"How to deal with an Islamic fundamentalist uprising"
September 23, 2001 11:41 AM   Subscribe

"How to deal with an Islamic fundamentalist uprising" by Hafez Al-Assad. Mr. Assad, the late President of Syria, was a Muslim himself. In his rule, he had to deal with some bombwielders who even tried to assasinate him. Certainly his experience in these matters bears scrutiny. What lessons can we learn? P.S. Syria doesn't like our foreign policy either.
posted by quercus (4 comments total)
Thomas Friedman wrote an interesting column for the New York Times on 9/21 about al-Assad's handling of fundmantalist Islamic terrorism.

Friedman argues that moderates in the Middle East struck a devil's bargain with folks like bin Laden: Keep terror out of our countries and we'll look the other way when our fundamentalists raise money for you.
posted by rcade at 8:21 PM on September 23, 2001

Thanks for the pointer rcade. The revolt of the Moslem brotherhood and its subsequent brutal repression is just one more indicator of how the current pigeonholing of current events into our own ideological compartments is challenged by an ever complex reality. BTW the Moslem brotherhood was never heard from again, and Assad passed power on to his son.
posted by quercus at 8:30 PM on September 23, 2001

Assad was a tyrant and a dictator. Just because he was a secular one doesn't make him a model for anything.
posted by chaz at 8:31 PM on September 23, 2001

Friedman's seminal work on the region, From Beirut to Jerusalem (cited as a source in the link) has a chapter with the same name, "Hama Rules." I worry about the implication of the question in the link, though. Should we just destroy whole cities (countries?) that we perceive the threat as emanating from? More to the point, the article that Rogers links points out that many of the moderate states in the region are the largest sources of money (and terrorists, I might add) for the groups that we now target.

We likely need a public relations campaign of massive proportions to begin to rehabilitate our image.

In all actuality, the differences between Assad's situation and ours makes the implied comparison meaningless.
  • Assad's problem was an internal one, whereas ours is mostly international.
  • Assad was attempting to cow a national majority into not challenging his minority government (only about 10% of Syrians are Alawites).
  • Syria didn't have any rule of law, whereas we do.
  • And so on and so forth.
the Moslem brotherhood was never heard from again, and Assad passed power on to his son.

Actually, that's not entirely true. The Muslim Brotherhood still maintains active operations in Egypt, where they have launched periodic attacks to pressure Mubarak to not get too chummy with the US and Israel. As I recall, they were also the group that killed Sadat. After that period, the Egyptians tried cracking down on all extremist Muslim organizations, and they didn't have the same success that Assad did. I bet if there was an easy response that Mubarak would have taken it, whether it meant 10,000 dead or not.
posted by norm at 10:37 AM on September 24, 2001

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