The Muslim Brotherhood, a Ravenous Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
The Muslim Brotherhood and its ilk are wolves in sheep's clothing. It is now fashionable to depict the Islamic bigots and warmongers as mere "democrats" and "a few agitated Islamist fundamentalists" [as by Zbig Brzezinski].
Here is Richard Cohen, a Washington Post journalist, with whom I usually disagree, on the MB:
A democratic Egypt or a state of hate?
Things are about to go from bad to worse in the Middle East. An Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is nowhere in sight. Lebanon just became a Hezbollah state, which is to say that Iran has become an even more important regional power, and Egypt, once stable if tenuously so, has been pitched into chaos. This is the most dire prospect of them all. The dream of a democratic Egypt is sure to produce a nightmare.Egypt's problems are immense. It has a population it cannot support, a standard of living that is stagnant and a self-image as leader of the (Sunni) Arab world that does not, really, correspond to reality. It also lacks the civic and political institutions that are necessary for democracy. The next Egyptian government - or the one after - might well be composed of Islamists. In that case, the peace with Israel will be abrogated and the mob currently in the streets will roar its approval.
My take on all this is relentlessly gloomy. I care about Israel. I care about Egypt, too, but its survival is hardly at stake. I care about democratic values, but they are worse than useless in societies that have no tradition of tolerance or respect for minority rights. What we want for Egypt is what we have ourselves. This, though, is an identity crisis. We are not them.It's impossible now to get a fix on what is happening in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood seems to be lying low. Is this a reflection of weakness or canniness? The Brotherhood remains the only well-organized institution in Egypt other than the military. It has been underground for generations - jailed, tortured, infiltrated, but still, somehow, flourishing. Its moment may be approaching.
Under a different name (Hamas), the Muslim Brotherhood runs the Gaza Strip. Hamas's charter states unequivocally that it wants to eradicate Israel. It mentions the 1978 Camp David accords, and not with admiration. ("Egypt was, to a great extent, removed from the circle of the struggle through the treacherous Camp David Agreement.") No doubt that in an Egyptian election, the call to repudiate the treaty will prove popular - as popular as the peace with Israel has not been.
The Muslim Brotherhood's most influential thinker was the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb. He was hanged in 1966, but not before he had managed to turn out a vast amount of writings. He showed almost superhuman courage and was, in many respects, a formidable man. But he was also a racist, a bigot, a misogynist, an anti-Semite and a fervent hater of most things American. As if to prove that familiarity breeds contempt, he had spent about two years in the United States.
The Egyptian crisis has produced the usual blather about the role of America. The United States remains powerful and important, but it has already lost control of events - not that it ever really had it. Moreover, it hardly matters what Washington now says. The Islamists of the Brotherhood do not despise America for what it does but for what it is. Read Qutb's purplish alarm at the dress and appearance of American women. Read his racist remarks about blacks. The Islamic state Qutb envisioned would be racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian as well. It would treat women as the Taliban now does - if only because the Taliban, too, reveres Qutb. He rejected a clemency offer, saying his words would matter more if he was dead. He was right.
Majority rule is a worthwhile idea. But so, too, are respect for minorities, freedom of religion, the equality of women and adherence to treaties, such as the one with Israel, the only democracy in the region. It's possible that the contemporary Islamists of Egypt think differently about these matters than did Qutb. If that's the case, then there is no cause for concern. But Hamas in the Gaza Strip, although recently moderating its message, suggests otherwise. So does Iran.
