Archive for the 'Muslim Brotherhood' Category



Losing the Forest for the Trees: Drone Strike Kills al-Libi

BY Glen Tschirgi
1 year, 10 months ago

Hat tip to Hot Air.

The New York Times as well as other media outlets are now confirming, along with the Obama Administration, that Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, has been killed by a drone strike in a remote, Pakistani village last week:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A Central Intelligence Agency drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal belt killed Al Qaeda’s deputy leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi, American officials said on Tuesday, dealing another blow to the group in a lawless area that has long been considered the global headquarters of international terrorism but the importance of which may now be slipping.

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The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said that as a result of Mr. Libi’s death, “there is no clear successor to take on the breadth of his responsibility, and that puts additional pressure” on Al Qaeda, “bringing it closer to its ultimate demise than ever.”

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If his death is borne out this time, it would be a milestone in a covert eight-year airstrike campaign that has infuriated Pakistani officials but that has remained one of the United States’ most effective tools in combating militancy.

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One American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, described Mr. Libi as one of Al Qaeda’s “most experienced and versatile leaders,” and said he had “played a critical role in the group’s planning against the West, providing oversight of the external operations efforts.”

As damaging as these “decapitation operations” may be to Al Qaeda, we seem to be losing the forest for the trees.

While the U.S. focuses on sending missiles through the windows of every, significant Al Qaeda leader that remains (and each, new one that sprouts up), the war against Militant Islam has long since moved on to other, more threatening venues.  Iran, for example, is a declared enemy of the United States, bent on developing nuclear weapons, but U.S. policy has never reflected anywhere near the seriousness accorded to Al Qaeda, despite the fact that Iran poses a threat that is orders of magnitude greater than Al Qaeda.  Islamists appear poised to take absolute control of the most populous Arab state in Egypt and are actively taking advantage of the civil war in Syria where U.S. intransigence has created a vacuum among the rebel forces.  Turkey is moving doggedly toward an Islamist state that will seek to dominate the region in direct conflict with U.S. national interests.   Pakistan seems to be increasingly in the grip of Islamists who occupy key positions in its military and intelligence services.   More ominously, Europe is increasingly subject to the influence and intimidation of Islamist immigrants who regularly resort to violence to undermine traditional, Western values.   In the U.S., any talk of Islamists or their ideology is forbidden throughout the federal government.

For all that George W. Bush may have gotten wrong during his eight years in office, and in particular with his war planning, he did understand that the United States (and the West at large) was not fighting only or even primarily against Al Qaeda, but against a broader ideology– islamofascism, if you will– that motivated not only Al Qaeda but an entire movement of muslims determined to impose fundamentalist Islam upon the world.

As a last, side note on the al-Libi assassination, we should be careful what we wish for.  The U.S. may succeed in debilitating Al Qaeda’s operation capabilities to such an extent that they will change tactics and resort to the sort of “lone wolf” terror tactics that traumatized Israeli society in the intifada days of a decade ago.  Anyone who lived as I did in the Washington, D.C. area in the Fall of 2002 well remembers how just two persons, acting on their own in seemingly random fashion, could seriously disrupt an entire region.  It is a wonder that the Islamists have not resorted to this tactic in any concerted way.  Let’s hope that they don’t.   But, considering how little strategic thinking seems to be going on in D.C., “hope” may be the only thing left.

Lessons Learned In The War with Militant Islam, Part One: Naming the Enemy

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 4 months ago

December in Western Culture is always an appropriate time of year for reflection– remembering that all-important point in history when God invaded our world in human form.   This particular December, however, is especially appropriate for reflection on what has variously been termed “The Long War” or, “World War IV,” or, by this Administration as, “Overseas Contingency Operations” as the President has unilaterally declared that the Iraq War is over and the books are closed.

It is my intention, then, to offer up over the next weeks what I consider to be the lessons we have learned in the 30-plus years since the re-birth and rise of Militant Islam in 1979.   I wish I could preface this series with optimism and confidence of victory.   I wish I could write that the West is winning, however slowly, the great struggle against this latest fascist incarnation, but reality will not permit.

It is time to face this awful situation squarely, not with fatalism or despair but with determination.   It is impossible to ignore the steady drumbeat of politically correct programs that hamstrings our efforts, or another miserable candidate who garners applause with 1920′s style isolationist rhetoric.  American leaders seem all too adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and mistaking our friends and enemies.

Barring the advent of national leadership which is nowhere evident, or a miracle of some kind– of which history is not replete— we must bravely conclude that, for now, the American public at large will not rouse itself to effective action.   We are caught in yet another national whirlpool of apathy, denial, distraction and delusion— just as we were in the 1930′s and the 1990′s– from which the only escape is a national trauma on the scale of a Pearl Harbor or September 11th calamity.  We have pushed our luck far too many times and refuse to get serious about taking the fight to the enemy– indeed, a president is applauded when he promises to “bring the troops home” without regard for consequences.   Ear-pleasing platitudes are what the Public demands, so it is no wonder that the politicians serve it up by the plateful.

