"Tunisia and Egypt both saw regime change in less than 30 days. Syria has now been going on five months. And in many ways, Syria is the most surprising and the most difficult place because it is such a brutal regime and it's also geographically right in the middle of, whether it's Israel on one front, the Gulf states on another, ..., that it is so pivotal to what happens in so many other places." -- Robin Wright
The Casbah, is the fortified citadel in many North African cities, similar to the citadel of Algiers in Algeria, governor's headquarters. The name made its way into English from French in the late 19th century. "Rock the Casbah," expresses the mood of the Arab Spring and the revolt against their Muslim dictators. Over the last few decades, tensions have been brewing in Arabic and Muslim countries on the South and East Mediterranean shores, and around the Gulf of Aden. The Arab Spring has targeted several regimes in the Middle East; first, Tunisia's ruler Ben Ali, then Egypt's Mubarak was forced to step down, leaving the country with uncertain future; and Egypt western neighbor, Libya, has since a civil war to oust Qadhafi after forty years of lunatic dictatorship. Assad's cling to power caused Syria hundreds of deaths and thousands of civilian causalities. Meanwhile Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh; is recovering from his wounds and burns caused by a rocket attack, has vowed to fight to the death against the Yemeni tribes lining up against him.
Robin Wright reviews the chaotic situation caused by the political unrest, populous revolts, and civil wars in the Middle East, and across the Islamic World. She portrays those events as part of a general trend, "the counter-jihad, which is unfolding in the wider Islamic bloc of fifty-seven countries as well as among Muslim minorities worldwide." Young Muslims under 30, constitute a majority in the Islamic world, they are at the forefront of this dramatic change. Not just the protestors blockades in Egypt and Tunisia, but on the demonstration platforms in Morocco and Jordan and even on television in Saudi Arabia. She believes that citizens of Muslim majority countries are not only rocking autocratic regimes, but are also counter revolting the violent extremism of terrorist organizations: Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and the fundamentalist Islamic ideology of Muslim Brotherhood, Wahabi Salafis financed by gulf autocratic regimes, and Iran's supported Hamas and Hizbullah fueling terrorism and theocratic rule in Iran.
Wright's in-depth knowledge of Islamic societies cultures and traditions imparts meaning to facts and circumstance provided in every paragraph of "Rock the Casbah." As she compellingly comments, the critical balance between religion and modernity may cause Western observers a great concern. Young generation of Muslim women, she describes as "committed to their faith, firm about their femininity, and resolute about their rights," will cause a pang of uneasy feelings in most observing feminists, distrustful of the Islamic proclamation that "hejab is now about liberation, not confinement" which uncovers an appeasing deal between Muslim girls and society. Meanwhile, she does not reduce the difficulty of the undertaking facing those in search of an authentic form of islamic democracy.
Her final chapters briefly describes political chaos following revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, and the ongoing battles of brutal oppression in Libya, Syria and Yemen. Various demonstration of dissatisfaction, modes of protest in the hope of achieving some success across the Islamic world, are surveyed; without any attempt to predict their near or ultimate outcomes. She warns that, "There is still a wild ride ahead," because new government will be in a position to meet the popular high expectations of either jobs or social justice in the foreseeable future.