However, at the end of
her speech she appeared to be taking a position against the planned
anti-Morsi demonstration: "Some say that street action will produce
better results than elections. To be honest, my government and I are
deeply skeptical." For Egyptian critics of the Muslim Brotherhood,
Patterson's words amounted to direct intervention into Egyptian domestic
politics. The respected Lebanese daily An-Nahar added that Egyptian
liberals felt that the U.S. had failed to criticize Morsi's
authoritarian practices since he came to power, leading them to conclude
that "Washington was 'in bed' with the Brotherhood."
What enraged these
Egyptians even further was Patterson's visit the same week of her speech
with Khairat el-Shater, the deputy head of the Egyptian Muslim
Brotherhood, who is widely regarded as the strongest figure in the
organization. Secular Egyptians can understand when the U.S. ambassador
meets with Egyptian officials who also happen to be members of the
Muslim Brotherhood. But if she met with the leadership of the
organization, outside of the framework of the Egyptian government, then
that is interpreted by Morsi's opponents as an effort to legitimize the
Muslim Brotherhood, even if it was not the intent of the U.S.
In order to halt the
spread of the rumors about the links between Washington and the Muslim
Brotherhood, Secretary of State John Kerry was forced to add his voice,
last week: "We firmly reject the unfounded and false claims by some in
Egypt that the United States supports the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood or
any specific Egyptian political party or movement."
Yet this claim had
become the conventional wisdom across the Middle East. The Wall Street
Journal reported that when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
visited Cairo just before Morsi issued a declaration giving himself
powers over the judiciary, there were suspicions that he had U.S.
support, since Washington did not condemn him for what he had done.
Many in the Middle East
have been surprised at U.S. policy toward the Muslim Brotherhood.
Having provided political asylum for Muslim Brotherhood members fleeing
Nasserist Egypt, after 9/11, Saudi Arabia completely revised its policy.
Its late crown prince, Nayef bin Abdulaziz, called the Muslim
Brotherhood "the source of all problems in the Islamic world."
A former Kuwaiti
minister of education wrote in Asharq Al-Awsat in 2005 that "all those
who worked with bin Laden and al-Qaida went out under the mantle of the
Muslim Brotherhood." The main architect of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid
Shaikh Muhammad, came out of the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood, while the
roots of al-Qaida's current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, can be traced to
the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
In recent years,
America's Arab allies have expressed their serious reservations about
the Muslim Brotherhood. In December 2012, the United Arab Emirates
arrested a number of Muslim Brothers from Egypt who were accused of
trying to plot the overthrow of the ruling family. In an April 2013
interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, published in the Atlantic, Jordan's
King Abdullah described the Muslim Brotherhood as "wolves in sheep's
clothing." He described Jordan's "major fight" -- to prevent the Muslim
Brotherhood from conniving its way into power across the region. King
Abdullah claimed his Western allies were naive about the Muslim
But it would be
incorrect to argue that the U.S. connection with the Muslim Brotherhood
came out of the Obama administration, alone. The problem is deeper.
Already in 2007, Foreign Affairs, a quarterly which might be seen as a
weather vane of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, decided to
publish a controversial article titled "The Moderate Muslim
Brotherhood." The article was largely based on the conversations of its
authors with senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo. They
wrote that the Muslim Brotherhood was discouraging jihad.
Yet on the website of
the Muslim Brotherhood, the very opposite was written. The Muslim
Brotherhood explained there in 2003 that it sought to recover "the lands
robbed from Islam." This was consistent with the writings of Hassan
al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose newspaper wrote
that Muslims should take back Spain, southern Italy and the Balkans. The
web article concluded: "The problems of conquering the world will only
end when the flag of Islam waves and jihad has been proclaimed." In
2005, the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood boasted that his
organization was active in 70 countries.
The main motivation of
those in the West who support working with the Muslim Brotherhood is
that it can serve as an alternative for young Egyptians to al-Qaida and
other jihadist groups. But that is not what happened in the past. When
the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Sudan, it hosted jihadist
leaders from Osama bin Laden to the heads of Hamas. It even allowed them
to set up training camps during the 1990s.
Morsi's regime did not
go that far, but it pardoned jihadist leaders who were in Egyptian
prisons, like Mustafa Hamza, the leader of al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya (the
Islamic Group) who was involved in the attempted assassination of
President Mubarak and the 1997 Luxor massacre that left 62 dead. Morsi
also promised to work for the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the
mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. More
recently, in March, Morsi was pressing the Egyptian military academy to
accept members of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as other hard-line
jihadists. The Muslim Brotherhood was working closely with Hamas. An
Egyptian general admitted on March 11 to Dubai's Al-Bayan newspaper that
the Muslim Brotherhood was pressuring Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah
el-Sissi to ignore the tunnels from Sinai to the Gaza Strip.
The perception in the Middle East
that the U.S. had been sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood may be
overstated, but it is not entirely without foundation. A school of
thought in Washington exists that truly believes that the Muslim
Brotherhood has evolved into a moderate organization, with which the
West can do business. It has been influencing policymaking since the
second term of the Bush administration. But it is too early to establish
whether the overthrow of Morsi will lead to the demise of this
dangerously naive political theory or whether it will resurface in one
of the other Arab states facing internal revolts as part of the Arab
- - - - - - - - End - - - - - - -
Egyptians have another obvious reason to believe that the US foreign policy establishment wants to promote the MB. Here is an article published in 2007 in Foreign Affairs, the foremost US foreign policy publication. Another prominent publication is Foreign Policy. The article is so inanely and dishonestly argued that it is laughable, or would be laughable if the situation were not so threatening.
8-13-2013 Did Muhammad Morsi threaten Egypt's Copts with a second Islamic conquest? -- here.