The Arab Street

Arab protests spread

Andrew Bolt

“This wave of protests could go anywhere – towards democracy or towards Islamist control, as we saw in Iran….”

I think very highly of Andrew Bolt. He sticks his neck out like no other and generally “gets it”. But the idea that this could go  towards democracy is patently absurd.  Read more

Dying to live another day:

Walid Jumblatt, the leader of Lebanon’s 300,000-strong Druze community, has thrown his weight behind Hezbollah and Syria in the political showdown with the US-backed March 14 alliance that is brewing in Beirut.

The Druze will not find peace in a Hezbollah fiefdom. They are seen as heretics…..  (Al Jizz)

In reality, this goose is cooked:

The women see the writing on the wall: Women wary of Islamic parties’ rise

“They’ll impose a new culture that is totally alien to us like the fundamentalist dress code,” said Sonia, referring to the Muslim headscarf worn by some but by no means all women in the north African state.

If we say that, we’re Islamophobes. And as evil as al-Awlaki.

One man, one vote, one time

Fall of secular regime in Tunisia paves way for Islamic parties

As Spencer said here last week, while most of the lamestream enemedia and Western governments were hailing the victory of democracy in Tunisia. “Fall of secular regime paves the way for Islamic parties,” from Reuters, January 23

Jordan: Muslim Brotherhood tries to spin popular protests into advantage for pro-Sharia forces

This is similar to what is going on in Tunisia. “In Jordan, Islamists try to spin popular protests into political uprising,” by Taylor Luck in the Christian Science Monitor, January 21:

4 thoughts on “The Arab Street”

  1. Thanks Jes.

    Spengler is deluded.


    ” there is no evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood or other radicals had much of a role. It is quite possible that the Islamic Renaissance Party, led by the exiled Tunisian Islamist Rachid al-Gannouchi (no relation to the interim prime minister), might exploit the chaos. But it doesn’t seem likely that the jobless university graduates of Tunisia will look for a solution in burkas and sharia courts. Tunisia is the most aggressively secular of Arab countries, and it will be hard for the Islamists to lure the genie of secularism back into its bottle. ”

    I’m sick of it.

    By the time Spengler finds ‘evidence’ its over.

    I’m still very much aware of how the Iranian revolution happened. There also was never any evidence of anything until the Ayatollah Khomeini, (who had absolutely no political ambitions) massacred all and everyone who was opposed to mullah rule.

    What does it mean “it doesn’t seem likely that the jobless university graduates of Tunisia will look for a solution in burkas and sharia courts”- It means nothing, because they won’t kill and die for their belief’s.

    The radicals do.

    The goose is cooked.

    Watch and learn how Islamic revolution happens!

  2. Quote: “This wave of protests could go anywhere – towards democracy or towards Islamist control, as we saw in Iran….”

    He has backed up his statement that it can and did go to a sharia state. Now where is the example of a wave of of Muslim protests in an Islamic country, that led to democracy?

  3. Following the strong horse
    In both Syria and Israel, the Druse are apt augurs of the shifting winds of political change, and they determine their fealties accordingly

    The writer is a former Jerusalem Post editorial page editor, and is now contributing editor to Jewish Ideas Daily (, where this article was first published.

    A Druse physician from the Golan Heights who works at an Israeli hospital was one of 24 members of his community arrested for pummeling IDF troops with rocks during so-called Naksa Day protests.

    Just a few miles south in Daliyat El-Carmel, the Israeli Druse community is planning a memorial museum that will tell the stories of the 400 Druse soldiers who fell in defense of the Jewish state. In Lebanon, meanwhile, the Druse leadership has become an essential constituent in the Hezbollah-dominated government. Just where do Druse loyalties lie?

    AN UNDERSTANDING of their history can help answer that question. The Druse are a breakaway stream of the Ismaili strain of Shi’ite Islam – followers of an ascetic Egyptian ruler named Al-Hakim (996-1021), himself a descendant of Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali. Influenced in part by Greek ideas, Al-Hakim’s persecuted followers broke away from orthodox Islam, eventually coalescing into tight-knit communities in the mountainous regions of Lebanon, Syria and Israel, awaiting the messianic return and salvation of their leader.

    Druse keep their esoteric religious practices mostly to themselves. Unlike Muslims, Druse Arabs do not observe Ramadan. They don’t make pilgrimages to Mecca, and they don’t proselytize.

    They venerate Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, as a main prophet. Marrying out is considered an unforgivable breach of communal solidarity – a solidarity that is in turn based on strong ethnic identity, martial skills, and mutual aid. Today, there are perhaps 2.5 million Druse living mostly in Syria, Lebanon and northern Israel, with smaller communities dispersed as far away as North America and Australia.

    In predominantly Sunni Syria, the Druse comprise perhaps 4% of the population. With the arrival of the French after the First World War, the Druse were encouraged to maintain their own autonomous region. But Druse attitudes toward the French were conflicted, and the community ultimately embraced emergent Arab nationalism as the century progressed.

