RSSLahat ng Entries Na Naka-tag Sa: "Syria"

Ang Arabo Bukas

DAVID B. OTTAWAY

Oktubre 6, 1981, ay sinadya upang maging isang araw ng pagdiriwang sa Egypt. Minarkahan nito ang anibersaryo ng pinakadakilang sandali ng tagumpay ng Egypt sa tatlong salungatan ng Arab-Israeli, nang ang underdog na hukbo ng bansa ay tumawid sa Suez Canal sa mga pagbubukas ng araw ng 1973 Yom Kippur War at nagpadala ng mga tropang Israeli sa pag-urong. Sa isang cool, walang ulap na umaga, ang istadyum ng Cairo ay puno ng mga pamilyang Ehipsiyo na dumating upang makita ang militar na strut ang hardware nito. Sa reviewing stand, Pangulong Anwar el-Sadat,arkitekto ng digmaan, nanonood nang may kasiyahan habang nagpaparada ang mga lalaki at makina sa kanyang harapan. Nasa malapit ako, isang bagong dating na foreign correspondent.Bigla, isa sa mga trak ng hukbo ay direktang huminto sa harap ng reviewing stand habang anim na Mirage jet ang umuungal sa itaas sa isang akrobatikong pagtatanghal, pagpinta sa langit na may mahabang landas na pula, dilaw, lila,at berdeng usok. Tumayo si Sadat, tila naghahanda na makipagpalitan ng mga pagpupugay sa isa pang pangkat ng mga tropang Egyptian. Ginawa niyang perpektong target ang kanyang sarili para sa apat na Islamist assassin na tumalon mula sa trak, bumangga sa podium, at nilagyan ng mga bala ang kanyang katawan. Habang ang mga pumatay ay nagpatuloy para sa tila isang walang hanggan upang iwiwisik ang stand ng kanilang nakamamatay na apoy, Nag-isip ako saglit kung tatama sa lupa at nanganganib na matapakan hanggang mamatay ng mga natarantang manonood o mananatiling lakad at nanganganib na matamaan ng ligaw na bala. Instinct told me to stay on my feet, at ang aking pakiramdam ng tungkulin sa pamamahayag ay nagtulak sa akin na alamin kung si Sadat ay buhay o patay na.

Islam, Political Islam at Amerika

Pananaw ng Arab

Posible ba ang "Kapatiran" sa Amerika?

khalil al-anani

"Walang pagkakataon na makipag-usap sa anumang U.S. pamamahala hangga't mapanatili ng Estados Unidos ang matagal nang pagtingin nito sa Islam bilang isang tunay na panganib, isang pagtingin na inilalagay ang Estados Unidos sa parehong bangka tulad ng kaaway ng Zionist. Wala kaming paunang naiisip na mga ideya tungkol sa mga mamamayang Amerikano o sa U.S.. lipunan at mga organisasyong sibiko nito at mga think tank. Wala kaming problema sa pakikipag-usap sa mga mamamayang Amerikano ngunit walang sapat na pagsisikap na ginagawa upang mapalapit kami,”Sabi ni Dr.. Issam al-Iryan, pinuno ng kagawaran ng pampulitika ng Pagkakapatiran ng Muslim sa isang pakikipanayam sa telepono.
Al-Iryan’s words sum up the Muslim Brotherhood’s views of the American people and the U.S. government. Other members of the Muslim Brotherhood would agree, as would the late Hassan al-Banna, who founded the group in 1928. Al- Banna viewed the West mostly as a symbol of moral decay. Other Salafis – an Islamic school of thought that relies on ancestors as exemplary models – have taken the same view of the United States, but lack the ideological flexibility espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood. While the Muslim Brotherhood believes in engaging the Americans in civil dialogue, other extremist groups see no point in dialogue and maintain that force is the only way of dealing with the United States.