If there is any ground for optimism in this Long War, it may be found in the capacity of our enemy to bouts of incredible stupidity.  To be sure, the U.S. is no less prone to such lapses, so in this respect the Long War is like a game of football in which the side committing the fewer mistakes will win.   I take from this a grim hope that the inevitable attack against the U.S. by the Islamists will be limited to a similar scope and scale of the 9-11 attacks.   Is it too ironic to pray that the Islamists be so stupid again?

As terrible as such an attack would be, American history suggests that we are only roused to great and decisive action by such, limited attacks.    If the Japanese had not attacked Pearl Harbor, it is difficult to say when the U.S. would have openly entered World War II against the Nazis.   Without an American entry in December 1941, it is doubtful that Normandy is invaded in 1944.    Without an invasion of Normandy in 1944, it is possible that Hitler’s scientists finish development of an atomic bomb.

To reference more recent history, it is clear that the U.S. would not have invaded Afghanistan nor deposed Saddam Hussein without the September 11 attacks.  It is perhaps a sign of our timidity and half-hearted approach that we have failed to achieve any, definitive victory in the War even 10 years later.   Nonetheless, it is clear that the September 11th attacks stirred America to a unity of action and purpose (albeit squandered and now cooled) that has not been seen since 1945.

To be clear: I do not wish any, such attack against the homeland.   I do believe, however, that such an attack is increasingly inevitable.   It is only right, therefore, that we consider all of the lessons learned in the 10-plus years since September 11, 2001 in the hopes that we not repeat those mistakes.   With the frightening prospect of an attack lingering on the horizon, I offer the first of at least nine lessons from this Long War:

Lesson #1:  Clearly identify those responsible and what they represent.

Regular readers will know that I detest the moniker, “War on Terror.”

As many pundits and writers have pointed out, “terror” is a tactic.   It is not something we can fight and defeat.   And to the extent that we refuse or avoid recognizing the Enemy and calling it by the proper name, we splinter our efforts, lessening the odds of prevailing.   In this season of presidential campaigns, Americans should insist that the Republican candidates at the very least make a clean break from political correctness and honestly name the enemy.   Militant Islam, Radical Islam, Islamofascism.   The point is that all Americans and the world must understand that these attacks originate from an ideology and not simply from a criminal enterprise or a fringe group of shadowy “terrorists.”

The 9-11 attackers were trained and motivated, at the very least, by an interpretation of the Koran and Islam that joyfully and obediently embraces a violent and decisive confrontation with anyone, muslim or not, who does not adhere to their doctrine.  It is a seething belief that the entire world must be conquered and subdued to the will of their god, Allah.  It is not an ideology that can be appeased or reasoned with any more than other, authoritarian doctrines.    The West should have learned from its experiences with the Nazis and Communists that an ideology embraced with religious fanaticism cannot be appeased or mollified but must be defeated and discredited.

Militant Islam may very well prove to be the most virulent of the authoritarian ideologies to manifest itself since the rise of the Ottoman Empire.   We are fighting against a body of believers numbered in the tens of millions, even if they only consist of a minority of muslims.  This is not a fringe group.  Islamists are spread across continents and ethnicities.   Compounding this danger is the apparent surge of power and influence of Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Middle East.

Since 9-11, the U.S. has been rightly pursuing the militants, not only in Afghanistan but literally across the globe.   But while the U.S. military has worked wonders in places like Fallujah, Ramadi, Marjah and the Philippines, the larger U.S. government has acted like an adolescent who cannot walk and chew gum at the same time.  Too often the focus on military operations has resulted in a complete failure to engage in the larger war of ideas in places that are not hot zones but are no less critical.   Worse still, the U.S. State Department has often worked at cross-purposes with the military.

Consider Lebanon.  The U.S. invasion of Iraq, despite all the hand-wringing and wailing of the Left Wing Media, created a powerful opportunity for the rise of a non-Islamist coalition.  We forget that the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon came on the heels of the capture of Saddam Hussein and even anti-U.S. figures such as Walid Jumblatt were reluctantly praising the elections in Iraq:

The January 2005 vote in Iraq also appeared to play a role since it supported the notion that Arabs craved democracy. (Lebanese Druze chieftain Walid Jumblatt gave credence to the importance of these developments when he said, “It’s strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. . . . When I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world.”)

But the U.S. simply could not summon the will to support democratic groups in any, meaningful fashion.  The U.S. foreign policy establishment preferred to coddle and reach out to thugs like Bashir Assad in Syria.   And so Lebanon has slipped ever more deeply into the control of Hezbollah, funded and controlled by Iran through Syria.

Recently we have seen Egypt, Tunisia and Libya sliding into the Islamists’ camp.   The U.S. seems not only oblivious to this developing disaster but actively supportive.  Whether this folly is generated by a fear of offending muslim sensibilities or an arrogance that the U.S. can co-opt or mold the Islamists once they are in power, the net result is the same.   Ironically, the Obama Administration does not want to be seen as meddling in the internal affairs of Egypt or Iran, but has no such qualms with interfering with formerly pro-American allies like Honduras and Colombia.

