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)
BAMAKO: Hundreds of jihadist fighters poured into Mali over the weekend to support the Islamists who have controlled the north for seven months, ahead of a threatened regional intervention to seize back power.
Residents of the cities of Timbuktu and Gao, Malian security officials and Islamist commanders all confirmed on Sunday that there had been a huge influx of foreign fighters over the past two days.
It comes as the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), a regional bloc of 15 countries including Mali, prepares for military action in the north.
“In the Timbuktu region and around Gao, hundreds of jihadists, mostly Sudanese and Sahrawis, have arrived as reinforcements to face an offensive by Malian forces and their allies,” a Malian security official said on condition of anonymity.
One resident of Timbuktu said “more than 150 Sudanese Islamists arrived in 48 hours”.
“They are armed and explained that they had come to help their Muslim brothers against the infidels,” he said.
A source close to a local aid group also said that many Sudanese had arrived but added there were also fighters from other countries.
Timbuktu is one of the main cities in northern Mali, which Islamist groups have controlled since overpowering a secular Tuareg rebellion that seized the area in March.
The desert city is now under the control of Ansar Dine, a group led by a former Tuareg rebel leader, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim).
‘They want war, we’ll give them war’
In Gao, further east, a similar influx of foreign fighters was reported by residents.
Since Friday, Islamists have been arriving and reporting to the Islamic police of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao), the Aqim offshoot that controls the city, said one resident.
He said he had seen around 10 pick-up trucks packed with armed fighters driving up to Mujao’s main office in Gao.
The Islamist group itself confirmed it was receiving the support of foreigners as Ecowas was finalising its plans for a military intervention.
“They want war, we’ll give them war. This is why our brothers are joining us from all over,” Habib Ould Issouf, one of Mujao’s top leaders in Gao, told AFP.
“They are coming from the camps of Tindouf in Algeria, from Senegal, from Ivory Coast, from everywhere,” he said.
Led by former colonial power France, the international community has urged Mali and its regional allies to speed up preparations for a military offensive.
Ecowas has a 3,000-strong force ready to deploy but its funding and exact make-up remain unclear.
Malian troops could start training immediately for their operation, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told French television on Sunday.
France has offered logistical support but no troops on the ground.
On March 22, army officers toppled the government in protest at what they said was its failure to equip them to counter a burgeoning rebellion by Tuareg separatists and Islamists in the north.
But that only accelerated the uprising. The ensuing power vacuum in the capital Bamako allowed the rebel forces to quickly seize the north, virtually unopposed.
The Islamist forces quickly sidelined their former Tuareg allies and now control a territory in the north which is larger than France. In the south, the officers who led the coup handed over to an interim administration, but retain considerable influence.
Ansar Dine and Mujao have since implemented an extreme form of Islamic law in the north, amputating the hands and feet of thieves, stoning unwed couples and ordering women to wear full veils.
Western powers have expressed fears that al Qaeda and its affiliates could turn northern Mali into the same type of haven that Afghanistan was a decade ago.
Mali’s interim president Dioncounda Traore flew to Qatar on Sunday for a three-day visit. Some Malian media outlets have accused the oil-rich emirate of supporting the Islamists, but Doha has denied the allegations.
- Analysis: Towards intervention in Mali (EndtheLie.com)
(Reuters) – The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and its ideological affiliates in the Arab Spring uprisings has stoked fears among Gulf Arab governments that the United States may one day abandon its traditional allies as it warms up to Islamists.
While the ruling families in the Gulf are currently vital U.S. allies who buy large amounts of American military hardware and facilitate a significant U.S. military presence, some are apprehensive Washington may apply pressure on them to accommodate Islamists who could end up challenging their exclusive rule.
In a number of colorful online outbursts, Dubai’s outspoken police chief Dhahi Khalfan has warned of an “international plot” to overthrow Gulf systems of government with Western complicity. The Brotherhood, manipulated by the United States, is working to take over the Gulf by 2016, he said.
“Today the Americans are mobilizing the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab nation, for the benefit of America, not the Arabs,” he wrote on his Twitter account on Sunday. “There is an American plan that has been drawn up for the region.”
Though Khalfan insists his tweets are his personal views, analysts and diplomats say they reflect largely unspoken concerns among the United Arab Emirates’ ruling elite about the regional popularity of the Islamists and the possibility that the West will sympathize with them as political underdogs.
They also reflect fears among the region’s Sunni Muslim rulers that, despite being Sunni itself, the Brotherhood is soft on their arch enemy Shi’ite Iran. Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Mursi tried to dissipate such fears at a Tehran conference last week by condemning Iran’s ally Syria and urging attendees to back rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
Despite pockets of Western-style liberalism in cities like Dubai, most Gulf ruling elites seek to project an image of Islamic conservatism.
