Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


Cartoons that divide and unite

The good people at Strategic Forecasting, Stratfor has come up with another interesting analysis - and of course concerned with the Mohammed-cartoon row.

Their main finding is that this incident serves to unite across two faultlines: the US-European and the Sunni-Shiia. Those two faultlines has been exploited by the pro- and antagonists in the "War on Terror" but now they are being bridged somewhat by this clash of principles: a religious, moslem one with a liberal democratic one.

Stratfor ends up by saying that the beneficiaries of this conflict - naïvely set off by Flemming Rose and his crew at the conservative provincial newspaper Jyllands-posten - are Iran and the US:

Still, there are two clear beneficiaries. One is the United States: The cartoon affair is serving to further narrow the rift between the Bush administration's view of the Islamic world and that of many Europeans. Between the Paris riots last year, the religiously motivated murder of a Dutch filmmaker and the "blame Denmark" campaign, European patience is wearing thin. The other beneficiary is Iran. As Iran moves toward a confrontation with the United States over nuclear weapons, this helps to rally the Muslim world to its side: Iran wants to be viewed as the defender of Islam, and Sunnis who have raised questions about its flirtations with the United States in Iraq are now seeing Iran as the leader in outrage against Europe.

This is an interesting observation, but the Americans here might overlook the tendency there is for so-called "moderate moslems" (another way to describe secular moslems I fear) to become more visible in the debate and thus strengthening the integration efforts. This is a tendency that is sketchy at most, but will be interesting to follow.


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