US Hamas policy blocks Middle East peace

Henry Siegman


Failed bilateral talks over these past 16 years have shown that a Middle East peace accord can never be reached by the parties themselves. Israeli governments believe they can defy international condemnation of their illegal colonial project in the West Bank because they can count on the US to oppose international sanctions. Bilateral talks that are not framed by US-formulated parameters (based on Security Council resolutions, the Oslo accords, the Arab Peace Initiative, the “road map” and other previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements) cannot succeed. Israel’s government believes that the US Congress will not permit an American president to issue such parameters and demand their acceptance. What hope there is for the bilateral talks that resume in Washington DC on September 2 depends entirely on President Obama proving that belief to be wrong, and on whether the “bridging proposals” he has promised, should the talks reach an impasse, are a euphemism for the submission of American parameters. Such a US initiative must offer Israel iron-clad assurances for its security within its pre-1967 borders, but at the same time must make it clear these assurances are not available if Israel insists on denying Palestinians a viable and sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza. This paper focuses on the other major obstacle to a permanent status agreement: the absence of an effective Palestinian interlocutor. Addressing Hamas’ legitimate grievances – and as noted in a recent CENTCOM report, Hamas has legitimate grievances – could lead to its return to a Palestinian coalition government that would provide Israel with a credible peace partner. If that outreach fails because of Hamas’ rejectionism, the organization’s ability to prevent a reasonable accord negotiated by other Palestinian political parties will have been significantly impeded. If the Obama administration will not lead an international initiative to define the parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement and actively promote Palestinian political reconciliation, Europe must do so, and hope America will follow. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet that can guarantee the goal of “two states living side by side in peace and security.”
But President Obama’s present course absolutely precludes it.

Egypt at the Tipping Point ?

David B. Ottaway
In the early 1980s, I lived in Cairo as bureau chief of The Washington Post covering such historic events as the withdrawal of the last
Israeli forces from Egyptian territory occupied during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and the assassination of President
Anwar Sadat by Islamic fanatics in October 1981.
The latter national drama, which I witnessed personally, had proven to be a wrenching milestone. It forced Sadat’s successor, Hosni Mubarak, to turn inwards to deal with an Islamist challenge of unknown proportions and effectively ended Egypt’s leadership role in the Arab world.
Mubarak immediately showed himself to be a highly cautious, unimaginative leader, maddeningly reactive rather than pro-active in dealing with the social and economic problems overwhelming his nation like its explosive population growth (1.2 million more Egyptians a year) and economic decline.
In a four-part Washington Post series written as I was departing in early 1985, I noted the new Egyptian leader was still pretty much
a total enigma to his own people, offering no vision and commanding what seemed a rudderless ship of state. The socialist economy
inherited from the era of President Gamal Abdel Nasser (1952 sa 1970) was a mess. The country’s currency, the pound, was operating
on eight different exchange rates; its state-run factories were unproductive, uncompetitive and deep in debt; and the government was heading for bankruptcy partly because subsidies for food, electricity and gasoline were consuming one-third ($7 billion) of its budget. Cairo had sunk into a hopeless morass of gridlocked traffic and teeming humanity—12 million people squeezed into a narrow band of land bordering the Nile River, most living cheek by jowl in ramshackle tenements in the city’s ever-expanding slums.

Islamic Political Culture, Demokrasya, and Human Rights

Si Daniele. Presyo

It has been argued that Islam facilitates authoritarianism, contradicts the

values of Western societies, and significantly affects important political outcomes
in Muslim nations. Consequently, scholars, commentators, and government
officials frequently point to ‘‘Islamic fundamentalism’’ as the next
ideological threat to liberal democracies. This view, gayunpaman, is based primarily
on the analysis of texts, Islamic political theory, and ad hoc studies
of individual countries, which do not consider other factors. It is my contention
that the texts and traditions of Islam, like those of other religions,
can be used to support a variety of political systems and policies. Country
specific and descriptive studies do not help us to find patterns that will help
us explain the varying relationships between Islam and politics across the
countries of the Muslim world. Hence, a new approach to the study of the
connection between Islam and politics is called for.
I suggest, through rigorous evaluation of the relationship between Islam,
democracy, and human rights at the cross-national level, that too much
emphasis is being placed on the power of Islam as a political force. I first
use comparative case studies, which focus on factors relating to the interplay
between Islamic groups and regimes, economic influences, ethnic cleavages,

and societal development, to explain the variance in the influence of

Islam on politics across eight nations.

