August 20th, 2014
06:52 PM ET

The danger of marginalizing mainstream Islamist groups

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Middle East Policy, and Emma Sky, former chief political adviser to the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, about recent advances by ISIS.

Shadi, I want to pick up on something that you point out in your book that explains, I think, why you have a situation where you have all these brutal dictators on the one hand, and you have groups like ISIS on the other. It’s that the dictators, the leaders of the Arab world, are actually much more threatened by moderate opposition groups than they are by extreme opposition groups. They kind of like the idea that the only alternative to them is al Qaeda, right?

Hamid: Yes. I mean groups like ISIS are perfect for dictators like Bashar al-Assad because he can point to them and say, well, this is what you get when you have an opening of political space. And I think one of the most dangerous developments of the past three years is that you did have mainstream Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. Yes, they're deeply illiberal. They're religiously conservative. We as Americans don't share their values. But they do believe in the democratic process. They're not using violence like groups like ISIS. They tried to work through the process in countries like Egypt and, of course, there was a military coup last year. There was a devastating crackdown.

So now, groups like ISIS are saying forget about the Muslim Brotherhood approach, they're gradualists, they're soft. They're saying we can give you the Islamic State not in 20 years or 50 years, we can give it to you right now, through brute force, through violence. And what I'm really worried about now is violence is working in today's Middle East. That is one of the legacies, ironically, of the Arab Spring.

Emma, what do you think about this issue, looking at it on the ground in Iraq? You saw these Sunni extremist groups. You saw Shia, you know, militias of various kinds. If we support some of these guys, will they turn out to stay moderate?

Sky: I think when you speak to ordinary people across the Middle East, what they want for their lives is similar to what people all over the world want – they want to live in safety, they want to send their kids to school, they will be able to earn a living. We can't say that the only choice for these people is either Iranian-backed sectarian authoritarian regime or al Qaeda-ISIS type. That can’t be the only choice given to them.

So I think there’s the potential to build a different type of government.

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Topics: GPS Show • Terrorism

soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. LaBella

    What I'm listening to:
    🎶 It's the same old story, same old song and dance, my friend
    it's the same old story, same old song and dance, my friend....

    Ramble on, And now's the time, the time is now, to sing my song.

    I have sinned dear Father Father I have sinned
    Try and help me Father
    Won't you let me in? Liar
    Nobody believes me Liar

    Lord, I was born a ramblin' man,
    Tryin' to make a livin' and doin' the best I can.
    🎶

    Pandora is being very prescient today.

    August 26, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      Not to mention Panacea.

      August 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Reply
      • Philip

        I have committed crimes, dear Father. Yet your son only forgives sins.
        Please move the hearts of judges, Dear Lord. Don't let them waterboard we agains.🙂

        August 26, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
    • cocoasurfer

      I'm trying to set the aim. The U.S is getting all the heat but catch your breath a minute. Read the speech the IEA gave to Norway on 8/25/2014. All the religious smoke and mirrors are blinding the real purpose of stabilizing IRAQ. Maliki just didn't support the Sunni so now it's a little crazy. BP, Exxon Mobile, and Dutch Shell are already under contract to produce the last of the big sweet oil deposits in IRAQ. The Kurd are also helping out because the fields are not in the south like most of the oil. It's north. The U.S is also supported by China because they also have the largest consumption of oil and have their own big boy going in to contract for their share. It's a five year plan to make IRAQ the second largest producer in the world. By 2035 China will be all but 17% dependent on foreign oil. They will also be the largest consumer. Iraq will be on line to produce over 200,000,000 BpD. I know a religious war is a little more interesting but so is "The game of Thrones". you can almost lay the maps over each other, Conflict and future oil production. America is already shipping oil to china due to low consumption here. Production is high, the highest in the world right now. we're No.1 in production. We have to keep the barrel over a dollar to gain. Low consumption= low cost. Smart people know that Nations are joining together to form a new World order. It is actually a good thing because it will also regulate pollution from oil production. the trenches of war are no different than When Rome took land or when rebel Europeans took the Americas. People died. The difference now is the major players are starting to understand the brutal results of industry on the Earth. It's a cold reality but undeveloped nations will fall by the masses before 2050. Look at the list of countries on the board of the IEA. you will see. It will be a hopeful event, If Iran and Syria will join the IEA, Maybe helping them Ice the ISIL. Will expedite Peace a modernization to all the world. SELL YOUR CAMELS. There no room for this brutal existence anymore. So you see you can't "END the war on terrorism" Be thankful you're on the right soil my brothers and sisters. PEACE.