This refusal to acknowledge the enemy will forever cripple our war efforts and will enable the enemy.   A muslim who does not subscribe to the Wahhabist version and rejects militant Islam should be no more offended when we target the Islamists than a 1940′s German would be offended by our targeting of Nazis.   In fact, our refusal to clearly identify the enemy in this case creates a dangerous confusion in the minds of non-muslims and muslims alike.   Muslims need to clearly and unequivocally choose sides in this War.   Are they with us or with the Islamists?

The current taboo allows and encourages a shadowy world where loyalties remain unknown and ambiguous.  It is no interference with freedom of religion to ask whether a mosque is preaching Militant Islam.   No one has ever asserted that freedom of religion includes a right to advocate for the subversion and overthrow of our Constitution and nation.   It is incumbent on members of any congregation, muslim, christian, jewish, or mormon, to report and, if necessary, testify against leadership that advocates violence against others in society.   Personal knowledge of violent plots combined with a refusal to report them constitutes at least passive participation in a criminal conspiracy.    In time of war, however, the failure to expose the efforts of the enemy to recruit for and advance attacks is treasonous.

For some mysterious reason, however, no Administration has ever dared to clearly identify militant Islam as the enemy.  Instead, we have tried to fight Islamists as a criminal enterprise  (Reagan, Bush I and Clinton); as nameless, religionless “terrorists” (Bush II); and now as a “specific network” consisting only of Al-Qaeda (Obama).  We cannot defeat an enemy we dare not name.

Muslim Brotherhood Intends to Implement Sharia Law in Egypt

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 10 months ago

Andrew McCarthy writing at NRO’s Corner gives us an update on the MB and their intentions.

In the Egyptian press, a top Muslim Brotherhood official, Sobhi Saleh, explains that if the Brothers come to power they will apply Islamic sharia law. Given that applying sharia law is the Brotherhood’s primary objective wherever it operates, this should be no surprise — unless you live in a cocoon where government officials and expert commentators barrage you with assurances that the Brothers are secular moderates.

Speaking of secular moderates, Mr. Saleh elaborated that terms like “secular state” and “civil state” must be rejected because “Islamic sharia is the best system for Muslims and non-Muslims.” For non-Muslims? Yes, of course … which is no doubt why Mr. Saleh also apologized for his earlier statements that Muslims must not marry non-Muslims and that liberals (and communists) could not be recognized as Muslims. (He felt compelled to apologize although the, er, misunderstanding was really the fault of “the media,” which “incorrectly paraphrased my statements.”)

I’m Shocked, I tell you.  SHOCKED, that the Muslim Brotherhood has been duplicitous in their words, and intends to forcibly implement Sharia law.

That same duplicity cloaks what they do in America, but their own manifesto is clear enough.

The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within, and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by the hands of the believers, so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.

On the home front, Steve Metz, professor at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, still isn’t impressed.  He still sees essentially no difference in the threats posed by Sharia law and boy scout law.  But smarter and more educated people know that AQ and affiliated groups (such as Hamas, Hezbollah, the LeT, etc.), are only more militant manifestations of the same ideology that springs from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Connecting the Dots: The Muslim Brotherhood And Middle East Unrest

BY Glen Tschirgi
3 years, 1 month ago

A TCJ reader, “Dave,” wrote an excellent comment to a post not too long ago on the unrest in Egypt and the lack of response by the U.S.   He links to an article by Barry Rubin of the Global Research in International Affairs Center (aka GLORIA Center) that was first published on October 9, 2010.

This comment is so striking and important that I believe it needs to be highlighted as a separate post.  When you consider that Rubin’s article was written months before any of the arab uprisings, it sounds almost prophetic and deserves to be quoted at considerable length.  Reporting on a sermon delivered on September 30, 2010 by the supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt, Rubin states:

This is one of those obscure  Middle East events of the utmost significance that is ignored by the Western mass media, especially because they happen in Arabic, not English; by Western governments, because they don’t fit their policies; and by experts, because they don’t mesh with their preconceptions.

This explicit formulation of a revolutionary program makes it a game-changer. It should be read by every Western decision maker and have a direct effect on policy because this development may affect people’s lives in every Western country.

OK, cnough of a build-up? Well, it isn’t exaggerated. So don’t think the next sentence is an anticlimax. Here we go: The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has endorsed (Arabic) (English translation by MEMRI) anti-American Jihad and pretty much every element in the al-Qaida ideology book. Since the Brotherhood is the main opposition force in Egypt and Jordan as well as the most powerful group, both politically and religiously, in the Muslim communities of Europe and North America this is pretty serious stuff.

By the way, no one can argue that he merely represents old, tired policies of the distant past because the supreme guide who said these things was elected just a few months ago. His position reflects current thinking.

Does that mean the Egyptian, Jordanian, and all the camouflaged Muslim Brotherhood fronts in Europe and North America are going to launch terrorism as one of their affiliates, Hamas, has long done? No.