Political Islam in the Middle East

Si Knudsen ba

This report provides an introduction to selected aspects of the phenomenon commonly

referred to as “political Islam”. The report gives special emphasis to the Middle East, sa

particular the Levantine countries, and outlines two aspects of the Islamist movement that may

be considered polar opposites: democracy and political violence. In the third section the report

reviews some of the main theories used to explain the Islamic resurgence in the Middle East

(Figure 1). In brief, the report shows that Islam need not be incompatible with democracy and

that there is a tendency to neglect the fact that many Middle Eastern countries have been

engaged in a brutal suppression of Islamist movements, causing them, some argue, to take up

arms against the state, and more rarely, foreign countries. The use of political violence is

widespread in the Middle East, but is neither illogical nor irrational. In many cases even

Islamist groups known for their use of violence have been transformed into peaceful political

parties successfully contesting municipal and national elections. Nonetheless, the Islamist

revival in the Middle East remains in part unexplained despite a number of theories seeking to

account for its growth and popular appeal. In general, most theories hold that Islamism is a

reaction to relative deprivation, especially social inequality and political oppression. Alternative

theories seek the answer to the Islamist revival within the confines of religion itself and the

powerful, evocative potential of religious symbolism.

The conclusion argues in favour of moving beyond the “gloom and doom” approach that

portrays Islamism as an illegitimate political expression and a potential threat to the West (“Old

Islamism”), and of a more nuanced understanding of the current democratisation of the Islamist

movement that is now taking place throughout the Middle East (“New Islamism”). This

importance of understanding the ideological roots of the “New Islamism” is foregrounded

along with the need for thorough first-hand knowledge of Islamist movements and their

adherents. As social movements, its is argued that more emphasis needs to be placed on

pag-unawa sa mga paraan kung saan sila ay may kakayahang magamit ang mga hangarin hindi lamang

ng mga mas mahirap na seksyon ng lipunan ngunit pati na rin ng gitnang uri.

STRATEGIYA PARA SA PAG-ENGAG NG PULITIKONG ISLAM

SHADI HAMID

AMANDA KADLEC

Ang Political Islam ay ang nag-iisang pinakaaktibo ng puwersang pampulitika sa Gitnang Silangan ngayon. Ang kinabukasan nito ay malapit na maiugnay sa rehiyon. Kung ang Estados Unidos at ang European Union ay nakatuon sa pagsuporta sa repormang pampulitika sa rehiyon, kakailanganin nilang mag-isip ng kongkreto, magkakaugnay na mga diskarte para sa paglahok ng mga Islamist na pangkat. Pa, ang Estados Unidos. sa pangkalahatan ay hindi nais na buksan ang isang dayalogo sa mga paggalaw na ito. Ganun din, Ang pakikipag-ugnayan ng EU sa mga Islamista ay naging kataliwasan, hindi ang panuntunan. Kung saan may mga contact na nasa mababang antas, they mainly serve information-gathering purposes, not strategic objectives. The U.S. and EU have a number of programs that address economic and political development in the region – among them the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the Union for the Mediterranean, and the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) – yet they have little to say about how the challenge of Islamist political opposition fits within broader regional objectives. U.S. and EU democracy assistance and programming are directed almost entirely to either authoritarian governments themselves or secular civil society groups with minimal support in their own societies.
The time is ripe for a reassessment of current policies. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, supporting Middle East democracy has assumed a greater importance for Western policymakers, who see a link between lack of democracy and political violence. Greater attention has been devoted to understanding the variations within political Islam. The new American administration is more open to broadening communication with the Muslim world. Meanwhile, the vast majority of mainstream Islamist organizations – including the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Jordan’s Islamic Action Front (IAF), Morocco’s Justice and Development Party (PJD), the Islamic Constitutional Movement of Kuwait, and the Yemeni Islah Party – have increasingly made support for political reform and democracy a central component in their political platforms. In addition, many have signaled strong interest in opening dialogue with U.S. and EU governments.
The future of relations between Western nations and the Middle East may be largely determined by the degree to which the former engage nonviolent Islamist parties in a broad dialogue about shared interests and objectives. There has been a recent proliferation of studies on engagement with Islamists, but few clearly address what it might entail in practice. As Zoé Nautré, visiting fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations, puts it, “the EU is thinking about engagement but doesn’t really know how.”1 In the hope of clarifying the discussion, we distinguish between three levels of “engagement,” each with varying means and ends: low-level contacts, strategic dialogue, and partnership.

