23 February '11
An article in yesterday’s Irish Independent by Kevin Myers is a gem that deserves to be widely read outside the Emerald Isle. Entitled “Little Hope of Democracy as Arab Despots Overthrown,” it observes, inter alia:
‘Short-term good seldom results from revolutions. It certainly does not result from revolutions in Muslim societies in which the local imam is usually the font of both civic and criminal law, and where tolerance of others is merely conditional. The fate of the Turkish city of Smyrna after the fall of the Ottoman Empire remains a bloody and terrible warning about the consequences of revolution in a Muslim society: according to Edward Hale Bierstadt of the US Emergency Committee, about 100,000 Christians were butchered, and another 160,000 deported to the interior of Turkey. One of those who managed to escape was an Aristotle Onassis.
That was in 1922, a year after the great Cairo conference, which was intended to settle the Middle East for all time. That gathered 90 years ago this week, with its dispensations expected to be cast in rock. Yet the single institution that has actually survived was actually then the weakest, the house of Ibn Saud. So impoverished was his kingdom that his annual subsidy from Britain of £100,000 actually exceeded the income from all his lands, of which he was both king and imam.
We know his kingdom today as Saudi Arabia. No one could have foreseen the catastrophic consequences of fostering such a creature: for the first Saudi oil concession was only made in 1933. The toxic, fundamentalist creed of Wahabbism, which both Ibn Saud and his heirs subsidised and exported, has since made peaceful civil governance in almost every Muslim country today virtually impossible.
Cairo in the spring of 1921 was therefore faced with a classic case of Donald Rumsfeld's "unknown unknowns": no one had the least idea that beneath the sands of the Ibn Saud's lands lay the largest and most accessible oil reserves in the world.’
Kevin Myers predicts that, “almost certainly,” the future of the secular Arab despotisms now in revolt will be Islam. And he make this very pertinent comment regarding the double standards with which left-liberals in the West treat Israel:
'Had the butchery of Tripoli or Cairo or Yemen taken place in Israel, hundreds of thousands of protesters in European capitals would have been denouncing the cruel Jews.
Had the US journalist Lara Logan been grabbed and sexually violated by a mob of Israeli men, feminists across the world would rightly have been protesting. But she was instead the victim of a frenzied sex attack in Cairo by a score of Arabs, and there is accordingly silence.
In an ever-changing world, some things never change: and to the western liberal mind, the only real villains in the Middle East can only ever be Jewish.'
For the entire article:
And on the subject of Middle East democracies see Melanie Phillips's characteristically marvellous piece here:
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