      August 29, 2014 at 12:57 am | Reply
  2. LaBella

    🎶Lithium, don't want to lock me up inside.
    Lithium, don't want to forget how it feels without...
    Lithium, I want to stay in love with my sorrow.
    Oh, but God, I want to let it go.

    August 26, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      @ LaBella:
      Re "Lithium:"
      "...easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle..."
      What a wealth of sorrow!

      August 27, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Reply
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        Same old story,
        "same old, same old..."

        "Then let's keep dancing."

        A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

        August 27, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        One reason to achieve education in the actually great literature of the past is to comprehend what might be original if written now.
        That's one reason that educating our children exclusively in math and science is a celebration of existential poverty.

        August 27, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
      • LaBella

        🎶We don't need no education
        We don't need no thought control
        No dark sarcasm in the classroom
        Teachers leave them kids alone
        Hey teacher leave them kids alone
        All in all it's just another brick in the wall
        All in all you're just another brick in the wall
        🎶

        August 28, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        "Another brick in the wall?"
        "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."
        One can aspire to be a brick in a wall, or he can aspire to be like the Stone of Scone.
        The Stone of Scone is out of place in a wall.
        When my nation was great, most men tried to emulate the Stone of Scone, knowing, as do all heroes, that they might not make it.

        August 28, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        The greatest star that I ever knew closely would often say, "I like a challenge."
        She became very rich, kept her fortune, and is immortal in her field.

        August 28, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
      • LaBella

        🎶
        Aye Aye Aye
        sharpen your boot, and bludgeon your eye
        Aye Aye Aye
        the Blarney Stone brings a tear to me eye
        🎶

        August 28, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
      • LaBella

        🎶
        I am living my life as if I had powers
        And tonight I feel immortal
        I said tonight I feel immortal
        Tonight I feel immortal
        🎶

        August 28, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
      • Philip

        Joey? The gate leading into the market place was called The Eye of the Needle because that gate was modified and made narrower in order to keep rich fat people from running through the gate to get the best deals on food. The gate was narrowed so that an obese person would have to turn sideways or otherwise struggle to squeeze through.
        The purpose of making the broad gate into a "needle" gate was to prevent hog like individuals from trampling over pregnant women and causing them to miscarry.
        Jesus used this well known narrowing of the market gate to illustrate to his students that it would be very much easier on them if they chose to remain poor as Jesus himself did. None of his students attended university in pursuits of educations that lead to riches. Rather, studied God's word as Jesus did, and became rich in things that are pleasing to God rather than pleasing to men.

        August 28, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        Philip?
        Didn't we discuss the Eye of a Needle a few years ago? Or was that another buddy of mine?
        Didn't I hear a different location then?
        In Egypt, I have stood in what I was told was that passageway.
        Who knows? It's like Mozart style: who heard Mozart give a concert?
        Anyway, my Bible means to me what I think it means to me for today.

        August 28, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
      • cocoasurfer

