It’s been my long held view that senior administration officials can’t so much as crap without convening a “panel of experts” to produce a detailed report providing their guidance on how best to accomplish that goal. One such turd that has recently floated to the surface is the RAND corporation report entitled, “ The Muslim Brotherhood, It’s Youth, and the Implications for U.S. Engagement” aka “The Deception Handbook for U.S. / Muslim Brotherhood relations in a Post-American World”.
The RAND corporation’s National Defense Research Institute is a federally funded research and analysis center which is overseen by a Department of Defense advisory board in support of official administration policies and goals. Since my hard-earned tax dollars helped to pay for this report I was curious as to what sort of helpful advice RAND had produced as to the best way of dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood’s ongoing threat to American interests. After reading the study, I have got to tell you this is, without any doubt, one of the most psychologically manipulative efforts to alter the perceptions of the American public on a subject that I’ve ever heard of.
Since reading the report is an hour of your life you’ll never get back, I’ll give you a couple highlights from the reports recommendations.
Regularize and routinize engagement, including among members of Congress and FJP parliamentarians, to reduce politicization of engagement efforts. The more regular and normalized that contact becomes, the less engagement is vulnerable to becoming a target of political attacks in the United States and the more it will be viewed as the normal course of diplomacy…But trumpeting the policy is a mistake. Engagement can also be insulated from domestic political attacks by having more members of Congress, rather than just administration officials, directly meet MB members.
To improve and broaden communication and dialogue with such groups, U.S. officials can request and help facilitate American speakers for MB student union events and invite MB youth leaders to speak to American university audiences.
Promoting a strategy of engaging the brotherhood on its terms instead of our own, it melds well with the Obama administration’s policy of leading from behind in dealing with foreign policy issues. The report lives in that special liberal fantasy land where mutual engagement without any preconditions will result in brotherhood members moderating their radical views towards western nations and those of other religious beliefs. Moreover, its focus is on changing how America views the brotherhood instead of how they conduct themselves. The authors only connection with reality is that they recognize this doomed strategy needs to be quietly hidden from the public who would be otherwise outraged.
Finally I must point out that since RAND’s research on strategic marketing for radical islamists is freely available on their website, it is also available to the brotherhood as well as every other group (i.e. Hamas, Hezbollah, ect.) who wish to be seen as legitimate political players on the world stage, all courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer and the Department of Defense.
So my question to you dear reader is this. What came first, the chicken or the egg? Is foreign policy following the findings presented in this report or is the report crafted to support policy already in place? I’d love to hear what you think.
- Muslim Brotherhood leader blasts peace efforts with Israel after Morsi helps broker cease-fire (foxnews.com)
- Muslim Brotherhood now targeting Jordan (wnd.com)
- Egypt protesters torch Muslim Brotherhood offices (zokimag.wordpress.com)
- Is This the Next Mideast Domino to Fall? (lynleahz.com)
- Obama’s Gaza War (frontpagemag.com)
- Dubai’s police chief accuses Muslim Brotherhood of interfering in Persian Gulf countries’ affairs (en.trend.az)
Cartoon by “Chip” Bok
May 6th 2012
A section of the draft of contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder is dedicated to explaining how Fast & Furious branches off into different departments within the Department of Justice (DOJ).
While most know about the operation being based in Phoenix, the strategy was actually developed in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) in Washington, DC. The ODAG decided it would be brilliant to concentrate on identifying the members of the trafficking network instead of seizing the firearms right away.
The goal was to capture the big fish of the cartels. The ATF Phoenix Field Office decided to use this strategy in Fast & Furious. But that wasn’t good enough for them and in late January 2010 the office “applied for Fast and Furious to become an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case.” In order to do that the agents had to tell all about their investigative strategy, i.e. gunwalking. It was approved and was given new funding. Also, since it became a prosecutor-led OCDETF Strike Force case, other departments would come in. Those include FBI, DEA, IRS, and ICE under the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. Fast & Furious came to the attention of ATF headquarters on December 8, 2009. The ATF’s Office of Strategic Information and Intelligence (OSII) told senior personnel about the operation, especially about recoveries of weapons in Mexico. But the more statistics they received, the more concerned they became about the operation.
