Nothing about the Arab uprisings is crystal clear, however signs point to America’s preference for pro-capitalist religious groups over those that lean leftward.
A recent blog by the French activist Thierry Meyssan refers to conspiracy theories surrounding New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s Muslim wife, Huma Abedin, long-time Hillary Clinton associate. Reading up on these accusations, I noticed that Ms Abedin, whose mother heads the women’s section of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Sisterhood, has been defended by several major Republican figures, starting with John McCain, who unequivocally represent American capit-lism.
Though taking Meyssan’s convoluted assertions with a grain of salt, given the need for oil from an area long ruled by religion, it is not hard to believe that the United States took the practical decision to work with ‘moderate’ Muslims, that is pro-capitalist Muslims instead of trying to secularize them. American willingness to negotiate with the Afghan Taliban that is presently threatening to break our ties to President Karzai, our hitherto ally could not be more eloquent. And this is just one example of an apparently incoherent Middle East policy.
Though Sunnis occasionally lean left, as was the case with Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party, leftist Muslims are usually found among Shi’as, such as the Iranian and Syrian governments. Though Western media refer to the Iranian ‘Revolution’ of 1979, they avoid identifying it with its predecessors, the French, Russian Chinese or Cuban revolutions, all of which are associated with idea of equity.
In the case of Syria, the media never mentions that Assad’s is the only secular Arab regime, that its eduction system is modeled on the French (Syria having been a French protectorate before independence), that as under up-from-the-military-ranks dictator Saddam Hussein, women enjoy Western-style equality, from divorce to education to careers.
Whether or not Anthony Weiner’s wife is a closet Islamist or not, it is a fact that the U.S. first backed Morsi than decided to ditch him, perhaps fearing a change from the dependable policy vis a vis Israel of Mubarak. Similarly, the Egyptian military was trained in the United States (practicing Muslim General al-Sisi appearing to incarnate the ‘young dynamic’ ruler wished for by the secular opposi-tion group Tamarod...), and that responding to ‘calls from the people’ to topple rulers is right out of the US playbook.
And yet, military might cannot ensure a coherent American Middle East policy, given the myriad expediencies that cloud the region’s fundamental rivalries: secular vs. religious, Sunni vs. Shi’a, left vs. right, traditionalists vs. moderns, ‘democratizing’ Sunni’s represented by the Brotherhood vs. socializing Shi’a Alawites. We can expect more confusion in Washington as Tamarod groups gain momentum, via the internet, in Alawite Syria, Sunni Tunisia and Bahrain, which hosts the Sixth Fleet. As in Musliim Brotherhood Turkey, this phenomenon born in Egypt represents those who reject both religious rule and shopping malls.