Birth of a Modern Islamist Ideology?
I’m in Tripoli and I’m safe, for now… but I’m afraid of all the gunfire into the air. I didn’t realize how big an issue this would be. All seems secure but I would hate to not get my doctorate cuz some f-cking rebel celebratory fire hits me while falling back to earth.
Green/Martyrs’ Square is crazy crowded and there are lots of Islamists there (i.e. men with beards/guns/ and megaphones preaching)… as well as inflatable slides and popcorn vendors… and even women holding hands with men!!! As for the Islamists, I am not scared about them and I think they can and should be incorporated successfully into the political system. This may be a golden opportunity for the birth of a nationalist/Islamist/free-enterprise country that is not hostile to the west. I would be interested to explore the connections between what might happen here in Libya to what would have happened in Algeria in 1991-92 if the US and France had not helped the Algerian military annul the election results which were a victory for the Islamists. In both cases, if the West had (in Algeria) or will (in Libya) side with the moderate Islamists, they would probably have kept away from al-Qaeda ties… whereas in the Algerian case, by siding against the Islamists the USA pushed them towards Al-Qaeda and the strengthening of AQIM.
Also there could be a fascinating study about how Saif’s rehabilitation programs for LIFG militants were actually successful in both leading to the toppling of the Qaddafi regime and also allowing for a new moderate Islamist ideology to be born which eschews jihadism.