Deputy ATF Director Billy Hoover called for an exit strategy in March 2010. He received one in May, but we all know it didn’t happen. The office continued to delay the indictments and ATF headquarters never demanded them to arrest the straw purchasers. Operation Wide Receiver, a gun tracking operation during the George W. Bush administration, is often brought up to deflect from Fast & Furious. Most people on the other side want to prosecute that case instead. Well, as it turns out, the DOJ’s Criminal Division sent prosecutors to Arizona to help the US Attorney to prosecute cases, including Wide Receiver. Indeed, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer was very interested in the operation. James Trusty, senior official in the Criminal Division’s gang Unit, said Mr. Breuer was very interested in the case and wanted to be briefed on it. A briefing on March 5, 2010, “highlighted the large number of weapons the gun trafficking ring had purchased and discussed recoveries of those weapons in Mexicio.” Steve Martin, Deputy Assistant Director in ATF’s Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information, said everyone knew the guns were being linked to the cartels. However it’s the wiretaps that prove how deeply involved the Criminal Division was with Fast & Furious. It shouldn’t come to anyone’s shock that the DOJ hasn’t handed over the applications to the Committee. After all, the top dogs signed them: Deputy Assistant Attorney Generals Jason Weinstein, Kenneth Blanco, and John Keeney. It’s more than obvious the DOJ can say this was just a local issue. There’s more than enough evidence to prevent them from continuing to brush it off as a rogue field office mistake.
- Is Fast and Furious the Next Watergate? (mb50.wordpress.com)
Dr. Essam Abdallah, an Egyptian liberal intellectual, in an article published last October in the leading liberal pan-Arab journal Elaph, refers to certain reports coming out of Washington:
These reports reveal the depth of the below-the-surface coordination between the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Libya and Jordan. This bloc of regimes and organizations is now becoming the greatest Islamist radical lobby ever to penetrate and infiltrate the White House, Congress, the State Department and the main decision making centers of the US government. All of this is happening at a time when the US government is going through its most strategically dangerous period in modern times because of its need to confront the Iranian Mullahs regime, which is expanding in the Middle East, as well as penetrating the United States, via powerful and influential allies.
Abdallah alleged that “the popular revolts in the Arab world — and the Obama Administration’s position towards them — were determined by political battles between various pressure groups in Washington.”
He followed up with another article this month in which he asks:
[W]hy isn’t the West in general and the United States Administration in particular clearly and forcefully supporting our civil societies and particularly the secular democrats of the region? Why were the bureaucracies in Washington and in Brussels partnering with Islamists in the region and not with their natural allies the democracy promoting political forces?
Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism said of this article: “This is one of the most important articles I have read in years.” He then made allegations of his own:
It was just revealed two days ago that FBI Director Mueller secretly met on February 8 at FBI headquarters with a coalition of groups including various Islamist and militant Arabic groups who in the past have defended Hamas and Hizballah and have also issued blatantly anti-Semitic statements. At this meeting, the FBI revealed that it had removed more than 1000 presentations and curricula on Islam from FBI offices around the country that was deemed “offensive.” The FBI did not reveal what criteria was used to determine why material was considered “offensive” but knowledgeable law enforcement sources have told the IPT that it was these radical groups who made that determination. Moreover, numerous FBI agents have confirmed that from now on, FBI headquarters has banned all FBI offices from inviting any counter-terrorist specialists who are considered “anti-Islam” by Muslim Brotherhood front groups.
This comes as no surprise to me. In August of 2011, after making the case, I wrote, “To my mind, the alliance between the Obama administration and the Muslim Brotherhood is the cornerstone of Obama’s New Middle East policy.”
The most damning bit of evidence was reported by Herb London in his article, “U.S. Betrays Syria’s Opposition“:
In an effort to understand and placate Syrian opposition groups, Secretary Clinton invited them to a meeting in Washington. Most of those invited, however, have links to the Muslim Brotherhood. Missing from the invitations are Kurdish leaders, Sunni liberals, Assyrians and Christian spokesmen. According to various reports the State Department made a deal with Turkey and Muslim Brotherhood representatives either to share power with Assad to stabilize the government, or replace him if this effort fails. One organization, the Syrian Democracy Council (SDC), an opposition group composed of diverse ethnic and religious organizations, including Alawis, Aramaic Christians, Druze and Assyrians was conspicuously — and no coincidentally — omitted from the invitation list.
