The Arabs' archaic, despotic, clan-based, social structure finally found itself under sufficient pressure from the maturing Arab middle classes who needed outlets for their investment capital, just as the autonomous individual made its presence felt by elevating apostasy from Islam to an undeniable social phenomenon. This volatile cocktail ignited at 11:30 on the morning of 17 December 2010, when, in faraway Tunis, penniless street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, after a lifetime of police abuse, finally struck a match that set himself ablaze leading to his tragic death some two weeks later, setting off a string of events we now know as the "Arab Spring."
Naturally, the Muslim Brotherhood tried to make as much capital out of the Arab Spring as it could. They had misread reality, for if the Arab Spring showed anything, it was that Islam’s days are numbered. Social pressure had built for a different kind of reality: one in which people are free to be human, and money is free to be capital. Not many have directly connected Mohamed Bouazizi and Donald Trump. Bouazizi, the destitute street vendor immolating himself when he failed to get his scales back, is at one end of a social transformation enabling process that, ten years later, multi-billionaire businessman Donald Trump, at the other end, completed with his Abraham Accords.
In different ways, the autonomous individual announced its arrival all over the Arab world, from Morocco to Iraq. Whatever forms the various breaks for freedom took, they were at the expense of Islam, and, either directly or indirectly, at the expense of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinians. Some focussed on the lack of freedom and human rights, others focussed on the lack of circuits for their capital. Most did not say it in so many words, many did not even realise it at all, but Islam had to go.
It does not matter how many people leave Islam, nor does it matter whether they become atheists (most of them do), adopt “a vaguely defined God while parting ways with the Islamic faith,” or convert to another religion. The very idea that Muslims can do such a thing is nothing short of revolutionary. Apostasy had been unthinkable for 1400 years. That genie is well and truly out of the bottle. Those who talk of “Islamic reformation” are completely off the mark, as are those who see in these developments a kind of Christian renaissance.
While the Palestinians prosecuted their May 2021 round of jihad attacks on Israel, and the streets of Western capitals filled with the strains of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” their Arab brethren were seeing the Abraham Accords for what they are: an open door into a better world. Nothing exposed the hopeless nihilism of the Palestinians better than their hopeless response to the Accords. In the eyes of the Palestinians, to suggest to an Arab nation that they should sign up to the Abraham Accords was the same as suggesting to a Muslim to leave Islam. Those fateful eleven days in May 2021 did nothing to disabuse their Arab detractors of the idea that the Palestinians are a lost cause. Many feared that the war would break the Abraham Accords. Such concern only betrayed the limits of appreciation of the significance of that initiative. Far from the Accords breaking, they received a massive boost from that war. The break with the Palestinians had been long in the making.