|Quote 1: “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 3Quote 2: “WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.” Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 6Quote 3: “A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledgehammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.” Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 16Quote 4: “one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the Thought Police, the stability of the Party depended.” Part 1, Chapter 2, pg. 23Quote 5: “We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.” Part 1, Chapter 2, pg. 27Quote 6: “The past was dead, the future was unimaginable.” Part 1, Chapter 2, pg. 28Quote 7: “With its grace and carelessness it seemed to annihilate a whole culture, a whole system of thought, as though Big Brother and the Party and the Thought Police could all be swept into nothingness by a single splendid movement of the arm.” Part 1, Chapter 3, pg. 33Quote 8: “‘Who controls the past’, ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’” Part 1, Chapter 3, pg. 37
Quote 9: “Comrade Ogilvy, who had never existed in the present, now existed in the past, and when once the act of forgery was forgotten, he would exist just as authentically, and upon the same evidence, as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar.” Part 1, Chapter 4, pg. 50
Quote 10: “Your worst enemy, he reflected, was your own nervous system. At any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom.” Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 64
Quote 11: “She had not a thought in her head that was not a slogan, and there was no imbecility, absolutely none, that she was not capable of swallowing if the Party handed it out to her.” Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 67
Quote 12: “Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema.” Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 69
Quote 13: “They were born, they grew up in the gutters, they went to work at twelve, they passed through a brief blossoming period of beauty and sexual desire, they married at twenty, they were middle-aged at thirty, they died, for the most part, at sixty. Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer, and, above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds.” Part 1, Chapter 7, pg. 71
Quote 14: “If there is hope, wrote Winston, it lies in the proles.” Part 1, Chapter 7, pg. 72
Quote 16: “a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting – three hundred million people all with the same face.” Part 1, Chapter 7, pg. 77
Quote 17: “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” Part 1, Chapter 7, pg. 84
Quote 18: “It seemed to him that he knew exactly what it felt like to sit in a room like this, in an armchair beside an open fire with your feet in the fender and a kettle on the hob: utterly alone, utterly secure, with nobody watching you, no voice pursuing you, no sound except the singing of the kettle and the friendly ticking of the clock.” Part 1, Chapter 8, pg. 100
Quote 19: “Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement’s, You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin’s.” Part 1, Chapter 8, pg. 103
Quote 20: “At the sight of the words I love you the desire to stay alive had welled up in him, and the taking of minor risks suddenly seemed stupid.” Part 2, Chapter 1, pg. 110-11
Quote 21: “by degrees the flood of music drove all speculations out of his mind. It was as though it were a kind of liquid stuff that poured all over him and got mixed up with the sunlight that filtered through the leaves.” Part 2, Chapter 2, pg. 125
Quote 22: “Not merely the love of one person, but the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear the Party to pieces.” Part 2, Chapter 2, pg. 127
Quote 23: “to be bought furtively by proletarian youths who were under the impression that they were buying something illegal.” Part 2, Chapter 3, pg. 132
Quote 24: “What was more important was that sexual privation induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into war fever and leader worship.” Part 2, Chapter 3, pg. 134
Quote 25: “She did not understand that there was no such thing as happiness, that the only victory lay in the far future, long after you were dead, that from the moment of declaring war on the Party it was better to think of yourself as a corpse. ‘We are the dead,’ he said.” Part 2, Chapter 3, pg. 137
Quote 26: “The smell of her hair, the taste of her mouth, the feeling of her skin seemed to have got inside him, or into the air all around him. She had become a physical necessity.” Part 2, Chapter 4, pg. 140
Quote 27: “The proles, normally apathetic about the war, were being lashed into one of their periodical frenzies of patriotism.” Part 2, Chapter 5, pg. 150
Quote 28: “So long as they were actually in this room, they both felt, no harm could come to them.” Part 2, Chapter 5, pg. 152
Quote 29: “Even the one plan that was practicable, suicide, they had no intention of carrying out. To hang on from day to day and from week to week, spinning out a present that had no future, seemed an unconquerable instinct, just as one’s lungs will always draw the next breath so long as there is air available.” Part 2, Chapter 5, pg. 153
Quote 30: “she only questioned the teachings of the Party when they in some way touched upon her own life. Often she was ready to accept the official mythology, simply because the difference between truth and falsehood did not seem important to her.” Part 2, Chapter 5, pg. 154
Quote 31: “He had the sensation of stepping into the dampness of a grave, and it was not much better because he had always known that the grave was there and waiting for him.” Part 2, Chapter 6, pg. 160
Quote 32: “He knew that he was starving the other two, but he could not help it; he even felt that he had a right to do it. The clamorous hunger in his belly seemed to justify him.” Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 163
Quote 33: “The terrible thing that the Party had done was to persuade you that mere impulses, mere feelings, were of no account, while at the same time robbing you of all power over the material world.” Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 165
