over the week­end in Mr. Mubarak’s tri­al. Their state­ment was the most force­ful effort yet to use anger over the ver­dict to gal­va­nize oppo­si­tion to Mr. Shafik, long con­sid­ered a con­tender to suc­ceed Mr. Mubarak inside his author­i­tar­i­an one-par­ty sys­tem. But it was also the lat­est blow to the cred­i­bil­i­ty of Egypt’s first com­pet­i­tive pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

The call for Mr. Shafik’s elim­i­na­tion came less than two weeks before he is set to face Mohamed Mor­si of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in the runoff, sched­uled for June 16 and 17. The new pres­i­dent is expect­ed to take pow­er from the mil­i­tary coun­cil that has gov­erned since Mr. Mubarak’s ouster 16 months ago; attempts to draft a new con­sti­tu­tion have so far dead­locked, which means the new pres­i­dent could play a for­ma­tive role in the shap­ing of Egypt’s char­ter.

The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood said in its own state­ment that all three can­di­dates agreed to demand not only a retri­al of Mr. Mubarak but also legal action against Mr. Shafik for his role as Mr. Mubarak’s prime min­is­ter, “bring­ing to jus­tice those accused of con­niv­ing with the defen­dants by hid­ing evi­dence, includ­ing the prime min­is­ter and min­is­ter of inte­ri­or dur­ing that peri­od, who are now seek­ing to abort the rev­o­lu­tion.”

The Broth­er­hood urged sup­port for Mr. Mor­si as “the can­di­date of the rev­o­lu­tion.” The Broth­er­hood is Egypt’s largest Islamist move­ment and dom­i­nates the new­ly elect­ed Par­lia­ment. But Mr. Mor­si and Mr. Shafik each won just under a quar­ter of the vote in the first round of bal­lot­ing last month, with Mr. Mor­si just ahead of Mr. Shafik.

Ear­li­er Mon­day, three elim­i­nat­ed can­di­dates — Hamdeen Sabahi, a left­ist who nar­row­ly trailed Mr. Shafik in the first round; Abdel Mon­eim Aboul Fotouh, a mod­er­ate for­mer Broth­er­hood leader who came in next with about 18 per­cent of the vote; and Khaled Ali, a human rights lawyer — held a joint news con­fer­ence to denounce the results of the first round as fraud­u­lent, cit­ing irreg­u­lar­i­ties and lim­its on mon­i­tor­ing.

Inter­na­tion­al observers have said many iso­lat­ed abus­es did not sab­o­tage the over­all fair­ness of the vote, and the three los­ing can­di­dates did not present new evi­dence. But because the three togeth­er had the sup­port of near­ly half the vot­ers — more than either can­di­date in the runoff — their joint crit­i­cism threat­ens to under­mine the legit­i­ma­cy of the final result and with it Egypt’s halt­ing tran­si­tion to democ­ra­cy.

Mr. Aboul Fotouh and Mr. Sabahi met sep­a­rate­ly with Mr. Mor­si of the Broth­er­hood to issue the state­ment call­ing for more protests and the elim­i­na­tion of Mr. Shafik. Before the first round of the vot­ing, the Broth­er­hood-led Par­lia­ment passed leg­is­la­tion bar­ring Mr. Shafik and oth­er top offi­cials of the Mubarak gov­ern­ment from seek­ing the pres­i­den­cy, and the rul­ing gen­er­als signed it. But the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion com­mis­sion set the leg­is­la­tion aside by refer­ring it to the Supreme Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court, and the court has not ruled on the mat­ter.

It is high­ly unlike­ly that the leg­is­la­tion could be approved and enforced before the runoff, in part because the elec­tion com­mis­sion has said that it intends to retain the last word on how the leg­is­la­tion is car­ried out even if the court approves the restric­tion. Mr. Shafik’s elim­i­na­tion would require the can­cel­la­tion of the first round of results since there is no way to know which oth­er can­di­date his vot­ers might have cho­sen. As a result, the military’s trans­fer of pow­er would be post­poned.


Yes, a court rul­ing that kicks out Shafiq and inval­i­dates the first round of the elec­tion is unlike­ly (although not entire­ly with­out prece­dent). And with no clear front-run­ner, it looks like prospec­tive tourists could be look­ing else­where for that dream North African vaca­tion. For­tu­nate­ly, there are quite a few options for such adven­tur­ous trav­el­ers: For instance, there’s always Tunisia:

Protests threat­en Tunisia tourism recov­ery
May 28, 2012 07:24AM GMT

A shad­ow has been cast over a recov­ery in inter­na­tion­al tourism to Tunisia amid reports of riot­ing by anti-alco­hol pro­test­ers.

Bars and shops were attacked on Sat­ur­day as reli­gious ten­sions rose in the birth­place of the Arab spring upris­ings, the Sun­day Times report­ed.

Fol­low­ers of a fun­da­men­tal­ist inter­pre­ta­tion of Islam called Salafists riot­ed in protest at the arrest of four men in con­nec­tion with pre­vi­ous attacks on alco­hol sell­ers in the north­west­ern town of Jen­dou­ba. Police respond­ed with tear gas.

The riot­ers threw rocks and petrol bombs at the police sta­tion and secu­ri­ty base where the men were being held, set­ting fire to the sta­tion.


Hmmm....ok, well, Tunisia might have a bit of a ‘drink­ing prob­lem’ at the moment. Well, Libya has great beach­es, so that’s an option. Although you prob­a­bly don’t want to buy plane tick­ets for your drean des­ti­na­tion. Pas­sage by boat is rec­om­mend­ed:

Libyans ask “Where is the state?” after air­port seized

By Hadeel Al Shalchi and Marie-Louise Gumuchi­an

TRIPOLI | Wed Jun 6, 2012 4:52am EDT

(Reuters) — Invad­ing Libya’s biggest inter­na­tion­al air­port was embar­rass­ing­ly easy: the attack­ers cut the wire perime­ter fence in broad day­light, and then drove onto the tar­mac while air­port secu­ri­ty chiefs stood and watched.

The occu­pa­tion of Tripoli air­port for sev­er­al hours on Mon­day by an armed mili­tia force has com­pelled pol­i­cy­mak­ers in Europe and the Unit­ed States to ask what sort of coun­try they helped cre­ate when they joined the cam­paign last year to force Muam­mar Gaddafi from office.

Libya, home to Africa’s biggest proven oil reserves, is free from Gaddafi’s repres­sion, but it is a chaot­ic coun­try where near­ly a year on from the end of the revolt, the state still bare­ly exists.

Garbage piles up uncol­lect­ed in sub­ur­ban streets, dri­vers park their cars in the mid­dle of high­ways, and, as inci­dents like the attack on the air­port under­score, rag-tag mili­tias who answer only to their own com­man­ders are more pow­er­ful than the police and army.

“How can these peo­ple ... close the air­port like this?” asked Adel Sala­ma, a civ­il soci­ety activist in Zin­tan, a town whose fight­ers used to con­trol the air­port before hand­ing over to the cen­tral gov­ern­ment back in April.


If you hap­pen to have a fear of boats and/or angry mili­tias there’s still a num­ber of won­der­ful North African locales where you can still dance the night away to a tune or two. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that no longer includes Tim­buk­tu:

NY Times
In Tim­buk­tu, Harsh Change Under Islamists
Pub­lished: June 2, 2012

BAMAKO, Mali — Iso­lat­ed for cen­turies by the harsh desert that sur­rounds it, Tim­buk­tu now finds itself even more cut off from the rest of the world.

Rebels who cap­tured the city in north­ern Mali in April have imposed a form of hard-edged Islam­ic rule, prompt­ing many res­i­dents to flee in fear and chang­ing the face of what had been a tol­er­ant and easy­go­ing des­ti­na­tion that drew tourists from around the world.

Women are now forced to wear full, face-cov­er­ing veils. Music is banned from the radio. Cig­a­rettes are snatched from the mouths of pedes­tri­ans. And the look of the ancient mud-brick town is chang­ing. A cen­turies-old mon­u­ment, the shrine of a 15th-cen­tu­ry saint, has been defaced; bars have been demol­ished; and black flags have been hung around town to hon­or Ansar Dine, or Defend­ers of the Faith, the rad­i­cal Islamist move­ment that emerged from the desert and turned life upside down.

“There is no lib­er­ty,” said Abdoulaye Ahmed, a tai­lor who fled Tim­buk­tu and came to Mali’s cap­i­tal last week. He added that the Islamist rebels “are con­stant­ly cir­cu­lat­ing with their guns. This is scar­ing peo­ple. The town is sin­is­ter.”

