It's an 'Islamist Spring'

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

The head of a leading Israeli think-tank has painted a gloomy picture of recent events in the Middle East, characterising the Arab Spring as "more of an Islamic uprising".

Major-General Danny Rothschild, director of the Institute for Policy and Strategy in Herzliya, predicted that the Muslim Brotherhood would be the political beneficiaries of Arab street protests, even if they had not instigated them.

The problem for the young people who led the protests, he explained in a lecture in London this week, was that "once they have made the revolution, they don't know what to do with it because they are not organised".

The only group with a political infrastructure were the Ikhwan (the Brotherhood). "I am afraid as a trend, what we are going to see is more and more involvement of the Ikhwan in Egypt and other places, to the degree that they will be the ones who will decide how the country will look," he said. "And that is not a Turkey-style Islamic government - it will be much more extreme".

General Rothschild, commander of IDF in southern Lebanon in the 1980s and who helped to negotiate Israel's peace treaty with Jordan, addressed an audience at the Royal United Services Institute.

While the United States and Europe were more preoccupied with internal economic problems, Iran was increasing its influence in the Middle East, he warned. He also considered both Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as politically too weak to take the tough decisions necessary for peace .

Last updated: 1:09pm, July 7 2011