Quote 34: “It’s the one thing they can’t do. They can make you say anything – anything – but they can’t make you believe it. They can’t get inside you.” Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 167
Quote 35: “You will work for a while, you will be caught, you will confess, and then you will die… There is no possibility that any perceptible change will happen within our own lifetime. We are the dead.” Part 2, Chapter 8, pg. 177
Quote 36: “The primary aim of modern warfare Part 1n accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living.” Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 189
Quote 37: “If the machine were used deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be eliminated within a few generations.” Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 190
Quote 38: “the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.” Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 192
Quote 39: “a mixture of psychologist and inquisitor, studying with extraordinary minuteness the meaning of facial expressions, gestures and tones of voice, and testing the truth-producing effects of drugs, shock therapy, hypnosis, and physical torture.” Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 194
Quote 40: “It was the product of a mind similar to his own, but enormously more powerful, more systematic, less fear-ridden. The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you know already.” Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 201
Quote 41: “Even the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was tolerant by modern standards. Part of the reason for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end.” Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 206-7
Quote 42: “the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty.” Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 215
Quote 43: “everywhere stood the same solid unconquerable figure, made monstrous by work and childbearing, toiling from birth to death and still singing.” Part 2, Chapter 10, pg. 222
Quote 44: “It was more natural to exist from moment to moment, accepting another ten minutes’ life even with the certainty that there was torture at the end of it.” Part 3, Chapter 1, pg. 232
Quote 45: “There were times when it went on and on until the cruel, wicked, unforgivable thing seemed to him not that the guards continued to beat him but that he could not force himself into losing consciousness.” Part 3, Chapter 2, pg. 244
Quote 46: “The old feeling, that at bottom it did not matter whether O’Brien was a friend or an enemy, had come back. O’Brien was a person who could be talked to… O’Brien had tortured him to the edge of lunacy, and in a little while, it was certain, he would send him to his death. It made no difference.” Part 3, Chapter 2, pg.255-6
Quote 47: “There was nothing left in them except sorrow for what they had done, and love of Big Brother. It was touching to see how they loved him. They begged to be shot quickly, so that they could die while their minds were still clean.” Part 3, Chapter 2, pg. 259
Quote 48: “We control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull.” Part 3, Chapter 3, pg. 268
Quote 49: “‘Do you remember writing in your diary,’ he said, ‘that it did not matter whether I was a friend or an enemy, since I was at least a person who understood you and could be talked to? You were right. I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you happen to be insane.’” Part 3, Chapter 2, pg. 271
Quote 50: “It was like swimming against a current that swept you backwards however hard you struggled, and then suddenly deciding to turn round and go with the current instead of opposing it. Nothing had changed except your own attitude; the predestined thing happened in any case.” Part 3, Chapter 4, pg. 280
Quote 51: “For the first time he perceived that if you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself.” Part 3, Chapter 4, pg. 283
Quote 52: “Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!” Part 3, Chapter 5, pg. 289
Quote 53: “There were things, your own acts, from which you could not recover. Something was killed in your breast; burnt out, cauterized out.” Part 3, Chapter 6, pg. 293
Quote 54: “But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” Part 3, Chapter 6, pg. 300
Quote 55: “The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.” Appendix, pg. 303
Remember: Do X! Don´t do Y!
Protect innocent, respect life, defend art, preserve creativity!
DJ Psycho Diver Sant – too small to fail
They are on the run, we are on the march!
Dummheit ist, wenn jemand nicht weiß, was er wissen könnte.
Political correctness ist, wenn man aus Feigheit lügt, um Dumme nicht zu verärgern, die die Wahrheit nicht hören wollen.
“Im Streit um moralische Probleme, ist der Relativismus die erste Zuflucht der Schurken.“ Roger Scruton
Antisemitismus ist, wenn man Juden, Israel übelnimmt, was man anderen nicht übelnimmt.
Islam ist weniger eine Religion und mehr eine totalitäre Gesellschaftsordnung, eine Ideologie, die absoluten Gehorsam verlangt und keinen Widerspruch, keinerlei Kritik duldet und das Denken und Erkenntnis verbietet. Der wahre Islam ist ganz anders, wer ihn findet wird eine hohe Belohnung erhalten.
Wahnsinn bedeute, immer wieder das gleiche zu tun, aber dabei stets ein anderes Resultat zu erwarten.
Gutmenschen sind Menschen, die gut erscheinen wollen, die gewissenlos das Gewissen anderer Menschen zu eigenen Zwecken mit Hilfe selbst inszenierter Empörungen instrumentalisieren.
Irritationen verhelfen zu weiteren Erkenntnissen, Selbstzufriedenheit führt zur Verblödung,
Wenn ein Affe denkt, „ich bin ein Affe“, dann ist es bereits ein Mensch.
Ein Mensch mit Wurzeln soll zur Pediküre gehen.
Wenn jemand etwas zu sagen hat, der kann es immer sehr einfach sagen. Wenn jemand nichts zu sagen hat, der sagt es dann sehr kompliziert.
Sucht ist, wenn jemand etwas macht, was er machen will und sucht jemand, der es macht, daß er es nicht macht und es nicht machen will.
