The Arab uprisings, also known as the Arab Spring, are seen by some analysts as the start of the democratisation of autocratic regimes. Although many of the young demonstrators certainly had this in mind, we need to recognize the power of the extremist forces taking advantage of the volatile situation.
The role of Iran is often underestimated. Iran desperately wants to establish a footprint in the Middle East and is doing so by propping up its proxy forces financially and militarily. These proxies, Hizbullah, Hamas and a myriad of other Jihadist forces welcome the support of Iran. It is a rather strange coalition between Sunni and Shia, but their hate for Israel unite them.
The Egyptian revolution is of particular importance. Egypt is within an historical context a very important Arab country. It is also the biggest Arab country. Egypt is besides Jordan the only Arab country who signed a peace treaty with Israel. The Mubarak regime succeeded in suppressing the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and therefore kept them from building a coalition with Hamas and other Jihadist groups. This scenario changed rapidly with the fall of the Mubarak regime and translated into (i) A sharp increase in weapons smuggling through the underground tunnel system, (ii) The infiltration of Al Qaeda forces in the Sinai, (iii) The sabotaging of the Gas pipeline between Egypt and Israel, (iv) The attack on Israeli buses and soldiers near Eilat, (v) The attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo.
It is likely that the Muslim Brotherhood will play a major role in a future government in Egypt. In such a scenario it is almost certain that Sharia law will be instituted and that the peace treaty with Israel will be cancelled.
Will the Libyan revolution lead to a democracy? The question is answered by the interim leader of the National Transitional Council of Libya (NTC) on Monday 12 September 2011, “We seek a state of law, prosperity and one where Sharia (Islamic Law) is the main source for legislation, and this requires many things and conditions”.
The rulers of the 21 Arab countries is fearing an takeover by Islamic fundamentalists. These fear is the driving force behind the killing of demonstrators by Syrian government forces. Although Pres. Bashir Al-Asad is a dictator and the Syrian people deserve a better leader, Al-Assad grasped the situation surprisingly well. And this is the crux of the matter. Western governments display an astonishing lack of understanding of reality.
The irony is that many thought that the Arab Spring will cause the ousting of the dictators in Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Yemen and Bahrain, which will pave the way for democracy to be ushered in. If the mentioned countries follow the same trend as Egypt and Libya, there is reason for concern. Are we witnessing a situation of replacing evil by more evil?
In an hour long video to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the leader of Al Qaeda, Egyptian Ayman Al-Zawahiri said he hoped the protests that overthrown leaders in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya would establish what he called true Islam.