The Islamic Enlightenment - Page 2 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Political issues and parties in the nations of the Middle East.

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#15041435
SSDR wrote:Islamic imperialism must be destroyed at all circumstances. Islam is the biggest threat to the advancement, progress, and the real consciousness of the world.

Islam is the biggest enemy to socialism. Islam is the biggest enemy to social liberation, since Islam is against social liberation. Islam holds the west back.

When Spain and Portugal were liberated from Islamic rule in the 1400's, they created the world's first global empires.



Wrong Granada was in this time the scientific centre of the world. Comparable to Silicon Valley today.


We need a leader who ends the secterian war like Saladin (who was by the way a Kurd), to crush all oppressors.

The West is not an Enemy today it is China and Israel. I do not know why the Jihadis are so obsessed with the West
#15041505
anasawad wrote:True; I'd say the current wars and conflicts are, indeed, a step in the path of reformation; ...


The current conflicts in the Islamic world are the symptoms of Islam's inability to come to terms with modernity, they are not a "path to reformation". On the contrary, the conflicts prevent reform. For society to improve it needs peace and stability. The fragmented clan structure of countries in the wider ME prevent the creation of larger structures that would be able to improve society for the common good. Authoritarian leaders in these clan-based societies have to prevent progress that could endanger their hold on power.

Islam culture prospered from the 9th to the 15th century when it controlled far-distant trade between the East and the West. The wealth accumulated from that trade improved social life, science and technology and the arts. Europe took control of that trade during the European renaissance. The resulting improvement of science, technology and the arts enabled further territorial expansion during the colonial period, which further accumulated capital to promote science, etc.

Unable to compete, the Islamist world retreated into religious fundamentalism and a rejection of modernity. I don't see any signs of change.

In a nutshell, that's how I see the problem.

Edit: It is interesting to note that in the West, segments of the population that feel they are unable to compete retreat into right-wing populism, which has the hallmarks of religious fundamentalism in the Islamist world.
#15046741
I think it's fair to say that the Islamic Enlightenment was tempered within the bounds of acceptable Islam, and by autocratic sultans, who the people deathly feared, and who maintained a more liberal version of Islam, in many respects.

In many ways, it was a "civilized barbarity".

We're talking castration of African slaves and harems, often full of white slave girls captured from the North. Brutal punishments, even a level beyond what was happening in Europe.

(The Spanish Inquisition probably learned their cruelty from their muslim overlords who had been driven from Spain less than a generation prior)

There are some big big differences between the Islamic Enlightenment and the Renaissance Enlightenment in Europe, although one can point out similarities as well.


As for causes, the Islamic Enlightenment was fueled by the looting/piracy of Europe, and the geographic stranglehold the Islamic World had on trade.
Whereas the European Renaissance did not come about until the Ottoman Empire conquered Eastern Europe, and Western Europe likely got some reprieve from the muslim attacks because the Ottoman sultan was busy struggling to hold his large empire together. The European kingdoms also united around Venice and granted them special trade privileges so that Venice would be able to fund their navy, fend of the muslims, and keep trade routes in the Mediterranean open.

Changes in global temperatures are theorized to play a role as well, since the Islamic Golden Age coincided with cooling temperatures that would have made the Middle East more green and fertile. It was this same cooling temperatures that triggered the Viking Raids in Northern Europe, since it became harder to farm.
#15046750
@Atlantis
The current conflicts in the Islamic world are the symptoms of Islam's inability to come to terms with modernity, they are not a "path to reformation". On the contrary, the conflicts prevent reform.

Disagree, the only way for the old traditional elements to be removed from power is through these conflicts, not because violence is a good solution, it's not, but because they'll force violent conflicts on any opposition.
The reformation in Europe wasn't all that peaceful either.

For society to improve it needs peace and stability.

Peace, stability, and the right leadership.
If any of those elements is not present, then it's useless.

The fragmented clan structure of countries in the wider ME prevent the creation of larger structures that would be able to improve society for the common good.

Strongly disagree.
The map of the middle east we see today isn't the true map of the actual nations in the middle east, rather it's a map drawn by foreign imperial powers to serve their own interests.

One of the most important steps in fixing the middle east is for the Sykes-Picot borders to be dissolved and a new map and borders drawn on the basis of the actual national identities in the middle east.

Islam culture prospered from the 9th to the 15th century when it controlled far-distant trade between the East and the West. The wealth accumulated from that trade improved social life, science and technology and the arts.

