Not all islamist organizations are the same

The US and western media would like you to believe that all Islamists organizations are the same: Al-Qaida style. This way you see Islam only through the lens of Al-Qaida and extremism. This is rather a simplistic vision.

Counterpunch and Clancy Chassay prove the contrary.
''In fact Al Qaeda is generally considered to be more concerned with waging war against its Muslim counterparts than against the countries of the West.
"Al Qaeda's priority is to confront domestic enemies, be they Shiites or reformists who are accused of being contaminated by western ideas," says Amal Saad Ghorayeb a specialist on militant Islamism at the Lebanese American University, "They consider them more pressing than tackling the US and Israel head on."
Ghorayeb believes Hamas' emphasis on defining and confronting American interference in the region and its active role in resisting Israel enables it to compete better with Al Qaeda for regional Muslim support than less militant groups like the Muslim Brotherhood who focus more on religious dogmatism.
"Hamas represents a popular and legitimate alternative to Al Qaeda in that it has the militant credentials of the other group, but at the same time it is also fully integrated into its society, which enables it to be a political player and interact with the international communityThis gives them a huge edge vis-à-vis the Salafi Islamists." ''

Chassay argues for a distinction between those whose main goal is to topple their own governments like the muslim brotherhood (Egypt) and Al-Qaida (Saudi Arabia) and those who fight outside injustice provoked by Israel and middle eastern US policy. This is creating a divide among these organizations. However, Chassay misses a point: Even those who fight their own governements, they fight indirect consequences of US foreign policy which supports these governments against the will of their people and this is why they exported their fight on US soil like Al-Qaida. He misses also another distinction: those who export their fight against their government like The Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaida because of their opressive regimes and those who don't export their fight like Hamas.

As the struggle for the palestinian cause among arabs is very popular, arab regimes who are fighting violent internal dissent might want to support Hamas. This way, they buy legitimacy. Recent political moves prove that Hamas is willing to give them this lost legitimacy in return for financial and monetary support. My worry is that the american masters of these regimes will not let them proceed without constraints and as they like. Without american pressure, these countries may be good candidates for brokering a good peace deal for the Israeli-palestinian conflict and in fact saudi Arabia had one after the collapse of Camp david in 2000.

However, I don't think the US is really interested in curbing muslim uprising because if this is the case it should be willing to give these countries some latitude in their dealings with Hamas and political matters related to arab interests and some more latitude on the international level. Wait and See !

You may notice also that US foreign policy got it all wrong in the middle east. It is supporting undemocratically elected, Egyptian, Jordanian and Saudis rulers against the will of their people and fighting the democratically elected Hamas against the will of the palestinian people. So much for democracy !

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Since March 29th 2006