Sollen die Klugen immer nachgeben, dann wird die Welt von Dummen regiert. Zu viel „Klugheit“ macht dumm.
Wenn man nur das Schlechte bekämpft, um das Leben zu schützen, bringt man gar nichts Gutes hervor und ein solches Leben ist dann nicht mehr lebenswert und braucht nicht beschützt zu werden, denn es ist dann durch ein solches totales Beschützen sowieso schon tot. Man kann so viel Geld für Versicherungen ausgeben, daß man gar nichts mehr zum Versichern hat. Mit Sicherheit ist es eben so.
Zufriedene Sklaven sind die schlimmsten Feinde der Freiheit.
Kreativität ist eine Intelligenz, die Spaß hat.
Wen die Arbeit krank macht, der soll kündigen!
Wenn Deutsche über Moral reden, meinen sie das Geld.
Ein Mensch ohne Erkenntnis ist dann lediglich ein ängstlicher, aggressiver, unglücklicher Affe.
Denken ist immer grenzüberschreitend.
Der Mob, der sich das Volk nennt, diskutiert nicht, sondern diffamiert.
Legal ist nicht immer legitim.
Wer nicht verzichten kann, lebt unglücklich.
Sogenannte Sozial-, Kultur-, Geisteswissenschaften, Soziologie, Psychologie, Psychotherapie, Psychoanalyse, sind keine Wissenschaften mehr, sondern immanent religiöse Kultpropheten, organisiert wie Sekten.
Ohne eine starke Opposition atrophiert jede scheinbare Demokratie zur Tyrannei, und ebenso eine Wissenschaft, zur Gesinnung einer Sekte.
Man kann alles nur aus gewisser Distanz erkennen, wer sich ereifert, empört, wer mit seiner Nase an etwas klebt, der hat die Perspektive verloren, der erkennt nichts mehr, der hat nur noch seine Phantasie von der Welt im Kopf. So entsteht Paranoia, die sich Religion, und Religion als Politik, sogar als Wissenschaft nennt.
Islamisten sind eine Gefahr, deswegen werden sie als solche nicht gesehen. Juden sind keine Gefahr, deswegen werden sie als solche gesehen. So funktioniert die Wahrnehmung von Feiglingen.
Humorlose Menschen könner nur fürchten oder hassen und werden Mönche oder Terroristen.
Menschen sind nicht gleich, jeder einzelne Mensch ist ein Unikat.
Erkenntnis gilt für alle, auch für Muslime, Albaner, Frauen und Homosexuelle.
Islam gehört zu Deutschland, Judentum gehört zu Israel.
Der Konsensterror (Totalitarismus) ist in Deutschland allgegenwärtig.
Es wird nicht mehr diskutiert, sondern nur noch diffamiert.
Es ist eine Kultur des Mobs. Wie es bereits gewesen ist.
Harmonie ist nur, wenn man nicht kommuniziert.
Man soll niemals mit jemand ins Bett gehen, der mehr Probleme hat, als man selbst.
>>Evelyn Waugh, sicherlich der witzigste Erzähler des vergangenen Jahrhunderts, im Zweiten Weltkrieg, herauskommend aus einem Bunker während einer deutschen Bombardierung Jugoslawiens, blickte zum Himmel, von dem es feindliche Bomben regnete und bemerkte: “Wie alles Deutsche, stark übertrieben.“<< Joseph Epstein
Man muß Mut haben, um witzig zu sein.
Dumm und blöd geht meistens zusammen.
Charlie Hebdo: solche Morde an Juden sind euch egal, mal sehen wie”angemessen” ihr reagiert, wenn (wenn, nicht falls) eure Städte von Islamisten mit Kasam-Raketen beschossen werden.
Christopher Hitchens großartig: „In einer freien Gesellschaft hat niemand das Recht, nicht beleidigt zu werden.“
Je mehr sich jemand narzisstisch aufbläht, desto mehr fühlt er sich beleidigt und provoziert.
“Das Problem mit der Welt ist, daß die Dummen felsenfest überzeugt sind und die Klugen voller Zweifel.” – Bertrand Russel
Das Problem mit den Islamisten in Europa soll man genauso lösen, wie es Europa für den Nahen Osten verlangt: jeweils eine Zweistaatenlösung, die Hälfte für Muslime, die andere Hälfte für Nicht-Muslime, mit einer gemeinsamen Hauptstadt.
Was darf Satire? Alles! Nur nicht vom Dummkopf verstanden werden, weil es dann keine Satire war.
Islamimus ist Islam, der Gewalt predigt.
Islam ist eine Religion der Liebe,und wer er anzweifelt, ist tot.
Krieg ist Frieden. Freiheit ist Sklaverei. Unwissenheit ist Stärke. Der Islam ist die friedliche Religion der Liebe – George Orwell 2015
Islam ist verantwortlich für gar nichts, Juden sind schuld an allem.
Islamisten sind Satanisten.