But it does mean that something awaited for decades has happened: the Muslim Brotherhood is ready to move from the era of propaganda and base-building to one of revolutionary action. At least, its hundreds of thousands of followers are being given that signal. Some of them will engage in terrorist violence as individuals or forming splinter groups; others will redouble their efforts to seize control of their countries and turn them into safe areas for terrorists and instruments for war on the West.

When the extreme and arguably marginal British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary says that Islam will conquer the West and raise its flag over the White House, that can be treated as wild rhetoric. His remark is getting lots of attention because he said it in English in an interview with CNN. Who cares what he says?

But when the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood says the same thing in Arabic, that’s a program for action, a call to arms for hundreds of thousands of people, and a national security threat to every Western country.

The Brotherhood is the group that often dominates Muslim communities in the West and runs mosques. Its cadre control front groups that are often recognized by Western democratic governments and media as authoritative. Government officials in many countries meet with these groups, ask them to be advisers for counter-terrorist strategies and national policies, and even fund them.

President Barack Obama speaks about a conflict limited solely to al-Qaida. And if one is talking about the current military battle in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen that point makes sense. Yet there is a far bigger and wider battle going on in which revolutionary Islamists seek to overthrow their own rulers and wage long-term, full-scale struggle against the West. If it doesn’t involve violence right now it will when they get strong enough or gain power.

More than three years ago, I warned about this development, in a detailed analysis explaining, “The banner of the Islamist revolution in the Middle East today has largely passed to groups sponsored by or derived from the Muslim Brotherhood.” I pointed out the differences-especially of tactical importance-between the Brotherhood groups and al-Qaida or Hizballah, but also discussed the similarities. This exposure so upset the Brotherhood that it put a detailed response on its official website to deny my analysis.

Yet now here is the Brotherhood’s new supreme guide, Muhammad Badi giving a sermon entitled, “How Islam Confronts the Oppression and Tyranny,” translated by MEMRI. Incidentally, everything Badi says is in tune with the stances and holy books of normative Islam. It is not the only possible interpretation but it is a completely legitimate interpretation. Every Muslim knows, even if he disagrees with the Brotherhood’s position, that this isn’t heresy or hijacking or misunderstanding.

Maybe it is just coincidence and it may be an over-estimation of the MB’s reach and influence to view the spate of uprisings in the Middle East as a carefully calculated stratagem, but it takes no imagination whatsoever to see that:  1) the MB felt sufficiently confident by October 2010 in plainly and openly stating their call for war against the West and any muslim regime that cooperated with the West, and;  2)  consistent with that declaration, the MB has quickly and effectively pounced upon the enormous opportunities afforded by the unrest and is systematically seeking to turn that unrest to their advantage.

One evidence of this is brought to light in another article by Barry Rubin on the MB’s campaign, post-Mubarak, to take over the clerical leadership in Egypt.

This is of gigantic importance (see if anyone else covers it). MEMRI has pointed out the opening of a Muslim Brotherhood campaign to replace Egypt’s current clerical hierarchy with its own people. If that happens…you can imagine. Once Islamists are in place making the “official” decisions on what constitutes proper Islam, an Islamist state cannot be far away.

Let me explain the background briefly. Knowing that control over Islam was vital to maintaining control of the country, the Egyptian regime (like nationalist regimes elsewhere) set out to build a systematic structure for doing so. The head of the al-Azhar Islamic university, the chief qadi, the clerics of different mosques, are government-appointed. Sermons are government-approved. A ministry in charge of awqaf (religious foundations) and religion supervises all of this and hands out the money. And the government also decides which clerics appear on television and radio, or even have their own programs.

Over the last decade or so, the “official” clerics have been radicalized, and they support terrorism against Israel. Yet there is still a huge gap between those who accepted the rule by Mubarak’s regime and those who demand an Islamist regime. They hate the Brotherhood and the Brotherhood hates them.

Now, if all of these official clerics are declared to be corrupt instruments of the old regime and are thrown out of office, the Brotherhood will control “Islam” in Egypt. Equally important, they will control a vast amount of patronage and money. Every cleric will have to get along with them or be unemployed. They could authorize which mosques could open. They would control religious education.

The MB-affiliated cleric, Muhammad Zoghbi, is quoted in the MEMRI translation of his February 15, 2011 television appearance as calling on the leaders of Al-Azhar University as well as the mufti of Egypt to resign.

Al-Azhar was subjected to a dangerous scheme, which was intended to shatter it and bring it down. This scheme consisted of three aspects: First, the politicization of the positions of the sheikh of Al-Azhar and the mufti of Egypt, as well as the position of the minister of religious endowments. These positions must be filled through elections. By no means should these officials be appointed by the president. Why? Because this politicization has led the people to lose their trust in Al-Azhar and its sheiks. [...]

