Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Syrian patriarch says Christians feel betrayed by West

Syrian patriarch says Christians feel betrayed by West

Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis agree that Sharia should be imposed on Egypt

From Jihad Watch:

Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis agree that Sharia should be imposed on Egypt
Whatever their disagreements may be about how Sharia should be implemented, if the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis do succeed in imposing Sharia upon Egypt, we will see restrictions on the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the rights of women and non-Muslims. Wherever and whenever Sharia has been implemented, this has been the case. Yet in the U.S., we are forced to believe on pain of "Islamophobia" charges that Sharia is so multiform as to have no particular content and is fully compatible with Constitutionally protected freedoms -- and on the basis of these false claims, anti-Sharia legislation is struck down.

"We won’t be another NDP, say Muslim Brothers," from Almasry Alyoum, January 15 (thanks to Wimpy):

Mohamed Gheith, MP for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, on Sunday said his party would not act like the disbanded National Democratic Party (NDP). “We do not intend to dominate parliament,” he said. “All committees will be headed according to a consensus.”
He added that his party would only form a coalition in parliament that is best for the country. “We know that we are watched by our voters, and we cannot let them down,” he said.

He said his party differs with the Salafi-oriented Nour Party over the way Islamic Sharia should be applied. “But we both agree in principle that it should be applied,” he noted, adding that the Salafis have no political expertise....

Posted by Robert on January 16, 2012 8:02 AM |

People of Shambhala: Libya's draft election laws biased against women

People of Shambhala: Libya's draft election laws biased against women: The ousting of Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi in 2011 was meant to usher in a new era of pluralism and freedom. However, as has occurred ...

Thousands Protest Dink Murder on Fifth Anniversary

Thousands Protest Dink Murder on Fifth Anniversary

Qaradawi Organization Calls For Punishment Of U.S. Soldiers Who Burned Korans

From The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report:

Qaradawi Organization Calls For Punishment Of U.S. Soldiers Who Burned Korans

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The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, has released a statement on the recent burning of Korans in Afghanistan by U.S. soldiers calling for “an immediate investigation so as to punish the perpetrators of this criminal act.” According to the IUMS statement:
IUMS calls for an immediate investigation so as to punish the perpetrators of this criminal act. Praise be to Almighty Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family, his Companions, and all those who follow his guidance. The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) is closely observing with great concern the recent developments and violence taking place in Afghanistan, which resulted from the burning of some copies of the noble Qur’an by some American soldiers who do not care for the sanctity of Muslims in their lands. It is unfortunate that this is not the first time for Americans soldiers to commit this sacrilege; they previously burnt copies of the noble Qur’an in Afghanistan and America. Considering this latest development and the irresponsible and immoral attitudes demonstrated by some American soldiers in Afghanistan, IUMS is hereby announcing the following: First, IUMS expresses its deep displeasure and strong condemnation for the action of the American soldiers who burnt the Qur’an at their base in Afghanistan, which is a great insult and disregard for Muslims in Afghanistan and all over the world. Second, IUMS regards this action as an incitement to violence, hatred, and discrimination, and it leads also to more blood-shedding of innocent Afghanis. Third, though IUMS welcomes the apology of the U.S government, it calls for an immediate investigation so as to punish the perpetrators of this criminal act. Fourth, IUMS calls Muslims all over the world to always observe and practice Islamic ethics in dealing with such practices. As the Qur’an says, {no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another}, there should be no generalization or punishment for innocent people. Allah is our Helper and on Him we rely.”
The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) was launched on July 11, 2004 in conjunction with a visit by Youssef Qaradawi to London for a meeting of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. It should be noted that Salahudin Sultan, identified above as an IUMS member, is almost certainly Dr. Salah Sultan (aka Solah Sultan, Sallah Sultan), a notorious anti-Semite and close associate of Qaradawi’s.
Qaradawi, a virulent anti-Semite is often referred to here as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide. Based in Qatar, Sheikh Qaradawi has reportedly amassed substantial wealth through his role as Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds. He is also considered to be the “spiritual guide” for Hamas and his fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens were instrumental in the development of the phenomenon. A recent posthas discussed a video compilation of Qaradawi’s extremist statements.