Leute fühlen sich immer furchtbar beleidigt, wenn man ihre Lügen nicht glaubt.
Jeder ist selbst verantwortlich für seine Gefühle.
Stupidity is demonstrated by people lacking the knowledge they could achieve
Political correctness can be defined as the telling of a lie out of the cowardice in an attempt to avoid upsetting fools not willing to face up to the truth
“In arguments about moral problems, relativism is the first refuge of the scoundrel.” Roger Scruton
Antisemitism is when one blames the Jews or Israel for issues, he does not blame others
Islam is less a religion and more a totalitarian society, an ideology that demands absolute obedience and tolerates no dissent, no criticism, and prohibits the thinking, knowledge and recognition. True Islam is totally different, the one who will find it will receive a very high reward.
Craziness is, when one always does the same but expects a different outcome
If a monkey thinks “I am a monkey”, then it is already a human
A man with roots should go for a pedicure
Self smugness leads to idiocy, being pissed off leads to enlightenment
If someone has something to say, he can tell it always very easily. If someone has nothing to say, he says it in a very complicated way
Addiction is, when somebody does something he wants to do, yet seeks someone who can make it so he won’t do it and doesn’t want to, either.
If the clever people always gave in, the world would be reigned by idiots. Too much “cleverness” makes you stupid.
If one only fights evil to protect life, one produces nothing good at all and such a life then becomes no longer worth living and thus requires no protection, for it is already unlived due to such a total protection. One can spend so much money on insurance, that one has nothing left to insure. Safety works in the same way.
Happy slaves are the worst enemies of freedom.
Creativity is an intelligence having fun.
If working makes you sick, fuck off, leave the work!
If Germans talk about morality, they mean money.
A man without an insight is just an anxious, aggressive, unhappy monkey.
Thinking is always trespassing.
The mob, who calls himself the people, does not discuss, just defames.
Legal is not always legitimate.
Who can not do without, lives unhappy.
So called social, culture sciences, sociology, psychology psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, are not anymore scientific, but immanent religious cult-prophets, organized as sects.
Without a strong opposition any apparent democracy atrophies to a tyranny, and as well a science , to an attitude of a religious sect.
You can recognize everything from a certain distance only, who is zealous, outraged, who sticks his nose in something, this one has lost the perspective, he recognizes anything more, he has only his imagination of the world in his head. This creates paranoia, which is called religion, and a religion as politics, even as a science.
Islamists are a real danger, therefore they will not be seen as such. Jews are not a danger, therefore they are seen as such. It is how the perception by cowards functions.
People without a sense of humor are able only to fear or to hate and become monks or terrorists.
People are not equal, each single person is unique.
Insight applies to everyone, including Muslims, Albanians, women and homosexuals.
Islam belongs to Germany, Judaism belongs to Israel.
The totalitarian Terror of consensus is ubiquitous in Germany.
One should never go to bed with someone who has more problems than you already have.
>>Evelyn Waugh, surely the wittiest novelist of the past century, in World War II, coming out of a bunker during a German bombing of Yugoslavia, looked up at the sky raining enemy bombs and remarked, “Like everything German, vastly overdone.”<< Joseph Epstein
One has to be brave, to have a wit.
Stupid and dull belong mostly together.
Charlie Hebdo: you don´t care if such murders are comitted to Jews, we will see how “adequate” you will react when (when, not if), Islamists will begin to bombard your cities with Kasam missiles.
Christopher Hitchens: “In a free society, no one has the right not to be offended.“
The more someone narcissistic inflates , the more he feels insulted and provoked.
“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell
The problem with the Islamists in Europe should be solved exactly as Europe requires to the Middle East: a two-state solution, a half for muslims and the another half for not-muslims , with a common capital.
What may satire? Everything! Except be understood by the fool, because then it was not a satire.
Islamimus is Islam preaching violence.
Islam is a religion of love, and he who doubts is dead.
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Islam is a peaceful religion of love – George Orwell 2015
Islam is not responsible for anything, Jews are guilty of everything.
Islamists are satanists.
People feel always terrible offended if you do not believe their lies.
Everyone is responsible for his feelings.
Psychoanalysis is nobody’s business except the psychoanalyst and his patient, and everybody else can fuck off.
by Marc Lynch
PublicAffairs, 284 pp., $26.99
by Fawaz A. Gerges
Princeton University Press, 368 pp., $27.95
In his best-selling History of the Arab Peoples, published two years before his death in 1993, the Anglo-Lebanese scholar Albert Hourani remarked on the surprising levels of political stability prevailing in the Arab world at that time. Despite the rapid growth of its cities, and many disparities of wealth between the governing elites and newly urbanized masses who were calling for social justice, calm seemed to rule, at least on the surface. Since the military coups of the 1950s and 1960s in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere there had been remarkably little change in the general nature of most Arab regimes or the direction of their policies. Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Jordan, Tunisia, and Morocco had seen no dynastic changes for more than two generations; in Libya and Syria the regimes that came to power around 1970 were still in place. In 2000 in Syria, nearly a decade after Hourani’s book was published, leadership passed smoothly from father to son, while in Egypt and Libya the issue of dynastic succession was being widely discussed.
