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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 10, 2003

Time for a change the Arab world that is

Thomas Friedman in an editorial in the N. Y. Times finally gets it right.

Here's a prediction: In the end, 9/11 will have a much bigger impact on the Arab and Muslim worlds than it does on America. Lord knows, 9/11 has been a trauma for us, and our response has been to strike back and install better security. But 9/11 has been a trauma for Arabs and Muslims as well - a shock to their systems that ranks with Napoleon's invasion of Egypt, the creation of Israel and the 1967 defeat.

While the shock of 1967 was profound, it ultimately led to very little change in the Arab political or social order. Because the post-'67 shock was blunted by two factors: the existence of the Soviet Union, and Soviet aid, to cushion regimes from the need to reform; and the dramatic rise in oil wealth post-'67, which also bought off a lot of pressures for change.

Today there is no Soviet Union, and because of the huge population explosion in the Arab-Muslim world, there also is not enough oil wealth to buy off pressures anymore. At the same time, thanks to globalization, young Arabs and Muslims have a much better sense of where they stand vis-à-vis the world, and how far behind they are in many cases. Finally, because America was the target of 9/11, a refusal to face up to the local factors that produced the 9/11 hijackers runs the risk of a clash with the U.S.

He's got a point there.