“Therefore I say to the ‘sons’ of Al-Azhar: Let us all join the campaign, led by Sheik Khaled Al-Gindi, until we liberate Al-Azhar, just like Egypt was liberated. The liberation of Al-Azhar is even better than the liberation of Egypt, because while Egypt is the mother of the Arab region, Al-Azhar is the mother of all the Muslims on planet Earth. If Al-Azhar gets back on its feet, the entire nation will be back on its feet, and if Al-Azhar is back on track, the entire nation will be back on track. The president of Egypt must be subordinate to Al-Azhar and respect it. [...]

This has the eerie feeling that we have been here before.   1979 in Iran, perhaps?  This is the very same pattern:  de-legitimize the current religious leadership as being too connected and tainted by the old regime, then call for the appointment of new leadership subject to your own choosing.  Finally, make it clear that the political leadership, “must be subordinate to Al-Azhar and respect it.”  As Rubin notes, the real levers of power in Egypt can then transfer to the religious clerics.   If the Muslim Brotherhood can control these levers then they will be in position to dictate the shape and make-up of power in Egypt just as the mad mullahs did in Iran.

What about Libya?   The infamous cleric, Sheikh Qaradawi, has reportedly issued a fatwa that Gaddafi be killed.  The MB has been present in Libya since at least the 1950′s, at first openly and later, under Gaddafi, as a banned group operating covertly.  It stands to reason that the fall of Gaddafi would present a huge opportunity for the MB to expand its influence there.

What lessons can we draw here?

Surely one is that the U.S. cannot play defense in its foreign policy, by merely propping up friendly authoritarians.  When we line up on the side of dictators and thugs, we are sending a very clear message to people oppressed with our support that the U.S. talk of human rights and freedom is only so much hot air.  This, in turn, gives ample ammunition to groups like the MB who can effectively argue that their version of Islam is the only, true solution.  The U.S. has effectively ceded the playing field, so to speak, to the enemy.  Not only that but the U.S. has effectively given up– to continue the sports metaphor– developing any kind of farm system where we can have influence in developing future leaders who can puncture the lies of the Islamists.   We find ourselves with no, real options in Egypt for the precise reason that we never seriously and strategically pursued democratic formation in these countries.  We have, shamefully, left the Egyptian people with no one to turn to except the MB.

Another lesson is the importance of long-term, strategic thinking.   Note the striking difference between how the MB plays the game and how the U.S. has played it.   The MB was founded in 1928 with a clear purpose and objective to take power in Egypt and, from there, to re-establish theocratic Islamic states throughout the Middle East.   The MB has shown incredible patience and cunning, adopting conciliatory postures when they were weak or faced overwhelming opposition, but taking advantage of opportunities when available.  For over 75 years, the MB has been building its organization and extending its tentacles in Egypt.  And not only Egypt but throughout the Middle East by providing the ideological support (and perhaps logistical support) for groups like Hamas and opposition groups in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.   The U.S., by contrast, has no, obvious, long-term strategy in the region.   In fact, our policy, to the extent that we have one is neglect (at best) and, as practiced by the Obama Administration, a positive refusal to “interfere” in the affairs of any Middle East nation, even the worst such as Iran and Syria.   No, we go out of our way to extend a hand to them.   Surely the Islamofascists must be laughing their turbans off in amazement.

In fact, there is a clear note of triumphalism in Badi’s September 30, 2010 sermon (as translated by MEMRI):

Resistance is the only solution…. The United States cannot impose an agreement upon the Palestinians, despite all the means and power at its disposal. [Today] it is withdrawing from Iraq, defeated and wounded, and it is also on the verge of withdrawing from Afghanistan. [All] its warplanes, missiles and modern military technology were defeated by the will of the peoples, as long as [these peoples] insisted on resistance – and the wars of Lebanon and Gaza, which were not so long ago, [are proof of this].

The Administration’s conciliatory gestures and haste to exit Iraq and Afghanistan simply embolden the enemies of freedom and convince them to redouble their efforts.  Worse, there is every indication that the Administration has no clue what it is doing and simply bounces around from event to event, reacting and recalculating its position with every new day and every news cycle.

Everyone should be closely watching events in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East for signs that the Muslim Brotherhood is actively instigation or, at least, co-opting the unrest to its advantage.  One pattern that may be emerging is that the protests seem to be fiercest in those countries that have governments which cooperate to some degree with the war on terror.   Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen.   All of these states have cooperated to one degree or another with the West in the war against Islamic terrorism or have not actively encouraged jihad against the West.   In the case of Libya, it may be a case of sheer luck for the MB which they are now seeking to fully exploit.   In any case, Qaddafi has been no friend to the MB.  Watch for Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to be hit with “spontaneous” unrest in the next weeks or months.

Conversely, we have not seen the same sort of protests in Syria which is as autocratic as any Arab state.   The MB has a significant, if low profile, presence there as well.  But the Syrian regime fully supports the aims and methods of the MB, so any uprisings there, if my theory holds true, would be short-lived and anemic.

If the Brotherhood can seize power in any of these nations, the Long War is going to get very ugly, very quickly.