ISLAMIST MOVEMENTS AND THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN THE ARAB WORLD: Exploring the Gray Zones

Si Nathan J. Kayumanggi, Amr Hamzawy,

Marina Ottaway

During the last decade, Islamist movements have established themselves as major political players in the Middle East. Together with the governments, Islamist movements, moderate as well as radical, will determine how the politics of the region unfold in the foreseeable future. Th ey have shown the ability not only to craft messages with widespread popular appeal but also, and most importantly, to create organizations with genuine social bases and develop coherent political strategies. Other parties,
by and large, have failed on all accounts.
Th e public in the West and, in particular, the United States, has only become aware of the importance of Islamist movements after dramatic events, such as the revolution in Iran and the assassination of President Anwar al-Sadat in Egypt. Attention has been far more sustained since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As a result, Islamist movements are widely regarded as dangerous and hostile. While such a characterization is accurate regarding organizations at the radical end of the Islamist spectrum, which are dangerous because of their willingness to resort to indiscriminate violence in pursuing their goals, it is not an accurate characterization of the many groups that have renounced or avoided violence. Because terrorist organizations pose an immediate
threat, gayunpaman, policy makers in all countries have paid disproportionate attention to the violent organizations.
It is the mainstream Islamist organizations, not the radical ones, that will have the greatest impact on the future political evolution of the Middle East. Th e radicals’ grandiose goals of re-establishing a caliphate uniting the entire Arab world, or even of imposing on individual Arab countries laws and social customs inspired by a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam are simply too far removed from today’s reality to be realized. Th is does not mean that terrorist groups are not dangerous—they could cause great loss of life even in the pursuit of impossible goals—but that they are unlikely to change the face of the Middle East. Mainstream Islamist organizations are generally a diff erent matter. Th ey already have had a powerful impact on social customs in many countries, halting and reversing secularist trends and changing the way many Arabs dress and behave. And their immediate political goal, to become a powerful force by participating in the normal politics of their country, is not an impossible one. It is already being realized in countries such as Morocco, Jordan, and even Egypt, which still bans all Islamist political organizations but now has eighty-eight Muslim Brothers in the Parliament. Pulitika, not violence, is what gives mainstream Islamists their infl uence.

