The Arab silent majority

Yousseff Ibrahim argues in the New York Sun ($link) that the majority of Muslims want to be free of backward the fundamentalists in their midst. I don't know if he is right that his views are representative of the majority, but, like me, he thinks the Arab League's response to Hezbollah's pleas for support, was an earth—shattering moment. And he points to key members of the Arab press as additional evidence for his position:

Abdul Rahman al—Rashed, the general manager of Al—Arabiya, possibly the most influential Arab opinion—maker today, was categorical yesterday: "We have lost most of our causes and the largest portions of our lands following fiery speeches and empty promises of struggle coupled with hallucinating, drug—induced political fantasies." As for joining Hezbollah in its quest, his answer was basically, "you broke it, you own it."

* Tariq Alhomayed, editor in chief of the Arab daily Asharq al—Awsat, stuck the dagger in deeper: "Mr. Nasrallah bombastically announced he consulted no one when he decided to attack Israel, nor did he measure Lebanon's need for security, prosperity, and the safety of its people. He said he needs no one's help but God's to fight the fight." Mr. Alhomayed's punch line was, in so many words: Go with God, Sheik Nasrallah, but count the rest of us out.

Several other Arab pundits, not necessarily coordinating their commentary, noted that today Sheik Nasrallah has been reduced to Osama bin Laden status, a fugitive from Israeli justice, sending out his tapes from unknown locations to, invariably, Al—Jazeera, the prime purveyor of Mr. bin Laden's communications.
All in all, it seems that when Israel decided to go to war against the priestly mafia of Hamas and Hezbollah, it opened a whole new chapter in the Greater Middle East discourse. And Israel is finding, to its surprise, that a vast, not—so—silent majority of Arabs agrees that enough is enough. To be sure, beneath the hostility toward Sheik Nasrallah in Sunni Muslim states lies the deep and bitter heritage of a 14—century Sunni—Shiite divide, propelled to greater heights now by fears of an ascendant Shiite "arc of menace" rising out of Iran and peddled in the Sunni world by Syria.

The sooner this is settled the better.

Clarice Feldman   7 18 06

Yousseff Ibrahim argues in the New York Sun ($link) that the majority of Muslims want to be free of backward the fundamentalists in their midst. I don't know if he is right that his views are representative of the majority, but, like me, he thinks the Arab League's response to Hezbollah's pleas for support, was an earth—shattering moment. And he points to key members of the Arab press as additional evidence for his position:

Abdul Rahman al—Rashed, the general manager of Al—Arabiya, possibly the most influential Arab opinion—maker today, was categorical yesterday: "We have lost most of our causes and the largest portions of our lands following fiery speeches and empty promises of struggle coupled with hallucinating, drug—induced political fantasies." As for joining Hezbollah in its quest, his answer was basically, "you broke it, you own it."

* Tariq Alhomayed, editor in chief of the Arab daily Asharq al—Awsat, stuck the dagger in deeper: "Mr. Nasrallah bombastically announced he consulted no one when he decided to attack Israel, nor did he measure Lebanon's need for security, prosperity, and the safety of its people. He said he needs no one's help but God's to fight the fight." Mr. Alhomayed's punch line was, in so many words: Go with God, Sheik Nasrallah, but count the rest of us out.

Several other Arab pundits, not necessarily coordinating their commentary, noted that today Sheik Nasrallah has been reduced to Osama bin Laden status, a fugitive from Israeli justice, sending out his tapes from unknown locations to, invariably, Al—Jazeera, the prime purveyor of Mr. bin Laden's communications.
All in all, it seems that when Israel decided to go to war against the priestly mafia of Hamas and Hezbollah, it opened a whole new chapter in the Greater Middle East discourse. And Israel is finding, to its surprise, that a vast, not—so—silent majority of Arabs agrees that enough is enough. To be sure, beneath the hostility toward Sheik Nasrallah in Sunni Muslim states lies the deep and bitter heritage of a 14—century Sunni—Shiite divide, propelled to greater heights now by fears of an ascendant Shiite "arc of menace" rising out of Iran and peddled in the Sunni world by Syria.

The sooner this is settled the better.

Clarice Feldman   7 18 06