The sit­u­a­tion is said to be espe­cial­ly trou­bling for women in Tim­buk­tu. “Women are liv­ing in ter­ri­ble fear,” said Baba Aicha Kalil, a well-known civic activist who is still liv­ing in the town, which once had a pop­u­la­tion of more than 50,000 but has expe­ri­enced a sig­nif­i­cant exo­dus since the rebels moved in.

They want to put a veil on every­thing,” Mrs. Kalil said, reached over a crack­ly tele­phone line from Tim­buk­tu, which is about 440 miles north­east of Bamako, at the edge of the Sahara. “They are every­where, every­where with their guns.”

All of north­ern Mali, an area the size of France, has been in the hands of a loose coali­tion of Islamists and nomadic Tuareg rebels since late March, when resis­tance by the Malian Army col­lapsed after a coup d’état by junior mil­i­tary offi­cers in the cap­i­tal.

Since the takeover, how­ev­er, the Islamists of Ansar Dine, sup­port­ed by Al Qae­da, have gained the upper hand over the Tuaregs, and they are aggres­sive­ly pro­mot­ing their brand of Islam­ic law, or Shari­ah.


Mrs. Kalil said that when the Islamists encoun­tered young peo­ple of the oppo­site sex togeth­er, they forced them to mar­ry on the spot.

“We don’t want the Shari­ah here,” she said. “Tru­ly we are liv­ing in mis­ery. Per­son­al­ly, I am deeply con­cerned.”


The ‘veil on every­thing’ theme might seem off­putting at first, but that’s only until you see the sav­ings on sun­screen. And mar­riage on the spot, eh? Invol­un­tary mar­riage, no less! Well, that’s one nitch in the tourism mar­ket Mali has cov­ered. So if invol­un­tary spon­ta­neous mar­riage is your ‘thing’, a trip to Tim­buk­tu just might do. And don’t feel to bad about your invol­un­tary spon­ta­neous mar­riage fetish. It’s pret­ty twist­ed alright, but there’s a lot of fair­ly pop­u­lar twist­ed fetish­es and per­ver­sions out there. A lot. Watch out Vegas!

I hope you all found this a use­ful trav­el guide for uncer­tain times. And please do vis­it these des­ti­na­tions if it’s safe and you can afford it. Tourism real­ly is more vital than ever to this region and it’s one of the pri­ma­ry dri­ving forces in these soci­eties against the mad­ness of reli­gious fun­da­men­tal­ism and trib­al­ism. It keeps us all con­nect­ed in mutu­al­ly ben­e­fi­cial ways and that kind of inter­na­tion­al/in­ter-world­view cohe­sion is some­thing in incred­i­bly short sup­ply these days. And with a glob­al econ­o­my in free fall, tourism is poised to take a hit glob­al­ly. That’s down­right dan­ger­ous for much of the devel­op­ing world so book those tick­ets if you can. If mil­lions of drunk­en US col­lege stu­dents can make it back from Mex­i­co with their heads still screwed on straight any­thing is pos­si­ble. It’s com­pli­cat­ed.

Keep in mind that even in these crazy times even the crazy Islamists almost nev­er shoot the tourists, espe­cial­ly in tourist‑y areas. It does­n’t go down well with the locals. So seri­ous­ly, buy those tick­ets and stay safe. It could do an immense amount of good right now.

Oh, and who am I kid­ding. Vegas, no one could replace you.


12 comments for “Planning that dream N. African vacation? Check out our free travel guide”

  1. @Pterrafractyl–

    Excel­lent, excel­lent work! Not only good analysis/editing but more than a lit­tle clever.

    I hate to say it, B‑U-T, I told you so, specif­i­cal­ly in the exhaust­ing series mor­ph­ing from the over­lap­ping Wik­iLeaks analy­sis into the FTR#733–739 series about “The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Spring.”

    This is not to engage in self-pro­mo­tion/puffery, but, rather, to under­score that, once one has learned the ropes, as you clear­ly have, it is not dif­fi­cult to antic­i­pate the future, up to a point.

    The MB is “cor­po­ratist” and cor­po­ra­tions are the dom­i­nant pow­er on earth.

    Dig­ging behind the “touchy/feely,” “pro­gres­sive” veneer of the events of ear­ly 2011, it was clear that cor­po­ratism would be the order of the day. Those events were launched by the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, enhanced by the far-right, Nazi-linked Wik­iLeaks oper­a­tion (with Karl Rove exert­ing a com­mand­ing pres­ence in Swe­den at the time), inspired by the CIA-linked the­o­reti­cian Gene Sharp (financed by Peter Ack­er­man, con­vict­ed felon and “junk-bond king” Michael Milken’s right-hand man). None of this should come as a sur­prise.

    Real democ­ra­cy and egal­i­tar­i­an­ism are anath­e­ma to the “men behind the cur­tain” in the “Cor­po­rate Spring.”

    What will be inter­est­ing to see is the extent to which the “tourism imper­a­tive” which would man­date booze and biki­nis weighs against the reli­gious dog­ma of those who would sur­gi­cal­ly remove wom­en’s cli­toris­es to keep them from hav­ing “impure thoughts.”

    Per­haps cas­trat­ing MB mem­bers and Salafis could present a viable inter­im solution–female tourists could wear biki­nis and the “altered” Islamists would­n’t be tor­tured with “impure thoughts,” inspired by the sight of unclothed female anato­my.

    Anoth­er con­sid­er­a­tion con­cerns the extent to which the moguls of West­ern finance can real­ize their invest­ment dreams in a soci­ety in which a third of all males and more than half of all women are illit­er­ate.

    Again, good show! Look­ing for­ward to more eggs in the nest!

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | June 9, 2012, 5:25 pm
  2. @Dave: Tru­ly, a mas­ter­piece. Pter­rafractyl has once again, hit the nail square­ly on the head, while inject­ing a fair dose of wit & humor. =)

    Posted by Steve L. | June 9, 2012, 7:53 pm
  3. @Dave: Thanks. And yeah, it’s pret­ty awful that the best approach for antic­i­pat­ing the future appears to be learn­ing the his­to­ry of applied ponerol­o­gy and mass mind-control(i.e. the awful­ness that is main­stream media cov­er­age and edu­ca­tion, espe­cial­ly for top­ics of great impor­tance). Part of what makes the Islam­o­fas­cist nexus such an instruc­tion­al chap­ter in the his­to­ry of applied ponerol­o­gy is that it encom­pass­es two extremes of human­i­ty’s “pow­er for pow­er’s sake, no holds barred” under­ly­ing mad­ness that seems to dri­ve so many of his­to­ry’s worst move­ments. We have the cold, cal­cu­lat­ing, almost sci­en­tif­ic fas­cism of the futur­ist hyper-“free mar­ket” Lib­er­tar­i­ans like Peter Thiel at one extreme cou­pled with the luna­cy fun­da­men­tal­ist Imam (or Preach­ers or Rab­bis) all work­ing togeth­er to serv­ing the same mas­ter: immense wealth and uncon­testable con­trol obtained through an ever-evolv­ing appli­ca­tion of fascist/authoritarian the­o­ries. Whether it’s a direct nexus like the Rove/Norquist/al-Taqwa/Hu­ber mil­lieu or an indi­rect com­mon ground like both Thiel, the Salafists, the GOP, and near­ly the entire EU appar­ent­ly, all simul­ta­ne­ous­ly embrac­ing far-right eco­nom­ics and anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­ti­ments as the ONLY war for­ward.

    And in the mean time, all of this out of con­trol human “devel­op­ment” is send­ing the ecosys­tem into some sort of free fall. Sad­ly, I’m increas­ing­ly sus­pect­ing that eco­col­lapse may be one the pri­ma­ry tools that the elites have in mind for all of the bro­ken soci­eties we’ve made. Espe­cial­ly in the Mid­dle East and Africa. Cli­mate change and the deple­tion of fresh water is iron­i­cal­ly going to make many of the most dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed regions of the world the most unin­hab­it­able the soon­est. That’s the self-rein­forc­ing dynam­ic we’ve put into place between human­i­ty, how we live (our glob­al econ­o­my), and the bios­phere. I just can’t see what could turn that dynam­ic around at this late stage in the bat­tle to pre­vent eco­col­lapse and, quite frankly, I’m hav­ing an increas­ing­ly hard time believ­ing that many of our elites don’t view eco­col­lapse as per­haps the most excit­ing and “use­ful” glob­al cri­sis in his­to­ry. A nice slow-ish cri­sis that gives human­i­ty no choice in spend­ing the next cen­tu­ry endur­ing nature-enforced “aus­ter­i­ty”. It guar­an­tees that an end­less sequence of “hard choic­es” that “no one want­ed to make” are going to get made. But, some­how, an author­i­tar­i­an cor­po­ratist mod­el of soci­ety with pull through in the end (because that’s the only mod­el that can be tried). It does­n’t just kill two birds with one stone. It gets them ALL (and who would­n’t appre­ci­ate that!).

