Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Barry Rubin: The Sad Fate of Arab Moderates

You have to feel sorry for those courageous enough to be Arab moderates. Most of your countrymen hate you, the government wants to crush you, the Islamists want to kill you, and the West doesn’t want to help you. I told this story in my book, The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East.
Despite all the endless talk of finding moderates in the Arab world, the real ones—few and far between—generally get ignored while preening, posturing extremists are treated as romantic figures.
So given all this pressure, the limited space permitted for free thought, the moderates have to talk like radicals to survive. In political terms, faced with the battle between the two giant movements of Islamism and Arab nationalism, they have to choose sides. Most liberals back their governments even though these are repressive dictatorships as a lesser of two evils to living under an Iran-, Gaza-, or Taliban-type state.

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