So Nadim said this in a convo about MBS and it started me thinking.
This Ataturk one hundred years out of sync
There are not one, but TWO! wannabe Ataturks right now– CP Mohammed bin Salman (aka MBS, aka Prince Reckless) of KSA and Sisi (military dictator and putzchist-in-chief of Egypt).
Here they are, having laffs at an official function. Ataturk was a handsome charismatic military dictator who forced a western style constitution on his people and outlawed the arabic alphabet. Kemalism lasted a glorious ninety years or so, but then the basal islamic composition of turkish citizens began to assert itself through the rise of AKP. The 21st century has witnessed the re-islamicization of Turkey. eg: Erdogan has restored the teaching of arabic in schools. And as we now know from the Rise of ISIS, arabic is just a gateway drug for Quran.
In Egypt, during the “Arab Spring”, Muhammed Morsi won a democratic election and then was promptly couped by Sisi, who was bankrolled and supported by KSA. Sisi immediately jailed the opposition (40k of the Muslim Brotherhood), massacred protestors, set about suppressing student protests at al-Azhar, removing “radical” imams and promoting a statist brand of Islam. Sis is on record as saying that it could take “60 years” to moderate “radical Islam” in Egypt.
MBS is already operating from the Ataturk playbook in KSA. There is a joint US/Saud program to “sanitize” the ahadith. KSA will recall all the old textbooks and replace them with new textbooks with sanitized, western friendly ahadith. And any academic or religious teacher will face the new anti-terrorism law if they refuse or dissent. Much like Ataturk banned the arabic alphabet to discourage quranic study.
The current newly minted KSA law has nothing to do with corruption — that is just a headfake. Its an anti-dissent law, and any dissent can and will be framed as terrorism.
I’m not at all convinced an Ataturk Gambit can work in the 21st century. Ataturk controlled the news media of the time, the printing presses, the military and the police. And 100 years to implement the plan. Sisi is on record as saying it could take 60 years in Egypt. Sounds about right– 30 years of Mubarek stacking al-Azhar appointments + 60 years of Sisi style military junta. Except I don’t think it will work.
The problem for wannabe Ataturks is twofold– the internet puts everything on high speed, and social media connections ensure the aggregation of shared ideologies. There are already secret societies starting up to use tech to preserve ahadith. And the constitution of the Kingdom is actually the Quran. How does MBS escape being branded an apostate and a poodle of Kushner and Trump? In Gulf I, the US great error was in trying to establish US base on KSA soil, in the land of Mecca and Medina– the result of this botched attempt was Osama bin Laden and 9/11. The US wars in Iraq and A-stan have given us the endless supersoldiers of ISIS and the Taliban.
This is really interesting am to me…the memetic integrity of ahadith and Quran have been fiercely guarded for a thousand years… I am not so sure meaning of ahadith can be bent or corrupted. But I guess we shall see.