by Larry C. Johnson (bio below)

There she goes again. Miss “Who Could Have Imagined an Al Qaeda Attack” Rice has struck again. Are you kidding me? Secretary of State Rice was “surprised” by the election results in Palestine? According to the New York Times:

Ms. Rice pointed out that the election results surprised just about everyone. “I don’t know anyone who wasn’t caught off guard by Hamas’s strong showing,” she said on her way to London for meetings on the Middle East, Iran and other matters. “Some say that Hamas itself was caught off guard by its strong showing.”

If she is saying that the no one at the CIA, the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, or the Defense Intelligence Agency had a clue that something like this could happen, we should immediately dismantle the intelligence community and start over. I find it difficult to believe the system is that broken. We should learn in the coming days whether or not the intelligence analysts really did miss this.

Several informed analysts, however, got it right. Put me in that group. Here’s what I wrote in December 2005 at my own blog, No Quarter, referring to the upcoming election in Iraq:

With voting already underway in Iraq we should harbor no illusion about the ultimate outcome — the Iraqi Shias with the closest ties to Iran will secure the largest share of the votes. George Bush is right about one thing; this vote is likely to remake the face of the Middle East. Unfortunately, his vision that Iraq will become a launching pad for a new era of peace and understanding among the nations in the region is not only farfetched, but ignores what is actually taking place on the ground.

A few hundred miles to the west, the radical Muslim Brothers (spiritual kin of the Wahabis of Saudi Arabia) have secured an historic place in the Egyptian legislature. Despite intense pressure by the Mubarak government they rallied their supporters and got out the vote. At least they heeded Bush’s call for democracy. On the northern border of Iraq, in Turkey, the Islamists also are on the upswing. And let’s not forget Lebanon, where forces with close ties to Iran are consolidating power and influence. Remember, Hezbollah is no longer a rag tag band of terrorists, instead it has grown into a disciplined de facto Army of Lebanon.

We are unwilling to come to grips with a very simple truth — the majority of people in the Middle East prefer an Islamic rather than a secular government. Economic development does not ensure a steady march towards a secular, diverse society. Heavens (irony intended) just look at us. Despite our economic prowess and alleged sophistication, religious fundamentalists in our own country have succeeded in bringing great pressure to bear on our government and our media.

So, say it loud and say it proud–in future elections Islamists will prevail over secularists. Got it?


Larry C. Johnson is CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm that helps corporations and governments manage threats posed by terrorism and money laundering. Mr. Johnson, who worked previously with the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism (as a Deputy Director), is a recognized expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk management. Mr. Johnson has analyzed terrorist incidents for a variety of media including the Jim Lehrer News Hour, National Public Radio, ABC’s Nightline, NBC’s Today Show, the New York Times, CNN, Fox News, and the BBC. Mr. Johnson has authored several articles for publications, including Security Management Magazine, the New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. He has lectured on terrorism and aviation security around the world. Further bio details.

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