The Arab Spring

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Syrian Ironies - Victor Davis Hanson. The more Bashar Assad butchers Syrian dissidents, the more the world community expresses outrage — while it does little to stop the bloodletting.

Syrian Ironies - Victor Davis Hanson

Why? Ironies on top of ironies 1. The politics of intervention. Republicans might seem the most likely to push for an American bombing campaign against Bashar Assad. Republicans were relieved that Obama, once president, suddenly dropped almost all the demagogic criticism that had fueled his successful campaign and embraced the Bush-Cheney policies against terrorists. All the old left-wing anti-war charges — e.g., that neocons were getting us into a proxy war on Israel’s behalf, or that oil was always a catalyst for any U.S. action in the Middle East — might now equally apply to Syria — a regime that has killed far fewer than the million butchered by Saddam Hussein. 2. Nonetheless, in January 2009 the Obama administration loudly announced a Syrian reset policy, as if the previous estrangement were due more to George Bush than to Bashar Assad.

The road to Damascus goes through Moscow. With recent events in Syria capturing headlines around the world, we have been bombarded with reports and statistics provided by the opposition forces fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian army.

The road to Damascus goes through Moscow

Social media reports from the opposition use terminology guaranteed to capture our attention: massacre, genocide, torture, child rape and beheading, to list but a few. Estimates of those killed in any one attack regularly vary by a factor of up to 10 and are always biased to solicit sympathy and concern for the side in the conflict providing them. With no way to confirm the actual facts, it’s not surprising that each country’s media coverage, including Canada’s, reinforces the natural bias of that country’s attitude toward Syria.

We should be conscious of the fact, known by every soldier, that initial reports from every battle are wrong. This is not to suggest that Mr. Our Western proclivity for anointing a “good” side and vilifying a “bad” side in any conflict has been hasty, as usual. Obama Recruits Qaradawi - Andrew C. McCarthy. The surrender is complete now.

Obama Recruits Qaradawi - Andrew C. McCarthy

The Hindu reports that the Obama administration has turned to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s leading jurist, to mediate secret negotiations between the United States and the Taliban. I wrote about Qaradawi at length in The Grand Jihad and, here at NRO, have regularly catalogued his activities (see, e.g., here, here, here, here, and here; see also Andrew Bostom’s “Qaradawi’s Odious Vision”). For those who may be unfamiliar with him, he is the most influential Sunni Islamist in the world, thanks to such ventures as his al-Jazeera TV program (Sharia and Life) and website (IslamOnline.net). In 2003, he issued a fatwa calling for the killing of American troops in Iraq.

As he put it, Those killed fighting the American forces are martyrs given their good intentions since they consider these invading troops an enemy within their territories but without their will. . . . Da’wa sounds harmless — it refers to missionary work to spread Islam. Moderation in Morocco - John Fund. Rabat, Morocco — A little over a year ago, a young fruit vendor in Tunisia poured gasoline on himself, struck a match, and committed suicide.

Moderation in Morocco - John Fund

He was protesting thuggish policemen who had confiscated his goods, but his self-immolation helped ignite a series of uprisings across the Arab world in 2011. One by one, the people of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya toppled their rulers. In Syria, Pres. Bashar al-Assad is struggling to suppress a growing popular revolt, and has even earned the ire of the normally spineless Arab League. In places where secular rulers prevailed for decades, Islamists are part of coalitions now trying to seize the reins of power. The evidence so far is mixed. The military in all of these countries is likely to react differently to the rise of the Islamists.

The Islamic Justice and Development Party (PJD) surprised many by coming in first with 107 of the seats in the 395-member parliament.