Like many other observers of Middle Eastern and North African history, Hourani interpreted this picture of calm with an eye to the writings of Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406), the Arab historian and polymath whose theories of dynastic change and cyclical renewal and especially his concept of ‘asabiyya, variously translated as “clannism,” “group feeling,” or—in Hourani’s definition—“a corporate spirit oriented towards obtaining and keeping power,” provided a prism through which contemporary systems of governance could be viewed. According to the 2004 United Nations Arab Human Development Report, for example:
Clannism [‘asabiyya] in all its forms (tribal, clan-based, communal, and ethnic)…tightly shackles its followers through the power of the authoritarian patriarchal system. This phenomenon…represents a two-way street in which obedience and loyalty are offered in return for protection, sponsorship, and a share of the spoils.
Moreover, as both Hourani and the UN report pointed out, clannism in its modern versions has been buttressed by methods of surveillance, systemic brutality, and bureaucratic controls that were not available in Ibn Khaldun’s day, when the powers of central governments were far less strong.
The events of 2011—following on the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003—saw a cataclysmic change in this picture of apparent stability and continuity. Starting in Tunisia, the riots and demonstrations of the so-called Arab Spring spread to virtually every Arab country, with major insurgencies in Syria, Libya, and Yemen, civil uprisings in Egypt and Bahrain, large street demonstrations in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Oman, and minor protests even in Saudi Arabia. The protests and conflicts that have dominated the international headlines since 2011—with spectacular results in the fall of Zine el-Abidin Ben Ali in Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, and the pushing aside of Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen—all brought new dimensions of Arab political culture to the fore. Protesters filled public spaces in their thousands, and cities throughout the region echoed with demands for change. Major causes of unrest included a dramatic rise in world food prices due to draught resulting from global warming and sharpening perceptions of inequality and corruption by educated youth with access to social media and sources of information outside of governmental control.
The long-term outcomes remain uncertain, to put it mildly. In Iraq and Syria, Libya and Yemen, entire countries are falling apart, with the removal of the strongmen who were central to the architecture of power, causing fragile national structures to collapse into a cataclysmic series of wars. Egypt—the oldest and most enduring state in the region—wobbled with just a year of constitutional rule by President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, before the full restoration of the “deep state” under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. In the current Arab turmoil only Tunisia, where the movement began in late 2010, seems capable of fulfilling the original aspirations for change by making an orderly transition to constitutional democratic governance. Elsewhere the transitions seem more ambiguous, as the old order struggles to maintain its hold over state institutions, or groups that had previously been marginalized respond to the absence of orderly government by grabbing resources for themselves or settling scores rather than following the protesters’ original demands for democratic change and more open political space.
As George Washington University’s Marc Lynch writes in The New Arab Wars, his cool but meticulous account of the Arab disasters:
The entire regional order appears to be in freefall. Egypt’s democratic transition ended in a military coup, mass arrests, and political stalemate. Syria, Libya, and Yemen are mired in grinding civil war. Millions of refugees live in tenuous conditions, their lives shattered and their homes destroyed with little prospect of a return to normality.
The Islamic State is holding tenaciously to its Syrian and Iraqi strongholds, spreading into Libya and other shattered states, and inspiring terrorism globally. The very idea of democracy has been discredited among large swathes of the Arab citizenry. The major short-term effect of the Arab uprisings has not been democratization, but rather a dramatic increase in regional interventionism, proxy war, and resurgent repression.
When searching for explanations of this outcome, scholars and commentators often blame great power machinations, such as the US-led invasion of Iraq, or the operations of local “mafiocracies” or “neo-Mamluks,” or indeed a combination of both—showing, for example, how George W. Bush’s “war on terror” undermined the efforts of Arab reformers by reinforcing national security establishments. Without neglecting such issues, Lynch puts his main emphasis on the linkages between the uprisings, demonstrating how both the Arab insurgencies and the reactions of the regimes have been shaped by shifting global and regional power dynamics along with “transnational flows of money, information, people, and guns”:
Protestors and regimes and insurgents all understood their struggles to be part of a unified regional arena—and such perceptions inform political reality. The role of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Turkey, and the UAE have in many cases supplanted even the role of the United States as deeply polarizing issues of contention in regional politics.
During the 1990s the original balance of power in the region had been relatively stable, with sectarian dynamics in the crucial countries of Iraq and Syria contained by de facto minority rule under the guise of the Arab nationalism proclaimed by the Baath socialist parties. In certain respects the political structures mirrored one another: in Iraq—a majority-Shia country—the Sunni minority dominated the Baathist system, while in Syria—a majority-Sunni country—it was the schismatic Shia sect known as Alawis or Nusayris who controlled the army and other sources of power.