So the threat they see is not religious or social but political: the Brotherhood advocates playing by the rules of parliamentary politics as a path to government, threatening inherited rights to rule and state-backed clerical establishments.
An opposition movement that gains ground in Gulf states could perhaps find the U.S. administration newly disposed to speak out in its favor.
Such an opposition has already emerged in the UAE, where more than 50 Islamists linked to Brotherhood thinking have been arrested since late last year. So far Washington has kept mum.
“While the U.S. security umbrella protects the UAE against threats from Iran, Washington would be much more reluctant to support a widespread crackdown against a local opposition movement,” said analyst Ayham Kamel of the Eurasia Group.
“This is making the political leadership in the UAE much more nervous about domestic threats,” he said.
The Brotherhood also has potential to draw support from Gulf Arabs who may see their countries’ foreign policies as overly pro-Western and are concerned about the social influence of their large Asian and Western expatriate communities.
SEEKING U.S. REASSURANCE
Washington was initially hesitant to openly support the uprisings that toppled Tunisia’s Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, partly because of concerns they could bring Islamists to power.
President Barack Obama’s administration has since overcome its reluctance, and has made extensive efforts to engage Egypt’s Brotherhood over the past year.
Analysts say Washington is simply pursuing realpolitik given the new power centers in the region.
“I don’t think the West is keen on having a bunch of Islamists coming to power in the Gulf anytime soon,” said Michael Stephens, researcher at the Royal United Services Institute based in Doha. “It’s more the case that Washington is working with who they can work with, because Islamists are in power and they have to be dealt with.”
U.S. officials said privately that they addressed the Gulf’s concerns last year after Mubarak fell and that subsequent conversations have not focused on the issue. They declined to go into specifics.
“Gulf governments realize both the United States and Iran will want to have relations with the new regimes,” said Ghanem Nuseibeh, senior analyst with Cornerstone Global. They just needed to be reassured that those regimes’ gain was not their loss, he said.
Diplomats said they were confident that building good ties with the Brotherhood was unlikely to strain the long-term strategic relationship between the U.S. and Gulf states.
“They (the Gulf states) need the Americans to protect them against Iran. Iran is the biggest worry for them in the whole region right now,” one Gulf-based Western diplomat said, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.
YES, BUT …
Still, rumblings persist.
Saudi Arabia, which has long seen itself as insulated from political Islam because of its promotion of more conservative Salafi Islam, is feeling less secure these days, said Abdulaziz Alkhamis, a London-based Saudi analyst.
“After the Arab Spring they (the Islamists) are rising again. They start to use Islamist political rhetoric to gain publicity in the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Prominent clerics such as Awadh al-Garni and Salman al-Odah, viewed as sympathetic to the Brotherhood, have become more outspoken, cheering Islamist gains in social media.
Brotherhood-linked Islamists are well-established in Kuwait, where parliamentary politics is most advanced in the Gulf. And in Bahrain the government has drawn closer to the Minbar party, another group inspired by the Brotherhood, as it shores itself up against a protest movement dominated by Shi’ite Islamists.
The angst over what the United States plans for the region is at its most public and visceral in Bahrain, whose government Obama has urged to enter dialogue with leading Shi’ite opposition group Wefaq, citing the group by name.
Sunni clerics and commentators in official media regularly raise the fear that Washington, currently at odds with Tehran over its nuclear program, is plotting to create a Wefaq-led government in a regional reordering of power that would open a new page of cozy ties with Iran.
TV presenter Sawsan al-Shaer denounced a “Satanic alliance” between Tehran and Washington in an article in the al-Watan daily last month, claiming Wefaq was a “Trojan horse, used by the U.S. administration and Iranian regime to redraw the region.”
The wild card in the region is Qatar. It has actively promoted the Brotherhood and its affiliates, giving them coverage widely seen as positive on its satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera.
At an early stage in the uprisings Doha stuck its neck out much further than other Gulf states in its support for protests in Egypt and Tunisia, and then rebel movements in Libya and Syria, supporting those among them close the Brotherhood.
Earlier this year the Dubai police chief railed against Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, a popular Brotherhood-linked Egyptian cleric based in Doha who criticized UAE policy towards Islamists on Al Jazeera. Khalfan threatened to arrest the cleric if he ever entered the country.
Alkhamis said opinion in Saudi Arabia was split over whether Qatar’s close links to the Islamists was a smart move to keep a close eye on a rising movement whose historical time has come, or a ruse to sow discord for its neighbor and sometime rival.
“The Qataris say that if we don’t have the Brotherhood (operating) openly then they will go underground and that it’s not against Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis are not happy with this,” Alkhamis said pointing to Qatar-backed Islamist seminars. “Some think the Qataris are not an honest friend, but have an agenda.”
