Saturday, January 21, 2012

Khamenei proven right about the Islamic nature of the Arab Spring

Egypt's Islamic parties secure 75 percent of parliament

by Mark Pyruz

The face of Egypt's Islamic electoral majority

According to the Associated Press:

Egypt's election commission and political groups say final results from the country's first elections since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak show Islamist parties winning nearly three-quarters of the seats in parliament.

An alliance led by the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood won 47 percent of the spots in the 498-seat parliament, while the ultraconservative Al-Nour Party clinched 25 percent.

Since his speech on February 4, 2011, numerous Western commenters disdainfully rejected Khamenei's remarks referring to the Arab Spring as an "Islamic awakening." Here we have the results of the election in Egypt and they are unmistakeable: Khamenei has been proven correct.

With full control of their country in the hands of the electorate, it can be reliably assumed that Egyptians would seek similar social and political arrangements as those accepted by Iranians in their 1979 referendum, which popularly mandated an Islamic Republic. However the Egyptians have a roadblock in the form of a military junta that retains power. In Iranian terms, it is as if the Nojeh coup had successfully taken place while the Shah fled Iran, forestalling for a time the referendum.

Photo: Associated Press

21 comments:

Paul Iddon said...

Good post, although I find the title a little misleading.

It's a stretch to say that Islamist parties securing 75% of the seats in parliament vindicates Khameini's statements.

Say what you will about the Muslim Brotherhood, they provided the Egyptian people with their 'bread and butter needs' long after Mubarak had become long alienated from the majority of his population and pampered with his fellow elites by the west (like the Shah as I've written myself many times).

Mark, I would wager it isn't in the least bit surprising nor telling that indeed Islamist elements and parties are taking up seats in parliament via a democratic referendum. After all these parties were the grassroots of the opposition of Mubarak throughout his long 29 year reign. However to say this proves a prevalent desire among Egyptians to give the real decision making power to a very small ruling Islamist clique like the Iranian theocratic system is fanciful thinking.

And isn't it ironic Khameini made these comments about a week before an offshoot of these Arab revolutions saw popular demonstrations in Tehran, which saw his regime employ - among other things - brainwashed and stultified teenage boys to attack the peaceful gatherings of its civilians.

Is this kind of nerve racked society that the Egyptians want after so many years of being trodden and pushed around by Mubarak?

Mark Pyruz said...

Paul, according to the latest IPI public opinion poll, Iranians inside Iran support the law enforcement and investigative response to Iran's post-presidential election civil unrest by a 3:1 margin. Furthermore, according to the WPO public opinion polls, Iranians inside Iran support in varying degrees their form of government, by 90%

So I ask you, where is the irony?

Us being the Westerners we are in 2012 might not wish this form of social and political order in our countries, but who are we to tell these people on the other side of the world what they should be doing? They have other ideas.

And unlike the many Western analysts (particularly those of Middle East origin) that characterized the Arab Spring as being secular and liberal in nature, Khamenei has accurately gauged the aspirations of these people. I might add, this is typically what happens when analysts such as these subscribe to "analyses by wishful thinking": the results are reliable in being consistently wrong.

Anonymous said...

And yes he's so right about the Islamic nature of the thing that he's gleefully watching as the secular Baathists get sent packing.

Of course when Islam really takes hold and rejects the dictatorial rule by a single undistinguished cleric and Khamenei gets discarded. he'll also be proven correct.

Author: Galen Wright said...

I have to agree with Paul here. A win by the Muslim Brotherhood does not an Islamic Awakening make.

Khamenei's mistake when analyzing the Arab Spring is that he sees events through the lens of the Islamic Revolution - the uprisings became the final manifestation of a singular, perpetual revolution sparked by Iran in 1979, but extending across the region and the world, in order to regain agency denied to them by the hegemonic, monolithic west.

This is the exact same trap that the Bush Administration fell for during the Cedar Revolution. They projected their own world-view onto the event, and thus a genuine movement became co-opted as a success story for the Bush doctrine of 'fostering democracy'.

Like Bush looking upon Lebanon, Khamenei has constructed a vision of a singular Middle East consisting of one Islamic peoples who are being victimized by, and responding to, an equally singular West. Such binary distinctions just don't exist in the real world though; the Middle East is a patchwork of different identities from Shia, to Sunni, to Jewish, to Palestinian, to Syrian, to Jordanian, to Islamist, to Hezbollah, to Salafism, to Liberalism, to Gulf Arab, to Turkey, and to different states, all vying for power and influence, all contributing to the decision-making of individuals, nations, sub-nationals, etc. Khamenei's ignoring the fact that the reason why person 'X' protested in Tunis is not the same reason person 'y' protested in Egypt, and is certainly not the same reason person 'z' protested in Bahrain.

