It’s still hard to speak of clear winners and losers of the Gaza war. There is, however, one definite result: religous extremism is going to increase in the Arab and Islamic world. For you guys in the CT community, your jobs aren’t going to get any easier.
Ibrahim Eiisa, the prominent editor of Cairo’s Al-Dostor newspaper had a 1/16 op-ed entitled “the Coming Terrorism.” Here’s my basic paraphrasal:
The Gaza war is likely to increase religious extremism in the Arab world. Anyone with two eyes notices that the Arab governments (Egypt, Saudi, Jordan) were interested in allying with the Zionist enemy against Muslims in Gaza. These governments can try and justify their actions all they want but its clear: they faciliated the attack against oppressed Muslims in Gaza . So here’s the key point: the logical assumption of the younger, religious generation is that the government is against Islam. For this reason, religous extremism is going to increase and we are likely to see a new form of terrorism. But this “coming terrorism” won’t face the far enemy- the US or Zionists but internally against those from within who now may be seen as the enemies of Islam.
Forget Al-Qaeda here. In Egypt, for example, Al-Qaeda is not believed to have any foothold. But pure religous extremism doesn’t need to be channeled in organized group form. Here’s a key line from Eissa:
فالناس في الأغلب خاضعون وخانعون لن يرفعوا سيوفهم علي حكامهم لكن قلوبهم ستكون أشد من السيوف القواطع علي دين هؤلاء الحكام،
He says something like this :
” the people are subjugated and they aren’t going to raise their swords against their governments but their hearts will be stronger than their swords.”
In the US CT community, people still talk of former Jhadist groups such as Tanzim Al-Jihad (Zawahiri’s old group) as if they still exist, but the Egyptian security forces were successful in breaking them up and crushing them. So in Egypt they are commonly referred to as “no longer in existence” and they are not the people who are likely to “raise their swords.” What’s possible, if not likely, in the future, are scattered, totally uncoordinated attacks against targets associated with this perceived assault against Islam by young people who have no connections to organized groups or under any influence from Al-Qaeda style Internet forums.
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