Beyond these countries lay older geopolitical rivalries between Iran—whose revolution inspired by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 had galvanized Shiite communities throughout the world and with which Iraq had fought a bitter eight-year war (1980–1988)—and Saudi Arabia, with its fundamentalist Wahhabite faith and history of Shia persecution since the eighteenth century. In 2003 the US-led invasion of Iraq, instead of breaking Bush’s “axis of evil”—a bizarre notion linking the mutually antagonistic nations of Iraq and Iran plus North Korea—and empowering would-be democrats against Islamist “radicals,” “tilted the regional balance of power decisively in favor of Iran.” The following year the staunchly pro-Western King Abdullah of Jordan warned of a “Shia Crescent” stretching from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon. This statement crystallized the anti-Iranian sectarianism in popular discourse and helped unleash the sectarian conflicts now afflicting the region. As Lynch points out:
Sectarianism, one of the most disturbing forms of regional identity politics in recent years, has been driven more by power politics and regime survival concerns than by ancient hatreds. The US occupation of Iraq empowered Iran and unleashed a brutal sectarian civil war, which played out across the nascent transnational and social media. Regimes used the sectarian underpinnings of the regional conflict and the Iraqi war to divide their citizenry, prevent mass-based popular revolts, and legitimate an otherwise shaky political order.
Sectarianism involving the religious authorities became “a key weapon” in the counterrevolutionary arsenal by which the old regimes or political forces sought to control the revolutionary upsurge. Whatever divided the public and blocked the path of the crowds who congregated in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Bourguiba Street in Tunis, or the Pearl Roundabout in Bahrain, was deployed in the interest of restoring the status quo ante. “This hateful logic,” says Lynch, “applied broadly: pitting Christians against Muslims in Egypt, Jordanians against Palestinians in Jordan, and, above all, Sunnis against Shi’ites wherever possible.”
One catalyst for spreading the upheavals that followed the original Tunisian protests may have been the deregulated television coverage of al-Jazeera, founded in 1996 and part-owned by the Qatari government. As Hugh Miles wrote prophetically in 2005, the information revolution initiated by al-Jazeera would have a transformative effect on the outlook of Arab youth: “Unlike their parents, they have an internationalist outlook and a rights-based mentality. Their sense of injustice at what is happening in the Arab world today is neither cynical, nor naïve, but ethical.”*
In this new media age the suppression of knowledge about atrocities, such as the huge massacres carried out by the Hafez al-Assad regime following the Muslim Brotherhood rebellion in Hama in 1982, is no longer possible. Lynch provides many details showing how television footage from al-Jazeera and Saudi-owned media skewed perceptions and influenced events. The contrast between Bahrain, where protests by the Shia majority were suppressed using Saudi forces, and Libya, where NATO air power supported the rebels against the Qaddafi regime, is often cited as an example of “Western” double standards. But, Lynch argues, the Arab media had their own slanted emphases. They
ignored the Bahrain crackdown while lavishing sensational coverage on Libya’s rapidly escalating violence…. Al-Jazeera from the start covered Libya’s repression intensively, highlighting the brutality of the regime’s response and placing it firmly within the narrative frame of an otherwise peaceful Arab uprising.
Unlike Bahrain, which is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, “Libya had no international patrons to shield it from criticism,” despite Qaddafi’s surrender of his mostly moribund WMD programs and his settling of the lawsuit brought by families of the 1983 Lockerbie bombing. Qaddafi, moreover, had achieved the rare feat of personally alienating both the Saudi king and the Qatari emir, to the point where both countries were prepared to legitimize the Arab League’s “revolutionary” invitation to NATO to intervene militarily in Libya:
The common explanation for the invitation to NATO and the direct Arab military intervention [in Libya] was the extremity of Qaddafi’s brutality towards his own people. But, as the Bahrain campaign amply attested, the Arab regimes were hardly in a position to complain of such things given their own fiercely repressive ways…. To be blunt, refraining from violence against one’s own people was not and had never been a widely accepted norm governing Arab political order.
Arab solidarity against Qaddafi’s brutality, with Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia acting in rare concert, succeeded in diverting public attention from the brutal repression in Bahrain. But there were never concerns or efforts sufficient to ensure an orderly transition in Libya, as patrons with different interests, especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia, took to sponsoring rival factions.
As Lynch demonstrates throughout his book, all of the opposition forces—in Libya, Yemen, and above all in Syria—had outside patrons who supplied them with money and arms. Videos of military exploits posted on YouTube became the means by which local militias advertised their services to potential patrons. And while patrons typically used the militias as proxies to advance their interests, the proxies acquired leverage by cultivating multiple patrons, enabling them to exploit their patrons’ demand for local influence.
