.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Emet m'Tsiyon

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Egyptians Charge Obama with Supporting Terrorists -- They're Right

Just a few days ago, the Israeli govt agreed to release more than 100 jailed terrorists guilty of the most loathsome atrocities. The Israeli govt did this  under massive pressure from John Kerry, Obama's secretary of state, who sees no more urgent problem in the Middle East than getting Israel to surrender land to terrorists and to release those in jail where they belong, if they should not have been executed years ago. So Obama and Kerry support terrorists.

However, not everybody would like to agree that Obama, Kerry and obama's national insecurity team have been promoting the Muslim Brotherhood for years. But many Egyptians do believe it. Indeed they charge Obama with supporting terrorists. So much so that the huge June 30, 2013, demonstrations against the Muslim Brotherhood and Muhammad Morsi had posters and banners pointing out Obama's MB ties and sympathies.

Click on photo to enlarge

The message on the two posters showing Obama with a MB type beard is, above the photo of Obama:
"Obama Hands Off"
Below the photo:
"Message to U.S.A.
Obama supports the
Terrorists of 911"
The two flags on the right of the photo are Egyptian flags.

Dore Gold of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs took up the question of Obama's support for the MB, although he is too soft on Obama. Also see my previous post where I mention James Clapper's statement made in Congressional testimony that was meant to whitewash the MB. Moreover, US ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, got a rather large bit of attention for asking the Coptic pope, the head of the Coptic church in Egypt, to call on his flock not to demonstrate against Morsi. That happened in the week before the June 30 demos. Here's Gold:

The US and the Muslim Brotherhood

One of the striking features of last month's overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was the rage that came out in the street demonstrations against the Obama administration for its alleged backing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

A CNN report on June 30 showed the crowds in Tahrir Square carrying anti-American signs saying: "Obama, stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood fascist regime." Some signs were aimed not only against President Barack Obama, but also against U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson.
Where did the crowd get this idea? Patterson detected before Morsi fell from power on July 7 that a significant number of Egyptians believed that the U.S. was working with the Muslim Brotherhood. She actually gave a speech on June 18 at the Ibn Khaldun Center "to set the record straight" on this subject. She suggested that some might be asking if the contacts between the U.S. Embassy and the Muslim Brotherhood over the years was being interpreted was "evidence of a long-term conspiracy to support the Muslim Brotherhood to replace the government of former President Hosni Mubarak." She explained to her audience that all countries "maintain contacts with those out of power." Her logic was simple: "Today's political outcasts may be tomorrow's leaders."
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. ambassador.
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 Brotherhood's intentions.
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 Spring
- - - - - - - - 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.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Obama's Real Foreign Policy Takes Heavy Blows, Muslim Brotherhood Govt in Egypt Falls

REVISED 7-5-2013 UPDATING 7-14 & 8-2 & 10-7-20137&2-17-2014 at bottom

Since taking office in January 2009, or even before then, Barack Hussein Obama has been working with a number of US intelligence honchos, James Jones, Clapper, Donilon, and others to promote the rise to power of Muslim Brotherhood governments in Sunni Arab countries as well as encouraging governments run by the MB's Shiite counterparts, as in Iran and its ally, Syria [dominated by Alawites, an offshoot sect of Shiism, considered heretics by Sunnis but as Muslims by Shiites, at least as long as convenient], and by Sunni counterparts of the MB as in Turkey. Obama's first trip abroad after taking office as president was to Ankara, where Erdogan --a veteran Judeophobe-- had successfully subdued his possible political opposition in the army and the judiciary, installing his own men, and had adopted an aggressive pro-Islamist foreign policy with overtones of nostalgia for the Sunni Ottoman Empire. Obama's second trip abroad, in June 2009, was to Egypt where he was going to make the Arab and Muslim worlds love America, while he forged an alliance of sorts with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Even before the 2008 presidential elections in the USA that brought him to power, he had his mentor Zbig Brzezinski travel to Syria, to Damascus. There he promised cooperative, helpful relations with the Syrian regime led by Bashar [Junior Basher] Assad, in contrast to the critical attitude of Pres. Geo. Bush II towards Junior Basher after the Hariri assassination, perpetrated by Assad through the instrumentality of Hizbullah. If only Obama were elected, of course. John Kerry, while still a senator, made a trip to Damascus too, promising --like Zbig-- friendly, profitable relations with Washington while Obama stayed prez. The Obama administration considered Junior Basher a "reformer," with Hilary notoriously  making that point more than once after Junior had already begun to butcher his opposition.