Again, false.
The prosperity was present in very limited regions.
The Islamic world back then was in a perpetual state of war ranging from foreign wars, conquests, invasions, and civil wars and uprisings.
That's how it always is with empires.
The solution is to dissolve the imperial borders, remove the ultra-conservative ruling classes, and establish a new map with new states based on national identities.

Unable to compete, the Islamist world retreated into religious fundamentalism and a rejection of modernity. I don't see any signs of change.

It didn't "retreat" into this leadership mentality, it was always there.

During the "golden age" of Islam that many seem to think was an amazing time period for some reason, genocides, large scale massacres, and oppression on a scale unseen before since the times of the Assyrian empire were all common place.

It is interesting to note that in the West, segments of the population that feel they are unable to compete retreat into right-wing populism, which has the hallmarks of religious fundamentalism in the Islamist world.

When the conditions are difficult, all populations tend to radicalize.
Religious extremism is not limited to when living conditions are difficult, quite the opposite, the most fanatic are often the wealthiest in the middle east.
#15046778
@anasawad, you miss the gist of my message by dissecting it and constructing formalistic arguments against its parts.

The facts are:

a) The heights of Islam civilization coincided with a period of relative prosperity accumulated by far-distant trade. The rise of European civilization and decline of Islam civilization starts with the European Renaissance when Europeans started to control the trade routes formerly controlled by Muslim traders.

b) Today, the decline of Muslim civilization leads to a retreat into religious fundamentalism and rejection of modernity, reminiscent of the rise of right-wing populism in the West among people who feel that they can no longer compete in the global market place.

The fact that the Islamic world was in a state of "perpetual war" doesn't change anything about the above. Like colonial Europe, Muslim leaders had to constantly consolidate their conquests.

Even if there are states in the MENA, it doesn't mean there is national identity. With the possible exceptions of Turkey, Iran, etc., in many countries, tribal structures are more important than national structures. During the golden age of Islam, religion served as a unifying force. Today, religion cannot fulfill that function for building a prosperous modern state since there is a clash between secular modernity and religious fundamentalism.

It goes without saying that even during the golden age of Islam, not all regions were equally prosperous, that doesn't change a) above.

The fact that the European Reformation led to terrible power struggles and wars doesn't mean that the Muslim world has to repeat that to today. The reformation or renewal required of the Islamic world today to adapt to modernity has nothing to do with the Protestant reformation. Wars and conflicts retard national development and prevent necessary reforms.

While overthrowing the old order often requires conflict, it isn't at all certain certain that conflicts will lead to better government. For example, the Iranian revolution did not lead to a modern state.

Even if religious fundamentalism "was always there" it isn't that dominant during times of prosperity and success. That some radicals like Bin Laden come from a very rich family doesn't change the validity of this argument, because they feel frustration not about their personal lack of prosperity but because of the general state of their society.

I hope I have addressed most of the point you raised.
#15046803
@Atlantis
I understand what you're saying, however, we disagree on the why in regards to why the Islamic world has such degrees of extremism and fundamentalism, and why this violence is spreading.

The things that are considered extreme and fundamental today have existed for many centuries in the Islamic world, including during the Abbasid caliphate.
The Wahabi movement is from the Hanbali school of thought which was born at the height of the Islamic civilization.
Those elements have always existed, have always had large support by many groups, and they were always violent; The only difference nowadays is that there is a movement challenging it, i.e the various reformation movement all across, and the old order is simply responding the same way it always had for centuries.

These groups aren't "retreating" to religious fundamentalism, they always were fundamentalists, so what we are seeing today isn't a new development, it's rather a continuation of what was already there.


Even if there are states in the MENA, it doesn't mean there is national identity. With the possible exceptions of Turkey, Iran, etc., in many countries, tribal structures are more important than national structures. During the golden age of Islam, religion served as a unifying force. Today, religion cannot fulfill that function for building a prosperous modern state since there is a clash between secular modernity and religious fundamentalism.

And this a huge point of disagreement.
The tribal structures in the middle east are nations in and of themselves.
Foreign media doesn't go much into exploring and explaining these structures and, as such, you end up with many, if not most, outsiders viewing tribes as these old nomadic barbaric groups in a too simplistic manner.
Tribes in the middle east number in the 100s of thousands and millions each, with governing structures, legal codes, various cultures, traditions, and languages, and a whole array of diplomatic and political arrangements between each other.
I, personally, originate from the Hazzar tribe in northeastern Iran, we're a Turko-Persianic tribe with millions of members, our own laws, constitution, taxes, governing bureaucracy, and even a queen and an army.
(Note: The bloodline I come from moved to Lebanon and merged with the Humaidiyyah tribe of the Beqa' valley a couple of centuries ago, so we're Lebanese. :p .)