Israel and Truman’s Lesson for Obama

From Middle East and Terrorism Blog:


Israel and Truman’s Lesson for Obama

by David Meir-Levi 

More than one hundred years ago, George Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.1 But Friedrich Hegel is quoted as saying: “What experience and history teaches us is that people and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.”2 In other words, all that we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history.
Today our president must decide from which philosopher he takes his inspiration.
Preaching on January 7, 2012 at a Jerusalem rally marking the 47th anniversary of Fatah’s founding, Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein (the highest religious authority among Palestinian Authority Muslims) quoted a Hadith (an extra-Qur’anic text attributed to the Prophet Mohammad) predicting the ultimate annihilation of all Jews by Muslims: “The hour of judgment will not come until you (Muslims) fight the Jews,” he said. “The Jew will hide behind the stone and behind the tree. The stone and the tree will cry, ‘Oh Muslim, Oh Servant of God, this is a Jew behind me, come and kill him’.” Avideo of the rally, circulated by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), showed the rally’s moderator introducing the mufti by saying: “Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs [i.e. Jews] is a war of religion and faith. Long live Fatah!”
Although the Mufti described his speech as nothing more than an “end-of-times” prophesy3, and not an incitement to mass murder, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the Mufti’s speech as hateful and inciting to war, and called upon Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn the Mufti’s words. Abbas did not.
Vitriolic and incendiary rhetoric by Muslim religious leaders against Jews and Israel is certainly nothing new in the history of the Arab-Israel conflict; and incitement to terrorism and mass murder by Yasir Arafat and other Palestinian leaders is well documented.4 Leaders from just about every Arab terror organization have for decades used references in Muslim religious texts to justify the destruction of Israel and the annihilation of its Jews and to re-cast their own attempts at mass murder of Israelis as an Islamic obligation. The Mufti Hussein himself used similar language during a sermon at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque in January, 2010 (see addendum), where he was unambiguous in exhorting Muslims to kill Jews because they are “enemies of Allah.
Shortly after the Mufti’s speech, the National Conference on Jewish Affairs (NCJA) called upon President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the leadership of the House and Senate and the chairmen and ranking chairpersons of the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to condemn this explicit call to the genocide of Jews. The NCJA also exhorted the Secretary General of the United Nations and leaders of human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, to join in this condemnation.
The UK’s foreign minister, Congressman Howard Berman, and Americans for Peace Now have condemned the Mufti’s genocidal diatribe and urged PA President Abbas to do so as well. Candidates for the Republican nomination have strongly and consistently condemned Palestinian incitement against Israel and criticized Obama and his cabinet for their silence on this issue. Our President has remained silent.
Given our President’s attempts to represent himself as our country’s most pro-Israel president ever, it is strange that he does not speak out, even thought his silence risks losing Jewish votes; especially since history provides us with an amazingly similar situation 66 years ago.
In 1946, when Harry Truman was President,5 the current Mufti’s predecessor, the Hajj Amin el-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem6, delivered similarly blood-curdling diatribes calling on the entire Arab world to unite, kill all the Jews, and turn the Mediterranean Sea red with Jewish blood. Coming in the immediate aftermath of World War II and the emergence of the mind-numbing truth about the Holocaust, Husseini’s genocidal vitriol caused an uproar among many worldwide, including, but not limited to, supporters of Zionism in the USA. As the 1948 presidential elections loomed near, Republican candidates used Husseini’s words as the springboard for their condemnation of Arab intransigence and anti-Jewish harangues. Republican presidential candidates Sen. Robert Taft and Gov. Thomas Dewey repeatedly spoke out in favor of the creation of a Jewish state, and they harshly criticized the Truman administration for its failure to do so.
While the Democratic Party followed with its own endorsement, being the first meant something to even the Jewish and Christian Zionist voters who were registered Democrats, hence the Republican landslide in the 1946 midterm congressional elections, and the election of the first Republican senator from New York in 30 years.
Whatever influence President Truman’s personal feelings about Jews may have had on his political decisions7 evaporated in light of the obvious political gain to be had by courting pro-Israel voters. In 1946, he endorsed the idea of a Jewish state and expressed support for the UN Partition Plan, just before Governor Dewey did so. At midnight, May 14, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel proclaimed the new State of Israel. On that same date the United States, in the person of President Truman, recognized the provisional Jewish government as de facto authority of the new Jewish state (de jure recognition was extended on January 31, 1949).
Again, being first counted for something, as did choosing right over wrong and putting our nation’s priorities over his personal predilections. Truman won in 1948.
Now, as then, choosing right over wrong and putting our nation’s priorities over personal predilections counts for something. And especially now, when nations and leaders worldwide arequick to condemn Israel’s construction of homes for its growing population but stand mute, inert and complicit in the face of the palpable evil of Arab incitement to genocide and terrorist mass murder, speaking out counts for something.
Will our president learn from his illustrious predecessor’s history? Will he recognize evil for what it is as Arab diatribe resurrects the Nazi Final Solution? Will he understand that silence in the face of evil is complicity, and complicity with evil is evil? Or will he stand idly by, complicit in his silence?
End Notes
1. Reason in Common Sense, vol. I, The Life of Reason, 1905-6. Winston Churchill and others have made similar quips.
3. Judging from the actual words the Mufti used in his speech, it is difficult to believe that he was merely quoting a Hadith, but rather was indeed rallying his audience to war against modern Israel and Jews everywhere: “The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews. The Jew will hide behind stones or trees. Then the stones or trees will call: ‘Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ Except the Gharqad tree [which will keep silent (because it is the tree of the Jews)].Therefore it is no wonder that you see Gharqad [trees] surrounding the [Israeli] settlements and colonies..”
5. Much of the following, unless otherwise indicated, is taken from Rafael Medoff, “How the Mufti of Jerusalem Once Impacted America’s Presidential Election — and Could Do So Again,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 1, 2012, at
7. For insight into Truman’s vacillation about policy decisions related to Israel and about his personal anti-Jewish sentiments, see; and
The message in this sermon is unambiguous: “Today’s Jews and Israelis are enemies of Allah and humanity – Kill them!”
“The loathsome occupation in Palestine – its land and its holy places – by these new Mongols and what they are perpetrating upon this holy, blessed and pure land – killing, assassination, destruction, confiscation, Judaization (sic!), harassment and splitting the homeland – are clear proof of [unintelligible word - Ed.] hostility, of incomparable racism, and of Nazism of the 20th century. The Jews, the enemies of Allah and of His Messenger, the enemies of Allah and of His Messenger! Enemies of humanity in general, and of Palestinians in particular – they wage war against us using all kinds of crimes, and as you see – even the mosques are not spared their racism…
“Our enmity with the Jews is a matter of [or 'based on'] faith; our enmity with the Jews is a matter of faith, more than an enmity owing to [or 'arising from'] occupation and the land.”