(Additional reporting by Andrew Quinn in Washington and Raissa Kasolowsky in Abu Dhabi; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Sonya Hepinstall)
- Dubai police chief warns of Muslim Brotherhood threat (dailystar.com.lb)
- Egypt’s Outreach to China and Iran Is Troublesome for U.S. Policy Makers (jafrianews.com)
- ‘Brotherhood’ threatens Gulf (arabtimesonline.com)
Why Revolutionary Sunni Islamism is the World’s Greatest Strategic Threat and None of it is Moderate
No, it sure isn’t the age of Aquarius or of Multicultural, Politically Correct love-ins. It’s the age of revolutionary Islamism, especially Sunni Islamism. And you better learn to understand what this is all about real fast.
(Shia Islamism, important mainly because of Iran and especially because of its nuclear ambitions, is number two on the threat list. But that’s not our topic today.)
Focusing on the Sunni revolutionary Islamist tidal wave, the foundation of knowledge is that there are three types and they are all bad, very bad. A lot of people are going to be misinforming you about this and getting others—never themselves, of course—killed.
Sometimes people ask me why I use the phrase “revolutionary” Sunni Islamism. The reason is to remind everyone that this is a revolutionary movement like those of the past that seek to use a variety of strategies and tactics–of which violence might be only one–to seize, hold, and use state power to transform societies.
Some ask why I use the word “Islamism” and the reason is because this is a specific, conscious set of organized political movements. However theology is related to this issue the problem is political, not theological. Anyone who watched over decades as I have how the radicals had to sell the idea that “jihad” today meant picking up guns, cutting off people’s heads, overthrowing governments, and assembling mobs of thousands screaming for death and destruction, would have no illusion that they had an easy time of it.
This didn’t happen because somebody just pointed to some verses in the Koran and everyone said: Oh, now I get it! We must seize control of the world and kill everyone else. They murdered or intimidated into silence Muslims who disagreed with them. Even today hundreds of millions of Muslims oppose revolutionary Islamism. And if you don’t play it smart to have those people as allies–some out of mutually cynical self-interest and some as true brothers who want to live in freedom just like you do–and help them save their lives and countries you will never achieve anything.
To understand al-Qaida, which of course goes under many names and regional local groups, is simple. It has one strategy: kill! Its only tactic is terrorism. It is like those nineteenth-century revolutionary movements that always failed and for which the Marxists had so much contempt.
These small groups were always persuaded that if the workers would only be roused to a general strike or that enough officials would be assassinated the revolution would come like a nuclear explosion. Now, these movements always failed but sometimes they laid the basis for others to succeed. Remember, the People’s Will helped launch the Russian revolutionary movement; an anarchist assassinated an American president; the Serbian state-sponsored terrorist cell set off World War One in 1914, and of course al-Qaida created September 11.
Al-Qaida and its various versions in Morocco, Gaza (the Palestinian Resistance Committees), Iraq, Somalia, Europe, Yemen, and a dozen other places is dangerous because it can stage terrorist attacks. In a place where no government exists—like Somalia—it might conceivably seize power. But al-Qaida is not the great threat of the twenty-first century. It is a problem for counter-terrorism and relatively lightweight counterinsurgency.
They may be the worst guys but they are not the West’s main global strategic problem. Everybody who isn’t basically a supporter of an al-Qaida group hates al-Qaida except for the Taliban which is really sort of a similar version. Why? Simple. Because al-Qaida wants to overthrow every regime (they do play a little footsy with Iran but even that’s limited). Oh, and they also loathe Shia Muslims which makes for even more enemies and fewer potential allies.
It is “stupid” to have no friends because that means everyone has a motive to get you and nobody has a reason to help you or give you safe haven. Doesn’t sound like brilliant strategy, right? But there’s more.
Al-Qaida, although the name means in Arabic “base,” ironically, has no political base. It sets up no real mass organizations; it doesn’t do social welfare work capable of rallying whole countries behind it. There is no way that hundreds of thousands or millions of people will rally to its cause. Imagine someone in 1917 saying in Moscow, “Forget about those moderate Bolsheviks. It’s the anarchists we have to fear.” In other words, they are in a distant third place.
But even al-Qaida can be used by the Brotherhood. Look at what happened: an al-Qaida group stormed into an Egyptian base, killed lots of soldiers, stole a couple of vehicles, and attacked the border with Israel.
True, the Egyptian regime (that is, the Brotherhood) attacked and killed some of the al-Qaida people. After all, these terrorists had murdered Egyptian soldiers. But what did the regime tell its people? That Israel was behind the attack. Israel had murdered Egyptians. And therefore there is more reason than ever to hate and wage war against Israel. This is how Middle Eastern politics works. And that’s one reason why the Brotherhood—as it incites to hatred and violence even as it kills the even more hateful and violent—will never be moderate.
