Two news items ought to be required reading for every Western official dealing with policy towards the Middle East. one is the Italian Psychoanalyst David Gerbi's failed attempt to re-open a Synagogue in post-Qaddafi Libya; the other is the increasingly ferocious attacks on Egypt's Christian minority. Both suggest that the Arab revolts against the long-reigning strongmen of the Middle East will bring about more radically Islamicist and anti-Western regimes.
Gerbi, who is of Libyan Jewish birth, apparently believed the propaganda about the Libyan rebels representing a more open, tolerant, and democratic regime. Having been booed out of his natal country with howls for his immediate deportation, perhaps he can take comfort that these were not howls for his death. Maybe this is the moderation that the "Arab Spring" represents. Or, perhaps, along with the attacks on one of the last functioning synagogues in Tunisia a few months earlier, it proves that the Arab peoples once again face a change of thugs-in-power who will whet a deep-seated desire for more anti-Jewish and anti-Western demagoguery.
The attacks on Egypt's Christians--the last carriers of the language (in the form of liturgical Coptic) and elements of the culture of the ancient, Pharaonic Egyptians--further warns of the power of Muslim radicalism across the Arab world. The attacks of the last week are not de novo, but have a number of precedents reaching back into the waning years of the Mubarak dictatorship, when the regime was often successful in deflecting hatred of the regime towards the Coptic Christian minority. With Nasser's successful snuffing out of Egypt's millennia-old Jewish community as a precedent, Islamic radicals apparently hope that they may now make Egypt purely Islamic, by snuffing out the Copts.
This wave of Islamic radicalism bodes ill for the Middle East Peace Prospect. The very existence of states like Israel, and Christian Lebanon earlier, are an affront to Islamic doctrine, which posits perpetual Muslim supremacy over the Peoples of the Book; for these states exist on lands that have been under Muslim rule for centuries, apart from the very brief interlude of Western colonialism (which, incidentally, were the only period since the eruption of Islam from the Arabian Peninsula when a non-Muslim's word in court carried as much weight as a Muslim's). The likelihood that an Egyptian regime dominated by the Islamic Brotherhood will maintain its cold peace with Egypt is small; the likelihood that an Islamicist-dominated Egypt will throw its weight behind an increasingly Hamas-dominated Palestinian Arab entity is great. This rejectionism probably will further continue to dominate until a future Arab-Israeli War results in the Islamicists producing no more than an unbearably high number of "martyrs" killed by an Israel that will recognize that it has no alternatives but clear-cut victory or death. Should such a wave of Islamic radicalism engulf Israel, the Balkans and Spain are probably the next countries that must get very, very worried.
At present, most of the Western world is in a state of denial (not a river in Egypt, pun intended) about the danger posed by the new Arab regimes. We have convinced ourselves too long that Islam is at heart, a "tolerant" religion (ask the Armenians, extinct Mizrahi Jewish communities, the Copts of today, or Pastor Nardakhani aawaiting execution in Iran for apostasy from Islam about "Islamic tolerance"), especially since a line of cultural elites from the writers of the French enlightenment to today's so-called multi-culturalists have ever sought convenient sticks to beat the dog of the West's Christian heritage. But the handwriting is on the wall, and it is our choice to read and heed it if we will.