Caroline Glick wrote in August of last year:
What these observers fail to recognize is that Erdogan’s interests in a post-Assad Syria have little in common with US interests. Erdogan will seek to ensure the continued disenfranchisement of Syria’s Kurdish minority. And he will work towards the Islamification of Syria through the Muslim Brotherhood.
This week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a private meeting with these brave democrats. Why didn’t she hold a public meeting? Why hasn’t Obama welcomed them to the White House?”
Today there is a coalition of Syrian opposition figures that include all ethnic groups in Syria. Their representatives have been banging the doors of the corridors of power in Washington and beyond. Yet the same Western leaders who were so eager to recognize the Libyan opposition despite the presence of al Qaeda terrorists in the opposition tent have refused to publicly embrace Syrian regime opponents that seek a democratic, federal Syria that will live at peace with Israel and embrace liberal policies.
By refusing to embrace liberal, multi-ethnic regime opponents, the administration is all but ensuring the success of the Turkish bid to install the Muslim Brotherhood in power if Assad is overthrown.
The Syrian Democratic Coalition (SDC), above mentioned, is self-described thus:
The Syrian Democratic Coalition (SDC) is an emerging coalition of diverse Syrian organizations coming together to help bring an end to the Assad regime and promote the transformation of Syria into a secular democracy based in liberty. The coalition is founded upon a belief in the separation of religion from state and is dedicated to establishing a new constitution and transparent federal republic in Syria, based in reason that equally protects minority rights, promotes gender equality, and embraces the rights and liberties of every individual as enumerated in the United Nations Declaration for Human Rights. This growing coalition crosses all ethnic, religious and tribal lines to represent all Syrians. It currently includes members of Save Syria Now!, the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria, the Union of Syrian Arab Tribes and the Syrian Christian Democratic Movement.
Sherkoh Abbas is secretary general of the Syria Democracy Council and president of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria. I first met him when he invited me to be a director of the American Kurdish Friendship League some five years ago.
Recently, he confided in me that in all his dealings with the State Department over the last two years, no interest was shown in his coalition, and instead, he was continually pressed to support the Syrian National Council (SNC), made up of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists and Arabists. He believes that the U.S. is working with Salafi groups, and the Turkish government, to create an opposition in Syria that is strictly Islamist. Such an opposition would serve Turkish economic interests in Syria and keep the Kurdish issue dormant in Turkey as well as in Syria.
For the last six months at least, Obama has been cultivating a relationship with PM Erdoğan of Turkey. The budding relationship prompted Barry Rubin to ask, “Why Is an Anti-American Islamist, Obama’s Favorite ME Leader?”
According to Sherkoh Abbas, one faction of the SDC had family connections in various Gulf States at the highest level and went to them for financial support. They were turned down, as Obama had instructed them to give money only to the SNC.
Nevertheless, the SDC is gaining traction amongst the Kurds, Druze, Sunnis, Christians, and even the Alawites. This is so because these various minorities are beginning to think of a post-Assad Syria, and they all want a region of their own. They have expressed their willingness to be secular, democratic, and a friend of Israel and will be asked to commit to this in writing. They don’t want Islamism or Arabism. They prefer peace, freedom, and prosperity. So why isn’t Obama embracing them?
The Obama administration is totally in sync with the Muslim Brotherhood. At the renowned Herzlia Conference this year, I met Salman Shalkh, one of the speakers from Qatar. We had a long conversation in which he kept pushing for the Saudi Plan to be embraced by Israel. This is the plan that Obama is committed to — i.e., ’67 borders with mutually agreed-upon swaps.