In the same way that the majority of Iranians supported the crackdown on protestors in 2009 out of fear of security, a plurality of Arabs also supported the crackdown by the Gulf Arab states on Bahrain's protestors for the same reason. This I feel demonstrates the diverse nature of the protest movements in the MENA and why it would be a mistake to treat them as different incarnations of the exact same movement.

Returning to the Egypt of today, I have to agree with Mr.Iddon when he says that the reasons for the Muslim Brotherhood's success has little to to with the ideological desire to fundamentally alter their relationship with the world (as per Khamenei's 'Islamic Awakening'). The MB's success can, at least in some part, be traced from the fact that they simply have a much better bureaucracy and organizational structure than their secular counterparts. There's also significant evidence to suggest that the MBs support base comes not from die-hard ideologues but from pragmatists who see them as the best chance at achieving some semblance of social/political-justice precisely because of their identity as an opposition party.

While Iran may be viewed more favorably then the U.S. within Egypt, they are overwhelmingly beaten by both Saudi Arabia and Turkey when it comes to perceptions of positive role-models. On a related note, most Egyptians disapprove of the role of Iran is playing in Syria, again favoring Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Anonymous said...

Mark Pyruz

Public opinion polls in Iran amounts to nothing a big FAT ZERO.
No Iranian in their right mind will admit to any poll run by government agency.
So go and pull the other one you don't fool Iranians they know better what this anti Iranian terrorist regime is all about.
And didn't that Saddam the terrorist claim that 99 percent of Iraqi's support him and look what happened to him.
You are only fooling yourself with those false statistics.

Anonymous said...

Mark,

Why do you have to lie about the the popularity of this regime? WPO has never reported 90% approval for this regime. Please provide the link, if I am wrong. Regime, even with a completely flawed poll, has support from slightly above 50% of the people.

Here is the link:

http://worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brmiddleeastnafricara/653.php?lb=brme&pnt=653&nid=&id=

Karim

Anonymous said...

Mark,

This is not an Islamic Awakening. It is not as if there was democracy in Egypt with secular parities suddenly losing to Islamist parties. Let's check back in 5 years and see if Islamist parties win 85% of the vote. The statement applies more to Turkey that has turned to Islam while being a democracy.

As for Khamenei's analysis, I would say that even a broken clock is correct twice a day.

Finally, try to come up with your own analysis rather than regurgitating regime's apologists such as Marandi. See here

http://conflictsforum.org/2012/latest-policy-paper-tour-d%E2%80%99horizon-an-iranian-optic-on-the-middle-east-and-its-prospects/

Maziar

mat said...

The truth will and shall prevail! Stay tune.

Anonymous said...

the regime is trusted by no one anymore: neither inside nor in the outside; thats why the currency is falling; and khamenei is not a credible figur for doing the necessary (democratic) reform any more; he has to go - like mobarak; thats the real analogy !

mat said...

Mark Pyruz,

What you have said is no other than the 'truth'. Just let those people out there 'swallow the bitter taste of truth'.

Paul Iddon said...

Mark,

the latest Economist Democracy Index (released last month) shows that Iran is an authoritarian state scoring a total of 1.98 out of 10.00 (0.01 less democratic than Syria in its present state).

I'm dubious about the 90% support statistic (which is indeed very Saddam Hussein-esque), like the Anon's I will wait for you to provide us with the evidence.

You don't see the irony - or more aptly hypocrisy - in the head of a regime whose policies and actions that very month included using stultifying children as soldiers to brutishly attack his fellow citizens whilst he simultaneously spoke warmly about unity and concordance for Egypt?

And you don't have to be a "westerner in 2012" to be concerned about the human rights abuses and moral deprivation going on in Iran of which the regime afflicts on its own people. Lets put things in perspective and not abandon our duty of solidarity to the many Iranians whom have been stripped of their human rights and dignity just because we're westerners and have different cultures and societies. The suffering afflicted on many of our brother and sister Iranians by this dictatorial regime isn't something that should be relativized and disregarded in such a manner.

What does this blanket critique of "western analysts" have to do with my comment?
Are you really suggesting that someone whose career focuses on a professional understanding of the regions geopolitics, culture and history in which to assess and use to gauge foreseeable outcomes based on current and probable events can be reliable in consistently being proved wrong through wishful thinking MORE SO than a senile old theocrat who - among other things - said the results of the last presidential election he presided over were divinely ordained but then went on to say there may actually need to be a recount. He is really more consistently correct in gauging other peoples aspirations than these "western analysts" that make you furrow at your brow?

