The March of the Brotherhood
Remember the “Arab awakening” that swept through Egypt earlier this year? As it unfolded we were told that a tyrannical regime was being ousted and an era of liberal democracy, of peace and prosperity, was being born in Egypt.
Alas, we were horribly misled.
Egypt today is not only not peaceful or prosperous, but there is no evidence that peace or prosperity will lay hold of the country anytime soon. Sure, democracy is at work. But in case you haven’t noticed, the democratic process is facilitating the rise of a large and powerful anti-democratic, anti-peace Islamic organization whose mission is to commit “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization.”
If you thought Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt was ugly, wait till the entity now forming manifests itself!
It is obvious that the social and political uncertainty in Egypt is far from over. In recent weeks, large, often violent protests have occurred throughout the country as pro-democracy activists confront Egypt’s ruling military government. There are a number of reasons for the ongoing dissent, including economic hardship, frustration at the slow pace of reforms and the growing demand that the government delay the parliamentary elections slated for September. The tension is expected to peak tomorrow, when tens of thousands are expected to descend on Cairo’s Tahir Square for a “Second Day of Rage.”
Although tomorrow’s mass protests could get ugly, they are unlikely to elicit many significant changes. Despite what you hear in the Western media, Egypt’s pro-democracy activists, the thousands of people protesting in the streets in February, do not hold the reins of power. In fact, that responsibility hardly even rests with Egypt’s military council anymore. In Egypt today, as the Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick wrote recently, “neither the military nor the protesters are calling the shots anymore ….”
Rather, Glick wrote, ruling Egypt is now the “job of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Just consider the Brotherhood’s post-Mubarak meteoric rise.
There is a reason Egypt’s pro-democracy, secular political parties want to push back parliamentary elections in September: They aren’t positioned to compete! For the foreseeable future, the Muslim Brotherhood is by far the most organized, widely represented and influential political institution in Egypt. It knows it, too. When the Brotherhood announced on February 21 that it intended to found the Freedom and Justice Party (fjp), a political party seeking a new Egypt based on Islamic law, it promised it would only contest up to 30 percent of the seats in parliamentary elections. When the fjp officially launched on April 30, the percentage rose to 50 percent.
Polls show that it would get those seats, too! Analysts and Egyptians agree with Amr Moussa, Egypt’s leading presidential candidate, who told the Wall Street Journal in May that it is “inevitable that parliamentary elections … will usher in a legislature led by a bloc of Islamists, with the Brotherhood at the forefront.”
Not wanting to draw too much attention to its popularity and inevitable success, the Brotherhood responds coyly to this reality. To help assuage Western fears, it has even promised to refrain from submitting a candidate in upcoming presidential elections. The analysts and experts rooted in reality don’t buy it, which is wise, considering it seems the MB has already quietly selected its candidate for president. In May, debkafile reported that Brotherhood leaders had “on the quiet … picked [Abdel Moneim Aboul] Fotouh as their candidate for future president of Egypt.” According to debkafile, Egypt’s military rulers have been convinced not to run a military or secular contender against him.
Responding to this news, the Jerusalem Post’s Barry Rubin summed up what it meant for the future of Egypt: “The bottom line is that for the first time this week, a Brotherhood takeover of Egypt in 2011 is really possible” (May 15; emphasis added).
Come September, in addition to most likely having an Islamist-dominated parliament, Egypt could have an Islamist president!
And the Brotherhood is doing more than merely brightening it political fortunes. It is also beginning to fulfill its ideological ambitions.
Since Egypt’s military council assumed control of the country in February, it has shown little interest in ensuring the democratic establishment of a peace-loving, secular government in Cairo. Despite mounting pressure from the pro-democracy secularists, the junta continues to refuse to create a more democratic process by postponing elections. Instead, it appears to have thrown its cards in with the Brotherhood.
Judging by the fruits, it appears to be preparing the country for Islamist rule.
For example, the military government has tossed aside three decades of treating Hamas with caution and has embraced the terrorist organization with open arms. Hamas, of course, was created in the 1980s as a brainchild of the Muslim Brotherhood, and remains one of its key ideological and spiritual allies.
In April, the administration in Egypt presided over the formation of the Hamas-Fatah unity government. Cairo’s recognition and legitimatizing of Hamas, as many noted at the time, undermined the peace talks with Israel and strengthened Hamas’s grip on the Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank. Weeks later, Egypt’s leaders allied with Hamas again when they reneged on a deal with Israel and opened the Rafah crossing, essentially handing sovereignty of the important gateway to Hamas and sanctioning the free flow of weapons and terrorists into and out of Gaza.
In addition to Egypt’s military council, the Brotherhood is also being courted by other regional powers, most notably Iran.
Speaking before a Knesset committee this week, the head of Israel’s Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, warned that Iran was seeking to influence Egyptian elections. “Iran is attempting to influence the political process in Egypt through efforts to connect with the Muslim Brotherhood,” Kochavi said.
This comes after the March 29 announcement by Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Arabi that Cairo was prepared to open a “new page” with Iran, a nation with which Cairo has had only limited relations since the Iranian revolution in 1979. “The Egyptian government doesn’t consider Iran to be an enemy state,” Nabil Al-Arabi said. “We’re opening a new page with all countries, including Iran.”
In addition to Iran, Al-Arabi also said Egypt desires to turn over a new leaf with Hezbollah in Lebanon. “Hezbollah is part of Lebanon’s composition,” Al-Arabi said, “and we see this as an internal matter. … If any party wishes to have ties with Egypt there will be nothing preventing us from talking, but we will not become involved in internal matters.”
This reconciliation with Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah lays the groundwork for the Muslim Brotherhood—an ideological ally of these radical Islamic entities—to further pursue these ties should it assume control of Egypt’s foreign policy later this year.
In addition to these heavyweights, the Brotherhood recently gained another powerful ally: the United States!
Speaking at a news conference in Budapest last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. will pursue a policy of “limited contacts” with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. “We believe, given the changing political landscape in Egypt, that it is in the interests of the United States to engage with all parties that are peaceful, and committed to non-violence, that intend to compete for the parliament and the presidency,” she stated.
In case you’re wondering, the pledge to establish contacts with the Brotherhood came without cost or sacrifice to the MB. There was no demand that it renounce violence or sever ties with Hamas, or abstain from rigging the elections in September or commit to maintaining Egypt’s peace agreement with Israel. Moreover, as Jonathan Tobin at Commentary observed, it was a “signal to the Egyptian military the United States has no problem with the Brotherhood’s bid for more influence in the country,” and that Washington has no qualms about the military council passing the baton, “democratically” of course, to the Islamist organization.
So, in a single gesture, the Obama administration significantly enhanced the political credibility and legitimacy of Egypt’s most destructive force—and the ideological ally of Iran!
It’s time we looked at the facts about Egypt! The Muslim Brotherhood has the political momentum inside Egypt, and it has the backing of Egypt’s ruling military council, Hamas, Iran and the United States! No other political party can compete with this, especially considering parliamentary elections are less than three months away. It’s a hard reality to swallow, especially with Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq demanding so much attention, but we could be months away from the world’s largest Arab nation being dominated by radical Islam.
If you aren’t already, it’s time to start praying.