Tribes are, also, not all the same; Some are wealthy, others poor, some follow Islamic law, others are secular, some follow socialistic systems and other capitalistic, etc.

If you looked at older maps of the middle east, you'll see dozens of small nations spread all across, empires drew most the current borders, and whenever two or more nations who were placed under the same state reach a high level of disagreement that harms one or more of them you get "civil wars", even if those civil wars are actually fought between two entirely different nations.

That's why in Syria, any civil conflict will usually end up north vs south, because Damascus and Aleppo were both capitals of different nations.
In Iraq, the "sectarian" conflict isn't being fought on sectarian lines but on national lines, because The Sunni tribes in the northwest are part of the Al-Hadid Arabs (Iron desert Arabs) and not the same nation as the mixed south and East.
In Saudi Arabia, any uprising always starts in the west, why? Because the west is called Hijaz and has been its own nation for literally thousands of years, only recently been conquered by Najd (The east) with the help of the British.
Yemen, under the current borders, will always have civil wars, because the north (The Houthis) are an entirely different nation from the south and don't want to be ruled by foreigners.

The same case in Libya today, it was 3 nations that the Italians put under one state, and whatcha know, whenever a civil war breaks out, you get 3 factions fighting each other on the exact same borders that they've had for centuries because none of them wants the other to rule over them.

And in all of these, the tribal structures form the basis of these national identities as, over the centuries of tribes merging, breaking up, and growing, you ended up with a few dozens of umbrella tribes that each has its own national identity, instead of the case of 100s of tribes a couple of thousands of years ago.


These modern conflicts are created by colonial empires primarily because, under the traditional empires of the region, each nation still ruled its self under a pseudo-federal system where many nations, each with its own governments and royalties, acting under the flag of the empire and following the orders of the empire.
When that system was removed, and instead of being replaced by one where each nation has its own state but a system where multiple nations are put under one state, everyone lost their self-governance and were effectively put under the military occupation of whoever runs this state ( which happened to be foreign-backed dictators).

The fact that the European Reformation led to terrible power struggles and wars doesn't mean that the Muslim world has to repeat that to today.

The current map forces that confrontation, and thus those wars.

For example, to take my own country, Lebanon. If we didn't fight against it, we were supposed to be put into a larger state with the Alawites and Jerusalem Palestinians (Gaza was its own nation and not the same one as that of Jerusalem). But either way, we ended up having the Druze in Lebanon and having several Bedouin Arabs in the country.
Why does this matter? Because the Druze are their own nation, with house Arsalan (now they split into two, house Arsalan and house Junblat) as their royalty; Putting them into the same state will always lead to conflict because the Druze wont accept being ruled by either Lebanese Christians or Muslims, nor will the Lebanese Christians and Muslims accept being ruled over by Druze. So, it led to war eventually.
Likewise, if the Palestinians were put under the same state, that'll also lead to war, as it already has since Palestinians who left Palestine escaping from Israeli occupation ended up refusing to follow the laws and customs of Lebanon since the two are very different, and thus they tried to establish their own state inside the country, and the aforementioned Arab Bediouns (primarily from southern Syria of Badiat Al-Sham, i.e formerly with Damascus as its capital and including much of northern Jordan as well) joined them in the fight because they too don't want to live under Lebanese laws and customs.

And for the Alawites, there has been 4 wars in Syria so far, including this one, where the Alawites have been a key faction, because the Alawites will refuse someone else's culture and laws be enforced on them, and when they take rule, others will refuse Alawite culture and laws be enforced on them.

Heck, even I personally would refuse to live under, let's say, a Salafist, or traditionalist Arab, or an Alawite government trying to enforce its beliefs on me, and would probably result to violence if it went too far.



Even if religious fundamentalism "was always there" it isn't that dominant during times of prosperity and success

The Hanbali school of thought, which is where Wahabism and Salafism come from, was born during the height of the Abbasid golden age.