Then there are the Salafists, a word coined only recently in part as a pretense to pretend that the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate. But this also does describe a distinct set of groups, for example the Palestinian groups Jaish al-Islam and Jaish al-Umma. Egypt is the place where the Salafists developed in a most sophisticated fashion. But it’s important to understand why that happened. Indeed, that point is central to comprehending what’s going on now.
In the 1970s, when President Anwar al-Sadat made the mistake of letting the Brotherhood return to public life in practice, he threw fear into them. Advocate violence in Egypt; come out too openly against the regime; even become too successful and back to the concentration camps you go!
So the Brotherhood leadership, elderly and many of whom had been tortured and seen their colleagues hung, played it cool. They had no illusions about underestimating the strength of the regime. Yes, they said, the day of revolution will come but meanwhile we are in a long-term stage of da’wa, organize and educate. Patience is essential. Don’t make the regime too mad. Yes, hooray for killing Israelis and Americans! But at home keep the murders to a few too boldly open secularists.
There were, of course, young men who were too impatient. “Our leaders are cowards. They have betrayed the true word of Islam! Let us organize for a more imminent revolution, maybe even take up arms right now and shoot down the evil regime’s officials.” And they even gunned down Sadat himself. There were many such groups—one, Islamic Jihad, joined up with al-Qaida—but they had different views, mixes of strategies, and leaders. Some were almost sects with charismatic shaykhs.
Now they have blossomed forth, eager for violence and instant revolution. Their al-Nour party—which only represents part of this complex mix of groups that may or may not cooperate—got about 20 percent of the parliamentary vote.
Is the Brotherhood their friend or enemy? Should they raid police stations and blow up pipelines or not? Should they set up morality patrols and beat up young men walking with women and also women who aren’t dressed as the Salafists wish? There are many different views.
Sometimes the Brotherhood uses the Salafists as a convenient excuse. If Islamic Jihad lobs rockets and mortars at Israel, well—wink, wink, nudge, nudge—that isn’t the fault of Hamas is it? At times, the Salafists can furnish the Brotherhood with the needed storm troops though I would not suggest for a moment that the Brotherhood owns the Salafists. They are definitely two different groupings, but their interests can blend and the “radical” Salafists provide the “moderate” Brotherhood with a convenient excuse when one is needed.
One thing is clear though: the Salafists’ goal is the precise, exact same as that of the Brotherhood. The only question is how fast to go, how radical to talk, and how much violence to use.
And another thing is also clear: neither in Egypt, nor in Tunisia, nor in Gaza (where the Brotherhood is called Hamas) will the Salafists overthrow the Brotherhood people. We can be less sure about Syria where the balance of forces is not yet so clear.
Finally, we come to the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is the Communist Party of Islamism. And you don’t have to take it from me; that was an idea expressed by the moderate, anti-Islamist brother of the Brotherhood’s founder.
The Brotherhood wants a Sharia state. It would like a caliphate (run by itself of course). It wants Israel wiped off the map and America kicked out of the Middle East. It wants women put into second-class citizenship and gays put into their graves. It wants Christians subordinated or thrown out. It wants all of these things.
And it will pursue these goals with patience and strategic cleverness. One step forward, one step back; tell the Western reporters and politicians what they want to hear. Pretend to be moderate in English while screaming death curses in Arabic.
These are the people who are coming to power. They hate their Shia counterparts generally and will kill them also at times. They will drag down their countries’ economies. Ironically, they will succeed in making Israel relatively stronger as they beat and burn and tear down; as they set back their countries economic advancement; as they kick half the population (the female) down the stairs.
They will lose. Just as the Communists did; just as the Nazis did; just as the Fascists and Japanese militarists did. But how many decades will it take? How many millions of people dead and injured? How much human potential and natural resources wasted?
And will Western policy make easier the ultimate triumph of moderation, moderation that includes millions of anti-Islamist Muslims and also includes lots of Middle Eastern Berbers, Kurds, Turks, Iranians, Druze, Christians and—yes—Israel. Or will the West make things harder, longer, and worse?
Of victory, I have no doubt. Of Western good sense, all too much uncertainty.
- A Layman’s Guide to Revolutionary Sunni Islamism, the World’s Greatest Threat (jewishpress.com)
- Al-Qaida websites vow ‘destruction’ of SEAL member outed by Fox News (dailykos.com)
- Al-Qaida: We’re returning to old Iraq strongholds (kansascity.com)
- Syria: Al-Qaida’s New Playground (pbs.org)
- Al-Qaida’s surge spells further turmoil for Iraq | Hayder al-Khoei (guardian.co.uk)
- Turkey: Turkish Opposition Says Government Ignoring Presence of al-Qaida (ionglobaltrends.com)
- Al-Qaida claims deadly summer attacks in west Iraq (dailystar.com.lb)
The highest-level meeting between a U.S. diplomat and Muslim Brotherhood officials will take place today in Cairo, Egypt.