Shalkh argued that Israel should talk to Hamas, and I countered, “What’s the point? We have nothing to offer to them.” Shalkh was also an apologist for the Muslim Brotherhood. These arguments should be expected from someone from Qatar. Unfortunately, the same arguments are being made by the White House. It is instructive to note that Shalkh is director of the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar, the Arab offshoot of the Brookings Institute that has so much influence with the State Department. He told me that he was one of the people who drafted the Roadmap on behalf of the State Department. I told him that it didn’t surprise me and suggested that he probably drafted the Saudi Peace Plan for them as well.
What is going on now in American foreign policy is not so much a product of the Islamist lobby fueled by both the Muslim Brotherhood and the gulf states as it is a product of a strategic alliance that has existed between the U.S. and the gulf states led by Saudi Arabia since before Israel declared her independence. Unfortunately, President Obama, with his overt outreach to Islam, Muslims, and the Muslim Brotherhood, has taken it to another level.
It would appear that the ideas expressed by Mearsheimer and Walt in their book, The Israel Lobby, are being embraced by both the State Department and the White House. These include the idea that the Israel lobby is too strong for America’s good and that Israel is a liability to America.
But the truth is otherwise, as John R. MacArthur pointed out in 2007, in “The Vast Power of the Saudi Lobby“:
Somehow, though, I can’t shake the idea that the Israel lobby, no matter how powerful, isn’t all it is cracked up to be, particularly where it concerns the Bush administrations past and present. Indeed, when I think of pernicious foreign lobbies with disproportionate sway over American politics, I can’t see past Saudi Arabia and its royal house, led by King Abdullah.
This article is a classic and should be read in full.
Obama has decidedly moved from an alliance with Israel to an alliance with the Islamists.
MK Aryeh Eldad, in a speech given in the fall in the U.S., when Israel was intending to act against Iran militarily, said word came down from the White House that “if you act alone, you will remain alone.” Because Israel is so dependent on the U.S. for resupply of weapons and munitions in a prolonged war, this threat changed the calculus immediately. It is true that when Mahmoud Abbas was threatening to go to the U.N. for recognition, the Obama administration lobbied around the world for negative votes. But at the same time, Obama threatened Netanyahu that Obama would withhold his veto if Israel took punitive action against the PA by annexing some of the territories or by withholding funds. Finally, he used the same threat to get Israel to instruct AIPAC to lobby Congress not to punish the PA by withholding U.S. funds.
Over the last six months, Israel has been warned by a succession of senior military and administration officials not to attack Iran, at this time, all in the name of giving sanctions a chance. But who believes that sanctions will stop Iran? And who believes that that the U.S. will in the end attack Iran to stop them?
So while Obama is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, he is keeping Israel under his thumb.
Isi Leibler takes exception to all this and reminds everyone:
[T]his organization [The Muslim Brotherhood] represents one of the most fanatical and dangerous of the radical Islamist groups in the region, with a dark record of violence and terrorism imbedded in its DNA. It is rabidly anti-Western, anti-Christian, antisemitic, committed to imposing sharia law and a global Caliphate – and willing to employ any means to further its objectives.
Many would argue that Obama is also “anti-Western, anti-Christian[, and] antisemitic.” Judging by his policies, they would be right.
- Biden Admits Obama is Arming Muslim Brotherhood to Take Over Syria (itmakessenseblog.com)
- Is This the Next Mideast Domino to Fall? (lynleahz.com)
- Muslim Brotherhood now targeting Jordan (wnd.com)
- Selling the Muslim Brotherhood to America (deceptionation.com)
by Jeff Dunetz
Posted on April 27 2011 2:01 pm
For the second time since the Egyptian upheaval began, the pipeline bringing natural gas from Egypt to Israel (and Jordan) has been shut down because of sabotage. The explosion took place early Wednesday morning, rocked the area and caused 65-foot flames, according to reports. According to Reuters, a security source has revealed that an unidentified armed gang attacked the pipeline.
This is not a simple act of sabotage; it is an attempt by radical forces within Egypt to make Israel the scapegoat behind the terrible economic situation. It is this radical segment of the populace that seems to be winning the hearts and minds of the Egyptian people. A Pew Study released this week, Egyptians Embrace Revolt Leaders, Religious Parties and Military, revealed that ” By a margin of 54 percent to 36 percent, Egyptians say their country should annul the treaty with Israel.”
