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Thread: Islamist Terrorism as a Pillar of the Middle East Status Quo

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    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Islamist Terrorism as a Pillar of the Middle East Status Quo

    Thinking things over today, an idea clicked for me about Middle East stability and terrorism.

    We all recognize that political tyranny and poverty serve as sources for "revolutionary" efforts -- and that the powers that be in the Middle East wish to remain, as stably as possible, in power under the existing status quo.

    Consider the possibility that Islamist terrorism, with its virulently anti-Israel & anti-Western "imperialism" focus, does NOT de-stabilize the M.E. as is commonly thought, but actually serves as a stabilizing force by giving the potential revolutionaries within many of those societies an "acceptable" target for their rage -- and a target which the powers-that-be would much prefer as opposed to revolutionary efforts being focused on the powers-that-be.

    Whenever a real threat materializes that some kind of fundamentalist caliphate will take hold, the powers-that-be put up relatively little resistance to having that group/region "thinned out" a bit. Nobody intervened in the Iran-Iraq conflict -- stalemate is fine and the Iranians were being thinned out nicely -- but hlep was accepted to boot Saddam out of Kuwait and return things to the status quo.


    Thus:

    Saudi "unofficial" support for Islamist terrorism -- but official hammering of any cells that show potential to destabilize Saudi Arabia itself.

    Egyptian squelching of extremist elements within Egypt -- but a very passive level of effort to bring to justice the numerous Egyptian-born terrorist leaders.

    Iran's failure to stage a "night of the long knives" against the Revolutionary Guard -- but tacit allowance of that guard to make trouble at the fringes or support terror efforts elsewhere. Gives the mullahs a wonderfully deniable tool, no?

    Hezbollah as proxy warrior v. Israel. Whatever else, Hezbollah and the home-grown Hamas have dominated Israel's attention for a decade or more while allowing an outlet for anti-Israeli aggression -- and relative calm in the other M.E. capitals.


    Terrorism then, is a sort of jackleg instution that promotes stability in the Middle East and this is the source of its continuance and success.


    Thoughts?
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

    "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." -- H. L. Mencken

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    Senior Member Senior Member Duke John's Avatar
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    Default Re: Islamist Terrorism as a Pillar of the Middle East Status Quo

    Consider the possibility that Islamist terrorism, with its virulently anti-Israel & anti-Western "imperialism" focus, does NOT de-stabilize the M.E. as is commonly thought, but actually serves as a stabilizing force by giving the potential revolutionaries within many of those societies an "acceptable" target for their rage
    I don't get what kind of revolutions terrorists would start if they weren't placing bombs. It seems like you think they want it both ways: terrorize and keep the status quo (as they "protest" against western influence/change of their country) or revolution to change the status quo. Or are you thinking of "backwards" revolutions?

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    Insomniac and tired of it Senior Member Slyspy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Islamist Terrorism as a Pillar of the Middle East Status Quo

    No, he is saying that the terrorists are actually useful for maintaining the status quo in the Middle East because it keeps radical (revolutionary if you like) attentions focused outside of the area. That, if say, the Islamist groups didn't have the bogeymen of Israel and the West then perhaps they would turn their aims inwards, against the governments of their own nations.

    In effect, he is saying that the Saudi government (as an example) has a vested interest in keeping anti-Western sentiments high because it means that Saudi nutters are busy killing Westerners rather than members of the House of Saud.
    "Put 'em in blue coats, put 'em in red coats, the bastards will run all the same!"

    "The English are a strange people....They came here in the morning, looked at the wall, walked over it, killed the garrison and returned to breakfast. What can withstand them?"

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    Member Member Spetulhu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Islamist Terrorism as a Pillar of the Middle East Status Quo

    Quote Originally Posted by Slyspy
    In effect, he is saying that the Saudi government (as an example) has a vested interest in keeping anti-Western sentiments high because it means that Saudi nutters are busy killing Westerners rather than members of the House of Saud.
    Isn't it always so in politics? Groups are always on the lookout for something, anything, to secure their own position. Sometimes the only way of keeping yourself acceptably hated is having someone else even more hated to blame. Groups like Hizbollah and the different Palestinian organisations are violently opposed to Al-Quaida since it would bring too much War-on-Terror into their little turf war with the Israelis.
    If you're fighting fair you've made a miscalculation.

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    Come to daddy Member Geoffrey S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Islamist Terrorism as a Pillar of the Middle East Status Quo

    It's an age-old tactic, almost exactly what the Soviet Union would have done. Stamp down on revolutionaries at home, or divert them to other possible areas in need of a little communist comradeship. Keeps the status quo quite nicely, until the old guard is thinned out and the new blood turns out not to have completely abandoned more revolutionary ideas; in the SU those turned out to be a form of democracy, but what could such a younger generation create in the Middle-East?
    "The facts of history cannot be purely objective, since they become facts of history only in virtue of the significance attached to them by the historian." E.H. Carr

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