Arab Spring turns Bitter Cold
Just about every report I’ve read describes the Islamists in Tunisia as "moderate." This is – if I may be blunt – idiotic. They’re moderate compared to what? Hizbullah and al-Qaeda? Sure. But who isn’t? I’ll accept the notion that Tunisia’s Islamists look slightly moderate next to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, but that isn’t saying much. The Muslim Brotherhood is not even in the same time zone as any genuinely moderate party the typical Westerner has ever had any experience with.
I, for one, will consider Tunisia’s Islamists a Muslim version of Europe’s conservative Christian Democrats only after they’ve shared power with liberal parties for a decade without showing totalitarian tendencies. (Pajamas Media)
See also Tunisian Elections and the Road to the Caliphate – Raymond Ibrahim
If Islamists have risen to power in onetime "moderate" Tunisia through the usual conduits – grassroots support, lip-service to democracy, promises of "sharing power," and a complacent West – is there any doubt that Islamists will also take over in those nations where they are especially entrenched, like Egypt and Libya? (Jihad Watch)
No doubt Prime Minister Cameron and President Sarkozy were hoping to replace Gaddafi with a pro-Western regime with whom they could negotiate lots of lucrative oil contracts. Instead they find that the victors of Libya’s nasty civil war are planning to set up a new government based on the strict interpretation of Sharia law. Sharia law is the complete antithesis of Western-style democracy, as we have seen in Iran these past 30-odd years. So, who wants to support the Arab Spring now? (Telegraph-UK)
Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi has left an unprecedented vacuum in his wake. Neighboring Egypt has a sophisticated economy, a middle class, foreign investors and an enormous tourist industry. Tunisia has a highly educated population. Libya, by contrast, has neither a sophisticated economy nor an articulate population, nor any political experience whatsoever. There were no political parties under Gaddafi, no media, and hardly any Internet access.
During four decades in power, Gaddafi destroyed the army, the civil service and the educational system. The country produces nothing except oil, and none of the profits seem to have trickled down to anybody. Some 60% of the population works for the government for very low salaries. There is hardly any infrastructure.
Libya also has the largest oil reserves in Africa and some $250 billion in foreign currency reserves, money Gaddafi never spent on his people. The nonexistent economy and the absence of political institutions means that there aren’t any entrenched interests that will set themselves against change, as they have done in Egypt. (Washington Post)