Jihadists and the President-Elect

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fawaz Gerges, professor in Middle East and International Affairs at Sarah Lawrence College and the author of Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy, talks about how the election of Barack Obama affects the jihadist movement.


Fawaz Gerges

Comments [13]

Jack Reylan

For his vitreous gaze and vitriolic bigotry, Auburndale LI Zeus priest "Palestinian Paul" is seen Osama been Hiding.

Nov. 24 2008 03:55 PM

Notice the way the guest, Prof. Gerges, took this new traction, a new president -- and used it to argue that each one of the Arab issues must be fixed for any one of them to be?

This approach MUST be used by every advocate of better health care, reformed credit card and banking practices, greener transport and better foods, AT THIS TIME OF "THE GREAT UNLOCKING OF THE US VAULTS."

Not only are the traditional arguments against deregulation now dead -- but all our money is being distributed on this day and on these weeks.

Just as Palestine and Israel are linked by the guest to solving the problem of Iraq,
so should banking and auto bailouts be linked to solving some of our other, separate crisis.

Nov. 12 2008 11:46 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

A Sharia Court is definitely something one wants to avoid. There can only be one judicial system and it should be a secular one.

That said, the reason that Europe has a radicalized Muslim problem is because in spite of all the accusations of racism in the United States, this country provides a level of inclusiveness that Europe does not. Radical Islam has found (relatively) barren ground in the United States, and while Europe has a host of well-known radical Islamic leaders, the United States has virtually none. This isn't because the United States is too tough to let this happen. It's because the United States provides economic freedom and ladders for social mobility that Europe doesn't. When one has a sense of hope, there is little incentive to move to radical violence.

What does NOT help is anti-Muslim rhetoric. Accusing a Presidential candidate of being a secret al-Qaeda operative because some people in his family were Muslim. Saying that our God has to beat their God. Holding pig races around mosques. Deporting imams. This makes Muslims afraid and angry and for good reason. It is precisely the real, practical things that make America great, that the patriots point to as being worth preserving and protecting from threats abroad that have improved the situation far moreso than the scalding rhetoric and ideology that these virtues have spawned.

Nov. 12 2008 11:43 AM
khadija from Broolyn, NY

Fawaz's comments are, oh, so typical! Full of passion, uninformed, angry and, yes, racist.

My name is Khadija (the first believer). I am born Muslim. Raised in a secular fashion. I am 56 and half years old. I've lived in NYC since 1987. I still harbor, patiently, a sense of vengeance, re-911. I, a pseudo "pacifist", shall embrace, and support any decision by the next Administration to implement the international right of Hot Pursuit. Osama Bin Laden needs to be taken out and his body or remains exhibited for the world to see. He is the ultimate APOSTATE, posing as the incarnation of Prophet Mohamed (symbols: caves, spider webs, etc...). Muslims all over the globe have suffered and are ostracized because of a narcissitic megalomaniac....

Pseudo Jihad has nothing to do w/Islam. As all else, it has to do w/lust for power. Sadly, there was no there- there at the helm for the past 8 years. And I shan't begin in recounting multitudes of conspiracies, emanating from various regions of the world, mostly from types who would have been perfect recruits for the SS.
kb- Brooklyn, NY

Nov. 12 2008 11:35 AM
Charles Lukoba from Newark, NJ

Brian you made an error.
It's important to mention that Obama grandfather (Onyango Hussein Obama) was the one who converted to Islam & his father was not really a Muslim.
His grandfather converted in order to marry a Muslim woman called Helima from Zanzibar.

Nov. 12 2008 11:28 AM
sam from brooklyn

What's the big deal with the Sharia courts? The Orthodox Jews have a Bet-Din to guide them and navigate the secular world and resolve their internal disputes. Is that sabotaging American freedom in any way?

Nov. 12 2008 11:27 AM
Marco from Manhattan

Before the recent spike in oil prices the members of the Arab League (population 300 million) had a combined GDP roughly equal to that of Holland, Belgium and mighty Luxembourg. The problem with the Arab world is that overpopulation, poor education, discrimination against women all conspire to drag down their societies.

Nov. 12 2008 11:26 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

The question is not really about the hardcore radicals. They are not salvageable.

But while THEIR campaign may be based solely on religion and not on politics, the support they get from the population at large is very much based on politics. Political goodwill will marginalize them, but only a fool would consider that to be the end of the story. And it is those who can't see beyond the military that try to make diplomacy seem like the only tool in the belt of people like Barack Obama.

Nov. 12 2008 11:26 AM
Alex from Queens

If the forces are extracted from Iraq, will they be viewed as beaten losers or celebrated victors? If they are viewed as the former and not the later, would that not help violent Jihadis?
As for the Palestinian/Isreali conflict, I doubt a resolution would greatly increase the radicals' views of the US. Remember, it was after US troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia that Al Queda really began attacking the US, not after the US supported Isreal which occured much earlier.

Nov. 12 2008 11:18 AM

Samantha Power had stated that one of the experiences a community organizer has is the experience of seeing the difference between a kid who is going to join a gang vs. that of going to school. She said this on the Lenord Lopate show.

She tried to equate that with the difference between a kid in the Middle East wanting to integrate and be constructive vs. joining a jihadist movement.

My question for Mr. Gerges, does any of this have merit? Is there something to Mr. Obama's travels to Kenya, life in Indonesia, trip to Pakistan as a young man, where you see people from the bottom up that will have him have empathy for people especially those who are not of European ethnic stock? Will this help him craft a different set of policies?

Many politicians visit countries and only deal with the elites, but he has at least had experiences that are non-elite.

Nov. 12 2008 11:06 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

Thanks Todd,

I have a lot of respect for professor Gerges even though I disagree with some, even many of his positions. His book, the Superpowers and the Middle East, is truly groundbreaking with many insights into how the United States and Russia fought a proxy war using Israel and the Arabs. However, recently (at least on TV and radio) professor Gerges has been rather silent on his belief that Arabs are as much (if not more) to blame for Palestinian misery than Israelis. I have heard professor Gerges speak many times in person and in the late nineties he was not shy about calling on Israel’s Arab neighbors to offer Palestinians land and money to settle the conflict. In a nutshell, the professor Gerges of 1996 and 1997 believed that Israel would have to give up most or all of the territories and the Arabs (specifically Jordan and Egypt) would have to make land concessions as well as provide monetary aid.

Nov. 12 2008 10:01 AM
Todd Broockerd from Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Wow. Great question, Peter.

Nov. 12 2008 09:34 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

In 1996 and 1997 professor Gerges held the position that a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians would involve Egypt and Jordan giving land to the Palestinians to make their future state viable. Professor Gerges said at the time that Egypt and Jordan held partial responsibility for the plight of the Palestinians because of their actions in 1948 (Egypt stole Gaza and Jordan stole the West Bank). Why has Professor Gerges stopped calling for such a land commitment to the Palestinians by Egypt and Jordan? Is it because Israel has become so unpopular that Egypt and Jordan no longer have to confront their mistakes and their responsibility in creating Palestinian misery?

Nov. 12 2008 08:05 AM

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