The Arab Street has erupted

So in the aftermath of 9/11, we were told by some well-meaning people that the U.S. should be careful about violently retaliating because if we did, The Arab Street would erupt, and since the Arab street loves al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, this would be a disaster for the United States.  Meanwhile, other Serious, Hard-nosed Realists told us tha twe need to support dictators in the Arab world, because otherwise, the Arab Street would erupt, and since the Arab Street loves al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, that would be a disaster for the United States.  What was very important was that the Arab Street was an incredibly dangerous thing, since Arabs as a mass of people were ready to explode into murderous violence at the drop of a hat.  The Arab Street, we were told, was just one American provocation away from erupting into a flood-tide of violence stretching from the Maghreb to the Diyala River.


So it finally happened.  The Arab Street has finally erupted, and bin Laden and Zawahiri have triumphantly flown in to Cairo to usher in the new Caliphate...


Oh, no, that's not what happened at all.  Instead of demanding murder and violence, they Arab Street has erupted with demands for basic human rights.  It shockingly is turning out that Arabs might not be a seething mass of potential murder, but rather people who want the same sort of freedoms that those of us here in the House of War take for granted.


I always hated talk of the Arab Street.  It struck me as incredibly racist to say that we shouldn't anger Arabs and Muslims because they're incredibly prone to violence.


I, for one, am pleased to have lived to see the Arab Street erupt.



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I remember those dire warnings well

Bird Dog's picture

I also remember how patronizing they were.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Boxing Gaddafi in will not help.

mmghosh's picture

Ben Ali and Mubarak were all left with escape routes.


But the UNSC has forbidden UN members to accept the Gaddafi family as fugitives.  Which leaves them no choice but to fight to the bitter end.  And they have enough paid retainers to fight on.  This interference by the international community (which they wisely did not do before) just made things messier.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Yeah, that was definitely something of a mistake


Of course, given both Qaddafi's megalomania and the fact that he's shot first, I suspect that he'd be getting the Ceausescu Treatment no matter what the Free World did.

the wedge driven into US/Isreal policy deserves note


Last week Egypt gave permission to Iran to sail war ships through the Suez canal. She also opened the Rafah border crossing to Gaza. Both these actions were contrary to the US policy of isolating Iran and Gaza, a policy which has been firmly in place for years. How strange it is to see it crumbling before our eyes, without any comment on its demise.

I don't see the problem

HankP's picture

with the "well-meaning people" who who said that we "should be careful about violently retaliating". I would think that being careful about violently retaliating is so obvious that it doesn't really need to be said, and whatever you feel about the phrase "Arab street" it's pretty obvious that violence will inflame the local population, especially if it hits the wrong targets (case in point Afghanistan).

I blame it all on the Internet

Amen....Oddly, the thought is Still Out There....


...on another site I participate in, travel oriented, intelligent people, or at least arguably intelligent people, have tried to restart the rant against Islam and inherently murderous Arabs...


It is hard to say what fuels such silliness. Insecurity certainly, but also I confess that I had doubts about Huntington's Clash of Civilizations thesis being maybe essentially correct.


I am just thrilled to be living in this time in a cheap political point I might ask, did Obama's Cairo Speech make any difference, (one of the few things that I will give Obama any props for), but my partisan views really don't matter....except that maybe my liberal values of Freedom and some hope for good governance is being taken out and given a run...


I don't know where this is going...but the United States is not in the position of killing people to force good on `em I say.


The world is a pretty remarkable place.


Best Wishes, Traveller


Edit: I liked this CNN, Fareed Zakaria, take on the question:

Israeli insecurity, probably.

mmghosh's picture

Though why should that rub off onto Americans?  I agree that Israel had issues with security until the 60s.  Post 1967, not so much.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency