4.9.11

Calling All Arab Spring Nations! Use Game (Economic) Theory to Prevent a European Union Crisis

Islamic countries that have experienced Arab Spring need to pay attention to the European Union’s crisis and why it’s failing. The goal of the EU was to establish economic stability in the region and remove barriers to growth in the form of tariffs and regulations. What resulted was strife between rich and poorer counties, immigration issues, and believe-it-or-not nationalism. What started as a trend toward unity is ending up in financial ruin and cultural clashes as seen with the London riots.

The EU didn’t realize that supporting a unified monetary policy should have also included supporting cultural unity among the participating countries. In other words, given the new global financial landscape, countries that want to participate in organizations like the EU need to establish cultural relations too. Syria, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia are you listening? If you think that sharing financial resources while establishing an extreme method of Shari’a law and alienating the traditions and cultures of other countries is a smart move, think again. Long established economic predictors will prove you wrong. For instance, economic Game Theory claims that countries unwilling to accommodate one another strategically, including cultural differences, are not in positions to minimize possible losses and maximize potential gains.

Game Theory was refined by Princeton mathematician John Nash who formulated that those countries that join together in cooperative and non-cooperative modes (as in real-life economic markets) will have optimum gain if all of them put forward their best strategy (called the Nash Equilibrium). Unfortunately Portugal, Greece, Ireland, and Italy with their debt-to-GDP ratios over 100% didn’t put their best strategies forward, thus producing the least optimum gain. Cultural differences prevented these countries from harmoniously unifying with the leaders of the EU, namely Germany, Austria, Sweden, Finland and Norway. The future leaders of Arab Spring countries need to understand Game Theory and how it can work to their advantage and not end up like Greece.

Egypt, for example, needs to refine Islam so that Germans won’t feel alienated or threatened when the Egyptian Pound is dismissed in favor of the Euro. It doesn’t even matter if Egypt joins the EU or creates a similar EU organization all its own. What matters is that when Egypt enters the economic market place, it must do so with its best strategy, and that strategy must include cultural accommodations intertwined with an accommodating form of Islamic law. Otherwise, purist Islamic countries will learn the lessons of Greece and proceed to minimize its maximum gain.

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Known Terrorist Groups

Al-Qaida has cooperated with a number of known terrorist groups worldwide including:

  • Armed Islamic Group
  • Salafist Group for Call and Combat and the Armed Islamic Group
  • Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Egypt)
  • Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya
  • Jamaat Islamiyya
  • The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
  • Bayt al-Imam (Jordan)
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad (Kashmir)
  • Asbat al Ansar
  • Hezbollah (Lebanon)
  • Al-Badar
  • Harakat ul Ansar/Mujahadeen
  • Al-Hadith
  • Harakat ul Jihad
  • Jaish Mohammed - JEM
  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
  • Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan
  • Laskar e-Toiba - LET
  • Moro Islamic Liberation Front (the Philippines)
  • Abu Sayyaf Group (Malaysia, Philippines)
  • Al-Ittihad Al Islamiya - AIAI (Somalia)
  • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
  • Islamic Army of Aden (Yemen)
  • Armed Islamic Group
  • Salafist Group for Call and Combat and the Armed Islamic Group
  • Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Egypt)
  • Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya
  • Jamaat Islamiyya
  • The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
  • Bayt al-Imam (Jordan)
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad (Kashmir)
  • Asbat al Ansar
  • Hezbollah (Lebanon)
  • Al-Badar
  • Harakat ul Ansar/Mujahadeen
  • Al-Hadith
  • Harakat ul Jihad
  • Jaish Mohammed - JEM
  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
  • Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan
  • Laskar e-Toiba - LET
  • Moro Islamic Liberation Front (the Philippines)
  • Abu Sayyaf Group (Malaysia, Philippines)
  • Al-Ittihad Al Islamiya - AIAI (Somalia)
  • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
  • Islamic Army of Aden (Yemen)
  • Jihad and the Internet

    Let’s not fool ourselves. Whatever threat the real Afghanistan poses to U.S. national security, the “Virtual Afghanistan” now poses just as big a threat. The Virtual Afghanistan is the network of hundreds of jihadist Web sites that inspire, train, educate and recruit young Muslims to engage in jihad against America and the West. Whatever surge we do in the real Afghanistan has no chance of being a self-sustaining success, unless there is a parallel surge — by Arab and Muslim political and religious leaders — against those who promote violent jihadism on the ground in Muslim lands and online in the Virtual Afghanistan.

    Thomas L. Friedman
    New York Times
    15 Dec 2009

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