Whereas Erdogan has been referred to as Obama's BFF and  is reported to speak with Obama on the phone weekly, Obama brought the Muslim Brotherhood out of official political ostracism in Mubarak's Egypt. He not only invited the MB leaders to his notorious Cairo speech but he had them sit right up front, close to him. The speech itself became notorious for falsely praising Islam as a great force in the progress of civilization. Today, Egypt, long a Muslim country, has an illiteracy rate of 40%. Not quite the model of a land in the vanguard of civilization.

Promoting political Islam has been the real foundation of Obama's Middle East policy. In fact, Obama's foreign policy mentors, Lee Hamilton and Zbig Brzezinski, are both pro-Islamist. Yet this pro-Muslim policy had to be revised after the Arab Spring. To be sure, when crowds in Tahrir Square in Cairo --January-February 2011--- called on Mubarak to leave, Obama echoed those calls and also stated that an MB govt in Egypt would be acceptable to the United States. One of Obama's intelligence honchos, James Clapper, even lied to Congress on the MB's behalf, saying that it was "largely secular," in order to portray the MB as innocuous and even benevolent.

Obama has also favored Iran's Nuclear Bomb project, contrary to his campaign promises, opening his hand to the ayatollahs, hoping for friendship with them, failing to support the freedom demonstrators in Teheran after the falsified results of the 2009 election. That he was finally forced to endorse sanctions against Iran was due in great part to the ayatollahs' refusal to reciprocate his wishes for friendship. Sort of a relationship of unrequited love.

To be sure, the real US foreign policy as shaped by the State Department, CIA and other agencies, has long been pro-Muslim and pro-Arab. This goes back at least to Franklin D Roosevelt's meeting with King Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud [called Ibn Saud] in 1945. But it never has been so blatant as it is now under Obama.

To be sure, the USA favored the Islamist takeover after Algerian Islamists won the elections in 1991. The ruling faction there, originally called by the grandiose name, National Liberation Front [FLN] --as if they were liberators-- did not let the Islamists enjoy their electoral victory. This set off a civil war in which the Islamic Salvation Front [Front Islamique de Salut -- FIS] proved their salvation credentials much as the FLN proved its liberation credentials. Both sides slaughtered  fellow Arab Muslims before the civil war petered out in the early 2000s. The  Islamists especially slaughtered, killing  many tens of thousands of their brethren.

The USA again, in the person of Sec'y of State Condoleezza Rice, insisted that Hamas --the Palestinian Arab affiliate of the MB-- be allowed  to take part in Palestinian Authority elections
in January 2006, although the Oslo accords forbid any party refusing to ever live in peace with Israel from taking part in the Palestinian Authority government.

Obama's administration, following in the footsteps of Condoleezza, Zbig, Lee Hamilton, the Dulles brothers, William Polk, and others,pro-Islamopenly argued in favor of the "moderation" and "pragmatism" of the Muslim Brotherhood [as indicated in the first paragraph above].

Now the White House and State Dept are feeling sorrowful over the overthrow of the MB president of Egypt, Muhammad Morsi, as an anti-democratic act although the overthrow is supported by tens of millions of Egyptians. It is often claimed in American and British media that Morsi was elected in free and fair elections. What they conveniently forget is that Morsi as a stalwart Muslim Brother despised democracy and human rights, although Morsi and the MB do not mind using the lofty slogans of democracy and human rights when it is advantageous for them to do so. However, Morsi proved his contempt for democracy in November 2012, when he grabbed dictatorial powers for himself. The New York Times for once allowed respect for truth to take precedence over its pro-Islamist editorial policy:

CAIRO — With a constitutional assembly on the brink of collapse and protesters battling the police in the streets over the slow pace of change, President Mohamed Morsi issued a decree on Thursday granting himself broad powers above any court as the guardian of Egypt’s revolution. . . .
Mr. Morsi, an Islamist and Egypt’s first elected president, portrayed his decree as an attempt to fulfill popular demands for justice and protect the transition to a constitutional democracy. But the unexpected breadth of the powers he seized raised immediate fears that he might become a new strongman. . . . .
An absolute presidential tyranny,” Amr Hamzawy, a liberal member of the dissolved Parliament and prominent political scientist, wrote in an online commentary. Egypt is facing a horrifying coup against legitimacy and the rule of law and a complete assassination of the democratic transition.

