Although both the relatively moderate Islamic Courts Union and the transitional government have both recently indicated willingness to consider compromise, since the Ethiopian intervention, the Islamist forces appear to have fractured. Some of the fighting is now being done under the initiative of more extreme forces, complicating the process of achieving peace, with numerous analogies to events in Iraq.
It is only natural for reformers in Moslem societies to include various shades of Islamic thinking. to the degree that moderate Islamic reform movements are excluded from the political process, more extreme factions will arise. Distinguishing between these movements is critical to resolving the socio-political issues that create instability in Moslem societies just as much as distinguishing between social democrats, socialists, and communists was to understanding post-WWII European politics.
For just a few of the innumerable examples, see:
- Marc Lynch's comments on the electoral predicament of the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt;
- my post on Washington's empowerment of Hamas;
- Hassan Abbas' post on the impact of U.S. policy;
- Ben White on Palestinian politics, in which he writes:
Since the PLC elections, carried out democratically and transparently, the legitimate Palestinian government has been subjected to boycott, sanction and threats, and the US and EU have done everything in their
power to undermine and destabilize the representatives of the Palestinian people. Sanctioning the occupied has made an economy already stunted by years of Israeli colonization and siege, a disaster-zone. This is not rocket science; it was highlighted from the beginning by charities, NGOs and the few politicians willing to stand out from the consensus.
Moreover, together with Israel, the US has been openly working to arm Fatah for a coup against Hamas, moves that the latter – who had been elected on the basis of their resistance to Israeli occupation and their track record of humanitarian commitment to the people – were not going to sit by and idly watch. This came only after the attempt to
starve the Palestinians into submission appeared not to be working. This context is strangely (or perhaps not so strangely) missing from most mainstream media coverage, despite the basic facts being widely in the public domain.