ISLAMIST RADICALISATION

PREFACE
RICHARD YOUNGS
MICHAEL EMERSON

Issues relating to political Islam continue to present challenges to European foreign policies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As EU policy has sought to come to terms with such challenges during the last decade or so political Islam itself has evolved. Experts point to the growing complexity and variety of trends within political Islam. Some Islamist organisations have strengthened their commitment to democratic norms and engaged fully in peaceable, mainstream national politics. Others remain wedded to violent means. And still others have drifted towards a more quietist form of Islam, disengaged from political activity. Ang Political Islam sa rehiyon ng MENA ay nagpapakita ng walang pare-parehong kalakaran sa mga gumagawa ng patakaran sa Europa. Ang debate ng Analytical ay lumago sa paligid ng konsepto ng 'radicalization'. Ito naman ang nagbigay ng pananaliksik sa mga salik na nagtutulak ng ‘de-radicalization’, at kabaligtaran, 'Re-radicalization'. Karamihan sa pagiging kumplikado ay nagmula sa malawak na pananaw na ang lahat ng tatlong mga phenomena na ito ay nangyayari nang sabay. Kahit na ang mga tuntunin mismo ay pinaglalaban. Madalas na maituro na ang katamtaman – radikal na dichotomy ay nabigo na ganap na makuha ang mga nuances ng mga trend sa loob ng pampulitika Islam. Ang ilang mga analista ay nagreklamo din na ang pag-uusap tungkol sa 'radicalism' ay ideolohikal na na-load. Sa antas ng terminolohiya, nauunawaan namin ang radicalization na maiugnay sa ekstremismo, ngunit ang mga pananaw ay naiiba sa gitna ng sentralidad ng kanyang relihiyosong – fundamentalistiko kumpara sa nilalamang pampulitika, at higit sa kung ang pagpayag na gumamit ng karahasan ay ipinahiwatig o hindi.

Ang nasabing mga pagkakaiba ay makikita sa mga pananaw na hinawakan mismo ng mga Islamista, pati na rin sa pananaw ng mga tagalabas.

Politikal na Islam at Patakarang Panlabas ng Europa

PULITIKONG ISLAM AT ANG PATAKARAN SA KAPWA NG EUROPEAN

MICHAEL EMERSON

RICHARD YOUNGS

Mula noon 2001 at ang mga pang-internasyonal na kaganapan na sumunod sa likas na katangian ng ugnayan sa pagitan ng Kanluran at pampulitika na Islam ay naging isang definingissue para sa patakarang panlabas. Sa mga nagdaang taon isang malaking halaga ng pagsasaliksik at pagtatasa ang isinagawa sa isyu ng pampulitika Islam. Nakatulong ito upang maitama ang ilan sa mga simplistic at alarma na pagpapalagay na dating gaganapin sa Kanluran tungkol sa likas na katangian ng mga halaga at hangarin ng Islamista. Katulad nito, ang European Union (AKO) ay nakabuo ng isang bilang ng mga pagkukusa sa patakaran lalo na ang Patakaran sa Neighborhood ng Europa(ENP) na sa prinsipyo mangako sa diyalogo at mas malalim na pakikipag-ugnayan sa lahat(hindi marahas) mga artista sa politika at mga samahang lipunan sa loob ng mga bansang Arab. Gayunpaman maraming mga analista at gumagawa ng patakaran ngayon ang nagreklamo ng isang tiyak na isang tropeo sa parehong haka-haka na debate at pagpapaunlad ng patakaran. Naitaguyod na ang pampulitika Islam ay isang nagbabago na tanawin, lubhang apektado bya saklaw ng mga pangyayari, ngunit ang debate ay madalas na natigil sa pinapasimple na tanong ng ‘demokratiko ba ang mga Islamista?’Maraming mga independiyenteng analista ang nagpataguyod ng pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga Islamista, ngunit ang aktuwal na pakikipagtagpo sa pagitan ng mga pamahalaang Kanluranin at mga organisasyong Islamista ay nananatiling limitado .

Ang Katamtamang Kapatiran ng Muslim

Robert S. Si Leiken

Steven Brooke

Ang Kapatiran ng Muslim ang pinakamatanda sa buong mundo, pinakamalaki, at pinaka maimpluwensyang Islamistang samahan. Ito rin ang pinaka-kontrobersyal,
hinatulan ng parehong maginoo opinyon sa Kanluran at radikal na opinyon sa Gitnang Silangan. Tinawag ng mga Amerikanong komentarista ang Mga Kapatid na Muslim na "radikal na Islamista" at "isang mahalagang bahagi ng puwersa ng pag-atake ng kalaban … lubos na poot sa Estados Unidos. ” Al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri sneers at them for “lur[ing] libu-libong mga kabataang Muslim na nasa linya para sa halalan … sa halip na sa mga linya ng jihad. " Ang Jihadists ay kinamumuhian ang Kapatiran ng Muslim (kilala sa Arabe bilang al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen) para sa pagtanggi sa pandaigdigang jihad at pagyakap sa demokrasya. Ang mga posisyon na ito ay tila ginagawang moderate sila, ang bagay na ang Estados Unidos, maikli sa mga kapanalig sa mundong muslim, naghahanap.
Ngunit ang Ikhwan ay umaatake din sa U.S. batas ng banyaga, lalo na ang suporta ng Washington para sa Israel, at mga katanungang nagtatagal tungkol sa tunay na pangako nito sa demokratikong proseso. Sa loob ng nakalipas na taon, nakilala namin ang dose-dosenang mga pinuno at aktibista ng Kapatiran mula sa Egypt, France, Jordan, Espanya, Syria,Tunisia, at ang United Kingdom.

