What’s happening is amazing. I get the feeling that 2011 for North Africa is going to be like what 1989 was for Europe. Maybe it’s premature to say that. I don’t know. But definitely, something has snapped.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, 30 January 2011
On January 30, 1933, after a decade of Nazi electoral struggle, Reich President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler, a vicious ideologue with a gift for insincere diplomacy, as Chancellor of Germany in a coalition cabinet of “national concentration.” “Just like a fairy tale,” Goebbels, soon to be his propaganda minister, wrote in his diary. As noted by Ian Kershaw in Hitler: A Biography, few would have believed it possible but a year earlier. Hitler quickly set out to eliminate his Leftist enemies, his Rightist rivals, and–with slowly gathering lethality–the Jews. So skillfully did he play the moderate that, when he unleashed his first orgy of violence that February he was able to blame undisciplined underlings for the bloodshed. That is what he continued to do right through Reichskristallnacht in November 1938, the first great pogrom against Germany’s Jews, and even in the Holocaust, which some historians blame more on his subordinates than on the Fuehrer himself. Yet he had made his intentions clear in numerous speeches over the years, and even in the pages of Mein Kampf as well. Tragically, few wished to listen.
The Muslim Brotherhood, with an implacably anti-Western, anti-secular, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, anti-female, Muslim-supremacist ideology, plus organization and tactics directly influenced by the Nazis–who armed and financed it in the 1940s–has waited even longer for this moment. The MB seems finally in a position to take the prize of total state power, toward which it has been plodding through the sands of the political wilderness since 1928, its eyes always fixed on that longed-for horizon. Yet most of the world still sees its leaders not as they are, but as they wish them to be: moderate, liberal, interested more in economic well-being than holy war, at least for the sake of being reelected next time. But we have no evidence at all at that they have changed so far, no reason to think that they will change later, nor that there will be a chance to vote them out in future. The MB, like Hamas, its Palestinian branch (which won elections in 2006, then grabbed power in a coup in 2007, and has not let go since), is not apt to yield control peacefully. Like Hamas, they deserve not to be bribed with aid that they will only use against us, but to be offered help only if they loudly and repeatedly renounce–in Arabic, the only language that counts to their constituents–their most deep-seated beliefs and objectives. Yet even that would likely prove illusory: bitter experience with Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban and other Islamist movements, shows that their ideology is far more important to them than their people’s security and prosperity. Still, from officials, experts and pundits who should know better, despite some pro forma appeals for vigilance, we are mostly asked just to wait–until it could be too late.