As the massive unrest in Libya continues into its eighth day on Tuesday — reportedly more than 230 people have been killed so far — and despite declaring he’s still in control, Moammar Gadhafi is reaching the point of no return — meaning he’s about to flee Libya without a chance of returning.
The popular uprisings from Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and beyond are changing the political, and the revolutionary stance of the Middle East — jihad is out, democracy just might be in, leaving terrorists/insurgents/extremists all dressed-up with nowhere to go.
And all of George Jr.’s multi-billion dollar Global War on Terror has come to naught, Osama bin Laden and his boys made irreverent by Twitter, Facebook accounts.
(Illustration found here).
A note on the issue from the Brookings Institute in a post this morning: Winners and losers today could reverse position soon. But one can suggest at least one implication.The jihadist narrative of al Qaeda has suffered a serious blow. If there is a springtime of freedom in the Arab and Islamic worlds, one loser is Osama bin Laden and his gang.
Osama promised change, but this entire situation is counter to his methods.
The next few weeks will be interesting as a decade’s worth of killing and destroying has made a turn in the road, both with the US and al-Qaeda being caught with their weaponry exposed, displaying two stupid, dumb-ass operations as wrong-headed and disastrous.
In an astute observation, Andrew J. Bacevich, a former US military officer and now professor of history and international relations at Boston University, notes the fervent revolutions spreading across the Arab world is a home-grown phenomenon.
From a Sunday piece in the LA Times:
Relying on their own resources and employing means of their own devising, the people of the Middle East intent on transforming that region have effectively consigned the entire “war on terror” to the category of strategic irrelevance.
When first conceived in the wake of 9/11, two convictions underpinned that war.
According to the first, precluding further attacks on the United States meant that the Islamic world needed to change.
According to the second, because Muslims were manifestly unable to change on their own, the United States needed to engineer the process, with American military might serving as catalyst.
Freedom (or at least submission) would issue from the barrel of a GI’s assault rifle.
It now turns out that those exertions were unnecessary or, at the very least, superfluous.
For nine years, the U.S. has been pushing in on a door that opens outward.
More amazing still, that door swings open of its own volition.
Events of the last several weeks have made it abundantly clear not only that important parts of the Islamic world are ripe for change but that the impetus for change comes from within.
Transformation is not something that outsiders can induce or impose or control.
The process is organic, spontaneous and self-sustaining.
First, when it comes to divining history’s purposes and intentions, the world’s only superpower is clueless. “The whole drama of history,” the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr once observed, “is enacted in a frame of meaning too large for human comprehension or management.”
True when he wrote it more than half a century ago, the passage remains true today, notwithstanding the wonders of computers, iPhones and social networking.
Second, to disregard Niebuhr’s counsel is to incur severe penalties.
Arrogance invites punishment.
The punishment that the United States has sustained in Iraq and Afghanistan merits not simply remembrance but sorrowful reflection: These were needless losses.
For those who once advocated preventive war as the shortest path to peace, sackcloth and ashes might be appropriate.
At the same time, however, we might take some small consolation in this: The demonstrators filling the streets in Cairo, Tunis, Tripoli, Algiers, Manama, Sana and Tehran give every indication of dreaming dreams not entirely dissimilar from our own.
Rather than rejecting modernity, as radical Islamists such as Osama bin Laden have urged, these protesters want a bigger slice of what modernity has to offer.
Though not guaranteeing harmonious coexistence, this convergence of aspirations does suggest that a cosmic clash of civilizations is avoidable.
A wonder: Osama and terror itself rendered ineffective by democratic dreams.