If this competitive dynamic is responsible for the current chaos involving fighting between rival factions in Libya, which still lacks a functioning government, the effects have been catastrophic in Syria, where the size and power of demonstrations, the convergence of the Gulf states behind the opposition, and “growing international outrage over regime violence crystallized a growing sense that Asad would be unable to retain his hold on power.” However, the expectation that Assad would go the way of Qaddafi and Ben Ali, or that the Baathist state would collapse as it did in Iraq, proved tragically ill-judged. As Lynch points out, the regime
retained considerable support among wide sectors of the Syrian citizenry, including not only minority communities but also much of the urban Sunni elites who had benefitted from [Assad’s] rule and feared change. Official [pro-Assad] media, later supplemented by television stations such as the Lebanon-based al-Akbar newspaper and al-Mayadeen TV, expertly crafted a narrative of foreign subversion, armed gangs, and exaggerated propaganda about protests and repression. Partisans of the two narratives would clash furiously, as information warfare became a central front of the rapidly evolving conflict.
The intensity of the media war was increased by events such as the slaughter in Houla, northeast of Homs, in May 2012, which was widely blamed on the regime’s Shabiha thugs. Support for the rebels with arms and money, provided by the Gulf states and Turkey, accelerated the “sectarianization” of the conflict. The Iranian and Shia forces in Iraq and the Lebanese Hezbollah rallied to Assad’s support, thereby making King Abdullah’s “Shia Crescent” appear more salient. While in no way seeking to exonerate Assad’s “obstinate brutality” for the ensuing disaster, Lynch shows how the media “war of narratives” failed to undermine Assad. His regime blamed the massacres on takfiris (violent jihadists who anathematize their opponents) and reinforced its support from its core constituencies, including Christian and other religious minorities, who were terrified of the opposition advances.
Enthusiasts for limited militarization, including many in Washington, “failed, at great cost,” to appreciate how arming the opposition served to strengthen the regime’s “insular, internally coherent narrative.” This basic misreading was compounded by a failure to see that the internationally recognized Syrian National Council was little more than a conduit by which the “hopelessly factionalized Syrian opposition” was able to attract and distribute money and arms from its foreign sponsors, making it “fully a creature of competitive intervention and proxy warfare.”
“What looked like indecision” on the part of the Syrian National Council “was as often the result of intense Turkish, Saudi, and Qatari pressure on the Council members.” The same logic applied, a fortiori, to supposedly “moderate” rebels of the Free Syrian Army, a force that was “something of a myth, with a media presence far outstripping its actual organizational capacity.” In reality the Free Syrian Army amounted to little more than “a diverse array of local defense forces, ideological trends, and self-interested warlords. It exercised little real command and control, and had little ability to formulate or implement a coherent military strategy.”
American attempts to “vet” opposition fighters contrasted with the free-spending ways of Qatar, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. As one rebel commander told CBS news in September last year, only a small proportion of US-approved fighters under a $500 million program were receiving training, weapons, and ammunition, and much of this material was being taken over by the Nusra Front, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.
In analyzing the Arab uprisings and subsequent civil wars Lynch generally avoids criticizing the current US administration, arguing that “it is easier to blame Barack Obama’s weakness for Syria’s catastrophe than to examine the contributions of a diverse range of actors to the radicalization and fragmentation of an externally-fueled, ill-conceived insurgency.” Indeed he commends Obama’s determination to resist relentless pressures from the Saudis and Israelis as well as US officials and lobbyists to scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran—an achievement that promises to be his most enduring foreign policy legacy. Lynch endorses Vice President Joseph Biden’s observation in October 2014:
Our allies in the region were our largest problem…. [They] were determined to take down Asad and have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Asad. Except that the people who were being supplied were (Jabhat) al Nusra and al Qaida, and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.
The extreme jihadists, of course, are now mainly drawn to the so-called caliphate of ISIS, also known as Daesh. While several books have already charted the rise of ISIS out of the chaos of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, in ISIS: A History, Fawaz Gerges joins Lynch in explaining its provenance more specifically as a direct consequence of the sectarian feelings the invasion unleashed, for which America must bear responsibility:
By destroying state institutions and establishing a sectarian-based political system, the 2003 US-led invasion polarized the country along Sunni-Shia lines and set the stage for a fierce, prolonged struggle driven by identity politics. Anger against the United States was also fueled by the humiliating disbandment of the Iraqi army and the de-Baathification law, which was first introduced as a provision and then turned into a permanent article of the constitution.
In his well-researched and lucidly argued text Gerges shows how the US de-Baathification program, combined with the growing authoritarianism and exclusion of Sunnis under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, provided fertile conditions for the emerging of ISIS out of al-Qaeda under the brutal leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the self-styled caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, his even more extreme successor. Al-Baghdadi is an evident fraud whose claim to legitimacy by virtue of descent from the Prophet’s tribe Gerges discredits on genealogical grounds.
De-Baathification, based on the American envoy Paul Bremer’s foolish analogy with the postwar denazification of Germany, had deprived the country of the officer class and administrative cadres that had ruled under Saddam Hussein, leaving the field to sectarian-based militias. As Gerges rightly observes, Baathism as practiced in Iraq and Syria was “less of a coherent ideology than a hizb al-Sulta, a ruling party that distributed rewards to stakeholders based on loyalty to the head of the party.” In view of the absence of ideological content, it was hardly surprising that disenfranchised former officers of Saddam Hussein’s army, facing exclusion from Maliki’s Shia-dominated government, should have migrated to the militant version of Sunnism Gerges calls Salafi-jihadism.