“Were the Palestinian people not the owners of the orchards of Haifa and Jaffa? Were the Palestinian people not the owners of the buildings of Sheikh Munis [today's Ramat Aviv], Safed and Acre? And from [a situation of] orchards and the citrus exports [they have been reduced] to UNRWA and to food stamps, and from buildings and from the Mediterranean beaches to refugee camps and to exile. Why, Oh nation of victory and of Shahada (Martyrdom)?! Why, Oh nation of Islam?! Because we forgot that which we were told [in the Quran], because we forgot that which we were told, and Allah allowed the Jews to punish us.”

“Oh Muslims! The Jews are the Jews. The Jews are the Jews. Even if donkeys would cease to bray, dogs cease to bark, wolves cease to howl and snakes to bite, the Jews would not cease to harbor hatred towards Muslims. The Prophet said that if two Jews would be alone with a Muslim, they would think only of killing him. Oh Muslims! This land will be liberated, these holy places and these mosques will be liberated, only by means of a return to the Quran and when all Muslims will be willing to be Jihad Fighters for the sake of Allah and for the sake of supporting Palestine, the Palestinian people, the Palestinian land, and the holy places in Palestine. The Prophet says: ‘You shall fight the Jews and kill them, until the tree and the stone will speak and say: ‘Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah’ – the tree and the stone will not say, ‘Oh Arab,’ they will say, ‘Oh Muslim’. And they will not say, ‘Where are the millions?’ and will not say, ‘Where is the Arab nation?’ Rather, they will say, ‘Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah – there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ Except for the Gharqad tree [tree mentioned in the Quran - Ed.], which is the tree of the Jews. Thus, this land will be liberated only by means of Jihad…”
David Meir-Levi 