Energizing US-Syria Relations: Leveraging Ancillary Diplomatic Vehicles

Benjamin E. Lakas,

Andrew Akhlaghi,

Steven Rotchtin

The prospect for greater stability in the Middle East largely hinges on the ability to bring Syria into diplomatic and security discussions as a productive stakeholder, necessitating a thaw in the less than normal state of U.S. – Syrian relations. While Syria’s
importance as a keystone state to a Middle East peace process was acknowledged in the 2006 Iraq Study Group Report,1 which called for a shift from disincentives to incentives in seeking constructive results, only in the past few months has there been a demonstrable shift in Washington’s disposition. Recent meetings between high-ranking U.S. officials and their counterparts in Damascus, and even the announcement of reinstating a U.S. ambassador to Syria, have led to widespread speculation in policy circles that a diplomatic thaw is afoot.
This report analyzes key trends in Syria’s domestic and regional socio-political situation that currently function to make Syria a natural ally of the United States.

Demokrasya, Terrorism and American Policy in the Arab World

F. Gregory Gause

The United States has embarked upon what President Bush and Secretary of State Rice has called a “generational challenge” to encourage political reform and democracy in the Arab world. The Bush Administration and other defenders of the democracy campaign contend that the push for Arab democracy is not only about spreading American values, but also about insuring American security. They hypothesize that as democracy grows in the Arab world, anti-American terrorism from the Arab world will decline. Samakatuwid, the promotion of democracy inthe Arab world is not only consistent with American security goals in the area, but necessary to achieve those goals.
Two questions present themselves in considering this element of the “Bush Doctrine” in the Arab world: 1) Is there a relationship between terrorism and democracy such that the more democratic a country becomes, the less likely it is to produce terrorists and terrorist groups? In other words, is the security rationale for democracy promotion in the Arab world based on a sound premise?; at 2) What kind of governments would likely be generated by democratic elections in Arab countries? Would they be willing to cooperate with the United States on important policy objectives in the Middle East, not only in maintaining democracy but also on
Arab-Israeli, Gulf security and oil issues?
This paper will consider these two questions. It finds that there is little empirical evidence linking democracy with an absence of or reduction in terrorism. It questions whether democracy would reduce the motives and opportunities of groups like al-Qa’ida, which oppose democracy on both religious and practical grounds. It examines recent trends in Arab public opinion and elections, concluding that while Arab publics are very supportive of democracy, democratic elections in Arab states are likely to produce Islamist governments which would be much less likely to cooperate with the United States than their authoritarian predecessors.