U.S. deputy secretary of state, William Burns, will meet officials of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing in the highest-level meeting yet between the two sides. (Chip Somodevilla/AFP/Getty Images)
The U.S. has long shunned Egypt‘s Muslim Brotherhood, accusing it of links to terrorists. Looks like that is about to change.
The State Department‘s number two diplomat, William Burns, will meet with leaders of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which just won roughly 40 percent of the seats in parliament, AFP reports. (Final results of Egypt’s recent legislative elections have not yet been released).
The meeting marks part of a shift towards rapprochment from a decades-old U.S. policy of hostility toward the Brotherhood, who many in the U.S still fear will pose a threat to Israel and boost support for more extreme Islamists.
Still, the rise of Islamists, moderate and extreme, is a new reality in post-Mubarak Egypt. See Middle East highlights in the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bills from Jul. 2012, when the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved an amendment to limit the Secretary of State from using funds to support the Muslim Brotherhood.
- Why Is Obama Lying to Cover for the Muslim Brotherhood? (codybateman.org)
- What would an Islamist Egypt mean? (moroccotomorrow.org)
- Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in Peril? (papundits.wordpress.com)
By Andrew Hammond and Tarek Amara
(Reuters) – Islamists are expected to do well in Tunisia‘s first democratic election Sunday, 10 months after the ouster of autocratic leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in a popular uprising that set off protest movements around the Arab world.
The Ennahda party will almost certainly win a share of power after the vote, which will set a democratic standard for other Arab countries where uprisings have triggered political change or governments have tried to rush reforms to stave off unrest.
Sunday’s vote is for an assembly which will draft a new constitution to replace the one Ben Ali manipulated to entrench his power. It will also appoint an interim government and set elections for a new president and parliament.
Polls open at 2 a.m. EDT and close at 2 p.m.
The mother of Mohamed Bouazizi, the young man whose self-immolation last December set off the Tunisian revolt, said the elections were a victory for dignity and freedom.
“Now I am happy that my son’s death has given the chance to get beyond fear and injustice,” Manoubia Bouazizi told Reuters. “I’m an optimist, I wish success for my country.”
Ennahda, banned under Ben Ali who is now in exile in Saudi Arabia, is expected to gain the biggest share of votes. But the Islamist party will probably not win enough to give it a majority in the assembly and will seek to lead a coalition.
The North African country’s elite fear the rise of Ennahda puts their secular values under threat. The Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) has centered its campaign on stopping the Islamists, vowing to seek alliances to keep it out of power.
Ennahda has been at pains to assuage the concerns of secularists and Western powers, fielding several women candidates including one who does not wear the hijab, or Muslim head scarf, and promising not to undermine women’s freedoms.
Tunisia was a pioneer of secular modernization among Arab and Muslim countries in the post-colonial period, banning polygamy, equalizing inheritance rights, giving women the right to vote and discouraging the veil.
Fundamentalist Islamists known as Salafists have attacked a cinema and a TV station in recent months over artistic material deemed blasphemous. Ennahda says they have nothing to do with them, but liberals do not believe them.
Observers says Ennahda’s intentions are not clear. Its election campaign has scrupulously avoided offering policy details that mark it out as much different from its rivals.
At a final election rally Friday, Suad Abdel-Rahim, the female candidate who does not wear a veil, said Ennahda would protect women’s gains.
But illustrating the party’s contradictions, many of the books on sale on the fringes of the rally were by Salafist writers who believe women should be segregated from men in public and that elections are un-Islamic.
“In the country’s interior, where it’s more conservative, they use different rhetoric,” said commentator Rachid Khechana. “It’s about stopping culture from outside, moral corruption of youth, defending Islam, which they say has Shura (consultation), not democracy.”
“ARAB SPRING” REPERCUSSIONS
An Ennahda victory would be the first such success in the Arab world since Hamas won a 2006 Palestinian vote. Islamists won a 1991 Algerian election the army annulled, provoking years of bloody conflict.
Ennahda’s fortunes could bear on Egyptian elections set for next month in which the Muslim Brotherhood, an ideological ally, also hopes to emerge strongest.
Libya hopes to hold elections next year after a protest movement that transformed into an armed rebellion with NATO backing managed to oust Muammar Gaddafi. Unresolved violent conflict continues in Syria and Yemen, and many other governments have begun reforms to avoid civil unrest.
With so much at stake, there are concerns that even the smallest doubt over the legitimacy of the Tunisian vote could bring supporters of rival parties onto the streets.
Ennahda’s leader, Muslim scholar Rachid Ghannouchi, riled opponents this week when he described the party as Tunisia’s biggest and warned that the Tunisian people would start a new uprising if they suspected any poll rigging.
Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi said in a televised address Thursday that Tunisians should vote without fear of violence or cheating, a feature of Ben Ali’s police state.
