A lot of  the news about the Middle East is politicized in the US press, but today’s reports are not good.

The Reuters news agency Religion section has this article, that cautions:

The fabric of Middle Eastern society has fundamentally changed. Being Muslim has replaced being Arab as the primary identifying factor. The
consequences are profound.

Minorities, which had prospered by emphasizing their common Arab identity, now face a very worrisome future. Schismatic Muslim sects – Shia, Druze, Alawites and others – are unlikely to fare well under Sunni Muslim-dominated governments. Secularists are also likely to suffer.

That is not good news, because it is talking about Egypt, North Africa, and possibly Syria, all of which have these minorities.

They do mention that this idea has not yet taken over Egypt or Lebanon, but one wonders if the election “victories” of the Muslim Brotherhood will change that.  Many educated Coptic Christians in Egypt are now seeking visas to emigrate to the west, which is not a good sign for that country.

Once in the days when Islam took over the area from the dying Byzantine Empire, this was called the Caliphate.

Each country in the region is unique and will make its own history. Nonetheless, the replacement of the dominant Arab identity by a Muslim identity is a regional trend that will likely affect every nation to varying degrees.

The challenge to Washington intelligence analysts and policymakers will be to understand and develop policies that address the new realities. Muslim-dominated governments are not innately hostile to the United States. But Washington will need different approaches toward them if it is to promote U.S. national interests.

Of course, the article sees the area as Muslim, but ignores the other interests in the area: the more powerful and economically more viable Turkey, who hundreds of years after the demise of the Calphate, ran the place as the Ottoman Empire. So if there is to be a modern version of the “Caliphate”, they should be the obvious ones to run it.

Turkey is busy turning itself from a military run secular democracy to a Muslim democracy, but still is a partly free and partly western country (it is a member of NATO), and has been working with other democracy advocates to fight those who want a new religious tyranny. The fact that the late Ambassador Steven’s last guest in Benghazi was a Turkish diplomat shows that his presence had to do with undercover work to detect the bad guys and strengthen the ones who want freedom and democracy.

And then there is Iran: who is helping Assad in Syria, along with the Russians who are blocking UN intervention there. Iran is Shiite, and that feud has been the source of war for centuries. They figure if there is going to be a Muslim Caliphate, they are smarter than the Arabs and should run it, like the good old days of the Pre Islamic empire.

But the real danger is Pakistan, who has the bomb, and has been promoting Islamic terrorism against India since the time of the partition: and it is getting worse for religious minorities, which includes Shiites, Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists.

From Fides:

Religious freedom in Pakistan remains therefore “conditioned by the dark  shadows of Islamic extremism, but also growing intolerance, lawlessness and impunity in the country,” notes the ACS Report, explaining: “In legal terms, therefore, in Pakistan the crucial point in 2011 was not the adoption of new  measures that restrict religious freedom, but the failure to remove laws that have strong influence on the freedoms and rights of believers, exacerbating the system of discrimination and, in some cases, persecution of religious minorities. “

Fides, an Italian Catholic news agency, notes that two Pakistani leaders have been assassinated for suggesting the removal of these so called blasphemy laws. Of course, some of the accusations of blasphemy have more to do with mobs throwing out the infidels so the rich can steal their land, or blowing up schools for teaching women to read and right because it might put ideas into their heads, but never mind.

Real Muslims aren’t corrupt, nor do they try to kill schoolgirls like Malala Yousafzi, whose only crime was going to school and daring to blog against the local Taliban who were trying to shut her school down. (Real Muslims, like those in the the United Arab Emirates, are paying for Malala’s air ambulance and treatment in the UK.)

The problem of Pakistan is not drone attacks that take out killers, but that the government cannot protect their citizens, and criticizing the Taliban out loud will get you killed…

But that hasn’t stopped “code pink” in Pakistan demonstrating about all those “civilians” killed by drones (sometimes accidentally, more commonly because the Taliban is using human hostages to stay safe) while ignoring the attacks on Pakistani schoolgirls. As one one blogger dared to comment:

No turn of events could more forcefully illustrate the idiocy of the US peace movement’s one-sided approach to solidarity.

However, radical Islam, isn’t the problem, according to the PC in the Vatican: like Code Pink and the extreme US “peace movement”, they blame the Jews (and the US).

From Fides:

The summary of the meeting, which Fides Agency received, stresses that compared to the Syrian crisis, the Synodal Fathers present at the meeting unanimously called for a solution to the conflict and the implementation of reforms to be achieved “through dialogue and political  and diplomatic negotiation.”

The participants also stressed that, at the base of the tensions and divisions in the Middle East, there is “the  Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Arab-Israeli conflict”,

Yeah, it’s the Jews fault (sarcasm). Just ignore all those rockets being shot into Israel, or the fact that anti Israel/anti Western propaganda has been universal in the local news outlets for the last 20 years, as a scapegoat for their real problem: corruption corruption corruption.

Like the Universities, the left is alive and well in the Vatican bureaucracy, and like pious Catholics since the days of Dante, most Catholics oppose it or ignore it, being able to distinguish their bullshit from the faith.

The Patriarchs, Cardinals and Bishops gathered at the Pontifical Maronite College also shared the regret for the policy of some Western and Middle East powers that “exploit the popular protests and their demands to sow chaos and promote internal and sectarian conflicts “concerned only to increase the traffic of weapons and assert their strategic interests.

Heh. Sounds just like the reflex anti Americanism we have heard in the European press for at least 30 years, talking points from Chomsky: no thinking required.
Luckily, the presence of a Black President in the US has dampened the left but wait til we get a Republican in charge: It will be Murderous Mormon 24/7 again,  just like in the days of Reagan.

Reality check: the dictatorships overthrown in the “Arab Spring” were corrupt and needed to be overthrown. But before you rejoice, maybe you should read history and realize that the majority of revolutions don’t bring in peace and democracy, but new dictators who use the lastest fad (nationalism, religion, fascism, communism, etc etc) to wield power.

“In short you have a ghastly mess”.

In reality, the Arab Spring will not only be complicated by secular democratic forces, but tribal feuds and religious zealots. In many countries, this means a proxy fight, between those backed by the Sunni Saudis versus those backed by the Shiite Iranians.No matter what the West does, short of overthrowing the Mullahs in Iran, they are at a disadvantage.

Or maybe not: Egypt, the largest and most populated “Arab” country, has to import much of their food. Yes, their friends in the Middle East may have oil  but the West has wheat.  And with the new shale fields opening, even an “Arab oil boycott” against the west may not be as effective as it was in the days of Jimmy Carter.

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