EDIT: I forgot one line.
The reason why this map forces these conflicts is because it forces a confrontation.
If for example, we were discussing religion with a Wahabi conservative, doing it online or on some live forum might lead to results over time, but if either of us has to live under the rules and laws of the other, then we're both forced into a confrontation with each other.
And that's what's happening in the middle east today, not only you have the old religious orders growing in power due to controlling much larger states given to them by the British and the French primarily, but you also have all cultures, ideologies, and structures in the region forced into confrontation against each other.

Najdi Wahabis for example used to rule Najd, now they rule Najd, Hijaz, Qatif, and Shammar, even though none of those are Wahabis, so they're now forced into a confrontation.
User avatar
By SSDR
#15046814
anasawad wrote:The Islamic world has such degrees of extremism and fundamentalism, and why this violence is spreading.

Islam manipulates men to act very masculine, thus promoting a violent culture. Islam manipulates women into acting submissive, so that they can increase the confidence of their aggressive men. That is why the Islamic world is violent.
These groups aren't "retreating" to religious fundamentalism, they always were fundamentalists, so what we are seeing today isn't a new development, it's rather a continuation of what was already there.

It must be destroyed.
These modern conflicts are created by colonial empires primarily because, under the traditional empires of the region, each nation still ruled its self under a pseudo-federal system where many nations, each with its own governments and royalties, acting under the flag of the empire and following the orders of the empire.

Incorrect. These post industrial conflicts were created by Islam's violent, aggressive, masculine culture and values that the Islamic religion manipulates onto its followers.

Western Empires helped the Middle East. They industrialized it, modernized it, introduced progressive politics, and increased their standards of living. They also helped globalize the Middle East, which is more convenient for a socialist environment.
When that system was removed, and instead of being replaced by one where each nation has its own state but a system where multiple nations are put under one state, everyone lost their self-governance

This is because they are aggressive due to Islam's masculine manipulation.
and were effectively put under the military occupation of whoever runs this state ( which happened to be foreign-backed dictators).

The pre western imperialist monarch rules were far more oppressive, and less progressive.
structures in the region forced into confrontation against each other.

Islam is a very confrontational religion. It promotes a very direct, aggressive atmosphere.
Najdi Wahabis for example used to rule Najd, now they rule Najd, Hijaz, Qatif, and Shammar, even though none of those are Wahabis, so they're now forced into a confrontation.

They will all fight each other because they are aggressive due to being manipulated by Islam's aggressive, masculine values that lack real consciousness.
#15046877
@anasawad, our disagreement seems to be about the cause of the problem.

You claim that the borders imposed by the colonial rulers forced the natural nations into arbitrary political units that perpetuate conflict.

I claim that the relative lack of economic development due to historic events leads to a lack of development in the social and political spheres.

Are we agreed so far?

Unsurprisingly, you pull the victim card. I'm the first one to condemn recent US interference in the ME, which is the cause of much suffering. Naturally, I also condemn past European colonial conquests. However, the ME would have its conflicts even without these external influences. And when Europeans didn't interfere in the Arab world, Arabs intervened in Europe.

Thus, the role of victim can't be that easily attributed. Moreover, even today, regional powers play a bigger role than global powers. For example, in the Syrian proxy war, the role of the US/UK/France is minor compared to the role of Turkey/KSA, etc.

Regarding your idea of tribal nations, I don't think it is realistic. Many of these tribal nations would be land-locked or too small to be viable as independent states. Different tribal, ethnic or religious groups live intermingled in the same location. Trying to divide these groups into separate nation states would lead to ethnic cleansing and/or genocide followed by unending border disputes in which smaller entities would be swallowed up by bigger ones.

No, that definitely is no solution, even if it were possible to reverse history.

Finally, the MENA is not unique in having tribal structure. They exist(ed) everywhere on the planet. In Europe, the multi-ethnic Roman Empire replaced the "customary law" of its constituent ethnic or tribal groups by "positive law" that was valid for the whole empire about 2,000 years ago. The Holy Roman Empire (HRE) outlawed blood feuds about 1,000 years ago. We can see that honour killings or Mafia-style blood feuds are still a thing in the Balkans or Southern Italy, regions that were outside the HRE. The HRE consisted of dozens of small political units even more varied than the ME today. Why did the MENA fail to develop in a similar way?

Since your idea of tribal nations isn't realistic, the ME needs bigger units to develop. A type of EU for the ME is needed. The Arab League and various pan-Arab movements have failed. The Ottoman Empire for a time provided a degree of stability; however, different from the HRE, it was dominated by one ethnic group. The leader of the HRE was elected by the different local and religious leaders. For a time, the Court actually moved across the realm from one place to another and leaders from different parts could become leaders of the realm depending on their ability to defend the realm. In many ways, it's the precursor of the European Union. The HRE is also the core of the European Renaissance, which prospered by long-distance trade and which invented things like the movable type in printing. The printing press led to a tremendous boost for science and technology.