In analyzing ISIS’s success, Gerges points to the legacy of Paul Bremer: some 30 percent of the senior figures in ISIS’s military command are former army and police officers from the disbanded Iraqi security forces. It was the military expertise of these men that transformed the Sunni-based insurgent movement of al-Qaeda in Iraq into ISIS, “an effective fighting machine, combining urban guerilla warfare and conventional combat to deadly effect.”
Rather than dismissing this as mere opportunism, with the former Baathist officers controlling the group from behind the scenes (as anti-ISIS jihadists from al-Qaeda Central claim in their propaganda), Gerges argues that the shift from Baathism to Islamism had already occurred during the upheavals of the 1990s and 2000s following the US invasions, when both Sunni and Shiite elites became radicalized according to “a gradual process of ideological and identity conversion…fueled particularly by armed resistance to the US occupation.” In the general breakdown of security in Iraq as in Syria, Salafi-jihadism became, by default, the identity chosen by many Sunnis facing Iranian-dominated Shia regimes—as they saw it—in Baghdad and Damascus, and a Kurdish revival in the north.
For Gerges these default identities should not be equated with religious fervor or commitment: rather he argues that Iraq, like other postcolonial states in the Arab world, has
nourished traditional institutions at the expense of a nationalist project around which citizens could unite…. Sunnis and Shias feel entrapped in narrow communal identities, and battles over identity rage not only between communities but within them.
Indeed an essential part of his book recalls the vicious war of words and struggle for power that followed Baghdadi’s split from Ayman al-Zawahiri (Osama bin Laden’s successor as leader of al-Qaeda Central).
At the time ISIS in Syria gave priority to its conflicts with the Nusra Front and other opposition militias rather than against Assad’s forces. Both groups share the totalitarian impulse of the jihadi movements that gave priority to the “government of God” over the will of the people. This pernicious ideology, with its strong dictatorial resonances, holds (in the words of its founder, the Indo-Pakistani ideologue Abul Ala Mawdudi) that “no single individual, family, a class, a party or any individual living in the state has the right to Hakimiyya [governance], as Allah is the true ruler and holder of real power.”
The question this raises, of course, is: Who will exercise power on behalf of God? Before he was executed by the Egyptian government in 1966, Mawdudi’s disciple, the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, added a revolutionary element to Mawdudi’s vision by calling for a jihadist vanguard whose mission was to bring about the “rule of God,” if necessary by force.
Gerges shows, depressingly, that the ouster of Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 as the first and only democratically elected president in Egypt’s contemporary history took place in a coup jihadists said couldn’t have taken place “without a green light” from Washington. The Salafi jihadists, Gerges argues, used the fall of Morsi to advance their cause. In October 2015, the group now known as Wilayah Sinai (the caliphate’s “Sinai Province”) brought down a planeload of Russian tourists, killing 224 passengers and crew. Many jihadist atrocities have followed.
Gerges recalls that the jihadists made it clear at the time that the Muslim Brothers to which Morsi belonged deserved the repression visited on them after the Sisi coup. They “were dragged into humiliation and shame as they had diverted from obeying the rules of Allah” by adopting “democracy instead of Jihad.”
The competition between Baghdadi and Abu Mohammed al-Joulani, leader of the Nusra Front, which Gerges recounts in some detail, seems likely to strengthen the jihadist movement rather than the reverse. Unlike the Nusra Front, ISIS excommunicates Islamists who take part in electoral politics, thereby justifying their execution. Its extremism and violence may have the effect of alienating fellow travelers, leading—with help from drones and coalition air strikes—to the pseudo-Caliphate’s eventual extinction.
By contrast Joulani and his distant emir Ayman al-Zawahiri—who was born in Cairo in 1951 and now lives in hiding—present themselves as the more “‘rational’ wing of the global jihadist movement” by blending with mainstream rebel groups and local Syrians.
There is now an abundance of evidence that money and arms intended for the shadowy “moderate” Islamists of the Free Syrian Army are filling the coffers and arsenals of the Nusra Front, although it is anathematized as a terrorist organization by the US and its allies. As Gerges sees it, Zawahiri appears to be playing a long game, hoping that Baghdadi’s recklessness will be his undoing, and that ISIS’s message of Islamic “triumphalism and empowerment” will resonate ever less with Sunnis as the balance of power turns against them.
The best way to throttle ISIS and the Nusra Front, Gerges argues, would be for Arabs to collectively resolve their spiraling sectarian conflicts and support state-building structures. In Tunisia, Rachid al-Ghannouchi, leader of Ennahda, the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, made way for secular leaders after losing the struggle to have sharia written into the constitution. This offered the rare example of an Arab state system capable of embracing change. But the prospects everywhere else seem bleaker than ever, as the clans and coteries envisioned by Ibn Khaldun strive to maintain their grip on power.