“No one can doubt the elections, they will be transparent and clean. Rigging will not be possible. The ballot boxes will be open to everyone,” Sebsi said.
The government says 40,000 police and soldiers are being deployed to prevent any protests escalating into violence. Shopkeepers say people have been stockpiling milk and bottled water in case unrest disrupts supplies.
- Tunisian Islamists to do well in first “Arab Spring” vote – Reuters (news.google.com)
- Tunisian Poll To Provide Bellwether For Arab Spring (npr.org)
- Tunisia to vote in historic poll (bbc.co.uk)
- Campaigning ends for Tunisia’s first free elections (ctv.ca)
- Pride, tears as Tunisians in Canada vote in first ‘real’ election (thestar.com)
- Enthusiasm builds for Tunisia’s 1st free elections (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
By Souhail Karam
CASABLANCA, Morocco | Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:12pm EDT
(Reuters) – Thousands took to the streets of Morocco on Sunday in peaceful demonstrations to demand sweeping reforms and an end to political detention, the third day of mass protests since they began in February.
Desperate to avoid the turmoil that toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt, authorities have already announced some changes to placate demands that King Mohammed cede more powers and limit the monarchy’s extensive business influence.
Some 10,000 people joined the protest in Casablanca, the largest city in one of the West’s staunchest Arab allies. Marchers in the capital Rabat also denounced corruption and torture as well as unemployment, very high among youths.
Policing has been low-key for protests by the February 20 Movement, named after the date of its first march, particularly compared to the turmoil elsewhere in North Africa.
“This is more about the young ones than it is about us,” said Redouane Mellouk, who had brought his 8 year-old son Mohamed Amine, carrying a placard demanding “A New Morocco.”
“Our parents could not talk to us about political issues. They were too afraid. This must change,” said Mellouk.
Although levels of popular anger have risen, ratings agencies assess Morocco as the country in the region least likely to become embroiled in the type of unrest that toppled Tunisian and Egyptian regimes and led to the conflict in Libya.
In Rabat, several thousand people marched through poor districts with high levels of unemployment and away from the center, where the previous monthly demonstrations have been held. There was no sign of trouble.
A 74 year-old man in Casablanca who gave his name only as Ahmed said Morocco’s youths were right to protest.
“Look at them. They are educated and like most young educated Moroccans, they are idle,” he said. “Everything in this country is done through privileges. You need an uncle or a relative somewhere to get somewhere.”
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament, but the constitution empowers the king to dissolve the legislature, impose a state of emergency and have a decisive say in government appointments.
King Mohammed last month announced constitutional reforms to give up some of his powers and make the judiciary independent, but protesters want more.
There is also resentment at the royal family’s business interests through its holding company SNI.
One of the banners waved by the Casablanca marchers depicted the King’s holdings as an octopus with tentacles stretching out to subsidiary companies. “Either money or power,” it said.
Islamists also joined in the protests, demanding the release of all political prisoners. Authorities freed 92 political prisoners, most of whom were members of the Islamist Salafist Jihad group, earlier this month.
In Rabat, the wife of Islamist Bouchta Charef, who has said he was tortured in prison while accused of terrorism, called for all Islamists to be freed.
“They have made my children homeless,” Zehour Dabdoubu told Reuters. “Every month I move from one house to another. I’m persecuted because people think I am the wife of a terrorist.”
The banned Islamist opposition group Al Adl Wal Ihsane has maintained a low profile at the February 20 demonstrations, but said it supports them.
“It’s excellent what’s happening in Morocco. It’s a quiet revolution,” Nadia Yassine, daughter of the movement’s founder, told Reuters by telephone. “We’re moving slowly but surely.”
According to the Team B II Report by a who’s-who of top, national security experts at The Center for Security Policy, “most Muslim organizations in America are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood or a derivative group.” Meanwhile, the Obama Administration engages in “willful blindness-induced failures” to address “as great a threat as any enemy the nation has ever confronted.” The Muslim Brotherhood, also known as the Ikhwan, supports armed struggle against non-Muslims and has itself identified the Islamic Movement in America to be a part of the “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated….” This “stealth jihad“, referred to as “civilization jihad“, is based in Islamist hatred for Western civilization, hence their unwillingness to conform to American standards of jurisprudence. It is through the “legal, political, military doctrine known within Islam” as Shariah that these organizations are engaging in a non-violent, “for the moment,” campaign to undermine and destroy America.
Here are the five most prominent organizations named specifically by the Muslim Brotherhood as like-minded groups of “friends” in the mission to re-establish a global Islamic caliphate.