    Speak­ing of pre­dic­tions, there was a pan­el dis­cus­sion I hap­pened to catch on CSPAN a cou­ple of months ago that con­tained a great exam­ple of why I sus­pect our elites are no bank­ing on eco­col­lapse: The March 3rd Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety dis­cus­sion was enti­tled “Effects of Reg­u­la­tion on Tech­nol­o­gy & Inno­va­tion”. Peter Thiel, one of the pan­elist, was asked a ques­tion that involved him giv­ing his pre­dic­tion of what the glob­al econ­o­my is going to look like over the next 50 years. It was a world where all of Ayn Rands dark pre­dic­tions come true and a lack of tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion due to gov­ern­ment suf­fo­ca­tion of the pri­vate sec­tor results in the malthu­sian exhaus­tion of nat­ur­al resources. Coal will also be the fuel of the 21st Cen­tu­ry. Biotech and non-com­put­er-sci­ence engi­neer­ing fields are dead ends and the only two “Gold­en Goos­es” that area still left out there to save human­i­ty from a slow grind into obliv­ion are com­put­ers and finance. And Frank-Dodd killed the finan­cial Gold­en-Goose on Wall Street so it’s down to just com­put­ers. Grant­ed, this was a remark­ably self-serv­ing answer: an IT/finance bil­lion­aire see the world end­ing unless it suf­fi­cient­ly embraces his vision of finance and IT. Shock­er. But the key aspect to his answer that I found telling is the recog­ni­tion that human­i­ty is fac­ing a resource exhaus­tion “wall” And this was com­ing from a guy push­ing for fas­cist sea-soci­eties, space colonies, and the replace­ment of democ­ra­cy with mar­ket­places. Whether or not Thiel wants col­lapse he prepar­ing to prof­it immense­ly from it. And with all the arti­cles about hedge fund man­agers becom­ing sur­vival­ists there’s just a grow­ing trend of an expect­ed sys­temic col­lapse. That’s going go be one hell of a mega-trend/meta-trend over the next few decades.

    So if hell on earth appears to be utopia for a pow­er­ful fac­tion of the world’s oli­garchs. At least finan­cial utopia. Nice. That makes me inclined to pre­dict that the long-term plan of the glob­al elites for deal­ing with pop­u­la­tions fac­ing 50%+ rates of illit­er­a­cy and hope­less fun­da­men­tal­ist mania is sim­ply to starve them out of exis­tence. Just wait for “nature” to do its work in the form of a man-made eco­log­i­cal cat­a­stro­phe and an end­less sequence of incom­pe­tent attempts to use “mar­ket forces” to “fix” the “prob­lem” (hint: the glob­al poor will be a big part of the resource “prob­lem” as small­er nations get trapped by col­laps­ing ecosys­tems that kill their economies). It’s part of what makes the “Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Spring” so depress­ing. A move­ment start­ed by des­per­ate youth with no eco­nom­ic hope or future got high­jacked by an inter­na­tion­al net­work of ass­holes that are doing their damnedest to ensure that there’s real­ly no bio­log­i­cal future at all in their coun­tries. For­ev­er.

    This dan­ger of insane, fas­cist-dri­ven resource deple­tion applies to the whole plan­et but the Mus­lim world is heav­i­ly con­cen­trat­ed in regions that could be ren­dered bare­ly hab­it­able by the tri­fec­ta of cli­mate change, pop­u­la­tion explo­sion, and resource deple­tion. They’re sort of ground zero for eco-col­lapse and their religious/political lead­er­ship is lead­ing that a mas­sive swath of human­i­ty off a cliff. First a bunch of poor Mus­lim nations get impov­er­ished by ass back­wards reli­gious fun­da­men­tal­ism and/or hor­ren­dous­ly cor­rupt sec­u­lar gov­ern­ments, and then — as a con­se­quence of the hor­rif­ic mis­man­age­ment, wars, sec­ond class sta­tus for women, over­pop­u­la­tion, and all the oth­er luna­cy that inevitably comes with soci­eties that embrace mad­ness and hap­pen to be the neigh­bors of the Mil­i­tary Indus­tri­al Com­plex — even­tu­al­ly these same soci­eties get led up to a point where life will lit­er­al­ly not be able to exist in their nations. At least not near­ly as much life as before. That’s what I sus­pect the Mus­lim world’s rulers have in mind for their pop­u­laces: dumb ’em up and starve them out. And that applies for the vast major­i­ty of the rest of the plan­et regard­less of reli­gion.

    Grow­ing up, I would­n’t have ever believed a “starve the beast” sce­nario could become the de-fac­to rule for the 21st cen­tu­ry but after a review of the his­to­ry of 20th applied ponerol­o­gy I just can’t rule it out any­more. Human­i­ty’s lead­ers are active­ly steer­ing the plan­et into the ground. “steer­ing the plan­et into the ground” is a strange metaphor to apply to “the plan­et” giv­en that it’s “the ground”, but it’s also an alarm­ing­ly apt metaphor for “the plan­et” if “the plan­et” is a metaphor for our bios­phere. We are fucked eco­log­i­cal­ly speak­ing and that’s the dom­i­nant trend of the 21st cen­tu­ry. Gov­ern­ments, espe­cial­ly Islamist gov­ern­ments, are doing noth­ing about while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly push­ing for pop­u­la­tion explo­sions and that’s pret­ty much like qui­et­ly push­ing “the big red but­ton”. Every one of these gov­ern­ments has to know that human­i­ty’s hit­ting a real resource/pollution “wall”. We’re start­ing to see the first phase of in-your-face-across-the-board ecodegra­da­tion. It’s like the nat­ur­al ana­log to the in-your-face-across-the-board fas­cist takeover of the levers of pow­er that have tak­en place since JFK but way worse.

    Ugh. I did­n’t intend to go on an eco-rant but the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-style takeover of much of the world is increas­ing­ly look­ing like one of the largest slow motion train wrecks in his­to­ry. Stu­pid eco­nom­ics cou­pled to stu­pid reli­gion right when we hit the indus­tri­al age, high tech, and the real­i­ty of a full plan­et. And with cli­mate change on top of all that. there’s just no real prepa­ra­tion at all being done for a very seri­ous, upcom­ing age of real resource “aus­ter­i­ty”. Just more reli­gion and illit­er­a­cy. And if the lit­er­ate world can have some­thing like this print­ed year after year with no mean­ing­ful response, what chance does the illit­er­ate world have?

    So, with all that in mind, if any­one was inclined to go on that dream eco-tourism adven­ture — like to a rain­for­est or some­thing like that — you may need to book those tick­ets soon­er rather than lat­er:

    UN Envi­ron­ment Pro­gram report says envi­ron­ment is at break­ing point
    AP From: AP June 07, 2012 11:37AM

    THE earth is being pushed to its bio­phys­i­cal lim­its and crit­i­cal thresh­olds have already been exceed­ed, accord­ing to a grim new report from the UN.

    In a 525-page report on the health of the plan­et, the the Unit­ed Nations Envi­ron­ment Pro­gram paints a grim pic­ture.

    It says: “Sev­er­al crit­i­cal glob­al, region­al and local thresh­olds are close or have been exceed­ed.

    “... abrupt and pos­si­bly irre­versible changes to the life-sup­port func­tions of the plan­et are like­ly to occur.”

    The report, which was released overnight, says changes include ris­ing sea lev­els, increased fre­quen­cy and sever­i­ty of floods and droughts, and the col­lapse of fish­eries.

    The report, which com­piles three years of work by 300 sci­en­tists, says about 20 per cent of ver­te­brate species are under threat of extinc­tion, coral reefs have declined by 38 per cent since 1980, green­house gas emis­sions could dou­ble over the next 50 years, and 90 per cent of water and fish sam­ples are con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed by pes­ti­cides.

    It says lit­tle or no progress has been made over the past five years on near­ly a third of the main envi­ron­men­tal goals, includ­ing glob­al warm­ing. Sig­nif­i­cant progress has been made on just four of the 90 most impor­tant goals, the report says.

    “This is an indict­ment,” UNEP exec­u­tive direc­tor Achim Stein­er said at a news con­fer­ence in Rio De Janeiro. “We live in an age of irre­spon­si­bil­i­ty that is also tes­ti­fied and doc­u­ment­ed in this report.

    “In 1992 (when the first of the agen­cy’s five reports was released) we talked about the future that was like­ly to occur.

