Egypt and Syria: Two Civilizational Struggles

by OCP on February 13, 2012

in News

13/2/2012
Assyrian International News Agency

The rapidly changing Middle East is witnessing convulsions which are indeed revolutionary when it comes to alliances. After all, in Libya you had NATO, Sunni Islamists and a mixture of other forces fighting on the same side against Colonel Gaddafi. Likewise in Syria which is the last remaining major bastion of secularism in the Arabic speaking world, radical Islamists and the West have joined forces. Therefore the opposition in both cases obtained military equipment at the drop of the hat.

You also have two clashes of civilizations happening in Syria and Egypt and this applies to secular forces and political Islam, and another civilization struggle within Sunni Islam itself. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt ironically may turn out to be the only thing stopping Egypt turning into an Islamic state based on a puritanical ideology. This in itself shows you how times are changing rapidly because virtually nobody believed that the Salafist Nour Party would be able to obtain such a powerful showing during elections.

Coptic Christians must be thinking about the fate of Iraqi Christians because America unleashed radical Sunni Islamic forces which turned on the Christian minority and others. Therefore, the American led invasion of Iraq “cleansed Iraq of Christians” in many parts of this country. The upshot being that the majority of Christians have fled their beloved homeland and ironically many escaped to secular Syria.

The Muslim Brotherhood had patiently been waiting in the wings for the demise of the Hosni Mubarak government and gullible Coptic Christians, like in Iraq, believed that “a new dawn” would emerge. However, America and other nations left the Christians to face their fate alone in Iraq.

It must be remembered that in both Afghanistan and Iraq you had secular rulers but America’s meddling led to the introduction of Islamic Sharia law in both nations. Therefore, not surprisingly America is now gunning for the overthrow of the last major bastion of secularism in the Middle East. This applies to the destruction of the government of Syria under Assad.

Orthodox Christians in Bosnia, Cyprus, and Kosovo, know full well that America and the Green Flag of Islam worked together in all three conflicts. Just like America went to war covertly in Afghanistan and directly in Iraq against two secular governments. The pattern is all too familiar and the same applies to Libya.

Turning back to Egypt then the Salafist Nour Party is now waiting in the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood and a new clash of civilization awaits the soul of Sunni Islam in both Egypt and Syria. America, like usual, doesn’t understand the bigger picture and instead thinks about short-term issues. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood now knows that the Salafists are much more powerful than they believed. Therefore, the West is pinning hope on the “moderate Muslim Brotherhood” from preventing a Taliban based state based on the ideology of radical Salafi Islam.

The Kosovo Liberation Army was built up quickly with Western support and today Orthodox Christians reside on the margins in this part of Europe and can’t freely walk and travel. Armed forces in Libya developed rapidly while NATO bombed from a distance and of course special training took place on the ground. Democrats and Islamists worked hand in hand and with rapid speed in Libya. Therefore, recent events in Syria are following a similar pattern because outside nations are meddling.

Alawite Muslims, Christians, the Druze, and Sunni Muslims, who lived peacefully together, now fear radical Sunni Islamic forces and a future bloodbath. Therefore, in Egypt and Syria you have a civilization battle between secularism and political Islam and another civilization battle between the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. Likewise in Syria moderate Sunni Muslim forces face a civilization battle against Wahabbi minded Islamists who deem the Alawites and moderate Sunni Muslims to be infidels.

If Assad is overthrown by the opposition then the Alawites, Christians, women, liberals, and so forth, will fear that the “loss of all sanity is over” because whatever Assad may or may not be; he tolerated religious pluralism and the rights of women and so forth. The Levant isn’t Afghanistan and the richness of culture and diversity within Islam enabled Christian minorities and other like the Druze to survive.

Sectarianism nearly destroyed Lebanon in the past and Syria faces a bloody sectarian struggle if the demise of Assad occurs and it isn’t managed by all sections of Syria. However, forces within the opposition don’t desire a multi-religious Syria instead a new Talibanization awaits and religious bloodletting seems most likely within different Muslim communities.

Meanwhile, the Christians of Syria can always move to Lebanon or maybe like the majority of Iraqi Christians they will give up the ghost. If this happens, then the richness of the Levant and the diversity of Islam in this region may perish.

In Syria both sides have committed massacres just like in Libya because you have “no clean hands” in any civil war. However, the diversity of Syria and the freedom of women in this nation face an uncertain future because opposition forces have a bigger ideological plan. Therefore, “the strings” of the opposition are being pulled by a combination of outside radical Sunni Islamic meddling and Western connivance.

Washington must be lapping this up because Saudi Arabia, the Muslim Brotherhood, and others, are condemning the Russian Federation and China. Maybe the Muslim Brotherhood and the Washington winning ticket may work in Egypt but in Syria this nation is much more diverse.

However, the Muslim Brotherhood and Washington winning ticket may fall to the Salafists in the future. The Egyptian Pagan civilization was eclipsed by Coptic Christian civilization however the Arab invasions then eclipsed the Coptic Christian civilization. The last fear now is that the Sunni Islamic civilization in Egypt may become eclipsed by a new puritanical Talibanization civilization which isn’t based on being civil.

Syria faces many inner struggles and the last major bastion of secularism faces the combined threat of radical Sunni Islam and Western meddling. The forces that have been unleashed may be based on the hatred of what happened in 1982 but this time revenge and a new radical ideology is in no mood to be crushed. Not only this, the Cold War is long dead therefore Washington meddling and conservative nations in the Middle East have complete freedom to ignite more chaos.

Liberals outside of Syria are up in arms against the Assad government but if he falls then the situation for women, Christians, secularists, socialists, liberals, and so forth, will be a thousand times worse. Meanwhile, moderate Sunni Muslim clerics will also be challenged and this dual civilization struggle is not only complex but it may see the final nail in the coffin of the richness of the Levant.

The real tragedy of the Arabic speaking Middle East is that the last bastion of secularism is the Assad government of Syria.

By Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker
www.moderntokyotimes.com

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