#5 — Muslim Students Association
As the Muslim Brothers “settled” in North America, they did so according to their stated bylaws. At the University of Illinois in Urbana, the Ikhwan created its first front organization in North America, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) in 1963. Today, MSA chapters are present on many college campuses across the country, serving as recruiting nodes for the MB and, in some cases for violent jihadist organizations […]
[…] [O]ut of the MSA came nearly every Muslim organization in America today. Initially, as MSA chapters sprang up on American campuses, they presented Islam in public as an acceptable alternative to other religions, never mentioning its revolutionary aspects. In recent years, MSA members have become ever more aggressive in their demands for accommodations and silencing those who oppose them. [Team B II Report]
We have seen the MSA’s Jew-hatred and silencing tactics on full display in their treatment of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at UC-Irvine and support for a second Holocaust at UC-San Diego. Abdurrahman Alamoudi who was arrested in 2003 for terrorist fundraising, is a former President of MSA. Alamoudi, a financier of Al Qaeda, is a compatriot of conservative infiltrator Suhail Khan. You may remember Alamoudi also for his role in starting the Roxbury Mosque. Other former members include Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S. government’s most-wanted terrorist; Aafia Siddiqui, arrested for attempting to kill U.S. officers in Afghanistan; Ali Asad Chandia, arrested for conspiring with the Kashmiri terrorist group Lashkar-i-Taiba; and Wa’el Hamza Julaidan, founder of Al Qaeda.
The Muslim Student Association pledge of allegiance, as stated in the video below, is in sync with the credo of the Muslim Brotherhood. The MSA claims 150 groups in 25 cities in America. Despite these horrifying truths, common ground with the Left in an anti-Israel agenda clearly helps to ensure the extremist MSA’s continued status as a “mainstream” organization in America by many universities giving them safe harbor for years.
#4 — Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
Born from the ranks of the Muslim Students Association, the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA] is the largest organization of Muslims on the continent and, as such, surely counts as a key partner with the Muslim Brotherhood in engaging in civilization jihad. ISNA has admitted to their ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and also to Hamas which is responsible for terrorist attacks on Israel. It was through ISNA that the Muslim Brotherhood was able to build hundreds of mosques in America with Saudi funding, and it is ISNA which has focused on providing extremist Wahhabi teaching materials to these mosques. Wahhabism, according to former CIA Director James Woolsey, is “the soil in which al Qaeda and its sister terrorist organizations are growing.” Though this is clearly the case, ISNA President Ingrid Mattson characterizes Wahhabism as being “analogous to the European Protestant Reformation” and has made the clearly ludicrous claim that “right-wing Christians are very risky allies for American Jews, because they [the Christians] are really anti-Semitic. They do not like Jews.”
Despite the threat to America’s security that ISNA poses, and despite the fact that the lies of Ingrid Mattson are so easily researched, ISNA and Mattson are considered allies by many in positions of power, including President Barack Obama and some American Catholic bishops. This is how subversion works. The fact that she is female may give some credibility in the eyes of some, but as the Team B Report on the Threat of Shariah explains, Mattson is really no more than a pawn.
Even a cursory examination, however, of the views of the current ISNA president, Ingrid Mattson, and former MSA President Hadia Mubarak reveals their philosophies are right in line with Muslim Brotherhood doctrine. And, in both organizations, the male leadership within the Brotherhood continues to make operational decisions, despite the title conferred upon such women.
Perhaps it’s not so difficult to understand how the president, who was a Muslim in his youth and spent his formative years steeped in Marxism, lends support for radical Islamists like Ingrid Mattson, but one would not expect Catholic bishops to join with her in pulling the wool over the eyes of their flock.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the main Muslim Brotherhood front group for propaganda. CAIR is featured in the Team B II Report as an organization that engages in “dual messaging” in the advancement of “stealth jihad.”
A particularly telling indication of the stealth jihad agenda comes from Omar Ahmad, one of the founders of the Brotherhood’s Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial for funding international terrorism from the United States.
Ahmad made a reference to the MB’s dual-messaging, a form of esoteric communication in which words seem innocuous to the uninitiated, but which have definite meaning to those duly indoctrinated: “I believe that our problem is that we stopped working underground. We will recognize the source of any message which comes out of us. I mean, if a message is publicized, we will know… the media person among us will recognize that you send two messages: one to the Americans and one to the Muslims.”
Note the Muslim Brotherhood operative’s differentiation between “Americans” and “Muslims,” as if presuming that Muslims are not or should not be good Americans. This differentiation is clear in CAIR’s own name. In short, it is the enemy among us, working out in the open but disguised by deceit, that poses the greater long-term threat to our legal system and way of life.
It is permissible for a Muslim to lie, especially to non-Muslims, to safeguard himself personally or to protect Islam.
So it is that CAIR can tell blatant lies, even lies designed to impede protection of Americans from terrorism and remain within the standards of “morality” within Islam. Anyone paying even cursory attention should have no doubts about the ultimate goal of CAIR.