The United States did not fare much better; 39% of Egyptians said that the United States response to the political protest movement had a negative impact on the situation, 22% said it had a positive effect, and 35% said the effect was neither positive nor negative. Additionally, 15% of Egyptians said they would like Egypt to have closer ties with the United States, 43% said Egypt distance itself from the United States and 40 percent said ties between the two countries should remain the same.
While this is the second time the gas pipeline has been blown up, there was an unsuccessful attempt a month ago. The reason the pipeline is such a major target is that Egypt supplies Israel with about 40 percent of its natural gas, which the country relies on to produce its supply of electricity.
Israeli officials on Wednesday called for the country to find ways to reduce its dependency on other countries for gas, and urged the government to quickly develop newly found gas fields off the coast of Israel. Israel Electric Company said it had enough gas in the pipeline for the next few days and then would switch to alternative fuels such as coal and diesel to produce electricity.
Exploratory drilling off Israel’s northern coast this past December confirmed the existence of a major natural gas field — one of the world’s largest offshore gas finds of the past decade — leading the country’s infrastructure minister to call it “the most important energy news since the founding of the state.”
The US Geological Survey released a report saying the Levant Basin Province, which runs up the Mediterranean Sea the length of Israel (see above), through Lebanon and the bottom tip of Syria, contains an estimated 1.7 billion barrels of Oil and 122 TCF of natural gas (that’s the best guess estimate; some project the actual reserves may be double).
Since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian natural gas sales to Israel have become a major issue. In fact, Egyptian authorities have extended Mubarak’s detention to question him regarding the gas deal with Israel, in which Egypt lost more than $714 million (according to the Egyptians). Candidates to replace Mubarak have said they plan to renegotiate the contract with Israel.
The fact that the pipeline has become a flash-point and the attitude of the Egyptian people, it is clear that Israel will have to redouble its efforts to tap those wells as soon as possible.
Gas and peace with Egypt are not the only Middle East crisis points exposed by the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. For years, Mubarak was the intermediary in reunification talks between President Abbas’ Fatah and Hamas. Mubarak had always insisted that in order for the deal to be made, Hamas must find a way to recognize Israel or the possibility of peace with Israel (ironically the Fatah party charter also refuses to recognize Israel).
Today with Mubarak gone, Hamas and Fatah have announced a reconciliation deal. While no details have been announced, based on previous statements it is almost certain that Hamas will not have to change its violent anti-Israel stance as part of the deal. It is also certain that if the unification deal sticks, and Hamas retains its stance about the destruction of Israel, the E.U. and possibly even the United States will recognize the new terrorist government. This will add momentum to the Palestinian’s goal of a unilateral declaration of statehood in September.
An article by Ryan Lizza in this week’s New Yorker gives the answer. The article called, “The Consequentialist (How the Arab Spring remade Obama’s foreign policy)” ends on an unusual note:
Nonetheless, Obama may be moving toward something resembling a doctrine. One of his advisers described the President’s actions in Libya as “leading from behind.” That’s not a slogan designed for signs at the 2012 Democratic Convention, but it does accurately describe the balance that Obama now seems to be finding. It’s a different definition of leadership than America is known for, and it comes from two unspoken beliefs: that the relative power of the U.S. is declining, as rivals like China rise, and that the U.S. is reviled in many parts of the world. Pursuing our interests and spreading our ideals thus requires stealth and modesty as well as military strength. “It’s so at odds with the John Wayne expectation for what America is in the world,” the adviser said. “But it’s necessary for shepherding us through this phase.”
Leading from behind does not work. First of all true leadership starts with a call to “follow me!” not “go ahead and I will follow.” Secondly it ignores the fact that pure military might is respected in the Arab world, and the inconstancy of Obama’s “leading from behind” strategy is seen as nothing but weakness by the radical Islamist elements in the region.
Putting it all together, it seems as if the overthrow of Mubarak brings the Middle East much closer to a major war than ever before. Not that it could have been prevented; Hosni Mubarak had been unpopular for a long time. The real question is could our president have better managed the situation to ensure that the Egyptian government was turned over to more moderate elements? And there the answer is absolutely yes.