So much for Morsi's loyalty to democracy. What concerns us more is that Morsi's defeat may represent a defeat for the decades long  pro-Islamist policy of most of the US foreign policy establishment, a policy of which Obama has been the most blatant exponent. There is not much that Obama can do about Morsi and the MB's defeat. He and his coterie will have to get around it one way or the other. They will look for other ways of surrounding Israel with very hostile states that refuse any peace or compromise with Israel, which they apparently hoped that an MB govt in Egypt would do much to accomplish, aligning with Hamas in Gaza, Hizbullah in southern Lebanon and the murderous Assad regime in Syria.

More generally, this defeat in Egypt may represent a turning point for the Muslim Brotherhood --not only in Egypt-- the start of a slide downhill, starting slowly at first, maybe gaining momentum further down, but relentlessly downhill  in any event, whether fast or slowly. As Carlo Panella argues, "The disaster in Cairo is a chapter in the general failure of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Arab world." [Il disastro al Cairo è un capitolo del fallimento generale dei Fratelli musulmani in tutto il mondo arabo]. As the Arabs say, Inshallah [in Spanish, !Ojala que fuera!], and as Jews say: Im yirtseh HaShem [אם ירצה השם]. Panella adds: "In Egypt, to very briefly summarize, the Brotherhood confused the weakness of the secular parties with a license to impose an Islamist dictatorship. It made mistaken calculations and threw the largest Arab country into chaos." [In Egitto, in estrema sintesi, la Fratellanza ha confuso la debolezza dei partiti laici con la licenza di imporre una dittatura islamista. Ha sbagliato i suoi calcoli e ha gettato il più grande paese arabo nel caos]. 

Another cause of Morsi and the MB's downfall --and maybe the major one-- is that, due to their focus on jihad and enforcing Islamic law, shari`a, even for minor matters, they neglected the economic disaster that took a poor country under Mubarak to  economic disaster which very much accelerated after Morsi became president one year ago. 

The MB and Islamists generally have used the slogan: Islam is the solution [al-Islam huwa al-hal]. That is, the solution to all of man's economic, political and social problems, and so on. Many Egyptians in their desperation gave the MB the chance to prove that proposition last year when a majority, albeit not overwhelming, voted for Morsi to become president. Since then Morsi and his comrades have demonstrated that this proposition was just another false, empty and even dangerous political slogan. Morsi's one-year reign has been a social and economic disaster for Egypt, with increasing poverty and decreasing safety on the streets.

When you are worried about how much of a woman's face is showing more than you worry about how much she and her husband and children are getting to eat, then you are inclined to avoid doing what is needed to even minimize the poverty and starvation rampant in Egypt. Even more so than in Mubarak's time or in the year and one-half between Mubarak's overthrow and Morsi's election last year.

The recent popular outrage against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, culminating in their overthrow, is a good thing. It puts Obama and his minions in a quandary. What to do now, now that  a political instrument cultivated and favored for years, has been rejected by the masses in the most populous Arab country?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Commentary has published some commentary with good insight into the Egyptian problem and that of its relations with the rest of the world:
"Is Obama losing Egypt again?" here.
"Obama doubles down on Egypt folly" here.
"The end of Obama's Brotherhood crush" here.
"Kerry's Middle East has a price" here.
Barry Rubin's several articles on recent Egyptian developments are helpful as well. He blogs on Rubin Reports and at Pajamas Media. Barry sees this post by him summarizing the Obama outlook on the Middle East here.
See an intelligent comment on the Egyptian situation: here

7-14-2013 Jihad Watch has a sensational post which, if true, significantly confirms what I wrote about Obama's policy regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and his reaction to the overthrow of Morsi and the MB here.  This story about Obama demanding release of Morsi & other arrested MB leaders and officials shows that Obama's crowd is beside itself with anger over what happened in Egypt.
7-5-2013 LA Times reports Obama administration call to release Morsi here.
7-5-2013 Raymond Ibrahim reports on Obama's pro-MB policy: here & here.
8-2-2013 Inane article in Foreign Affairs asserting MB "moderation" here, published in 2007 during Bush 2's tenure in the White House.
8-5-2013 Walter Russell Mead sees the failure of Obama's pro-Muslim Brotherhood policy [here]
10-7-2013 Three months after Morsi and the MB's overthrow in Egypt, David Schenker finds that the Brothers, the Ikhwan, are much weakened in Jordan too [here]. This confirms my wish and my hunch in this original blog post in July.
10-8-2013 Hussein Ibish, a professional Arab nationalist, asks if we are now seeing "the end of the failed Muslim Brotherhood project."  [here
2-17-2014 Walid Phares agrees that the toppling of the Ikhwan in Egypt means a decline of the Muslim Brotherhood generally in the Arab World [here]