The Rehabilitation of the Muslim Brotherhood

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 1 month ago

The absurd and manifestly disingenuous attempt by Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, to portray the Muslim Brotherhood as a “largely secular” organization was, as if some covert signal to sycophants all over America, the advent or at least the leading line of a chorus of voices attempting to rehabilitate the reputation of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Consider The Week:

Its leaders now renounce violence, at least publicly. The Brotherhood says its call to jihad is spiritual, and that it believes in advancing Islam through politics and teaching. Its members in parliament are educated professionals who have proved to be competent and savvy legislators, open to compromise. In fact, the group’s insistence on nonviolence caused Egyptian surgeon Ayman al-Zawahiri to leave the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1980s and eventually join Osama bin Laden as al Qaida’s No. 2. Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip and strongly advocates violent struggle, began as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. But Hamas’s ties to the Egyptian group are now tenuous.

Next, consider Philip Mudd writing at The Atlantic (former Deputy Director of the Counterterrorist Center, and the FBI’s first-ever Deputy Director for National Security).

Regarding the Brotherhood, many in the U.S. worry about its anti-Israeli views and its suspicion not only of secular governments but of the entire proposition of the separation of church and state. However, the Brotherhood’s role in our now decade-long campaign against al-Qaeda and its affiliates doesn’t appear prominently in the U.S. debate. It should, especially for those who accept the maxim that the enemy of an enemy is a friend. If we’re looking for friends, especially Arab friends, to help us fight al-Qaeda on the ideological front that has been our most significant shortfall, we might look to the Brotherhood.  In the U.S., we are apt to wrongly conflate Islamist movements. Some overlap among movements is clear: al-Qaeda and the Brotherhood have common roots going back to the evolution of the Islamist movement in Egypt almost 90 years ago. They both abhor the state of Israel and the rise of Brotherhood influence in Arab governments could reduce support for a two-state solution.  But lost in this simple mixing of Islamist strains is the fact that these two versions of Islamism are at each other’s throats, openly and frequently.

Ashley Bates writing at Mother Jones has almost jubilant notions for what the Muslim Brotherhood can accomplish.

Several other researchers I spoke to concurred that Muslim Brotherhood elected officials have exerted a democratizing influence; that much is consensus “not just with Egypt scholars but with scholars from across the Arab world,” according to Bruce Riedel, a Middle East analyst at the Brookings Institution.

Academics disagree, however, on the degree to which a Brotherhood-led government would protect Egypt’s secular freedoms. The Brotherhood is sharply divided between pragmatic, open-minded moderates and hard-line conservatives bent on spreading fundamentalist Islamic teachings.

Stacher maintains that continued repression would only empower the hardliners. By contrast, he says, “if everyone has free range to participate, what we’ll see from the Muslim Brotherhood is an increasing pragmatism. And this will drown out those conservative voices.”

The love even extends to the nominally leftist Christianity Today, where Bob Kubinec actually suggests that Egypt’s Christians might actually be safer if the Muslim Brotherhood were a part of the ruling government.

What the Brotherhood is more known for in Egypt is its calls for reforming the regime, including promoting an independent judiciary and fighting corruption in government. An op-ed published Thursday in The New York Times by a member of the Brotherhood’s leadership defined succinctly their mission: “We aim to achieve reform and rights for all: not just for the Muslim Brotherhood, not just for Muslims, but for all Egyptians.” The debate about the Muslim Brotherhood is not whether they currently support democratic reform in Egypt, but whether they will still support reform after they are in government.

To explain how an Islamic group became committed to democratic reform, something of their long and obscure history in Egypt must be understood. While it is true that some of Al Qaeda’s top leaders came from the group, including the notorious Ayman al-Zawahiri, for most of the group’s history the leadership has focused on reforming the Egyptian state, not fighting international jihad …

It was the periodic jailing of the Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders that drove some of the movement’s members to extremism … the measures used by the regime to suppress dissent are without a doubt part of the reason why the Brotherhood became dangerous. Beating with electric cables is the surest way to radicalize a human being—if they survive the torture.

Yet something truly remarkable happened in the early 1980s with the Brotherhood: the leadership voluntarily renounced violence and chose to participate in the political order.

Analysis & Commentary

These commentaries betray a horrible ignorance of the fundamental nature of the Muslim Brotherhood, and rather than conflating Islamist movements, as Mudd charges, I suggest that he (and the others) conflate policy and strategy with tactics.  It’s a beginner’s blunder, but a dangerous one.

Muslim brothers can advocate peaceful jihad of the soul to those who would listen, but equally assert the right to violent subjugation of non-Muslims to Sharia law due to the doctrine of abrogation where, if a verse revealed at Mecca contradicts another revealed later at Medina, the Medinan verse takes precedence.  But whether in the Qu’ran or the Hadith, there are copious verses which support the notion of violent jihad.

But beyond being woefully unprepared even to begin to assess militant Islam and its worldwide adherents, a recurring theme with these commentators is that there is a battle going on within the Muslim Brotherhood, and that engagement of them will win the day for the more “moderate” voices.