The Ottoman Empire was never physically separated from Europe like China or Japan. The Ottomans could have benefited from all the inventions of the European Renaissance like the printing press. Instead of adopting and developing these inventions, the Ottomans actually outlawed the printing press for about 2 centuries. When they did use European inventions like the large cannons developed by Hungarian engineers for the siege of Constantinople, the Ottomans failed to develop these inventions and consequently fell back.

Blaming the British or French for destroying the Ottoman Empire is like blaming Google or Apple for destroying Kodak. Kodak went bankrupt because it didn't adapt to digital technology. The Ottoman Empire collapsed because it failed to develop. The fate of the Ottomans was sealed in the 16th century when they failed to prevent the Portuguese from taking over the Far-East trade route. It wasn't that the Ottomans lacked sophistication. Quite on the contrary, but their ingenuity seems to have gone into preserving existing power structures or the fine arts. I guess totalitarian rule had something to do with it, but I have never really looked closely at the Byzantine structures of Ottoman rule.

Islam fundamentalism always existed just like Christian fundamentalism, but Christian fundamentalism is not widespread because the West is more developed than the Muslim world. Today, large segments of the Muslim world chooses religious fundamentalism over development. Religious fundamentalism is the problem not the solution. Even if religious fundamentalism existed during the so-called golden age, it wasn’t important because Muslim scholars of that period represented the state of the art, while today, the entire Muslim world of 1.6 billion people hardly accounts for more than 1% of global technological inventions.
#15046920
@Atlantis
Unsurprisingly, you pull the victim card.

It's not playing the victim card.
As I mentioned in my prior posts, these elements and the violence existed far before an entity called Britain or France even existed.
What I'm saying is that, the interference of colonial empires played to remove some of the buffer zones between the various groups and ideologies in the region, and, as such, removed one of the options for peace, being isolation or distance to say the least.

This isn't a "victim card", this is the logical conclusion of events that took place in the past century.

Moreover, even today, regional powers play a bigger role than global powers. For example, in the Syrian proxy war, the role of the US/UK/France is minor compared to the role of Turkey/KSA, etc.

True, regional powers play a larger role today, but in the example of Syria, Syria itself wouldn't have existed if the French hasn't created it, and if it didn't exist, then the frequency of conflicts would have been lower.
Prior to these borders, wars between these nations broke out once every 100 or so years on average, and, often, foreign interference played to reduce these conflicts and their severity either by enforcing peace or by presenting a larger threat to focus on.
These borders forced a confrontation, and thus increased the frequency of these conflicts, and the internal nature of the wars make it much messier and destructive.


Regarding your idea of tribal nations, I don't think it is realistic.

We don't have to "think" they're realistic, they already existed for 100s of years by now.

Why they ended up being like this is due to a whole array of factors that I discussed here before (in the forum, not the thread).

Many of these tribal nations would be land-locked

True, just like many others.

r too small to be viable as independent states.

The bloodline I belong to of my tribes has 700 thousand members.
The whole tribe is in excess of 10 million.
In Jordan, the two main tribes, bani hassan and Bani Sakher, each has a million + member.
In Iran, the 5 major tribes have each 5m + members.
In Egypt, Bani Sa'ad alone make up 8 million members.
Those are more than sufficient to form their own states.

Noting that they reached these sizes due to frequent mergers between tribes, often starting out as confederacies and ending up in mergers.
There was a research I put in another thread a while back explaining the evolution of nations from families to tribes to nations, I'll find it and put it here in an hour or so.

Different tribal, ethnic or religious groups live intermingled in the same location. Trying to divide these groups into separate nation states would lead to ethnic cleansing and/or genocide followed by unending border disputes in which smaller entities would be swallowed up by bigger ones.

With the exception of a few cities, they're already segregated.

A look at the middle eastern demographic and ethnic distribution maps would clearly show the old pre-colonial borders.

A type of EU for the ME is needed.