        I'm trying to set the aim. The U.S is getting all the heat but catch your breath a minute. Read the speech the IEA gave to Norway on 8/25/2014. All the religious smoke and mirrors are blinding the real purpose of stabilizing IRAQ. Maliki just didn't support the Sunni so now it's a little crazy. BP, Exxon Mobile, and Dutch Shell are already under contract to produce the last of the big sweet oil deposits in IRAQ. The Kurd are also helping out because the fields are not in the south like most of the oil. It's north. The U.S is also supported by China because they also have the largest consumption of oil and have their own big boy going in to contract for their share. It's a five year plan to make IRAQ the second largest producer in the world. By 2035 China will be all but 17% dependent on foreign oil. They will also be the largest consumer. Iraq will be on line to produce over 200,000,000 BpD. I know a religious war is a little more interesting but so is "The game of Thrones". you can almost lay the maps over each other, Conflict and future oil production. America is already shipping oil to china due to low consumption here. Production is high, the highest in the world right now. we're No.1 in production. We have to keep the barrel over a dollar to gain. Low consumption= low cost. Smart people know that Nations are joining together to form a new World order. It is actually a good thing because it will also regulate pollution from oil production. the trenches of war are no different than When Rome took land or when rebel Europeans took the Americas. People died. The difference now is the major players are starting to understand the brutal results of industry on the Earth. It's a cold reality but undeveloped nations will fall by the masses before 2050. Look at the list of countries on the board of the IEA. you will see. It will be a hopeful event, If Iran and Syria will join the IEA, Maybe helping them Ice the ISIL. Will expedite Peace a modernization to all the world. SELL YOUR CAMELS. There no room for this brutal existence anymore. So you see you can't "END the war on terrorism" Be thankful you're on the right soil my brothers and sisters. PEACE.

        August 29, 2014 at 12:58 am |
  3. chri§§y

    Yes it is @ Joey...a joy forever i mean.

    August 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Reply
    • cocoasurfer

      I'm trying to set the aim. The U.S is getting all the heat but catch your breath a minute. Read the speech the IEA gave to Norway on 8/25/2014. All the religious smoke and mirrors are blinding the real purpose of stabilizing IRAQ. Maliki just didn't support the Sunni so now it's a little crazy. BP, Exxon Mobile, and Dutch Shell are already under contract to produce the last of the big sweet oil deposits in IRAQ. The Kurd are also helping out because the fields are not in the south like most of the oil. It's north. The U.S is also supported by China because they also have the largest consumption of oil and have their own big boy going in to contract for their share. It's a five year plan to make IRAQ the second largest producer in the world. By 2035 China will be all but 17% dependent on foreign oil. They will also be the largest consumer. Iraq will be on line to produce over 200,000,000 BpD. I know a religious war is a little more interesting but so is "The game of Thrones". you can almost lay the maps over each other, Conflict and future oil production. America is already shipping oil to china due to low consumption here. Production is high, the highest in the world right now. we're No.1 in production. We have to keep the barrel over a dollar to gain. Low consumption= low cost. Smart people know that Nations are joining together to form a new World order. It is actually a good thing because it will also regulate pollution from oil production. the trenches of war are no different than When Rome took land or when rebel Europeans took the Americas. People died. The difference now is the major players are starting to understand the brutal results of industry on the Earth. It's a cold reality but undeveloped nations will fall by the masses before 2050. Look at the list of countries on the board of the IEA. you will see. It will be a hopeful event, If Iran and Syria will join the IEA, Maybe helping them Ice the ISIL. Will expedite Peace a modernization to all the world. SELL YOUR CAMELS. There no room for this brutal existence anymore. So you see you can't "END the war on terrorism" Be thankful you're on the right soil my brothers and sisters. PEACE.

      August 29, 2014 at 12:58 am | Reply
  4. Brigham Young

    America = out of control 800 lb Gorilla.......... Ha! Ha! Ha!.......... and it's a purdy dumb gorilla at that......... swatting mozzies in the desert, while Asia laughs all the way to the bank........... boink! boink! boink!............ gotta get those mozzies............. boink! boink! boink!........ oooops, run outta cash, never mind that............... boink! boink! boink!............. oh crap, have no jobs, never mind that............ boink! boink! boink!............ oh dear! half our country lives in poverty, never mind that............ boink! boink! boink!.......... sheeesh! half our people are divorced and on drugs, never mind that............ boink! boink! boink!.......... Yes Sir! gotta keep those war mongers rich rich rich.......... boink! boink! boink!........ how sad to see America sunk to this garbage level..............😦

    September 4, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Reply
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