The unofficial start of the Arab Spring can be traced back to Tunisia an December 17th, 2010, when a street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest the actions of the government and their confiscation of his wares. It was an act that started a wave of protests that spread across the region and forced changes in government in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. It continues in several other countries, most notably in Syria where the rebel forces and the government are bringing the eyes of the world to the conflict.
While the majority of the world heralded the uprisings and government changes as positive, there were those who were fearful of the turmoil that would follow. It wasn’t just the fact that installing democratic principles is harder than most believe. It was the fear that the replacement governments would be aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, and other organizations that hate Israel and western society in general. Those fears started becoming a reality as those backed by the Muslim Brotherhood started taking power.
Fast forward to today and the situation seems to be correcting itself. Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi was ousted by the military in July. Now, Tunisia’s Islamist Party government, fearing a revolt similar to the one in Egypt, has agreed to step down and allow a neutral government to mold the country’s future until a new government can be elected.
This may all seem like progress in a region that needs stability and a voice for the people, but there are big risks that are rising as a result. The aggressive nature of Islamic extremists will not look at these as defeats. They will more likely see these as further proof that trying to expand their reach through traditional methods was a futile attempt, a distraction from the real methodology that they should have been following all along. They did what they were supposed to do – win elections and establish a foothold to be able to operate in broad daylight more easily rather than in the shadows. They are now learning that it isn’t that easy. Many knew this would be the case from the start.
In essence, they tried to promote their agenda properly, but “small” acts such as the assassinations of political opponents worked against them. The lesson they learned is that “small” acts like those will not benefit them. They will not be able to destroy America and Israel this way. They will not be able to spread Islam to everyone and control the world by winning elections. They have to do what they’ve always done in the past. They have to resort to violence.
This is the mindset that is being created by their failures in Egypt and Tunisia. They are more dangerous now than they would have been had the Arab Spring never happened at all because they now feel like they have sat around for too long. Time has been lost and now it’s time for action.
Iran can be their proxy to the world of governments. The terrorist groups can be Iran’s proxy to violence without attachment. The unofficial coalition is all they need in order to rally support for attacks in the near future and if reports from Israel of an Iranian spy scoping out the US Embassy in Tel Aviv are true, then Benghazi was only the beginning of a new volley of attacks from groups that are now being backed into a corner.
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