You mean like Al-Hadid tribes which are spread across Eastern Syria, Western Iraq, northeastern Jordan, and northern Saudi Arabia, who have been in confederacy with each other since atleast 3 centuries and co-operate in everything to a point where they became indistinguishable from each other?
Or the Iranian tribes which have been in a confederacy since the 1500s and are the reason why Iran has its current borders and map ?
Or the Lebanese tribes of the coast, the mountains, and the valley who have been in union for around 2500 years so far and are the reason why Lebanon as a nation exist in its modern form ?

Those structures already exist, and the reason you occasionally see the Sykes-Picot borders being broken is simply these old confederacies and unions re-asserting themselves.

The Arab League and various pan-Arab movements have failed. The Ottoman Empire for a time provided a degree of stability

The various current movements are almost unilaterally demanding the current borders to be dissolved and a return to a confederate system.
The Arab League is a failure because it attempts to give legitimacy to current borders.
And the Ottoman Empire only lasted so long because of Suleiman the magnificent's reforms that allowed each nation to maintain its own governance and borders, with the collapse of the Ottoman empire happening due to internal struggles for power alongside external rivalries and pressures.

Islam fundamentalism always existed just like Christian fundamentalism, but Christian fundamentalism is not widespread because the West is more developed than the Muslim world.

The only difference between the west and the Islamic world is that the west with Christianity already deposed this fundamentalism by force, while the Islamic world is still in the process of doing so.

Today, large segments of the Muslim world chooses religious fundamentalism over development. Religious fundamentalism is the problem not the solution. Even if religious fundamentalism existed during the so-called golden age, it wasn’t important because Muslim scholars of that period represented the state of the art, while today, the entire Muslim world of 1.6 billion people hardly accounts for more than 1% of global technological inventions.

If the majority chose it, then we wouldn't have this many wars and conflicts.
More accurately, the ruling elites chose it, and are in constant conflict over enforcing it, all while receiving massive funding from the sale of oil and natural resources.
#15046980
anasawad wrote:The only difference between the west and the Islamic world is that the west with Christianity already deposed this fundamentalism by force, while the Islamic world is still in the process of doing so.


Fundamentalism is a state of mind that cannot be "disposed of by force." The difference is that in the West, the state has the monopoly of power, while in the Arab world, strong tribal structures result in weak states.

If the majority chose it, then we wouldn't have this many wars and conflicts.
More accurately, the ruling elites chose it, and are in constant conflict over enforcing it, all while receiving massive funding from the sale of oil and natural resources.


That's an idealistic view of politics that's not borne out by reality in any country at any point in history. Even in the oldest democracies (like the UK), the people can be manipulated by the powers-that-be to vote against their own interests.

We have to pursue politics in the world we have not in the world we wished we had.

The "majority" can always be whipped into a jingoistic frenzy to support the wars the leaders want, as in the current Turkish invasion of Syria. And if the people are tired of war, the leaders know how to stage false flag operations and disinformation campaigns to persuade the people that they must go to war.
#15047001
@Atlantis
Fundamentalism is a state of mind that cannot be "disposed of by force." The difference is that in the West, the state has the monopoly of power, while in the Arab world, strong tribal structures result in weak states.

Those tribal structures are nations in and of themselves and trying to enforce a foreign rule on them will always result in instability and conflict.


And the radical elements, at this point, can only be deposed by force; Because, even though it is indeed a state a mind, this state of mind can not be confronted or argued with when it is enforced with guns.

When it's two people arguing, then it can be confronted peacefully; But, when one side is holding a gun and will shoot the other if not only they talk but even if they refuse to abide by the first's points of view, then that situation can not be solved peacefully.

That's an idealistic view of politics that's not borne out by reality in any country at any point in history. Even in the oldest democracies (like the UK), the people can be manipulated by the powers-that-be to vote against their own interests.

Dude, literally just follow Arab social media and news, there are reform movements and efforts everywhere with huge popular support, the only reason they're not achieving much is that the ruling classes crackdown with violence, occasionally extreme violence.

Saudi Arabia, the "most conservative country in the world" has a huge liberal reform movement, the reason why it still hasn't achieved any results is that the Wahabi ruling class crackdown using extreme violence, killing many and imprisoning and torturing many more.
When the "discussion" is one where if one side even tries to speak or disagree, the other side will imprison them, torture them, take away all their rights, and eventually kill them, that is not a discussion, that's oppression with extreme force and can only be ended and deposed by force.

The "majority" can always be whipped into a jingoistic frenzy to support the wars the leaders want, as in the current Turkish invasion of Syria. And if the people are tired of war, the leaders know how to stage false flag operations and disinformation campaigns to persuade the people that they must go to war.

