More a stench than a fragrance 104

The popular rising in Tunisia – sweetly dubbed (by whom and why?) the “Jasmine Revolution” – is very unlikely to herald the democratization of Tunisia itself or a widespread democratizing movement in the wider Arab world as optimists in the West are quickly assuming it might do.

It is far more likely to bring Tunisia under a strict Islamic regime.

Robert Spencer is of this opinion. He writes at his website Jihad Watch:

The great unacknowledged truth about Tunisia and the rest of the Islamic world is that Islamic jihadists and pro-Sharia forces, far from being the “tiny minority of extremists” of media myth, actually enjoy broad popular support. Any genuine democratic uprising is likely to install them in power. That’s why jihadists are hailing events in Tunisia, and why all lovers of freedom should view those events with extreme reserve — for a Sharia government in Tunisia is unlikely to be any kind of friend to the United States, and if the “Jasmine Revolution” does indeed spread and other Arab and Muslim dictators are toppled, an already hostile anti-American environment could become much, much worse.

The news media in the United States are not concerning themselves much with the upheavals varying in intensity from angry demonstrations to revolution in Arab states. Young men immolating themselves in Tunisia, Egypt and Mauritania induce pensive theorizing in the West rather than close attention.

The US government doesn’t seem to believe that the turmoil has any importance for America. If so, it’s making a serious mistake. The jihad against the West will be intensified if religious parties come to power in North Africa.

Robert Spencer does not expect the administration to grasp the significance of what is happening or – therefore – to prepare for the probably grave consequences. He writes almost despairingly:

The events in Tunisia also show yet again the crying need for realistic analysis in Washington of the jihad threat, rather than the fantasy-based analysis that prevails there now. But that is even less likely than the flowering of a pluralistic, secular democracy in Tunisia.

It is not the scent of jasmine but of blood and burnt flesh that permeates the air over North Africa, more a stench than a fragrance.