Sunnite-Shia conflict-Panislamism or realpolitik with Islamic values? About the methodology analyzing the Arab spring
It is too early to say in which direction Egypt under Muslimbrotherhood president Morsi will go.I want to quote Juan Cole´s website against the frenetic Western applause for Morsi´s Syria statement at the conference of the Non-Alligned countries 2012 in Teheran:
„The participation of Muhammad Morsi, the Egyptian president in the conference was an important development in itself. Although the western media mainly focused on the parts of Morsi’s statement criticizing the Syrian regime and highlighted the differences between Egypt and Iran on this issue, reading the whole text of Morsi’s speech indicates that on most other issues, the two countries had more or less similar positions. One should not, therefore, read too much into their differences over Syria. Morsi is the first Egyptian president to visit Iran since 1979 Islamic revolution. This visit took place despite the known sensitivities of both the U.S. and Israeli governments.“
Morsi could also be the new representative of an Chinese- Russian-Iranian-Syrian (Muslimbrotherhood)-Egyptian axis against Israel and the USA.Interesting detail: To prevent this Qatar has declared according to the Russian newsagency RIANovosti that it wants to invest 18 billions dollars in Egypt.How much is the USA, the EU.India, Saudi Arabia investing in Egypt?
Is this story real if you compare the alleged Qatar investment of 18 billion dollars with the Chinese FDInvestment in the USA of 8,9 billion dollars and keep in mind that the total gross national product of Egypt is just 100,2 billion dollar.Is Qatar the Hongkong of the Greater Middle East funneling foreign investment in other countries? This sounds as there would be a plan A—buy out Egypt-by Qatar, However, the West should also have a plan B and C if Morsi doesn´t meet its expectations.Just to shout „Kill Assad“ is not strategic thinking.
To draw conclusions about our future strategy in the face of the awakening of the Arab spring we have to analyze the common points and the differences between these countries. We have to make clear if we see the main driver in this political event as political, religious, social or as a typical combination of these factors in each country.The pattern of all these Arab revolutions seems to be: A liberal, secular group of dissatisfied intellectuals and unemployed or underpaid academic youth which communicate mostly via the internet as starting point of the rebellion. Then union and secular political organization come in. After this mostly the Muslimbrotherhood became from a side-watching to an active factor which organized parts of the petty bourgeoisie,social underdogs, the poor and religious intellectuals and also conservative women.If we look at all this Sunni-dominated states, it becomes obvious that the Muslimbrotherhood will become the key player or a dominant factor which only can be moderated by its internal faction fights or the organization of a secualar front. The next important factor is the relation of the military and the security apparatus of the former regime with the key drivers of these political revolutions. And the next key factor is the international environment in which this revolution develops, means: interference by foreign powers.
Sunni-Shia conflict or Panislamism or realpolitik with Islamic values?
Many Western observers think that there will be a Sunni-Shia conflict. They think that the religious factor is dominant. However, one has to keep in mind that Shia-controlled Iran was giving support to the Sunni-Hamas and that Sunni-Morsi despite of his comments on Syria pointed out that in all other political questions there is a prevailing panialsmic agenda with Shia-Iran. Therefore the question is: Will there be a future conflict between Sunnites and Shias as the dominant factor or will there be a panislamic agenda which unites Iran, Muslimbrotherhood-Syria and Egypt?Is this future scene driven more by religious attitudes whether it will be conflict or cooperation or will the so called religious forces act like national players—like Richellieu in France acted for the raison d´etat—in the national interest. Will we get a Sunni-Shia conflict or a Sunni-Shia-panislamic cooperation or is every state acting according to its own national interest—means- “realpolitik with Islamic values” as the.German secret service calls it. A question will be if Turkey, Iran and Egypt want to become in competition the dominant power in the Islamic world.Or if they will cooperate on some issues while competing on other issues. I think the later option is more likely.However, we also have to discuss the other possibilities.
I don´t believe that Morsi is just anti-Shia.The problem is more complex!!!
A commentator said:
„Morsi is the most overtly sectarian anti Shiite leader in modern Egyptian history. Many of this Arabic speeches are littered with anti minority muslim innuendos. They aren’t even subtle like other anti minority muslim bigots.“
Don´t forget: The West and the Islamic fighters in Afghanistan–once our beloved friends, then our enemy. I never heard of Morsi proclaiming a anti-Shia-agenda–mostly it was against the Copts.Morsi said that theocratic Iran isn´t the role model for Egypt, but this is because the Muslimbrotherhood has no Khomenine or Khameini as leader and their leaders are mostly lawyers, ophysicans, engineers and other academnics with Islamic values.This doesn´t mean that the Muslimbrotherhood doesn´t want an Islamic state. But Morsi also didn´t say that Egypt should become a new AKP-Turkey. When Erdogan was in Egypt and welcomed by the Muslimbrotherhood , they censored his speech when he was speaking about the seperation of state and religion. The same happened with Morsi´s comment on Syria in Iran.Howver: Nobody would draw the conclusion that Morsi is anti-Turkey, as we shouldn´t draw the conclusion that Morsi is anti-Shia and therefore anti-Iran.That´s very simple minded.We have to watch if the Muslim countries will have their religious split or panislamic cooperation or—what I think—competition in some places while cooperation in other fields—realpolitik with Islamic values—just like French Catholic Richeleau was teaming up with the Ottoman Muslim Turks against the Catholic Habsburgian Empire.