    “This report 20 years lat­er speaks to the fact that a num­ber of the things that we talked about in the future tense in 1992 have arrived,” Stein­er said.

    “Once the tip­ping point occurs, you don’t wake up the next morn­ing and say, ‘This is ter­ri­ble, can we change it?’ We are con­demn­ing peo­ple to not hav­ing the choice.”

    Stein­er said: “Change is pos­si­ble. Giv­en what we know, we can move in anoth­er direc­tion.”


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 10, 2012, 11:50 pm
  4. Dear Mr. Emory !

    I came to you here over Wikipedia by a Herff/Coogan ‑link**) under the J.v.Leers arti­cle, because I’m very inter­est­ed in Johann von Leers, sim­i­lar per­sons, nazi-islam and the ger­man and euro prepo­si­tions and over­lap­pins of “nordic”, new pagan­ist, anti-chris­ti­san and anti­semite ide­olo­gies or imag­ines with islam doc­trine and pow­ers like MB.
    Min­utes ago I found a new study research group about per­son and work of this pro­pa­gan­dist of ugly­ness Prof. J.v. Leers, installed at uni­ver­si­ty of Würzburg . . .

    — If You have more about race hygien­ist Amin Omar Leers ?

    But I think that it’s not anough only to pay atten­tion to this mul­ti nazi activist as the pos­si­ble ger­man main link to islam a n d pos­si­bly as a spot­light to a post-1945 new ger­man- or euro- arab anti­west impe­ri­al­ist strat­e­gy, how it von Leers spelled in his wikipedia quot­ed let­ter to US-fas­cist H. Kei­th Thom­son.
    And, togeth­er with some oth­er facts and devel­ope­ments, von Leers dreams seemed to be come true part­ly. — Per­haps You know the islam­ic car­ri­er of the west­ger­man past-49 diplo­mat “Murat” Wil­fried HOFMANN***), whom about crit­i­cans argue, he would have pub­lished a spe­cial Koran/Quran for naive ger­mans, means a defused and gloss­es edi­tion !

    From Hitler and Himm­ler only few but impor­tant pro-islam­ic sen­tences are known. — But there was an more ear­ly strate­gist of “Jihad made in Ger­many”, so called by ara­bist http://www.trafoBerlin.de/autoren/Schwanitz_Wolfgang, — a diplo­mat again and a ger­man kind of Lawrence of Ara­bia, — Max Frei­herr from Oppen­heim . . .

    In this con­nec­tions I want to ask you, what is more known about post-45 euro-/ger­man strate­gies togeth­er with arab and iran lands rspl. pan-islam­ic orga­ni­za­tion; or on anoth­er way, how/do you or oth­er good ana­lysts recept the so called EURABIA con­tracts under ger­man-frensh lead in/ after 1973 ? His­to­ry doc­u­men­tarist Bat Ye’or said, this con­tracts with the ARAB LEAGUE have been called “Euro Arab Dia­log” and con­tents with the per­spec­tice on a new euro-arab (oeco­nom­ic) imperi­um, also an anti-israeli align for the mass medias and a pro islam­ic full cul­tur­al ope­ness.

    — Not to for­get, that since 1946 ff or 49 ff anti­com­mu­nist effords under BND and CIA rspl. under Ex-Gen. Gehlen ( Wehrma­cht chap­ter “Fremde Heere Ost” / for­eign armies east) togeth­er with muslems from the rest of islam­ic led SS-divi­sions out of the sur­round­ing of Munich (again !) caused the main fol­low, that the MB jumped into wes­teu­rope ... .- Suit­able to the islam strat­g­ic mean­ing, how Ian John­son calles it “The 4th Mosque” with his book title.

    At last I wan’­na ask you, whether you know an(other) good scource rspl. por­tal or books, per­haps in ger­man lan­guage, about islam — nazi and islam ‑KGB con­nec­tions, rela­tion­ships and projects.

    Bye-bye !
    Achim Schue­man

    ***( From 1979 to 1983 he lead the Ref. NATO & Defense in germ. Auswär­ti­gen Amt (For­eign Min­istry) in Bonn.
    1980 he con­vert­ed to sun­nit islam. 1983 – 1987 he was direc­tor for Infor­ma­tion at NATO in Brüs­sel. 1987 he became germ. Ambas­sor in Alge­ria. entsandt, than 1990 to Maroc­co.
    He is full mem­ber of Ahl al-Bayt Foun­da­tion for Islam­ic Thought in Amman (Jor­danien), co- adi­vi­sor & mem­ber of hon­or of the so called Cen­tral advi­sor board of Muslems in Ger­many, one of the more pro-arab minor­i­ty unions of muslems, he
    is mem­ber of Sharia-coun­cil of the muslem Bosna Bank Inter­na­tion­al in Sara­je­wo. From 1994–2008 in 31 coun­tries he held ca. 350 lec­tures about islam­ic themes.
    2008 from read­ers of the berlin “Islam­ic News­pa­per” he was elect­ed as “most impor­tant Mus­lim in[!] Deutsch­land”.
    About themes of islam Hof­mann wrote sev­er­al books. Most of them are also avail­able in Arab (!) und Eng­lish; some in Alban­ian lan­guage, Bosni­ac, Frensh, Malay­alam, Turk­ish and Hun­gary. 1998 he pub­lished a new revise of the clas­si­cal Koran trans­la­tion from Max Hen­ning.
    Except that he is lit­er­a­ture crit­i­can of the Mark­field (Leices­ter­shire) quar­ter­ly pub­lished Mus­lim World Book Review, of Oxford Jour­nal of Islam­ic Stud­ies and of the pak­istani quar­ter­ly jour­nal Islam­ic Stud­ies tätig (until now ca. 200 crit­ics).
    Bedeath he pub­lished irreg­u­lar essay and arti­cles in the Islamis­chen Zeitung (Berlin), in Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Islam­ic Social Stud­ies (Wash­ing­ton, D.C.), Encoun­ters (Mark­field, LE,UK) and Islam­ic Stud­ies (Islam­abad).
    “Der Islam as an Alter­na­tive to west­ern lifestyle”,- comared to a pro­gram­mat­ic book title Hof­mann under­stands islam as an alter­na­tive against west­ern live, what is seen as degen­er­at­ed by him ...” ( wikipedia)

    **( H e r f trans­lates & para­phras­es the whole pas­sage in Eng­lish like in fol­low: Mohammed’s hos­til­i­ty to the Jews had one result: Ori­en­tal Jew­ry was com­plete­ly par­a­lyzed. Its back­bone was bro­ken. Ori­en­tal Jew­ry effec­tive­ly did not par­tic­i­pate in [Euro­pean] Jew­ry’s tremen­dous rise to pow­er in the last two cen­turies. Despised in the filthy lanes of the mel­lah (the walled Jew­ish quar­ter of a Moroc­can city, anal­o­gous to the Euro­pean ghet­to) the Jews veg­e­tat­ed there. They lived under a spe­cial law (that of a pro­tect­ed minor­i­ty), which in con­trast to Europe did not per­mit usury or even traf­fic in stolen goods, but kept them in a state of oppres­sion and anx­i­ety. If the rest of the world had adopt­ed a sim­i­lar pol­i­cy, we would not have a Jew­ish Ques­tion (Juden­frage).... As a reli­gion, Islam indeed per­formed an eter­nal ser­vice to the world: it pre­vent­ed the threat­ened con­quest of Ara­bia by the Jews and van­quished the hor­ri­ble teach­ing of Jeho­vah by a pure reli­gion, which at that time opened the way to a high­er cul­ture for numer­ous peo­ples. In: “Juden­tum und Islam als Gegen­sätze”, Zs. Die Juden­frage, Bd. 6, Nr. 24, 15. Dezem­ber 1942, S. 278, zit. nach Herf, The Jew­ish Ene­my, S. 181

    Posted by Achim Schueman | June 11, 2012, 12:43 am
  5. Posted by Achim Schueman | June 11, 2012, 12:50 am
  6. Just a note to any prospec­tive Israeli tourists: Turkey is open for busi­ness...selec­tive­ly:

    Erdo­gan: We don’t need Israeli tourists
    The Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter has repeat­ed that Israel must apol­o­gize for the flotil­la deaths and remove the Gaza block­ade.
    6 June 12 09:44, Globes cor­re­spon­dent

    “We don’t need Israeli tourists in Turkey and we don’t feel their absence,” Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan told jour­nal­ists from “Yediot Ahronot” and “Maariv” dur­ing a recep­tion in Istan­bul yes­ter­day. “We have replaced Israeli tourists with oth­er tourists and last year we had 31 mil­lion tourists.”

