ZenPundit
Sunday, April 10, 2005
 
KEPEL: " JIHAD HAS FAILED"

Collounsbury's favorite Arabist, Gilles Kepel, was in the news recently for his lecture " The War of Muslim Minds" where he argued that 9/11 represented a tremendous failure for al Qaida because it did not ignite widespread insurgency and provided the neocons with a pretext to attack ME nations. Hat tip to Robert Spencer, who slams Kepel in a post on Jihad Watch.

Kepel does seem to be recycling - at least as I read it third hand - a lot of the popular, leftist, misconceptions about neoconservatism, not unlike what you might hear from Juan Cole on the topic. A good rebuttal to this kind of conspiratorial boilerplate can be found here ( hat tip Milt's File).
 
Comments:
please. Kepel is hardly "left." If he's anything, he's a hardheaded realist.
 
Prak,

I didn't say Kepel was Left, just that he seemed to be passing along that interpretation of neoconservatism.
 
It would be more helpful if Robert Spencer was not making a straw man and actually understood Kepel's arguments, which he does not. Kepel's concern has been rather long standing in the area of Islamism as mass movement. Of course, given he's rather closer than Mr Jihad Watch, I should not be surprised.

Nor is "absurd" as he says that the US is at once playing divide and conquer AND trying to get a working government going, although the statement quoted is badly phrased. That is a comment so simple minded as to be childish. Realpolitik, my dears, Realpolitik demends it. Why do you read these people?

I rather fail to see the Leftist Neocon thing either, unless I am a Leftist as well mate. Perhaps a bit collapsed but not without reason.
 
hi Col-

I read things like Jihad Watch because without those ppl who comb the internet like monomaniacs on particular topics I'd probably never have read the article on Kepel.

As for the neocons, I'm saying Kepel is using the current Left interpretation of neoconservatism because - well - he is.

Neoconservatism the movement has its roots in anticommunism - Committee for the Present Danger, Committee of Santa Fe, Team B, Commentary etc. etc. Shortly after the 2000 election some on the left, particularly in the pages of The Nation, began pushing the Neoconservatism = Likudnik Zionism meme. Admittedly, some Neocons are Jewish ( Perle, Feith) and many of these are fervently pro-Israel - but the same can be said of a good many liberal Democrats.

Likewise, not everyone in the Bush administration or previously in PNAC were Neocons. Rummy and Cheney are not, Powell was not, Rice wasn't, Bush isn't and so on. There's a lot more nuance and interests operating here and the neocons are second and third tier players.

The argument Kepel is making on this point, if he was reported accurately, was a lazy one that simply reduces American ME policy to a Zionist cabal. This is a cartoon, not an analysis.

Presumably, Kepel qualified his remarks a good deal more than the article indicated.
 
Well, on the Left item, it's something one hears form Conservo Brits, etc. etc.

Like it or not, that's what NeoCon has come to mean to overseas people.

Strictly accurate, perhaps not, but looking at US FP in MENA from afar a bit of reduction does happen.
 
It was an effective demonization campaign - aided in no small measure by the general incompetency of the occupation and several hambone diplomatic manuvers ( Wolfowitz & the Turks comes to mind)- but this message has sort of boomeranged on the originators.

Believing their own agitprop about the Bush administration has not helped their analysis about what Bush & co. are actually going to do on the ground in the ME. Plus, the critics having harped ad nauseum about the dangers of Bush's plan for radical deomcratizing, they don't have much to say when the media points to various small reform measures ( or unrelated events) as proof of momentum going W's way. You can't peddle two conflicting simple messages at once to the masses and retain credibility.
 
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