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EGYPT - APPEARANCES & REALITY

Gen. al-Sisi

When it comes to understanding Egypt today, U.S. President Barack Obama and other Western leaders really don't get it. They are confusing the outcome of an indecisive election with the reality of the anti-democratic Muslim Brotherhood hijacking the Egyptian Revolution in order to found an Islamist state like Iran. These are some of the key questions that America and the West should be addressing: 

 What is at the crux of the current crisis in Egypt?

...those secular Egyptians who saw the revolution, that they had initiated, being hijacked by the Islamists. It was only a matter of time before they would have rebelled, if the army had not intervened.

 Egypt's future now lies in the balance. Will it plunge into an all-out civil war between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian Army, supported by more secular citizens, who fear that former President Mohamed Morsi had started laying the groundwork for an Islamist state along the lines of Iran? Granted, after the ousting of former dictator Gen. Hosni Mubarak, Morsi was elected president in a democratic election winning a slim 51.73 majority on June 24, 2012. But surely there is a second and no less important step in the democratic process - the elected party must agree to play by the democratic rules after it takes office. Rather than approaching the secular camp with offers of compromise, the glue that binds a democratic society together, Morsi was perceived as focusing on Islamist goals such as altering constitution, whittling down the powers of the judiciary, and questionable appointments, rather than coping with the most urgent issue of the deteriorating economy. It can be said that the vast majority of the country's 90-million population are hungrier today than when Morsi took office over a year ago. Although democratically elected, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood acted undemocratically. And their Islamist agenda was apparent: as Prof. Bernard Lewis once coined the phrase about how Islamists view democratic elections: 'One man, one vote, one time'. From an historical perspective, the Nazi party election victory in Germany is a prime example. Closer to home, President Jimmy Carter’s pressure on the Shah of Iran resulted in the rise of the Ayatollah state. President George W. Bush also leaned on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to let Hamas run in the Palestinian election of 2006. Hamas won the ballot and later threw its PLO rivals off the roofs of Gaza.

 But getting back to Egypt, it was only a matter of time before secular Egyptians, would have rebelled against the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, Gen. al-Sisi and his fellow generals could also see the writing on the wall - Morsi would follow in the footsteps of Turkey's Islamist leader Recep Erdogan, by eventually cutting the army down-to-size in order to impose his ultimate goal of an Islamist state. 

 Did Gen. al-Sisi have any other option than to clear the center of Cairo with troops and tanks?

For five weeks, the Muslim Brotherhood had rejected al-Sisi's offers of compromise and insisted on Morsi being returned to the presidential palace. But there is another silent partner in this ongoing crisis - those secular Egyptians who saw the revolution that they had initiated being hijacked by the Islamists. It was only a matter of time before they would have rebelled, if the army had not intervened. In this respect, it may very well be that the military prevented a far bloodier civil war. The Provisional Egyptian government also charges that the Muslim Brotherhood was on the verge of launching a campaign of terror across the country that included the closure of the Suez Canal. As of August 17, the military had cleared the last strongholds of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo. Egyptian officials hinted that the Muslim Brotherhood may be declared an illegal organization. On the other hand, the organization is known to have its own private arsenals that possibly include anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles from neighboring Libya.

 What has been Israel's reaction?

 On the official level, it's a total blackout. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has instructed his cabinet ministers and spokespeople to stay mum so as not to appear as siding with Gen. al-Sisi. Israeli experts have been analyzing the situation from all possible angles. Obviously, Israel is rooting for al-Sisi in his confrontation with the radical Islamists. Zvi Mazel, a former Israeli ambassador to Cairo voiced exasperation over the failure of the U.S. and E.U. countries to realize what is really happening in Egypt today. In an interview with Israel Radio, Mazel analyzed what is actually transpiring:

'A declared goal of the Brotherhood is to eventually impose sharia religious law in Egypt...Yet Western leaders appear to be totally unaware of the reality and the strategic implications'.

 'It's unbelievable just how confused and misguided President Obama and other European leaders are. They don't seem to realize the Muslim Brotherhood is the mother and father of radical Islam and al Qaeda! Gen. al-Sisi is trying to form a democratic pro-Western government. Deep down the Muslim Brotherhood is violently opposed to America. Under the noses of the Western media in Cairo, Morsi has arrested and questioned Egyptian journalists who criticized his regime. A declared goal of the Brotherhood is to eventually impose sharia religious law in Egypt. Just look how they are attacking the Christian Copts and torching their churches. Yet Western leaders appear to be totally unaware of the reality and the strategic implications'. 

 And what about other Middle East reactions?

Only the Muslim Brotherhood was able to hit the ground running, no other parties really existed. Even after mobilizing all its supporters, Morsi was able to eke out a bare 1% victory.

 Just look at who is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, it speaks volumes. At the top of the list is Iran the ultimate Islamist state that poses a threat to regional peace and America's allies in the region. Then there is Turkey's leader Recep Erdogan another radical Islamist leader who accuses al-Sisi of perpetrating a massacre in Cairo. When a Turkish leader talks of 'massacres' maybe he knows from experience, just ask any Armenian.

 However, America's Arab allies appear just as exasperated as Israel. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and nearly all the Gulf states, with the exception of Qatar, are rooting for Gen. al-Sisi. One thing that is not realized in the U.S. is, as Ehud Barak once said, that this is the Mid-East and not the Mid-West! And when it comes to the predominance of the Muslim Brotherhood election victory, it should also be remembered that Egypt conducted its first democratic election shortly after the toppling of Mubarak. Only the Muslim Brotherhood was able to hit the ground running, no other parties really existed. Even after mobilizing all its supporters, Morsi was able to eke out a bare 1% victory over a former prime minister in the Mubarak regime! Today most Israeli experts believe the secular camp far outnumbers the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Therefore, it would seem imperative that al-Sisi restore stability as soon as possible and call another election.

 What is the track record of the Muslim Brotherhood?    

 Among its most daring terror attacks was an unsuccessful assassination attempt on the life of President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1954. Nasser then launched a crackdown on the organization. It was later declared illegal and several of its leaders were hanged. As an underground movement it carried out various terror attacks against tourists. It also operated in Russia among Muslim communities and was subsequently banned as a terrorist organization. In Feb, 2003, the Supreme Court ruled:

The main forms of activities are warlike Islamism propaganda with intolerance to other religions, recruitment in mosques and armed Jihad without territorial boundaries.

 'The Muslim Brotherhood is an organization that committed multiple terror-attack acts in Russia and was allegedly financed by drug trafficking, counterfeiting and racketeering.

 It is an organization basing its activities on the ideas of its theorist and leaders Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, with the aim of destruction of non-Islamic governments and the establishment of the worldwide government by the reconstruction of the Arab Islamic Caliphate firstly in regions with a majority of Muslim population, including those in Russia and CIS (commonwealth of independent states) countries. The organization is illegal in some Middle Eastern counties. The main forms of activities are warlike Islamism propaganda with intolerance to other religions, recruitment in mosques and armed Jihad without territorial boundaries. This raises some intriguing questions about Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his possible connection to radical Islamists in Russia. In 2011 Russia's Federal Security Service informed the FBI that Tamerlan was a believer in radical Islam. A year later, Tsarnaev made a mysterious visit to Russia raising speculation he had made contact with radical Islamists. Could he have received training in explosives, possibly even by the Muslim Brotherhood, and returned to the U.S. where last April 15th, he murdered three Americans and injured more than 260 others? 

David Essing

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