Sure, and after using the same exact excuse dozens of times through several decades, people stop being effected.

And the Turkish actions regarding the Kurds over the past decades is further proof to the point I gave earlier.
Those are two entirely different nations forced to be under one state either by conquest.


Now, does this mean that there isn't a good portion of the population with radical and fundamental views? No, we both know those exist, alot of them; But you can't reasonably achieve any reforms or confront any fundamental ideas when these ideas are backed up by guns, you first have to remove the violent elements and balance the floor, then you can confront the bad ideas.
#15047171
@anasawad, democratic reform is a gradual process that takes many generations. It doesn't matter what young people in Saudi Arabia or Syria want today. Politics is a dynamic process in which the original intentions are often turned into their very opposite. Marx and Lenin wanted a worker's paradise. They didn't want Stalin's Gulag. Yet that is exactly what their movement led too. Hitler wanted to make "Germany great again", yet he ended up by destroying it. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." The protesters that started the revolt in Syria wanted democratic reforms, yet their movement ended up in the most terrible destruction and carnage the country has experienced. This is all common sense that has been played out in history a million times. There is no reason to repeat the same mistakes ad infinitum.
#15047254
@Atlantis
You don't build a country overnight, and you don't get freedom and liberty if you don't fight for it.
If the requirement for the people of the middle east to be free and have their rights guaranteed is a couple of decades of ruin, then so it be.
And if the only way is to burn it down and start over, then we'll gladly do.
After all, nothing much to lose really.

Plus, there are huge diasporas living outside the middle east who are willing to go back and help rebuild if there will be a free and open society based on laws and rights, and not on the whims of the ruling classes, ourselves (me and my wife and our wider families) included.
#15047367
anasawad wrote:@Atlantis
You don't build a country overnight, and you don't get freedom and liberty if you don't fight for it.
If the requirement for the people of the middle east to be free and have their rights guaranteed is a couple of decades of ruin, then so it be.
And if the only way is to burn it down and start over, then we'll gladly do.
After all, nothing much to lose really.

Plus, there are huge diasporas living outside the middle east who are willing to go back and help rebuild if there will be a free and open society based on laws and rights, and not on the whims of the ruling classes, ourselves (me and my wife and our wider families) included.

America was built by those fighting for their freedom. The problem is that it requires that we keep fighting for freedom or else take the chance on losing it.
#15047375
anasawad wrote:@Atlantis
You don't build a country overnight, and you don't get freedom and liberty if you don't fight for it.
If the requirement for the people of the middle east to be free and have their rights guaranteed is a couple of decades of ruin, then so it be.
And if the only way is to burn it down and start over, then we'll gladly do.
After all, nothing much to lose really.

Plus, there are huge diasporas living outside the middle east who are willing to go back and help rebuild if there will be a free and open society based on laws and rights, and not on the whims of the ruling classes, ourselves (me and my wife and our wider families) included.


The point is that a violent overthrow of a regime usually makes things worse and not better. That the regime change will lead to an improvement in the long term is pure speculation and cannot be proven. Even if there is improvement in future decades, it'll probably be due to other causes.

There is not one country where the Arab Spring has led to an improvement. Even in Tunisia, which holds on by a straw to a fragile democracy, the economic situation has deteriorated. And don't tell me that you are prepared to take economic suffering to achieve abstract values of human rights or democracy, because virtually every protest movement is motivated by economic hardship. The Arab Spring in Tunisia, the current protests in Iraq and Lebanon, the Yellow Vests in France, the violent protests in Chile, ..., they are all motivated by economic grievances.

There is no scenario in which a regime change in Syria would be an improvement, no matter how bad Assad's police state was in the past. Either Syria keeps on fighting a proxy war, or some jihadists take power to run a brutal and intolerant rule. When Bashar was called back to Damascus to take over from his father, he was rumored to be a reformer. It doesn't matter whether that was true or not because, as I explained before, original intentions often matter little. It's the circumstances that dictate the conduct of government. A ruler who needs to defend his regime against a violent opposition has to use violent means to defend his regime. If another tribal ruler manages to topple the regime, he'll have to use the same violent means, or even worse, to defend his own rule. There is simply no tradition of peaceful democratic change of government. Assad's chances of reforming Syria were dashed when G.W. Bush decided in 2008 (or even earlier) to undermine the Syrian regime. Thus, we'll never know if Assad would have managed to reform the regime. In Europe, there are still a number of monarchies that never had a revolution because the rulers agreed to gradually give up their power to an elected parliament over centuries.