    He added, “Only if Israel apol­o­gizes for IDF sol­diers board­ing the Mar­mara and killing Turk­ish activists, and pays com­pen­sa­tion to the fam­i­lies of the dead, and removes the ter­ri­ble block­ade on Gaza, will I be ready to meet with the Israeli prime min­is­ter, and per­haps nor­mal­ize rela­tions between the coun­tries.”

    Erdo­gan con­tin­ued, “If and when Israel meets these con­di­tions, then rela­tions can flour­ish as they did in the past. We will not com­pro­mise over these con­di­tions, even if the price is a pro­tract­ed cri­sis between the coun­tries.”


    Also, if any jour­nal­ists want to get a clar­i­fi­ca­tion of what exact­ly Erdo­gan meant, you may need to choose those ques­tions care­ful­ly:

    In Turkey the right to free speech is being lost

    Erdo­gan is using a series of alleged plots to jus­ti­fy a crack­down on dis­sent that threat­ens basic free­doms

    Meh­di Hasan
    guardian.co.uk, Sun­day 10 June 2012 12.00 EDT

    Which coun­try in the world cur­rent­ly impris­ons more jour­nal­ists than any oth­er? The Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na? Nope. Iran? Wrong again. The rather depress­ing answer is the Repub­lic of Turkey, where near­ly 100 jour­nal­ists are behind bars, accord­ing to the Organ­i­sa­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Co-oper­a­tion in Europe. Yes, that’s right: mod­ern, sec­u­lar, west­ern-ori­ent­ed Turkey, with its demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed gov­ern­ment, has locked away more mem­bers of the press than Chi­na and Iran com­bined.

    But this isn’t just about the press — stu­dents, aca­d­e­mics, artists and oppo­si­tion MPs have all recent­ly been tar­get­ed for dar­ing to speak out against the gov­ern­ment of prime min­is­ter Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan and his mild­ly Islamist Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Par­ty, or AKP.

    There is a new cli­mate of fear in Istan­bul. When I vis­it­ed the city last week to host a dis­cus­sion show for al-Jazeera Eng­lish, I found jour­nal­ists speak­ing in hushed tones about the clam­p­down on free speech. With­in 24 hours of our arrival, one of my al-Jazeera col­leagues was detained by police offi­cers, who went through his bag and rifled through one of my scripts. They loud­ly object­ed to a line refer­ring to the coun­try’s “increas­ing­ly author­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ment”. Who says that Turks don’t do irony?


    Those of us who have long argued that elect­ed Islamist par­ties should not be denied the oppor­tu­ni­ty to gov­ern invest­ed great hope in Erdo­gan and the AKP. But what I dis­cov­ered in Istan­bul is that there is still a long way to go. The truth is that Turkey can­not be the mod­el, the tem­plate, for post-rev­o­lu­tion­ary, Mus­lim-major­i­ty coun­tries like Tunisia and Egypt until it first gets its own house in order. To inspire free­dom abroad, the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment must first guar­an­tee free­dom at home.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 11, 2012, 8:22 pm
  7. Just a note to the art lovers out there think­ing about attend­ing a Tunisian arts exhi­bi­tion....hel­mets and flame-retar­dant cloth­ing are rec­om­mend­ed:

    Tunisian Salafi Islamists riot over “insult­ing” art

    By Tarek Ama­ra and Lin Nouei­hed

    TUNIS | Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:35pm EDT

    (Reuters) — Thou­sands of Salafi Islamists, angered by an art exhi­bi­tion they say insults Mus­lims, ram­paged through parts of Tunis on Tues­day, rais­ing reli­gious ten­sions in the birth­place of the Arab Spring and pil­ing pres­sure on the mod­er­ate Islamist gov­ern­ment.

    Pro­test­ers hurled rocks and petrol bombs at police sta­tions, a court house and the offices of sec­u­lar par­ties in some of the worst clash­es since last year’s revolt oust­ed Pres­i­dent Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and launched upris­ings across the Arab world.

    Salafis, who fol­low a puri­tan­i­cal inter­pre­ta­tion of Islam, blocked streets and set tires alight in the work­ing class Ettadamen and Sidi Hus­sein dis­tricts of the cap­i­tal overnight.

    By morn­ing, protests had spread to a num­ber of res­i­den­tial dis­tricts in the cap­i­tal and to oth­er cities, pos­ing one of the biggest threats yet to Tunisi­a’s demo­c­ra­t­ic tran­si­tion.

    Stone-throw­ing youths stopped trams from pass­ing through the cap­i­tal’s Inti­laqa dis­trict where demon­stra­tors entered mosques and used the loud­speak­ers to call on Tunisians to defend Islam.

    Some 2,500 Salafis were still clash­ing with police in the area by Tues­day evening, an inte­ri­or min­istry offi­cial said, adding that 162 peo­ple had been detained and 65 mem­bers of the secu­ri­ty forces had been wound­ed try­ing to quell the riots.

    The inte­ri­or and defense min­istries imposed a night time cur­few on the cap­i­tal and sev­en oth­er areas after Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Ali Larayedh told par­lia­ment he expect­ed the riots to con­tin­ue in the com­ing days, stretch­ing secu­ri­ty forces.

    The clash­es came a day after the Spring of Arts exhi­bi­tion in the upscale La Marsa sub­urb pro­voked an out­cry from some Tunisians who say it insult­ed Islam. The work that appears to have caused most fury spelt out the name of God using insects.

    “These artists are attack­ing Islam and this is not new. Islam is tar­get­ed,” said a youth, who gave his name as Ali and had removed his shirt as he pre­pared to con­front police in Ettadamen. “What added fuel to the flames is the gov­ern­men­t’s silence,” said Ali, who did not describe him­self as a Salafi.

    Offi­cials of the Islamist-led gov­ern­ment have con­demned the art works that they say were intend­ed to insult and pro­voke, but said there was no excuse for the out­break of vio­lence that appeared planned and coor­di­nat­ed and could under­mine eco­nom­ic recov­ery as the tourism and har­vest sea­sons get under­way.

    Larayedh vowed the police would con­front any more acts of vio­lence, which he blamed on a mix of vio­lent Salafis, crim­i­nal gangs and Ben Ali loy­al­ists seek­ing to under­mine the rev­o­lu­tion.


    While Islamists did not play a major role in the rev­o­lu­tion, the strug­gle over the role of Islam in gov­ern­ment and soci­ety has since emerged as the most divi­sive issue in Tunisian pol­i­tics and sev­er­al clash­es have erupt­ed in recent months, some of them involv­ing attacks on alco­hol ven­dors.

    Salafis, some of whom are sym­pa­thet­ic to al Qae­da, want a broad­er role for reli­gion in the new Tunisia, alarm­ing sec­u­lar elites who fear they will seek to impose their views and ulti­mate­ly under­mine the nascent democ­ra­cy.

    Some sec­u­lar­ists had attend­ed the offend­ing exhi­bi­tion, say­ing Tunisians had the right to artis­tic free­dom, and they have also come under phys­i­cal attack.

    A labor union office in the north­west­ern city of Jen­dou­ba had been set alight by Salafis overnight while the offices of sec­u­lar par­ties near­by were attacked, Larayedh said, in an appar­ent effort to inflame ten­sions that are already bub­bling between the Islamist-led gov­ern­ment and the sec­u­lar oppo­si­tion.

    Clash­es also broke out in the coastal city of Sousse, where an art cen­tre came under attack by Salafis. A sec­u­lar par­ty came under attack in the bor­der town of Tataouine and pro­test­ers blocked the road from Tunis to the city of Biz­erte, 60 km away.

    Larayedh said the vio­lence appeared orga­nized and some of it may have been inspired by a recent state­ment from al Qae­da leader Ayman al-Zawahri, rather than sim­ply an art exhi­bi­tion.

    On Sun­day, Zawahri called on Tunisians to defend Islam­ic law from Ennah­da, which won the first post-rev­o­lu­tion­ary elec­tion in North Africa in Octo­ber and has said it would not seek to impose sharia in the new con­sti­tu­tion that is being drawn up.

