Will The US Accept The Islamists?

Hosni Mubarak and other Arab leaders relied for decades on a straightforward mantra: “It’s me or the Islamists.” American presidents and other Western leaders shuddered at the word “Islamists” and embraced their American puppets and self-serving tyrants in order to have the death hold domination and hegemony on the economy, politics and military .

What could be worse than Islamists? This was an unethically selfish question posed by Washington’s Political Administration for the past 50 years or so.

The events of 2011 have turned Arab politics upside down, U. S. policymakers are facing what they hate most: irrelevance. Those people in the Arab world who were so long ignored by American public diplomacy are finally gaining power, as evidenced by the successes of the Ennahda Party in Tunisia, which won 40 percent of the vote in that country’s first free elections, and the Freedom and Justice Party, organized by the Muslim Brotherhood, in Egypt which will be the dominant force in Egypt’s new parliament. In Morocco, Libya, and elsewhere, once marginalized Islamists also find themselves in the mainstream.

Those designing U. S. public diplomacy must quickly bring major changes in their attitudes and their work to better reach the newly empowered and assertive mass Islam based publics. US political administration is going to have to figure out how to deal with democratic governments that don’t espouse every policy or value that the neo-cons have.

The United States needs to deal with the new reality. Are Muslim nations like Turkey, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Malaysia thrown to the winds simply because these democratic countries integrate valid and appropriate Shariah law as part of their constitution?

For the United States to refuse to work with Islamists would mean having no clout within the transformed Arab world.

The diplomatic imperative is clear: Accept the results of democratic elections and build new relationships.

Do not try to sabotage the democratic movements as you did in Iran in 1953 and Algeria in 1991 and recently in Palestine with Hamas. Did not the Americans work with the Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in the 1980s?

Those in the policy community who continue to flirt with the Egyptian military and other remnants of the ancient regime cling to the idea that money will prevail over all else -- that U. S. aid will prove so alluring that Arab states will conform to American interests as they have done in the past. That outlook is going to fail. Are the Western sources going to be hostile to the new Islam based political trends in the Middle East.
P. A. Mohamed Ameen

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 February 2012 on page no. 17

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