But Andrew McCarthy points us back to the Organization of the Islamic Conference and what they believe.

Today, the OIC is Islam’s central point of union against the unfaithful. Those who insist that the 1,400-year-old dividing line between Muslims and non-Muslims is ephemeral, that all we need is a little more understanding of how alike we all really are, would do well to consider the OIC’s Cairo Declaration of 1990. It is the ummah’s “Declaration of Human Rights in Islam,” proclaimed precisely because Islamic states reject the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights promulgated by the United Nations under the guidance of progressives in the United States and the West. That is, the leaders of the Muslim world are adamant that Western principles are not universal.

The Declaration makes abundantly clear that this civilization is to be attained by adherence to sharia. “All rights and freedoms” recognized by Islam “are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah,” which “is the only source of reference for [their] explanation or clarification.” Though men and women are said by the Declaration to be equal in “human dignity,” sharia elucidates their very different rights and obligations — their basic inequality. Sharia expressly controls freedom of movement and claims of asylum. The Declaration further states that “there shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in Shari’ah” — a blatant reaffirmation of penalties deemed cruel and unusual in the West. And the right to free expression is permitted only insofar as it “would not be contrary to the principles of Shari’ah” — meaning that Islam may not be critically examined, nor will the ummah abide any dissemination of “information” that would “violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical Values, or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society, or weaken its faith.”

Americans were once proud to declare that their unalienable rights came from their Creator, the God of Judeo-Christian scripture. Today we sometimes seem embarrassed by this fundamental conceit of our founding. We prefer to trace our conceptions of liberty, equality, free will, freedom of conscience, due process, privacy, and proportional punishment to a humanist tradition, haughty enough to believe we can transcend the transcendent and arrive at a common humanity. But regardless of which source the West claims, the ummah rejects it and claims its own very different principles — including, to this day, the principle that it is the destiny of Islam not to coexist but to dominate.

Obama administration officials and the editors at Christianity Today may envision holding hands with Islam and skipping down the Yellow brick road to Shangri La, but the Muslim Brotherhood and signatories to the Organization of the Islamic Conference labor under no such illusions.  One thing that the commentators we have cited have in common with the Muslim Brotherhood is the attempt to rehabilitate the image of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Their own web site regurgitates the same screed that we see from leftist web sites today in America.

So why do American policymakers and media analysts continue to be governed by a politics of fear? As the bogeyman of Egyptian politics, the Muslim Brotherhood has been labeled a terrorist organization, murderer of Anwar Sadat, ally of Al Qaeda, and the social equivalent of the Taliban.

The reality is that the Brotherhood renounced violence decades ago, but the party’s leadership and rank-and-file alike have continued to pay the cost of this now mistaken association, so carefully perpetuated by the Mubarak regime. Mr. Sadat’s assassin came from a splinter organization called Egyptian Islamic Jihad (the group led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who would later join forces with Osama Bin Laden). Most of Egypt’s most unreconstructed militants, from Mr. Zawahiri’s Islamic Jihad and the larger Islamic Group, remain in prison.

The interesting thing about the imprisonment of Sayyid Qutb and Ayman al-Zawahiri is that it was done under the reign of Hosni Mubarak, not the Muslim Brotherhood.  Mubarak, for whatever else he did or didn’t do, was at least a temporary defeater for radical Islamists in Egypt during his tenure.  But the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t above a bit a revisionist history if it helps their causes.

Revisionist history aside, the Muslim Brotherhood has been clear.  They want the institution of Sharia law in Egypt, regardless of the lackeys in the West whom they have been able to persuade to take up their cause.  As for the Muslim Brotherhood in America and their alleged jettisoning of violence to achieve their ends, the strategy of global domination by the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t the same thing as moderate tactics to effect that end.  To conflate the two is a category error.

To be sure, the Muslim Brotherhood has many thousands of appendage and related efforts, including supposedly humanitarian and altruistic assistance organizations.  But they are all aimed at one thing.  We know what that one thing is because they have told us.

The FBI had been investigating the Muslim Brotherhood for years, but their first big break came several years ago with the search of one of the Brotherhood leaders’ homes in Annandale, Virginia, following his arrest on suspicion he had cased the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and other bridges for possible terrorist attack. There, in a sub-basement of suspect Ismail Elbarasse’s basement, FBI agents uncovered a stash of secret manifestos, charters and other documents revealing the depth of the conspiracy.

After translating the Arabic-written papers into English, investigators realized they had seized the archives of the U.S. branch of the militant International Muslim Brotherhood.

The trove of papers exposes the jihadist inner workings of the U.S. Brotherhood, and outlines its broader conspiracy of infiltrating and destroying the American government “from within.”

One secret document found during the raid of Elbarasse’s home lays bare the Brotherhood’s ambitious plans for a U.S. takeover, replacing the U.S. Constitution with Shariah, or Islamic law.

Written in 1991 by another U.S. Brotherhood agent, Mohammed Akram Adlouni, the strategy paper describes the group’s long-term goal of “sabotaging” the U.S. system. It’s a blueprint for a stealth “grand jihad.” Under the heading, “The role of the Muslim Brother in North America,” it states:

The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within, and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by the hands of the believers, so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.