    The audio record­ing, released on Islamist web­sites, said Ennah­da, which leads Tunisi­a’s gov­ern­ment in coali­tion with two sec­u­lar groups, had betrayed the reli­gion.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 18, 2012, 1:36 pm
  8. Seri­ous­ly wish I could vis­it the Roman ruins in Libya: Lep­tis Mag­nus as well as the ones in Syr­ia, but I guess NATO dri­ven wars and the con­se­quen­tial anar­chy they bring once MB affil­i­at­ed goons take over (they’re 3 for 3 in the Pig­gy­back Coups now, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt now)
    Now Dave, please explain why the LIFG goons who were killing GIs in Iraq are run­ning Libya and assist­ing in the over­throw of the Syr­i­an gov? Bonus points if you look into the career of Abdel­hakim Bel­haj, who may have been on the Turk­ish Flotil­la in 2010)
    Also check out West Point’s report on Libyan Al Qae­da vol­un­teers, who are now work­ing in Syr­ia:

    Posted by Doug Diggler | June 24, 2012, 3:17 pm
  9. While rad­i­cal Islamist groups may have played an out­sized role in the over­throw of the gov­ern­ment and Islamist move­ments in gen­er­al were going to have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to expand in the destroyed nations(don’t for­get that one of the unspo­ken goals of a con­flict is often to rad­i­cal­ize the afflict­ed pop­u­la­tion), the elec­tions in July made it pret­ty clear that the Islamists were not going to embraced by a major­i­ty of the Libyan peo­ple. So if you were won­der­ing about the polit­i­cal con­text of the ter­ror­ist attack on the US Con­sulate in Ben­c­hazi by al-Qae­da affil­i­at­ed mili­tias, the rejec­tion of the Islamists in the July elec­tions are a part of that con­text and twist­ed ratio­nal:

    Libyan Attack on US Con­sulate Tied to Elec­tions, Assas­si­na­tion
    By Joshua Phillip
    Epoch Times Staff

    Cre­at­ed: Sep­tem­ber 19, 2012 Last Updat­ed: Sep­tem­ber 22, 2012

    There is still no offi­cial line on whether the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya was planned by ter­ror­ist groups or whether it was mil­i­tants who took the protests against an anti-Mus­lim film as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet their own goals.


    This ties back to the Libyan elec­tions in July, which saw a non-Islam­ic par­ty win the major­i­ty of seats. This was a major blow to Islamist groups, par­tic­u­lar­ly the Arab Islam­ic extrem­ists, the Salafists—who only last month destroyed Sufi shrines in Libya, accord­ing to Reuters.

    A Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty report states, “Salafists have felt mar­gin­al­ized and threat­ened. Like in Egypt, they have played on anti-Amer­i­can sen­ti­ments to appeal to the pop­u­la­tion.

    The report out­lines a dis­cus­sion with Lina Khat­ib, head of the Pro­gram on Arab Reform and Democ­ra­cy at Stan­ford University’s Cen­ter on Democ­ra­cy, Devel­op­ment, and the Rule of Law.

    “The pro­duc­tion of the U.S. film pro­vid­ed them with a way to orches­trate a high-pro­file action with sev­er­al aims: send­ing a mes­sage of defi­ance to sec­u­lars and to the West; appeal­ing to the local pop­u­la­tion; and prov­ing that while they may have lost polit­i­cal­ly, they are still a force to be reck­oned with mil­i­tar­i­ly,” Khat­ib said.

    The gen­er­al idea of the report is that the “threat of democ­ra­cy” was like­ly the moti­va­tion behind the killings. To this, Jere Van Dyk, author and jour­nal­ist who lived along­side Afghanistan’s Mujahideen in the 1980s and who was tak­en pris­on­er by the Tal­iban in 2008, could not agree more.

    He told The Epoch Times that the Tal­iban fight­ers who held him cap­tive referred to democ­ra­cy as a “west­ern reli­gion,” and that the recent attacks are those fight­ers try­ing to pre­vent democ­ra­cy from tak­ing root.

    Pri­or to the attacks, U.S. busi­ness del­e­ga­tions were vis­it­ing Egypt and Libya. This is part of the pol­i­cy Oba­ma announced in May 2011 to offer eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ties to coun­tries over­throw­ing oppres­sive regimes in the Arab Spring.


    So with all that in mind, very very nice Beng­hazi:

    NY Times
    2 Islamist Mili­tias Dis­band Amid Anger Over Killings
    Pub­lished: Sep­tem­ber 22, 2012

    BENGHAZI, Libya — Two Islamist mili­tias in the east­ern city of Dar­nah announced Sat­ur­day that they were dis­band­ing, bow­ing to a wave of anti-mili­tia anger that has swept parts of Libya since a dead­ly attack on an Amer­i­can diplo­mat­ic mis­sion on Sept. 11.

    A local polit­i­cal activist said that one of the mili­tias, the Abu Sal­im Brigade, had sur­ren­dered sev­er­al bases in the city. A sec­ond mili­tia was also said to have agreed to dis­band, Reuters report­ed.

    The announce­ments came a day after tens of thou­sands of pro­test­ers marched in Beng­hazi demand­ing the dis­so­lu­tion of mili­tias formed dur­ing the revolt last year against Libya’s strong­man, Col. Muam­mar el-Qaddafi. Pro­test­ers stormed four bases in Beng­hazi, rout­ing a rogue Islamist mili­tia whose mem­bers were tied to the attack on the Amer­i­can mis­sion, in which the Amer­i­can ambas­sador and three oth­er Amer­i­cans were killed.


    Once again thou­sands of poor, dis­em­pow­ered peo­ple in a war-torn nation show the rest of the civ­i­lized world just what real self-gov­ern­ment is all about. When mon­sters take pow­er, the self-gov­erned get active. I know of a cer­tain city that just made it onto my “places I want to vis­it before I kick it” list.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 22, 2012, 8:43 pm
  10. This lat­est episode of Real Time with Bill Maher and guest Salmon Rushdie is worth lis­ten­ing to or watch­ing.


    Although I don’t expect to get the lev­el of insight often found at this web­site, I do still appre­ci­ate see­ing out­spo­ken lib­er­als will­ing to call out the Islamist/Salafist “out­rage indus­try” (a term now used by the more enlight­ened types). Yet, when the con­ver­sa­tion comes around to mock­ing the aver­age arab for believ­ing that “The Inno­cence of Mus­lims” was a cre­ation of U.S. intel­li­gence, we real­ly come to the nut of the prob­lem. Is the aver­age arab on the street wrong to see U.S. intel­li­gence behind this? I’m not so sure he/she is.

    Posted by GrumpusRex | September 25, 2012, 11:25 am
  11. Libya con­tin­ues to be one of those places that actu­al­ly gives one some hope for the future. To get a sense of just how dire Libya’s sit­u­a­tion is with the pri­vate own­er­ship of heavy weapon­ry, note that it’s not just guns or even rock­et launch­ers that are being turned to the nation­al gov­ern­ment. Peo­ple are dri­ving up to the weapons col­lec­tion sight with tanks....to hand over. Those are some folks that ‘get it’:

    Hun­dreds of Libyans han­dover their weapons
    By OSAMA ALFITORY | Asso­ci­at­ed Press — 09/29/2012

    BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Hun­dreds of Libyans con­verged Sat­ur­day on a main square in Beng­hazi and anoth­er in Tripoli in response to a call from the mil­i­tary to hand over their weapons, some dri­ving in with armored per­son­nel car­ri­ers, tanks, vehi­cles with mount­ed anti-air­craft guns and hun­dreds of rock­et launch­ers.

    The call by the Libyan chiefs of staff was pro­mot­ed on a pri­vate TV sta­tion in August. But it may have gained trac­tion in the wake of the attack against the U.S. con­sulate in Beng­hazi in which the Amer­i­can ambas­sador and three staffers were killed. The inci­dent was fol­lowed by a pop­u­lar uproar against armed mili­tias which have increas­ing­ly chal­lenged gov­ern­ment author­i­ties.

    In response, the gov­ern­ment has called on all mili­tias to dis­band or join a com­mand cen­ter coor­di­nat­ing between the army and the mili­tias. The gov­ern­ment had relied on many mili­tias for secu­ri­ty dur­ing the tur­moil fol­low­ing last year’s ouster and killing of long­time leader Moam­mar Gad­hafi.

    Army Col. Omran al-War­fali said the turnout has been impres­sive.


    Ahmed Salem, an orga­niz­er of the efforts in Beng­hazi, said over 800 cit­i­zens hand­ed in weapons at the main col­lec­tion point. Over 600 dif­fer­ent types of arms were col­lect­ed, includ­ing anti-air­craft guns, land mines, rock­et launch­ers and artillery rock­ets.

    Mous­sa Omr, a for­mer fight­er who lives on the out­skirts of Beng­hazi and who fought against Gad­hafi, said it was time to turn over his weapon to the state.

    “When I saw the announce­ment on tele­vi­sion I came to Beng­hazi with my wife and son to hand over my weapon to the nation­al army because I want to move from the stage of the rev­o­lu­tion to state build­ing,” he said. “I trust the nation­al army. They have been with us on the front­line and I know them one by one. I don’t need this weapon after today, the mili­tias have been expelled from Beng­hazi and the nation­al army will pro­tect us.”