Furthermore you've actually refrained from merely acknowledging the central thesis and salient point of my criticism in my first comment - the issue at hand, which I think you're employing a little too much fanciful logic to.

B.M.A said...

THE DARK SIDE OF PAUL IDDON:-

That you are a professional journalist i have no qualms.And that you are an eloquent commentator ,that too is your trademark is but we have urgued here that your passionate hatred of the regime totally blinds your intelligence effectively bringing down to a mare chauvinist!!look how easily you trash MARK'S POINTS and yet He has only brought a balanced report with out himself bending in support of Kamenei.

NOW GET THE MESSAGE CLEAR AS DAYLIGHT:
Mark is not supporting any Kamenei. He is only saying the truth that the Arab spring was ISLAMIC IN NATURE and we are seeing it in EGYPT,just as we are hearing it in LIBYA.

Anonymous said...

the illusion of victory is clearly dangerous for the current situation of iran; the regime did not understand that trust is the fudemental currency of the governement; khamenei never wanted to build trust (inside and outside of the country); instead of building trust he chose to bild fear; he replaced trust with fear; he still believes that shooting some missile is a kind of solution to the nuclear problem; but of course that make things worse; he does not understand that he has to build trust; you can not destroy trust and have a viable economy, democracy or nuclear policy or anything else; this is actually easy to understand - unless you have a zombie-like figure as supreme leader of country of some 77 mil.

Jabbar Fazeli, MD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jabbar Fazeli, MD said...

Interesting subject and analysis.

I would ask you to consider the following:

-A vote for the Islamists on the heels of a non-religious populist revolution may simply reflect the conservative nature of the electorates and the fact that the Islamic parties are the only ones with grass root organization.

-The Islamists being elected puts them to the test, for the first time, to produce a responsive government for the people, and not use the democratic process to convert the government into a tool to enforce religious views, as is the case in Iran.

- With the wining centrist Islamic party facing a more right wing "noor party" they are put in a position of moderates and will have to form coalitions with seculars to fight the extreme Islamic agenda of the noor party. The Islamists are best suited to fight Islamists, politically speaking. This would be a nice political evolution is a country with no democratic traditions.

- The islamic world has been, for decades, artificially forced to push Islamists away from government and positions of power, so it should come as no surprise that when the conservative electorate is offered a chance to vote for the firbidden, they did just that.

- Khamenei is as wrong about the Islamic nature of the egyptian revolution, as he is wrong about Iran today. The Iranian people have a large conservative segment among the poor and in rural areas, but that doesnt mean that after tasting political islam, they still want it.

- Last but not least, there is a lesson here for the iranian opposition, they can't expect to gain the support of the majority in iran by insulting religious views of conservative Iranians. Many conservative Iranians would like the clergy back in their mosques, even as they continue to celebrate ashura. And unlike in Egypt, the uranians having experienced political Islam for 30 years, their conservatisism is not likely to translate into a vote for Islamist candidates in the future democratic Iran.

Anonymous said...

Iran has shown very clearly that religion and politics should not and must not ever mix.
The Iranian people are at a totally different level of experience to the Egyptians or the Muslim world regarding rule by Islamic governance.
Iran is about a hundred and fifty years ahead in sociopolitical and religious views compared to the rest of the middle east and north Africa.

Anonymous said...

Khameini will be the last Velayate Vaghih and the regime will die with him.The entire regime are fugitives in the eyes of the Iranian people and will be put on trial in a newly formed Iranian secular court.
That regime of Haramzadehs will soon receive their just desserts.

Anonymous said...

"Islamic parties achieving of 75% of the seats in the parliament is not an Islamic awaking"- What a foolish Zionists' Joke !! Well, keep dreaming Colombian crude drinking superbugs.

mat said...

The story of 'the Good, the Bad and the Ugly'

In the end:
The 'Good' will win,
while the 'Bad' will lose,
but the 'Ugly' will be sentenced.

Own's philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Actually the US in its infinite ignorance and short-sighted hatepeddling and regionally divisive policies has been supported the Salafi/Wahabbi axis to counter Iran and democratic movements in the region. This same idiotic policy led to the creation of alCIAda and Taliban.

The blowback this time will be regional and eventaully bite both the US rednecks and their Zionist masters. The Arabs can turn on a dime.

What you sow is what you reap!

Anonymous said...

mat why don't you go and live in the Islamic theocracy and prove a man of your words?