Thus do idiotic comparisons of the threat of Sharia law with Boy Scout law by the likes of Professors at the U.S. Army War College play directly into the hands of those who would eventually undermine that very professor’s right to academic freedom.  That comparison also betrays a gross ignorance of recent important national security revelations such as the Muslim Brotherhood strategy paper.

Another mistake by many when attempting to understand the Muslim Brotherhood is in assuming that adherence to sharia law is voluntary, when in fact, it is only voluntary while Muslims are not in the majority or do not yet have enough power to legislate sharia as state law.  In Saudi Arabia, this is what sharia law looks like.

After a 14-year-old Bangladeshi girl named Hena Begum was forcibly raped, kicking and screaming, by a 40-year-old married man on Sunday, Jan. 30, a Shariah court the next day sentenced her – the rape victim – to receive 100 lashes for having engaged in an illicit “affair.” Henna was given no chance to appeal, and the sentence was carried out immediately. After between 70 and 80 lashes, the little girl collapsed into unconsciousness and was taken to the hospital – where she bled to death.

Islamic apologists will tell you such an atrocity is an abuse of Shariah law, or the excess of some remote, rural tribal council. Hogwash. Rape victims are frequently flogged and imprisoned under Shariah, as when a Saudi court in early 2009 sentenced a 23-year-old female who had been gang-raped by five men to 100 lashes and a year in jail. Her crime? Accepting a lift from a man who drove her against her will to his house and took turns, with four of his friends, raping her. Same with a 2007 case where the Saudi Justice Ministry sentenced a girl gang-raped by seven men to six months in prison and 200 lashes.

Speaking of Saudi Arabia, who can forget when the kingdom’s “religious police” allowed 15 young girls to die horrible deaths when a fire broke out in their school in Mecca on March 11, 2002? The religious police, or Mutaween, literally blocked firefighters from saving the girls because they weren’t dressed in the proper Islamic way for girls and women to be seen outdoors. With helpless firemen watching, the religious police literally beat the girls – those who were not wearing their headscarves or abayas – back into the inferno.

The willingness to engage in politics isn’t in itself a meaningful repudiation of the tendencies to domination by militant Islam, for as Rashad al-Bayoumi explains, “political work is an integral part of Islamic work, for Islam is a comprehensive religion and politics is part of general Islamic work.”  For those who doubt what that looks like, consider the recent words of a senior member of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Kamal al-Halbavi.

“Given the recent developments in the region, we need unity among the Muslim countries and Iran can play an important role in this regard,” Halbavi said on Sunday, addressing a conference in Tehran dubbed ‘Islamic Awakening in Arab World’.

He also called Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad his favorite leaders in the world, and said, “He is the bravest man in the Muslim world and we (in Egypt) need innocent, honest and brave leaders like him.”

Despite the alleged war between Sunni and Shi’a Islam, the love between Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood is mutual.  Omar Suleiman knows the threat and has told General Petraeus that “Egypt suffers from certain Iranian interference through its satellites Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood. We can only hope for Iran to stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.”  If the highest ranking intelligence official in Egypt knows the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood, isn’t it a bit strange that sycophants in the U.S. sing the praises of moderate brothers?  Do Muslims and intelligence officials in Egypt perhaps know a bit more about the Muslim Brotherhood than we do?

Regardless of the Muslim Brotherhood strategy paper and its disagreement with most of the American commentaries today on the Muslim Brotherhood, the temporary tactic of moderation is only a means to an end.  The beginner’s mistake we discussed earlier has to do with subdividing the Islamist movement based on the specific subset of tactics being implemented in order to effect the desired end.  The Muslim Brotherhood is smart.  They haven’t limited their attack to a single approach, but you can be assured that they all work – and war – towards the same end, i.e., the imposition of sharia law on Muslim and non-Muslim alike, and subjugation of the world to Allah.  If liberals in the U.S. see it as enlightened to be illiberal and advocate sharia law in America, then the Muslim Brotherhood is happy to have them on their side – at least for the present.

Prior Featured Articles:

The Battle for Bomb Alley

The Five Hundred Meter War

Good Counterinsurgency, Bad Counterinsurgency and Tribes

Happy, Clappy Democracy in Egypt

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 2 months ago

I warned you.  Now we learn that the Muslim Brotherhood plans on an official political party in Egypt, something that was never allowed under Mubarak.  For whatever else he did or didn’t do, he kept the likes of Ayman al-Zawahiri and Sayyid Qutb in prison.  But there still seems to be some confusion out there in spite of the fact that things aren’t all peace, love and flower power in Egypt.

Seriously?  Is this what the liberal media and establishment thinks?  That anything Obama said had anything to do with anything regarding Egypt?  Does the liberal media really not understand the danger?  Is it that they won’t acknowledge it, or really and truly that they don’t know about it?  Are things that bad off in the liberal establishment?


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