    Syrian independence in 1946 was accompanied by long decades of political convulsions. Adib ibn Hasan Shishakli, the military dictator during the early 1950s, pursued a Syrian nationalist line, yet violently persecuted the Druse, whom he perceived as a threat. After Shishakli’s overthrow, conditions for the Druse did not improve, as a long succession of military coups saw insular and paranoid factions within the Ba’ath Party compete for control.

    By the time Hafez al-Assad (president Bashar’s father) took power in 1970, the Druse had been purged from positions of influence in the party, army and security services.

    However, the Assad dynasty (itself rooted in the Alawite minority) relied on the Druse, and the Druse, true to form, displayed remarkable loyalty to the regime for decades.

    Recently, though, matters have become more complicated.

    ACCORDING TO Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University, Bashar has distanced himself from the Druse. This may be because, in this period of unrest, he wants to draw closer to the Sunni majority. Druse fidelity has begun to crack only as anti- Assad demonstrations have gained inexorable momentum and security forces have targeted the Druse. Kedar speculates that if Syria should disintegrate, the Druse could push for the autonomy outlined for them by the French.

    On the Golan Heights, a small number of Druse accepted Israeli citizenship when the Knesset applied Israeli law to the territory in 1981, while most remained loyal to the Assad regime. Some Druse have been arrested for spying for Syria, but on the whole, most simply seek not to fall afoul of either Jerusalem or Damascus, knowing that control of the Heights could flip in any peace deal. Israel has been generally sensitive to the Druse predicament. In mid-February, for instance, 12,000 tons of apples grown by Druse farmers near Majdal Shams were exported to Syria despite the de facto state of war between the two countries. At the start of the anti-government protests in Syria, some Golan residents demonstrated in support of Assad.

    But as the demonstrations gained traction, more Golan Druse – like their Syrian brethren – have turned against Assad and expressed solidarity with the opposition. In both Syria and Israel, the Druse are apt augurs of the shifting winds of political change, and determine their fealties accordingly.

    The Druse penchant for coldly calibrating alliances is nowhere more pronounced than in the failed state of Lebanon. There’s been no verifiable census there in decades, but there are believed to be hundreds of thousands of Druse in Lebanon with a stronghold in the Chouf Mountains. After the previous Druse leader was assassinated (in all likelihood by the Assads), his son and successor Walid Jumblatt actually drew closer to Syria. Over the years he has switched sides intermittently between Lebanon’s numerous violent factions. Nowadays he backs the Shi’ite Islamist movement Hezbollah – themselves clients of the Assad dynasty, but ultimately beholden to Iran.

    Only Jumblatt’s anti-Israel rhetoric has been unwavering. Lebanese Druse have been sympathetic to the Palestinian Arabs – permanent “refugees” in Lebanon – though their advocacy has not guaranteed the Druse immunity from attack by uncompromising Palestinian Islamists. Earlier this month, Jumblatt lauded the Golan Druse who collaborated in Syrian-inspired Palestinian efforts to storm across the Golan boundary with Israel, and has long urged his co-religionists in Israel not to serve in the IDF. Yet as the Assad regime wobbles, possibly weakening Hezbollah, the Lebanese Druse are becoming more assertive. A Druse member of the Hezbollah-dominated new cabinet recently resigned to protest the dearth of patronage posts allocated to his community.

    Which brings us back to the 127,000-strong, overwhelmingly loyal Druse citizens of Israel. Their young men have long been conscripted into the army, where many have served with distinction. A Druse journalist, Rafik Halabi, was news director for Israel’s Channel 1 during the 1990s. By 2001, a Druse had been named to Israel’s cabinet (by Ariel Sharon). Patronage delivered by the Likud to the Druse town of Daliyat el-Carmel has encouraged many locals to join the party.

    But the acculturation process has not been effortless.

    Many Druse schools teach the sciences in Arabic, and Israel’s education ministry has been trying to encourage a shift to Hebrew so that graduates can better integrate into Israeli higher education. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has (belatedly) budgeted substantial sums for the socio-economic development of the community.

    Efforts are also underway to prepare Druse youth for jobs in Israel’s hi-tech sector. This is not to suggest that Israel could not do still more to reward Druse loyalty, or demonstrate greater cultural sensitivity.

    The seemingly Machiavellian character of Druse loyalties reflects their status as a minority people in a mostly intolerant Muslim Middle East. Just as the Druse have found it strategically prudent to concentrate mostly on high ground away from urban areas, their political strategy toward outside powers has been one of “adaptability and fluidity,” in the words of the University of Haifa’s Gabriel Ben-Dor. Osama bin Laden famously said that when a strong horse is pitted against a weak horse, people will naturally follow the strong horse.

    The Druse have bet their survival on it.

Comments are closed.