By Khalid Amayreh
January 27, 2015
Today, tyrannical Arab regimes are effectively presenting two stark choices to tens of millions of disillusioned Arab youths from Bahrain to Casablanca: Either they come to terms with the repressive but triumphant police-state fascism, or join the ranks of IS, al-Qaeda or similar violent groups. This is precisely the dilemma behind the outbreak of Islamist violence in the Middle East in recent years.
Arab masses had hoped that the so-called Arab Spring would bring about the long-awaited democratic transformation which most Arabs had been longing for ever since the end of the direct colonialist era in the 1940s and 1950s.
However, the free slaughter of revolutionary forces, as in the Rabaa Square in Cairo and in Syria, as well as the ostensible proclivity of most western countries to revert to the old days of embracing criminal Arab tyrants, convinced Arab youths of the utter futility of counting on western democracy for effecting reforms in the Arab region.
Many people in the Arab world simply became convinced that the West, to which most dictatorial Arab regimes are more or less answerable, would never ever allow the "wrong" forces, however popular they may be, to reach power in Arab capitals.
Indeed, the shocking absence of any morally meaningful reactions to the genocidal mayhem at Rabaa more than two years ago, seemed to vindicate this view.
Even today, after thousands have lost their lives, thousands tortured and abused, tens of thousands detained on concocted charges, and hundreds sentenced to death by farcical courts, the west is yet to decide how to act in this regard.
Indeed, thanks to the bloody coup against the democratically elected President Muhammed Mursi, most Arab youths have lost every spectre of faith in democracy. In fact, belief in brute force has already replaced faith in democracy among most Arabs. This does explain the fact that many more Arab youths have come to admire violent organizations such as IS and Qaeda.
One can also dare speculate that thousands of young people would swell the ranks of these violent groups if the gates of peaceful reforms remained hermetically shut off in their faces as is the case in Egypt, where article 74 of the Sissi constitution outlaws any political party based on Islam. In other words, one has to adopt a secular or atheistic ideology in order to qualify for political participation.
This draconian law really raises a lot of eyebrows, especially in light of the fact that 96% of Egypt's 90 million population adhere to Islam. In other words, 96% of the people of Egypt are effectively barred from taking part in political life because of their religion. Unfortunately, western circles have paid little attention to this issue.
As a long-time observer of radical Islamist groups I am thoroughly convinced that the exacerbation of dictatorship in most Arab states is the most premier reason for the so-called "Islamist terror in the West."
That is why any genuine treatment of Islamist violence, especially in the West, must necessarily include a pro-active, preferably collective, European stance against Arab tyrants who deny their masses basic human rights and civil liberties.
Don't you ever believe those who would tell you that violent Islamists attacks on western targets, in the West itself and abroad, are attributed to their fanatic ideology or because they detest western freedoms and lifestyles.
I do sincerely believe that the West would cut the occurrences of acts of terror by violent Islamists by 90% if it stopped its wanton support for criminal anti-Islamic regimes in the Arab world. These criminal regimes simply push these misguided young men to desperation and violence.
Israel Is Factor
Yes, Israel is a factor in generating anti-western sentiments in the Arab-Islamic world. However, the deepening of official Arab tyranny, which failed and continue to fail Arab masses in every conceivable sphere, is by far the main factor behind the desperation and frustration now overwhelming millions of Arab youths.
These youths are watching Israel murder Palestinian children by the hundreds and escape with impunity. They also watch the Nazi-like entity decapitate any remaining chances for establishing a viable Palestinian state by expanding Jewish settlements in every part and corner of the West Bank.
This occurs as Arab regimes continue to display utter impotence vis-à-vis Israeli insolence and arrogance of power, while unrelentingly tormenting and decimating their own people for crying out for liberty.
Arab youths also watch the security apparatuses in their respective countries brutally swoop on any expression of freedom and democracy while western capitals keep repeating the same stale platitudes, which we heard ad nauseam for many decades.
A last word, I sincerely believe the security measures being taken by some western governments will eventually be proven inadequate. In the final analysis, security in Paris and London and elsewhere in the West is increasingly affected by the status of human rights and civil liberties in certain Arab capitals.
Khalid Amayreh is a Palestinian journalist living in occupied Palestine