Those Americans and others who cheer the mobs in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities, who clamor for more robust anti-Mubarak statements from the Obama administration, would be wise to let Washington proceed slowly. Hosni Mubarak is history. He has stayed too long, been too recalcitrant - and, for good reason, let his fear of the future ossify the present. Egypt and the entire Middle East are on the verge of convulsing. America needs to be on the right side of human rights. But it also needs to be on the right side of history. This time, the two may not be the same.- - - - - - - - - - - -end of Cohen's op ed - - - - - -
Lately, the MB has formed an odd couple with Muhammad Barada`i [Mohammed Barade'i] Now Barada`i, who was such a disaster at the International Atomic Energy Agency, because he promoted the Iranian Nuke Project, is being promoted in turn by US diplomacy as a transitional ruler for Egypt. It is time to examine the personal record of this assistant to Iran's aspirations to nuclear terrorist capability. Although an Egyptian, Barada`i at the IAEA was partial to Iran's policy. This was against Egypt's interest. Indeed, most Arab states opposed the Iran Bomb Project, seeing it as a threat to their states and govts. But Barada`i pretended that the US and Israeli bombs [assumed in Israel's case] were the main problem.
The articles linked to below take up both Barada`i and the MB:
Here is Barry Rubin on Barada'i and the MB [& here] and on the fanatical Muslim distaste for democracy.
Like a typical apologist for tyrants and warmongers, Barada`i does his thing.
But Barada`i's own supporters see him as a "transitional figurehead." This report in the Wall Street Journal also tells of a "shadow legislature" aiming to replace Mubarak. It includes MB leaders and wants to use Barada`i merely to bring down Mubarak. Remember what happened to the so-called "moderates" in Iran who supported Khomeini's overthrow of the Shah. [this paragraph added on 2-4-2011]
More of Barada`i's hatred of Israel [here] & here]
Elder of Ziyyon and Bataween of Point of No Return bring evidence about the MB from the 1940s, both from the book Cairo to Damascus by Armenian-American author, John Roy Carlson [Avedis Derounian / Arthur Derounian] and from Egyptian Jews [for this testimony see both links to Point of No Return, but especially the comments on Butros-Ghali's propaganda slop here. Butros Butros-Ghali was once secretary-general of the UN].
Ambassador Dore Gold on the MB and its support for Barada`i as a temporary figurehead leader and, I would add, like Mohammed Naguib who fronted for Nasser in Egypt in 1952.
Yossi Klein HaLevi in the NYTimes on an MB rise to power in Egypt and its meaning for Israel [here]
Carlo Panella on Obama's Middle Eastern policy after the Egyptian uprising [qui e qui]
Once again Obama's diplomacy recklessly favors enemies of Israel and enemies of civilization.
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UPDATING 2-4-2011 Barry Rubin asks: Who's Afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood? [here], & talks about what Egypt would be like under MB hegemony [here] & reports that the MB will disavow the peace treaty with Israel if it takes power [here & Russian report here]
Also See paragraph above starting "But Barada`i. . . "
On 2-6-2011 More by Barry Rubin [here], on silly ideas about Egyptian reality, particularly those of the NYT's roger cohen.
UPDATING 2-5-2011 Fiamma Nirenstein calls Obama "The Bull in the Mideast China Shop" [English translation below the Italian original here]. She also sees through the slimey faker, al-Barada`i [in Italian qui]
Two short items on the MB wanting to end the peace with Israel [unsatisfactory as it is for Israel-here & here]
Food being smuggled out of Gaza to Egypt [here][So much for the fake "human rights" gangs that claim that Israel is starving Gaza]
Hatred of Jews on the pro-govt, pro-Mubarak side too [here]. Indeed, after the treaty with Israel, both Sadat and later Mubarak encouraged or allowed MB Judeophobic agitation besides that carried on state-owned media and in state schools. So Mubarak is --to an extent-- hoist on his own petard, so to speak.
The Wall Street Journal cites the Hamas takeover of Gaza after an election  as a cautionary tale against demanding that the MB be allowed to take part in elections in Egypt [here]. An election victory for the MB, like that for Hamas, would be "one man, one vote, one time." What is key here is "one time." Once in power the MB, like its affiliate Hamas, would not conduct further elections or allow free elections or other liberal, democratic freedoms. This is besides its love for jihad.
UPDATING 2-6-2011 The NYTimes depicts the MB following as decent and respectful, and their leader is depicted as cultured & civilized and living in a "tasteful" apartment [here]