In 1998 Omar Ahmad, CAIR’s co-founder and longtime Board Chairman, said: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”
Imagine what the New York Times would say if the head of the USCCB expressed similar sentiments about the Bible and Catholicism. It should be noted that the mother of American Conservative Union board director Suhail Khan sits on the board of CAIR.
#2 — Fiqh Council of North America
The Fiqh Council of North America [FCNA] is the Muslim Brotherhood’s board of Islamic interpretation for the continent. It might loosely be called the Muslim version of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. An off-shoot of ISNA, its eighteen members interpret the teachings of Islam for Muslims in America and answer questions about Islam for the general community. An example of this is their report that Muslims are forbidden by Islamic law from going through full body scanners at airports. Apparently we have to spare Muslim feelings. The answers provided by FCNA to questions cannot be trusted for accuracy, however. A prime example of this is that the signers of their oft-praised “Fatwa Against Terrorism“ was Fawaz Abu Damra, who once led the mosque attended by the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. An FBI transcript reveals Damra’s true feelings about Jihad and the Jews.
“Donate to the Islamic Jihad! Nidal Zaloum from the Islamic Jihad held a dagger and stabbed four of the Jews in the courtyard of Al-Haram Al-Qudsi … For the Intifadah, for the Islamic Jihad, I say it frankly for the Islamic Jihad. The Jihad is still erupting in Palestine from village to village, I tell you it is not for the organizations with respect to everyone but for the Jihad. The Jihad! One of them would leave his house with a knife to stab the Jews — twelve Jews after the events of the Gulf War. Brothers, the Intifadah calls you. Five hundred dollars! Who would add to five hundred dollars? Who would add to five hundred dollars? If you write a check, write it for the Islamic Committee for Palestine … [Muslims should be] directing all the rifles at the first and last enemy of the Islamic nation and that is the sons of monkeys and pigs, the Jews.” — Fawaz Abu Damra
Shah stated at one Chicago gathering of Muslims, “If we are unable to stop the Jews now, their next stop is Yathrib [the holy city of Medina], where the Jews used to live until their expulsion by Prophet Muhammad. That’s the pinnacle of their motives.”
To be sure, my jaw frequently drops open as I write these details and consider the depth of Islamic extremism and anti-Semitism in America….but alas, the list goes on.
#1 — Islamic Circle of North America
The Islamic Circle of North America [ICNA] which is made up mostly of Pakistani and Indian Muslims, like many other groups named as Muslim Brotherhood front groups, is an off-shoot of the Muslim Students Association. Terrorism expert Yehudit Barsky has identified members of the Pakistani terrorist group Jamaat-e-Islami operating within ICNA. My most recent article here at NRB discussed ICNA’s proposal for a children’s camp in New York in which non-Muslim children will be invited to participate. Like other Muslim Brotherhood front groups, ICNA’s hatred of Jews is manifest.
Terrorism analyst Steven Emerson claims that ICNA has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological forebear of all radical Islamic movements — including Hamas and al-Qaeda. Documents show that Hamas officials have participated in previous ICNA events. “The ICNA’s hatred of the Jews is so fierce,” writes Emerson, “that it taunted them with a repetition of what Hitler did to them.” In his bookAmerican Jihad, Emerson expounds: “The ICNA openly supports militant Islamic fundamentalist organizations, praises terror attacks, issues incendiary attacks on western values and policies, and supports the imposition of Sharia [Islamic law].”
The Muslim Brotherhood, which is the fountainhead of political Islam and has spawned 12 terrorist armies including al-Qaeda and Hamas is a political force in Egypt that is also willing to participate in elections and in the civil institutions of society. The Holy Land Foundation, a creation of the Muslim Brotherhood was the largest Islamic charity in America until it was raided by the FBI and put on trial in Texas for funding Hamas. One of the documents seized in a concealed basement at the Foundation headquarters and put into evidence by the FBI was the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan for America. The stated goal of this plan was to “destroy the American civilization.”
The plan called for building a secret leadership in America and for the creation of a series of Brotherhood front groups that would appear to be participants in America’s democracy until the time came when and where force would be necessary to accomplish the Brotherhood’s goals.
Mr. Horowitz explained how this threat even exists within the conservative movement, and that the solution for this problem is education, continued awareness and for everyone, particularly conservatives, “to be vigilant against its spread into the ranks of the conservative movement and the government of the country they love”.
I, for one, am honored to join Mr. Horowitz in this effort.
- Muslim Brotherhood Trying to Police the NYPD (creepingsharia.wordpress.com)
- U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Part Of Still Another “Coalition” (theromangate.wordpress.com)
- The Islamist Plan for Victory: “Gradualism” (wdednh.wordpress.com)
- The Muslim Brotherhood’s “General Strategic Goal” for North America (iamiranaware.wordpress.com)
- Watch SEG Webinars on Muslim Brotherhood – Share and help get the message out! (counterjihadreport.com)