The Sunni revival
It was 2006 when the American scholar Vali Nasr, of Iranian origin, wrote his masterpiece “The Shia Revival.” It was on former president George W. Bush’s inadvertent act to invade the mostly Shiite-dominated Iraq, which gave the country as a gift to the United States’ worst enemy, Iran, without firing a shot. It was also on the divergence between two great Islamic sects, the Shiite and the Sunni, which happens to be worse than between Catholicism and Protestantism.
And the big prize of this conflict is now Syria, which has not been solved yet.
Several years later, it is time for another book in the wake of the Arab Spring, on effectively “The Sunni Revival,” which is replacing the Shiite revival. The United States’ role in the origins of the Arab Spring is debatable, but the fact that Sunni Islam is on the rise is not. The United States, under the rule of President Barack Obama, has greatly benefited from the Sunni Arab Spring.
First, consider where Turkey was two or three years ago when and how it, in a collaboration with Brazil, worked hard inside the United Nations Security Council, as a non-permanent member, against new sanctions on Iran because of its unclear nuclear aspirations. Now the same Turkey has allowed a NATO X-band radar system on its soil in Kürecik to spy against the nuclear ambitions of the same Iran.
As has been repeatedly warned by Iran, Kürecik has been under constant threat. Now a few predictions: Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is right to declare that the deployment of German and Dutch Patriot air defense systems in southern Turkey, agreed to under U.S. permission within NATO, are due to be placed somewhere that will definitely guard Kürecik against a missile attack.
See how a Turkey, which once protected Iran within the United Nations, has transformed. Now, did you think Turkey would act like it did a few years ago? This is a huge failure for Iran, and a huge success for the U.S.
Turkey also acted solidly with the Sunni Arab states of Egypt and Qatar in trying to find a truce a couple of weeks ago between the Palestinians in Gaza, under the rule of Hamas, and Israel, despite its own difficulties with that country. The effort was ultimately successful. I am not among the Turkish analysts who thought that Israel was ready to attack Gaza from the land throughout the process. Israel is most effective when it hits from the air and the sea. In the war against helpless Gaza in 2009, it can be said it was a draw. But when it started the land warfare against the Hezbollah in 2006, it was a clear defeat.
This is because in modern warfare, all modern armies, including the American and Russian armies, suffer heavy casualties against more primitive militaries on land. Look at Iraq and Afghanistan (twice).
Because on land you have almost equal chances or you are more vulnerable to losses. So it took me just a few hours to guess that the Israeli offensive would not be expanded to the land.
If we come to Egypt, the Arab Spring was seen by many as a largely secular movement aimed at establishing constitutional democracy. But actually, it was not certain that the secular constitutionalists would win it. And in practice, they lost it. President Mohamed Morsi is an Islamist, and his intention was to strengthen the role of Islam in Egypt and he is doing that now. The move on the judiciary signaled his intent to begin consolidating power. Now, do you want another prediction? He will win it against the liberals, because as an Islamist, fighting the remnants of the Hosni Mubarak regime, he is on the right side of the history.
And yet another prediction? Despite his recent victory against Israel and the United States at the United Nations, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a member of the Fatah movement, fighting against the more radical Hamas, is doomed to lose, probably in a few months to be replaced by a Hamas member. Because he is on the wrong side of history, and Hamas is on the right side.