Claiming the Center: Political Islam in Transition

John L. Esposito

In the 1990s political Islam, what some callIslamic fundamentalism,” remains a major presence in government and in oppositional politics from North Africa to Southeast Asia. Political Islam in power and in politics has raised many issues and questions: “Is Islam antithetical to modernization?,” “Are Islam and democracy incompatible?,” “What are the implications of an Islamic government for pluralism, minority and women’s rights,” “How representative are Islamists,” “Are there Islamic moderates?,” “Should the West fear a transnational Islamic threat or clash of civilizations?” Contemporary Islamic Revivalism The landscape of the Muslim world today reveals the emergence of new Islamic republics (Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan), the proliferation of Islamic movements that function as major political and social actors within existing systems, and the confrontational politics of radical violent extremists._ In contrast to the 1980s when political Islam was simply equated with revolutionary Iran or clandestine groups with names like Islamic jihad or the Army of God, the Muslim world in the 1990s is one in which Islamists have participated in the electoral process and are visible as prime ministers, cabinet officers, speakers of national assemblies, parliamentarians, and mayors in countries as diverse as Egypt, Sudan, Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Kuwait, Yemen, Jordan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Israel/Palestine. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, political Islam continues to be a major force for order and disorder in global politics, one that participates in the political process but also in acts of terrorism, a challenge to the Muslim world and to the West. Understanding the nature of political Islam today, and in particular the issues and questions that have emerged from the experience of the recent past, remains critical for governments, policymakers, and students of international politics alike.

The Syrian Opposition

Joshua Landis

Joe Pace


For decades, U.S. policy toward Syria has been single-mindedly focused on Syria’s president, Hafiz al-Asad, from 1970 sa 2000, followed by his son Bashar. Because they perceived the Syrian opposition to be too weak and anti-American, U.S. officials preferred to work with the Asad regime. Washington thus had no relations with the Syrian opposition until its invasion of Iraq in 2003. Even then, the Bush administration reached out only to Washington-based opponents of the Syrian regime. They were looking for a Syrian counterpart to Ahmad Chalabi, the pro-U.S. Iraqi opposition leader who helped build the case for invading Iraq.
Washington was not interested in engaging Islamists, whom it considered the only opposition with a demonstrated popular base in Syria. As for the secular opposition in Syria, U.S. embassy officials in Damascus considered them to “have a weak back bench,” without a popular constituency or connection to Syrian youth.2 Moreover, contact between opposition members and embassy officials could be dangerous for opponents of the regime and leave them open to accusations of treason. For these reasons, the difficult terrain of opposition figures within Syria remained terra incognita.

Radical Islam in the Maghreb

Carlos Echeverría Jesús

The development of a radical Islamist movement has been a major featureof Algerian political life since the mid-1970s, especially after the death of PresidentHouari Boumediène, the Republic’s first president, in December 1978.1 Boumediènehad adopted a policy of Arabization that included phasing out the French language.French professors were replaced by Arabic speakers from Egypt, Lebanon, andSyria, many of them members of the Muslim Brotherhood.The troubles began in 1985, when the Mouvement islamique algérien (MIA),founded to protest the single-party socialist regime, began attacking police stations.Escalating tensions amid declining oil prices culminated in the Semoule revolt inOctober 1988. More than 500 people were killed in the streets of Algiers in thatrevolt, and the government was finally forced to undertake reforms. Sa 1989 itlegalized political parties, including the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), and over thenext two years the Islamists were able to impose their will in many parts of thecountry, targeting symbols of Western “corruption” such as satellite TV dishes thatbrought in European channels, alcohol, and women who didn’t wear the hiyab (theIslam veil). FIS victories in the June 1990 municipal elections and in the first roundof the parliamentary elections held in December 1991 generated fears of animpending Islamist dictatorship and led to a preemptive interruption of the electoralprocess in January 1992. The next year saw an increase in the violence that hadbegun in 1991 with the FIS’s rhetoric in support of Saddam Hussein in the GulfWar, the growing presence of Algerian “Afghans”—Algerian volunteer fightersreturning from the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan—and the November 1991massacre of border guards at Guemmar, on the border between Algeria andTunisia.2Until mid-1993, victims of MIA, Islamic Salvation Army–AIS (the FIS’sarmed wing), and Islamic Armed Group (GIA) violence were mostly policemen,soldiers, and terrorists. Later that year the violence expanded to claim both foreignand Algerian civilians. In September 1993, the bodies of seven foreigners werefound in various locations around the country.3 Dozens of judges, doctors,intellectuals, and journalists were also murdered that year. In October 1993 Islamistsvowed to kill any foreigner remaining in Algeria after December 1; more than 4,000foreigners left in November 1993.