    Last week­end, thou­sands of pro­test­ers marched against the mili­tias in Beng­hazi, the cra­dle of the upris­ing against Gad­hafi, and stormed two of their com­pounds.

    In Tripoli, at least 200 for­mer fight­ers hand­ed over their weapons, includ­ing two tanks, at the Mar­tyrs’ square in the city cen­ter. A cler­ic urged young fight­ers to give up their weapons. “The nation is built with knowl­edge not guns,” he said stand­ing in the square.

    But, of course, every soci­ety also has those folks that don’t ‘get it’ in so many dif­fer­ent ways:

    Pro-Salafist ral­ly in Libya’s Beng­hazi turns vio­lent

    By Ibrahim Majbari (AFP) – 09/28/2012

    BENGHAZI, Libya — Libyan demon­stra­tors lobbed hand grenades at secu­ri­ty forces and set cars ablaze after a ral­ly in Beng­hazi on Fri­day in sup­port of a hard­line Salafist group which was evict­ed from the sec­ond city.

    More than 200 men con­verged on Beng­haz­i’s Al-Jalaa Hos­pi­tal, which was guard­ed by mem­bers of Ansar al-Sharia until Fri­day of last week, when anti-mili­tia pro­test­ers forced them out, an AFP cor­re­spon­dent report­ed.

    “We want Ansar al-Sharia to come back and pro­tect this hos­pi­tal,” a plac­ard read.

    The crowd then marched on a near­by secu­ri­ty forces build­ing.

    Inte­ri­or min­istry forces fired warn­ing shots in the air from inside the base. Demon­stra­tors respond­ed by throw­ing hand grenades at the out­er walls and torch­ing two parked cars.

    Troops arrived quick­ly on the scene and the crowd dis­persed. Some 25 sol­diers took up posi­tion around the build­ing.


    “Hey, we want to bring back the crazy Jihadist mili­tia to pro­tect the hos­pi­tal. Also, catch this live grenade.”

    I have a new the­o­ry on the Libyan Salafists’ mad­ness: This is all an elab­o­rate attempt to induce brain dam­age across the entire plan­et via repeat­ed facepalm­ing. Even­tu­al­ly, so much brain dam­age will have been inflict­ed that we’ll all be ready for con­ver­sion to Salafism. The bril­liance of this tac­tic is that the more mind numb­ing­ly stu­pid one finds the Salafists, the more dam­age it inflicts.

    Stay strong Jean-Luc, stay strong.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 29, 2012, 7:12 pm
  12. @Rob Coogan:
    Yeah, the grow­ing CIA involve­ment in arm­ing the Syr­i­an rebels has prob­a­bly made any dis­cus­sion of where any weapons head­ing to any Sun­ni insur­gen­cies in any coun­try a real­ly touchy top­ic at this point.

    It’s also telling that, as much atten­tion as the sto­ry of the Libyan attack as received in the US media press and the increas­ing efforts on the part of the GOP to score polit­i­cal points in the wake of the attack, there has­n’t been much atten­tion paid to the fact that one of the Navy SEALS killed in the attack was there to find and destroy shoul­der-launched sur­face-to-air mis­siles(maybe point­ing the fact that there was indeed an a pro­gram to find and destroy the mis­siles did­n’t work out in the polit­i­cal cal­cu­lus?). And just last week, a senior Syr­i­an rebel com­man­der was recent­ly pub­licly com­plain­ing about the West block­ing the rebels from receiv­ing exact­ly that type of weapon. He also promised that the mis­siles nev­er fall into the hands of the Islamist rebels forces and that the Syr­i­an peo­ple did­n’t real­ly sup­port the Islamist any­ways. You have to won­der how that com­men­tary was received by the Syr­i­an Islamists:

    West com­plic­it in Syr­ia ‘mas­sacres’: rebel leader

    By Michel Moutot (AFP) – 09/27/2012

    ATMEH, Syr­ia — A Syr­i­an rebel com­man­der has accused the West of being com­plic­it in the “unprece­dent­ed mas­sacres” com­mit­ted by Pres­i­dent Bashar al-Assad’s forces by refus­ing to arm the rebels with anti-air­craft weapons.

    Rebel offi­cer Ahmad al-Fajj, a brigadier-gen­er­al in the reg­u­lar Syr­i­an army before his defec­tion “in the first days of the rev­o­lu­tion,” spoke in the rebel Free Syr­i­an Army-held vil­lage of Atmeh on the Turk­ish bor­der.

    “The free peo­ples of the world — Euro­peans, Amer­i­cans — must under­stand that their gov­ern­ments are indi­rect­ly respon­si­ble for the killings in our coun­try,” Fajj, 64, said in an inter­view with AFP on Tues­day.

    “We asked all the arms deal­ers and traf­fick­ers in the region to sell us anti-air­craft mis­siles. They told us they need­ed the green light from the CIA and Mossad, and the light was red,” he said.

    “They won’t sell us anti-tank weapons for the same rea­son. All we have to defeat Bashar’s tanks are the RPGs we man­age to retrieve from the ene­my.”

    He claimed that with sur­face-to-air mis­siles the rebels would be able to defeat the regime forces “in a week, a month at most.”

    Gen­er­al Fajj, who bore an odd resem­blance to the late Hafez al-Assad, for­mer pres­i­dent and father of Bashar, said he could not fath­om the West­’s reluc­tance to sup­ply the rebels with the nec­es­sary anti-air­craft equip­ment.

    West­ern nations fear that such weapons may fall into the hands of mil­i­tant Islamists oper­at­ing in the coun­try.

    “There aren’t many Islamists, less than a thou­sand in the whole of Syr­ia. They have no pow­er,” he assert­ed. “We con­trol the lib­er­at­ed areas and I can guar­an­tee you there is no chance they’d get hold of mis­siles.

    “If West­ern coun­tries had helped us from the begin­ning, they would­n’t even be here as we would­n’t need them. I assure you that after our vic­to­ry they will not pose a prob­lem. If they do we’ll deal with them. The Syr­i­an peo­ple don’t sup­port them, they’re on our side.

    I can promise the free peo­ples of the world that if sur­face-to-air mis­siles are giv­en to us, they will not fall into the hands of Islamist groups,” he said.

    As the UN Gen­er­al Assem­bly opened in New York Tues­day, Fajj com­plained: “Demo­c­ra­t­ic coun­tries only sup­port us with words. This is shame­ful for the world. They can see what’s hap­pen­ing, build­ings being destroyed by air strikes, and they do noth­ing.”


    If the CIA real­ly does have a hold on those mis­siles flow­ing direct­ly to the Syr­i­an rebels the Libyan attacks high­light the real­i­ty that there are oth­er poten­tial sources for that kind of ter­ror­ist-friend­ly hard­ware. The use of shoul­der-fired mis­siles by Syr­i­an rebels or any­one else in the world will be some­thing to watch.

    It’s also going to be real­ly inter­est­ing to see just how much real, grass-roots anti-Islamist sen­ti­ment emerges in the coun­tries that are cur­rent­ly in upheaval and decid­ing whether to take the Islamist vs sec­u­lar path for­ward. The gov­ern­ment of Libya may have played a role in orga­niz­ing those Beng­hazi protests and Rove (or a Rove-like enti­ty) could very eas­i­ly have had a hand in the pro­duc­tion of that inflam­ma­to­ry video, but the Islamists are bla­tant­ly crazy enough on their own to war­rant a seri­ous pub­lic back­lash. Their just bad at hold­ing pow­er. So this fol­low­ing arti­cle may be a bit of self-serv­ing report­ing or sim­ply pro­pa­gan­da by Reuters, but it looks like the Libyan Islamist mili­tias real­ly are gen­uine­ly stung by a pub­lic back­lash:

    Bit­ter­ly, guer­ril­las yield streets of east Libya town

    By Peter Graff

    DERNA, Libya | Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:52pm EDT

    (Reuters) — A day after their once feared Islamist mili­tia decid­ed to dis­band, a dozen die-hard fight­ers of the Abu Slim Brigade screamed towards us in their cars and piled out, red-faced with fury at the “infi­dels” come to wit­ness their retreat.

    We had arrived in the city of Der­na, at the east­ern end of Libya’s long Mediter­ranean coast and known as a strong­hold of Islamist fight­ers, to find it trans­formed.

    The Abu Slim mili­tia of vet­er­an guer­ril­las had dis­solved in the face of pop­u­lar anger, fuelled in part by pub­lic dis­gust at the killing of the respect­ed U.S. ambas­sador two weeks ago.

    It was after­noon sies­ta time on Sun­day and there was no sign on the sleepy streets of the beard­ed gun­men who had once main­tained check­points and patrols.

