Quote for the Day
Marc Lynch, writing about the (non)coverage in the Arab press of the failed Detroit airplane bombing and its implications:
The Arab media’s indifference to the story speaks to a vitally important trend. Al-Qaeda’s attempted acts of terrorism simply no longer carry the kind of persuasive political force with mass Arab or Muslim publics which they may have commanded in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Even as the microscopically small radicalized and mobilized base continues to plot and even to thrive in its isolated pockets, it has largely lost its ability to break out into mainstream public appeal. I doubt this would have been any different even had the plot been successful — more attention and coverage, to be sure, but not sympathy or translation into political support. It is just too far gone to resonate with Arab or Muslim publics at this point.
The downgrading of al-Qaeda and the “War on Terror” by the Obama administration helps this trend along, even if the dynamics which produced it were largely local and internal to the Arab and Muslim worlds. The failure of the failed plot to capture even a modicum of mainstream Arab public interest speaks volumes to the robustness of this trend… though the frankly disturbing enthusiasm for the story in some quarters in the U.S. suggests that not everybody is happy to see al-Qaeda recede.
This is the kind of thing I meant by saying al-Qaeda are like the anarchists of old.
According to Lynch, if we want to know what’s more important to the Arab press, we should be studying the Saudi-Yemen border conflict (which is a HUGE story that never gets attention), Gaza, and the Iranian protests.