All of the infighting in the ME is a thing of the past. It shouldn't happen today, because we won't have a future if we don't fight climate change all together. And don't tell me it doesn't concern you, because the ME will be hit particularly hard by increasing temperature and the shift away from fossil fuels.
#15047379
Atlantis wrote:@anasawad, democratic reform is a gradual process that takes many generations. It doesn't matter what young people in Saudi Arabia or Syria want today. Politics is a dynamic process in which the original intentions are often turned into their very opposite. Marx and Lenin wanted a worker's paradise. They didn't want Stalin's Gulag. Yet that is exactly what their movement led too. Hitler wanted to make "Germany great again", yet he ended up by destroying it. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." The protesters that started the revolt in Syria wanted democratic reforms, yet their movement ended up in the most terrible destruction and carnage the country has experienced. This is all common sense that has been played out in history a million times. There is no reason to repeat the same mistakes ad infinitum.

You think the ruling classes will just reform themselves out of existence, Atlantis? :eh: History tells us one thing over and over again - a ruling elite tends to regard its privileges as rights, and will not give them up without the most brutal struggle imaginable. The struggle of ordinary people to free themselves from oppression and exploitation will necessarily be violent and bloody. This is not to "repeat the mistakes of history", but to gain one's freedom in the only way possible. If something happens the same way over and over again throughout history, then maybe it's not a 'mistake', but a necessity? :eh:
#15047384
Potemkin wrote: This is not to "repeat the mistakes of history", but to gain one's freedom in the only way possible. If something happens the same way over and over again throughout history, then maybe it's not a 'mistake', but a necessity? :eh:


You have a teleological view of history. There is no end, no aim, just like there is no beginning. It's all cyclic. You have the choice between an unending cycle of violence, destruction and suffering, on the one hand, and a virtuous cycle of peace, prosperity and stability, on the other hand. When you switch from the vicious cycle to the virtuous cycle is irrelevant. The longer you perpetuate the vicious cycle, the greater the suffering and the harder it'll be to switch to the virtuous cycle. There is no need for hell or purgatory, the potential for enlightenment always exists. It is here and now or never.
#15047404
Atlantis wrote:You have a teleological view of history. There is no end, no aim, just like there is no beginning. It's all cyclic. You have the choice between an unending cycle of violence, destruction and suffering, on the one hand, and a virtuous cycle of peace, prosperity and stability, on the other hand. When you switch from the vicious cycle to the virtuous cycle is irrelevant. The longer you perpetuate the vicious cycle, the greater the suffering and the harder it'll be to switch to the virtuous cycle.

Tell that to the ruling elites of the West and of the Middle East, because I don't think they got the memo. :eh:

There is no need for hell or purgatory, the potential for enlightenment always exists. It is here and now or never.

On an individual level, that may well be true. After all, the Buddha achieved enlightenment more than two and a half millennia ago, when Rome was still a bandit stockade on the banks of the Tiber. But we are talking about the development of civilisation as a whole, which is bound by economic, technological and historical processes. These things simply take time to work themselves out. There can be no Zen-like moment of sudden enlightenment for human society as a whole.
#15047407
Potemkin wrote:This is not to "repeat the mistakes of history", but to gain one's freedom in the only way possible. If something happens the same way over and over again throughout history, then maybe it's not a 'mistake', but a necessity? :eh:


It's a mistake if the violence doesn't lead to "one's freedom" at all. Though you could argue those mistakes have to be made to ultimately be successful.
#15047408
Rugoz wrote:It's a mistake if the violence doesn't lead to "one's freedom" at all. Though you could argue those mistakes have to be made to ultimately be successful.

Most revolutions are blood-drenched and usually have unpleasant unintended consequences, but they generally work, even when they seem to fail. It's been estimated that about a fifth of the entire population of the UK were killed during the revolutions and civil wars of the 17th century, but without those revolutions and civil wars, Britain would never have established the political freedoms which we currently have. On paper, the monarchy ultimately won those revolutions and civil wars, but in practice the monarchy was tamed and forever abandoned any attempt to establish a despotism.

Likewise, the French Revolution ultimately 'failed', since the Bourbon monarchy was returned to power after 1815, but without the French Revolution we would be living in a very different world today.

Historical progress is not a gradual, peaceful process. There will be blood. But there will also be progress. And even a failed revolution is a crucial step forward.
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