    Der­na has long had a rep­u­ta­tion across the Mid­dle East as a recruit­ment cen­tre for jiha­di fight­ers who have trav­elled to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syr­ia.



    We first drove up to a camp in the cen­tre of town that had been vacat­ed the pre­vi­ous day and was being inspect­ed by a small group of mil­i­tary police­men in civil­ian clothes — a com­mon enough para­dox in Libya, where inter­im gov­ern­ments have put troops on the state pay­roll but not always into uni­form.

    A fork­lift truck came and drove off to a scrap­yard car­ry­ing a rusty, six-bar­reled 105 mm rock­et launch­er, a Sovi­et-style Grad, which the mili­tia fight­ers had left behind in the camp.

    The sol­diers there said they would lead us to a larg­er camp for the Abu Slim force on the edge of the desert, a gar­gan­tu­an base hous­ing some build­ings of a for­mer Gaddafi-era instal­la­tion on the out­skirts of the town.

    When we pulled up, the fam­i­ly that owns the land on which the base is built had already shown up to reclaim it from the fight­ers. They had spray-paint­ed their name, Tajouri, on an out­side wall.

    One man from the fam­i­ly served us glass­es of sweet tea at the gate and told us that a small num­ber of fight­ers were still present, in a dis­tant part of the camp, get­ting ready to depart.

    Inter­preter Ghaith Shen­nib went in to see if the fight­ers were will­ing to talk with us. He found them pack­ing their bags into pick-up trucks. When he said we were jour­nal­ists the leader of the small group could hard­ly con­tain his rage.

    “Get out of here! We are going. You can do your work after we are gone,” Shen­nib recalled him say­ing bit­ter­ly. “What more do you want from us? We are already leav­ing.

    “It is you peo­ple from the media who turned soci­ety against us.”

    While his fight­ers were, he said, abid­ing by the order to dis­band, they would no longer rec­og­nize the leader who had ordered the brigade wound up.

    And this all brings us back to anoth­er issue that isn’t gen­er­al­ly talked about with­in the con­text of the glob­al Islamist insur­gen­cies: where did all the weaponized ideas come from. Oh yeah, from our good friends:

    Lat­est update: 09/30/2012
    How Sau­di petrodol­lars fuel rise of Salafism
    Since the 2011 Arab revolts, a loose net­work of under­ground zealots has evolved into a potent and high­ly vocal force. Behind the remark­able rise of Salafism lies the world’s lead­ing pro­duc­er of oil – and extrem­ist Islam: Sau­di Ara­bia.
    By Marc DAOU

    When pro­test­ers incensed by an anti-Mus­lim video scaled the walls of the US embassy in Cairo on Sep­tem­ber 11, tear­ing down the Stars and Stripes, a black flag could be seen float­ing above the bat­tered com­pound. From Sanaa, in Yemen, to Libya’s Beng­hazi, the same black ban­ner, emblem of the Salafists, soon became a ubiq­ui­tous sight as anti-US protests spread like wild­fire across the Arab world. The 2011 Arab upris­ings have served the Salafists well. With the old dic­ta­tors gone, a once sub­ter­ranean net­work of hard­lin­ers has sprung into promi­nence – fund­ed by a wealthy Gulf patron locked in a post-Arab Spring rival­ry with a fel­low Gulf monar­chy.

    The ‘pre­de­ces­sors’

    A puri­tan­i­cal branch of Islam, Salafism advo­cates a strict, lit­er­al­ist inter­pre­ta­tion of the Koran and a return to the prac­tices of the “Salaf” (the pre­de­ces­sors), as the Prophet Mohammed and his dis­ci­ples are known. While Salafist groups can dif­fer wide­ly, from the peace­ful, qui­etist kind to the more vio­lent clus­ters, it is the lat­ter who have attract­ed most atten­tion in recent months.

    In Libya and Mali, rad­i­cal Salafists have been busy destroy­ing ancient shrines built by more mod­er­ate groups, such as Sufi Mus­lims. Fel­low extrem­ists in Tunisia have tried to silence sec­u­lar media and destroy “hereti­cal” art­work. And the pres­ence of Salafist fight­ing units in Syr­ia has been large­ly doc­u­ment­ed. Less well known is who is pay­ing for all this – and why.


    For region­al experts, diplo­mats and intel­li­gence ser­vices, the answer to the first ques­tion lies in the seem­ing­ly end­less flow of petrodol­lars com­ing from oil-rich Sau­di Ara­bia. “There is plen­ty of evi­dence point­ing to the fact that Sau­di mon­ey is financ­ing the var­i­ous Salafist groups,” said Samir Amghar, author of “Le salafisme d’aujourd’hui. Mou­ve­ments sec­taires en Occi­dent” (Con­tem­po­rary Salafism: Sec­tar­i­an move­ments in the West).

    Accord­ing to Antoine Bas­bous, who heads the Paris-based Obser­va­to­ry of Arab Coun­tries, “the Salafism we hear about in Mali and North Africa is in fact the export ver­sion of Wah­habism,” a con­ser­v­a­tive branch of Sun­ni Islam active­ly pro­mot­ed and prac­tised by Sau­di Arabia’s rul­ing fam­i­ly. Since the 1970s oil crises pro­vid­ed the rul­ing House of Saud with a seem­ing­ly end­less sup­ply of cash, “the Saud­is have been financ­ing [Wah­habism] around the world to the tune of sev­er­al mil­lion euros,” Bas­bous told FRANCE 24.

    Opaque chan­nels

    Not all of the cash comes from Sau­di state cof­fers. “Tra­di­tion­al­ly, the mon­ey is hand­ed out by mem­bers of the roy­al fam­i­ly, busi­ness­men or reli­gious lead­ers, and chan­nelled via Mus­lim char­i­ties and human­i­tar­i­an orga­ni­za­tions,” said Karim Sad­er, a polit­i­cal ana­lyst who spe­cial­izes in the Gulf states, in an inter­view with FRANCE 24.

    Until the Arab Spring revolts upend­ed the region’s polit­i­cal land­scape, these hid­den chan­nels enabled the Salafists’ Sau­di patrons to cir­cum­vent the author­i­tar­i­an regimes who were bent on crush­ing all Islamist groups. These were the same opaque chan­nels that alleged­ly sup­plied arms to extrem­ist groups, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Pak­istan and Afghanistan, accord­ing to West­ern intel­li­gence offi­cials.


    Gulf rival­ries

    The Sau­di strat­e­gy is sim­i­lar to that adopt­ed by its arch Gulf rival Qatar — a small­er but equal­ly oil-rich king­dom — in its deal­ings with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, the oth­er great ben­e­fi­cia­ry of the Arab Spring. “When it comes to financ­ing Islamist par­ties, there is intense com­pe­ti­tion between Qatar and Sau­di Ara­bia,” said Sad­er. “While the small­er emi­rate pours its end­less wealth on the more mod­er­ate and urbanised Mus­lim Broother­hood, mem­bers of the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly tend to aim their petrodol­lars at the poor­er, rur­al con­stituen­cies that form the back­bone of the Salafist sup­port.”

    Accord­ing to Amghar, Sau­di Ara­bia, a key US ally, has anoth­er, more prag­mat­ic rea­son to sup­port the Salafists. “Hav­ing long turned a blind eye to the gen­er­ous fund­ing of all sorts of vio­lent jihadist groups by mem­bers of the Sau­di estab­lish­ment, the roy­al fam­i­ly began exer­cis­ing clos­er con­trol in the wake of the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist attacks,” he says. By restrict­ing its financ­ing to more con­trol­lable groups based out­side its bor­ders, such as the Salafists, “Sau­di Ara­bia ensures it will not be threat­ened by home-grown jihadists on its soil”. As Amghar con­cludes, that might explain why there were no pro­test­ers, let alone any black flags, out­side the US embassy in Riyadh this month.

    That last para­graph is worth repeat­ing:

    Accord­ing to Amghar, Sau­di Ara­bia, a key US ally, has anoth­er, more prag­mat­ic rea­son to sup­port the Salafists. “Hav­ing long turned a blind eye to the gen­er­ous fund­ing of all sorts of vio­lent jihadist groups by mem­bers of the Sau­di estab­lish­ment, the roy­al fam­i­ly began exer­cis­ing clos­er con­trol in the wake of the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist attacks,” he says. By restrict­ing its financ­ing to more con­trol­lable groups based out­side its bor­ders, such as the Salafists, “Sau­di Ara­bia ensures it will not be threat­ened by home-grown jihadists on its soil”. As Amghar con­cludes, that might explain why there were no pro­test­ers, let alone any black flags, out­side the US embassy in Riyadh this month.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 1, 2012, 9:38 am

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