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Not a Parody: Peace Now Shocked to Discover Arabs Don’t Want Peace

From Middle East and Terrorism Blog:


Not a Parody: Peace Now Shocked to Discover Arabs Don’t Want Peace

by Jonathan S. Tobin

What will it take to convince supporters of Peace Now the imperative of their organization’s name depends on the Arabs rather than the Jews? After 18+ years of Arab terrorism and rejection of peace offers since the Oslo Accords, it’s hard to say whether anything the Palestinians could do or say would cause them to rethink their myopic view of the world. But give Americans for Peace Now’s Lara Friedman a little credit. After schlepping to an Arab League conference on Jerusalem, she at least had the wit to notice that just about everybody else there was focused on delegitimizing Israel, denouncing its existence within any borders and denying thousands of years of Jewish history.
However, it’s hard not to chuckle a little bit at the indignant tone affected by Friedman in her op-edpublished in the Forward as she conveys her shock and dismay to discover the Arab world believes Jews have no rights in Jerusalem or any other part of Israel. She and her group had so convinced themselves all it will take to create peace “now” was for Israelis to support a two-state solution and negotiate, it appears they never took the time or effort to realize the other side has little interest in peace, now or at any other time. This gives her piece the tone of a parody worthy of The Onion even though it was written in deadly earnest. Indeed, it must be considered in writing such an article she has demonstrated the utter cluelessness of her group better than anything the group’s critics could have come up with.
What is so touching (as well as more than a bit comical) about Friedman’s piece is that much of what she says in it is true. For example:
If President Abbas cannot acknowledge Jewish claims in Jerusalem, even as he asserts Palestinian claims (a problem Yasser Arafat suffered from), he should not be surprised if it is more difficult for Israelis and Jews, wherever they are, to believe that he can be trusted in a peace agreement that leaves Jerusalem sites precious to Jews under Palestinian control.
If representatives of the organization that sponsored the Arab Peace Initiative cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the legitimacy of Jewish equities in Jerusalem, they should know that they discredit their own professed interest in peace. …
All throughout the day, it was unfortunately the same story. Participants talked about Jerusalem as if Jewish history did not exist or was a fraud — as if all Jewish claims in the city were just a tactic to dispossess Palestinians.
Friedman is quite right about all of this. But does it really need to be pointed out that she needn’t have traveled to Doha to figure this out? The Palestinians and their cheerleaders have been making this clear for decades. That is why Peace Now in Israel has been discredited by the events that have transpired since the Oslo Accords were signed, and their political supporters in the Knesset have been trounced in election after election. The traditional left in Israel, at least as far as the Palestinian issue is concerned, is barely alive, though you wouldn’t know it from the way many on the Jewish left in the United States talk. The conceit of groups like Americans for Peace Now and J Street — that Israel must be pressured to make peace by the United States for its own good — makes no sense once you realize the Jewish state has repeatedly tried and failed to trade land for peace and the Palestinians have little interest in a two-state solution no matter where Israel’s borders would be drawn.
Friedman archly compares the Arab hate fest she is attending to Jewish conclaves where only pro-Israel speakers participate. This is a bit much as is her insinuation no one who cares for Israel’s future can possibly oppose a partition of Jerusalem that would place Jewish holy places in the tender care of Abbas and his Hamas allies. As she has discovered to her consternation, Palestinians don’t care about Jewish sensibilities, let alone Jewish rights. Her failure to draw any rational conclusions from what she has heard in Doha tells us all we need to know about the irrelevance of Peace Now to any serious discussion about the future of the Middle East.
Jonathan S. Tobin


