Manifestations of Force
Citizen Zed - 2/28/11
The NY Times and Souad Mekhennet point out the odd situation faced by Al Qaeda in Middle East: As Regimes Fall in Arab World, Al Qaeda Sees History Fly By
"For nearly two decades, the leaders of Al Qaeda have denounced the Arab world’s dictators as heretics and puppets of the West and called for their downfall. Now, people in country after country have risen to topple their leaders — and Al Qaeda has played absolutely no role.
In fact, the motley opposition movements that have appeared so suddenly and proved so powerful have shunned the two central tenets of the Qaeda credo: murderous violence and religious fanaticism. The demonstrators have used force defensively, treated Islam as an afterthought and embraced democracy, which is anathema to Osama bin Laden and his followers."
Though events are fresh enough to feed possible naiveté, it very much looks like we are witnessing the manifestation of a new concept of force. An historical surprise, almost ex nihilo, interrupts the conflict dynamics of both Al Qaeda and the United States. Suddenly, breathtakingly, both are revealed caught up in what should have been obvious - as geared into inadequate concepts of force.
Both will, however, naturally aim to prey upon the Jasmine flower, projecting spectres of the other as a means to influence and access.
But the quasi-imperial power has the most to lose, and perhaps the most to gain. For if the new force is greeted above all with the simplicity and the substance of recognition (rather than predatory opportunism), Al Qaeda may lose all vital traction. And yet, since the mystery of recognition moves in two directions, America and the West may be surprised to find they are seen neither as democratic nor as expressions of modern community.