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


From FPRI:

by Richard Cincotta

January 23, 2012

Dr. Richard Cincotta is a political demographer whose
research focuses on the demographic transition and human
migration, and their relationships to political, economic,
and environmental change. His publications on these topics
have appeared in Foreign Policy, Nature, and Science
magazines. He contributed to the National Intelligence
Council's most recent global futuring exercise, Global
Trends 2025: A Transformed World (2009) and The Geneva
Declaration Secretariat's Global Burden of Armed Violence

Available on the web and in pdf format at: 

                  LIFE BEGINS AFTER 25:

                    by Richard Cincotta

Much has been written about the circumstances that led
Middle East experts to be blindsided by the successful
series of popular demonstrations that kicked off the Arab
Spring in December 2010. Writing in Foreign Affairs,
political scientist Gregory Gausse recounts how regional
specialists, like himself, overestimated the strength and
cohesiveness of North Africa's autocracies, as well as the
depth of personal allegiances available to these
authoritarians among their military's highest ranks.[1]
Another article in the same journal, by Nassim Taleb and
Mark Blyth, draws a strikingly dissimilar conclusion from
political science's most recent failure.[2] They describe
North Africa's dramatic political events as a "black swan"-
the unpredictable terminus of a buildup of tensions brought
to a head by complexly interacting forces.

Little, if any, mention has been made, however, of an
article describing the relationship between demography and
democracy ("How Democracies Grow Up") that was printed on
the pages of Foreign Policy in March of 2008[3]- more than
two-and-a-half years before pro-democracy demonstrators took
to the streets in Tunisia. In that essay, I describe a
simple model driven by population age structure (the
distribution of population by age) that can be used to
statistically forecast democratization, with reasonable
success. Based on that research, I reached the following

  "The first (and perhaps most surprising) region that
  promises a shift to liberal democracy is a cluster along
  Africa's Mediterranean coast: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia,
  Libya, and Egypt, none of which has experienced liberal
  democracy in the recent past. The other is in South
  America: Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela, each of which
  attained liberal democracy demographically "early" but
  was unable to sustain it. Interpreting these forecasts
  conservatively, we can expect there will be one, maybe
  two, in each group that will become stable liberal
  democracies by 2020."  [Foreign Policy, March, 2008, pp.

That forecast appeared again in print in 2009 ("Half a
Chance: Youth Bulges and Transitions to Liberal Democracy"),
in the Woodrow Wilson Center's Environmental Change and
Security Report the following year,[4] and is detailed in
Political Demography: How Population Changes Are Reshaping
Security and National Politics, edited by Jack Goldstone,
Monica Duffy Toft and Eric Kaufmann  (launched at FPRI on
December 13, 2011).[5]

Of course, the forecast of "one, maybe two," North African
liberal democracies has yet to be realized. Nonetheless, the
first step toward democratization, the ouster of the
authoritarian head of state, is a fait accompli in three of
the region's states-in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. And,
despite tensions that will likely arise between the Nahda,
Tunisia's Islamist party, and the secular center and left-
wing parties, the country's Jasmine Revolution remains, for
the time being, well on track.

Was this forecast for North Africa a lucky guess? Or did it
make use of information that was unavailable to regional
specialists? The answer to both questions is "no-not at
all." The forecast is one of several recent products of
unclassified research in political demography that has been
funded by the (U.S.) National Intelligence Council over the
past six years. The methodologies that were developed during
this effort are repeatable and draw on the UN Population
Division's biennially revised demographic data, which can
freely be downloaded from the Internet or purchased in its

One other important point: During 2008, I presented these
forecasts, on two separate occasions, to assembled groups of
senior Middle East scholars. On both occasions, those
present-almost to a person-strongly rejected the possibility
of political change among North African regimes (in one
case, senior experts broke into laughter at the mention of
the possibility of regime change in Tunisia).

My research (with co-author John Doces) on the demographic
timing and stability of liberal democracy uses a rather
straightforward "age-structural model" to produce
statistical forecasts. In turn, that model rests on two
basic theories that predict the general behavior of states.
The first theory, the youth bulge thesis-developed over the
past four decades through the successive efforts of Herbert
M”ller,[6] Jack Goldstone,[7] Christian Mesquida,[8] Henrik
Urdal,[9] and others[10]-asserts that states with youthful
age structures face an elevated risk of experiencing armed
intra-state conflict and other types of political violence.

The second basic theory, the authoritarian bargain thesis,
harkens to a three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old observation of
the English political philosopher, Thomas Hobbes. Writing in
the 17th century, Hobbes argued that polities are born of a
trade-off: when threatened, elites and citizens willingly
trade their political and civil liberties for guarantees of
security.[11] Combining the two theories generates an
expectation that is easy to test: one would expect countries
with youthful age structures to encounter the lowest risk of
liberal democracy ("free" in the same survey). Indeed,
statistically, they do.

Is this "authoritarian bargain" reversible? In other words,
when the demographic source of insecurity fades-in this
case, when declining fertility transforms a politically
volatile, youthful population into a more age-structurally
mature populace-will elites and common citizens rally to
recoup their political and civil liberties? Statistically,
it appears that they will; as fertility declines and median
age advances, the probability that Freedom House will assess
a state as "free" increases.

In fact, this pattern of "regime timing" has remained
remarkably stable since the early 1970s, when Freedom House
first began its global surveys (see Figure 1
In each decade since then, only about 10 percent of all countries
with a median age less than 25 years have been categorized
as "free". Moreover, that youthful-yet-liberal 10 percent
is, by and large, a highly unstable group of democracies.
Since Freedom House started keeping score, few have kept
their high rating much more than a decade. Most have been
rocked by electoral violence or an insurgency, and then
slipped to "partly free" (partial democracy) within the five
years. Others have spiraled quickly downward to "not free"
(autocracy) in the wake of a coup d'‚tat.

For a modern state, a median age of 25 years appears as a
milestone. Around that benchmark (more or less), the
incidence of civil conflict declines perceptibly, and the
chance of being a liberal democracy increases markedly.  For
the past four decades, Freedom House has assessed about half
of all countries in the 25-to-35-year median-age range as
"free". Much of this political liberalization appears to be
related to the newfound stability of "intermediate-aged"
liberal democracies.[12] Unlike states with more youthful
populations, those assessed as "free" in this demographic
range-particularly in the 30-to-35-year range-tend to hold
onto their high ratings.

The next 10-year quartile looks even better. Since the early
1970s, Freedom House has bestowed its "free" rating on about
90 percent of all countries in the 35-to-45-year median-age
range (mature age structures). Clearly, the advance of age-
structural maturity-and the societal transformations that go
hand and hand with this transition-are tough on illiberal
regimes. And that should make analysts curious about the
identity of the remaining (and very resilient) 10 percent.

This hardy lot of illiberal survivors in the mature category
fits into three overlapping categories. The first includes
regimes led by a charismatic founder figure-like Fidel
Castro and Lee Kwan Yew; and perhaps a founder-like-figure,
Vladimir Putin (who appears to be losing his charm). The
second category comprises regimes ruling one-party states,
where party and state are synonymous and where the regime
has reconstructed its own military and commercial elites.
The most obvious example was the Soviet Union (for a while).
No doubt China, which crosses the 35-year median age mark in
the next five years, will continue to function as an
autocracy. The final category is composed of regimes that
are beholden to a militarily superior, autocratic neighbor,
intolerant of the rise of a liberal regime in its sphere of
influence-the situation of Eastern Europe during the Cold

How did these findings lead to my 2008 forecast of political
change in North Africa? According to UN projections, between
2010 and 2019, each of the region's five coastal states were
due to reach the 25-to-35-year median-age range-a span
within which around 50 percent of all countries are, quite
consistently, liberal democracies. Assuming that the age-
structural model was as applicable to North Africa as
elsewhere, the calculated probability that, by 2020, no
country in the region would be assessed as a liberal
democracy turned out to be extremely low, around 3
percent-much more like a "safe bet" than one of Taleb's and
Blythe's black swans.

Gausse's assessment of Middle East experts' analytical
lapses is much less easy to dismiss. Moreover, that
assessment should perplex policymakers who rely on regional
and country expertise for conceptual insights and warnings.
Gausse concedes that an entire field of seasoned regional
and country specialists, some of whom are native to the
region itself, missed or mis-assessed critical shifts in
relationships among elites-the very focus of their pre-Arab
Spring narrative.

Given these circumstances, I see only one possibility: The
methodologies upon which these analysts relied-their sources
of evidence and the theories that used this evidence to
generate conclusions-are inadequate for sensing the rapid
onset of dramatic political change. If the case of the Arab
Spring seems anecdotal, then one needs only to revisit those
narratives that dominated the foreign affairs literature
before the fall of the Berlin Wall, before the rise of
liberal democracy in East Asia (particularly Indonesia), and
before the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Few experts perceived
the impending onset of those dramatic political reversals.

Would political demography have saved the day in all cases?
Maybe not-but the development of, and openness to,
repeatable and testable means of tracking long-term trends
within those societies, as well as among elites, may have
questioned the prevailing assumptions of political stasis
that led policymakers astray. The disciplines that
contribute to international relations analysis frequently
miss dramatic changes, and then have a nasty habit of
encouraging a field day of convenient, untestable a
posteriori explanations. After interest in these has waned,
those who have erred most often move on without revisions to
the questionable methods and erroneous assumptions that
produced failure. Thus, no one, and no theory, ever
loses-except foreign affairs policymakers, who need and
deserve a better understanding of the political future.


[1] Gause III, F. Gregory, "Why Middle East Studies Missed
the Arab Spring: The Myth of Authoritarian Stability,"
Foreign Affairs 90, no. 4 (July/August 2011): 81-90.

[2] Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Mark Blyth, "The Black Swan of
Cairo: How Suppressing Volatility Makes the World Less
Predictable and More Dangerous," Foreign Affairs 90, no. 3
(May/June 2011): 33-39.

[3] Richard P. Cincotta, "How Democracies Grow Up: Countries
with Too Many Young People May Not Have a Fighting Chance
for Freedom," Foreign Policy, no. 165 (2008): 80-82.

[4] Richard P. Cincotta, "Half a Chance: Youth Bulges and
Transitions to Liberal Democracy," Environmental Change and
Security Project Report, no. 13 (2008/09): 10-18.

[5] Richard P. Cincotta and John Doces, "The Age-Structural
Maturity Thesis: The Youth Bulge's Influence on the Advent
and Stability of Liberal Democracy," in Political
Demography: How Population Changes Are Reshaping Security
and National Politics, ed. Jack A. Goldstone, Eric Kaufmann
and Monica Duffy Toft (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave-
MacMillan, 2011), 98-116

[6] Herbert M”ller, "Youth as a Force in the Modern World,"
Comparative Studies in Society and History 10, no. 3
(1968/69): 237-60.  

[7] Jack A. Goldstone, Revolution and Rebellion in the Early
Modern World (Berkeley: University of California Press,

[8] Christian G. Mesquida and Neil I. Wiener, "Human
Collective Aggression: A Behavioral Ecology Perspective,"
Ethology and Sociobiology 17 (1996): 247-62.

[9] Henrik Urdal, "A Clash of Generations? Youth Bulges and
Political Violence," International Studies Quarterly 50
(2006): 607-29.

[10] Richard P. Cincotta and Elizabeth Leahy, "Population
Age Structure and Its Relation to Civil Conflict: A Metric,"
Environmental Change and Security Project Report 12
(2006/07): 55-58; Elizabeth Leahy, Robert Engelman, Carolyn
Gibb Vogel, Sarah Haddock, and Todd Preston, The Shape of
Things to Come: Why Age Structure Matters to a Safer, More
Equitable World (Washington, DC: Population Action
International, 2007).

[11] Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan: With Selected Variants from
the Latin Edition of 1658, ed. Edwin M. Curley
(Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994 - originals 1651/1658).

[12] Richard P. Cincotta and John Doces, "The Age-Structural
Maturity Thesis: The Youth Bulge's Influence on the Advent
and Stability of Liberal Democracy."

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