By Stephen Brown
It’s official, now. The Obama administration’s admiration for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is indisputably mutual.
The Egyptian English-language newspaper, Daily News Egypt, reported on Wednesday that the MB “hails” its new ties with the United States after a meeting between the head of the MB’s political arm, Mohamed Morsi, and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns at the MB’s Cairo headquarters. After the Wednesday meeting, Morsi said relations between their two countries “must be balanced” and, in apparent reference to Israel, stated past US behavior has been “biased and not in its interest.” The MB, Morsi maintained, wants Washington to adopt “a positive position concerning Arab and Muslim causes.”
“It [the meeting] was an opportunity to hear from and to reinforce our expectations that all major parties will support human rights, tolerance, rights of women and will also uphold Egypt’s existing international obligations,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
This top-level diplomatic meeting occurred almost simultaneously with the news that the MB has swept approximately 25 of the 50 individual seats up for grabs in the third round of voting for Egypt’s parliament, which the MB is expected to dominate. In this final round, the MB received 35.2 percent of the votes, while the hard-line Salafist Al-Nour Party got 27.5 percent and seven seats. Between them, the two Islamist parties captured 70 percent of the vote in the election’s first two rounds.
The results of the Burns-Morsi get-together actually contained no great surprises for those who believe the Democratic Party’s support of the Arab Spring is opening doors for the Islamists to seize power and establish sharia law in countries across the Middle East and North Africa. The Obama White House has been “reaching out” for several months now to the MB (Some believe his outreach started in the earliest days of his presidency when he invited MB members to his Cairo speech). Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has admitted the White House has been in contact with the MB since last June.
Last November, Clinton, in an address to the National Democratic Institute, stated the US would be willing to work with any party in the Middle East that supports fundamental values such as “freedoms of speech, religion, association and assembly.”
“In other words, what parties call themselves is less important than us than what they actually do,” Clinton stated.
Clinton also said it was “insulting, dangerous and wrong” to suggest that Muslims would not thrive in a democracy. And, in what was truly a classic example of leftist relativism, she said all religious and secular parties “must reject violence.” In case Clinton hadn’t noticed, one would be hard-pressed to find in the Middle East secular or Christian terrorist groups endangering Muslims, governments and the region’s general stability.
Only days before the Clinton speech, Obama’s newly appointed special coordinator for Middle East transitions, William Taylor, was even more explicit. When speaking at a Washington think-tank, he said the Obama administration would be “satisfied” with a MB victory in the Egyptian elections as long as it is the result of “a free and fair election.” Taylor also echoed Clinton when he said: “We need to judge people and parties on what they do, not what they’re called.”
If that is the case, as Clinton and Taylor maintain, that it is actions and not names that matter, then one must ask: why US officials have also met with the Salafist al-Nour party? Nuland was almost apologetic when she said Burns did not have time on this trip to meet with al-Nour members, but said US embassy personnel does meet with party officials.
“It’s not a matter of excluding them. He [Burns] was not able to meet with all of the parties,” Nuland said.The Salafists have always been described as much more rigid and hard-line than their MB cohorts, who are frightening enough in their extremism as it is. Middle East expert Barry Rubin wrote in an essay, “Comparing Three Muslim Brotherhoods,” that the MB groups are as “anti-American and extreme in their goals as the bin Ladenist ones.” The Egyptian MB, for example, believes women should “only hold the kind of posts that would preserve their virtue.” And one MB member, quoted by Rubin, said in the Egyptian parliament:
From my point of view, bin Laden, al-Zawahiri and al-Zarqawi are not terrorists in the sense accepted by some. I support all their activities, since they are a thorn in the side of the Americans and the Zionists[.]
If the MB is a moderate organization, as some would have us believe, then one can imagine the kind of violently militant Islamist regime the much more ideological Salafists would introduce in Egypt if they ever obtained power. The Salafists are already known as persecutors of Egyptian Christians and for taking part in attacks on churches. A senior figure in the al-Nour party recently said that even greeting Coptic Christians on their festivals, such as Christmas, is forbidden. Apparently unnoticed by Obama and State Department officials, a member of the al-Nour party’s supreme committee last month even called democracy a “heresy.”
“We must obliterate the liberalism that was introduced by Sadat and Mubarak and reinstate the rule of Islam,” he said.
One has to wonder whether that also means obliterating the liberals. The Salafists also called the Egyptian liberals’ current election campaign one of “Zionism” and “Freemasonry.”
Nevertheless, the Obama White House continues to make common cause with the MB. Barry Rubin writes:
And so for the first time in U.S. history an American government, to the applause of the vast majority of mass media, is backing an anti-American authoritarian movement.
The Obama White House has even enlisted the MB’s chief ideologue, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, to negotiate with the Taliban despite al-Qaradawi’s well-known anti-Semitism. In her essay Yusuf Al-Qaradawi: The Muslim Brothers’ Favorite Ideological Guide, Ana Belen Solange writes that al-Qaradawi has accused the Jews of destroying the caliphate, bringing communism to the Middle East (since communism is “the scion of Judaism”) and refers to Israel as “the usurper Zionist entity” and “the parasitic intruder.” He is also not against Muslims settling in the West, the House of War, which is theologically forbidden, since the West “should not be left to the influence of the Jews alone.” Al-Qaradawi has also called Hamas and al-Jihad terrorist attacks against Israel “heroic acts of martyrdom.” The fact that al-Qaradawi has also said Islam “will conquer Europe [and] will conquer America” likewise does not appear to have upset the White House in the least.
As the Islamists get closer to taking power, look for the Obama administration to draw even closer to them, helping make their “revolution” work. US trade officials, for example, were in Egypt last Sunday, telling the Egyptians to take advantage of the American Generalized Systems of Preference (GSP) program, a duty-free access system that would greatly benefit Egyptian imports into America. If American importers brought in Egyptian goods under this program, they could “claim and receive refunds when filing income taxes.” Such an effort to import Egyptian goods under the GSP was apparently not made when Mubarak was in power.
The reason for the Obama administration cozying up to the Egyptian Islamists is that they are in an adversarial relationship with America and with the values of the rest of the free world. That is the theme of author Jamie Glazov’s book, United In Hate: The Left’s Romance With Tyranny And Terror. Leftists, like those in the Obama administration, have always allied themselves with bloody, tyrannical regimes such as the Soviet Union, North Vietnam, Cuba and Iran, dictatorships that opposed and are opposing America. And the bloodier these anti-life, death-cult regimes became, the greater the romance that leftists developed with them, even making pilgrimages to these prison-countries to praise their murderous leaders.
“The image of [former Democratic president] Jimmy Carter embracing the leaders of Hamas, a terror organization…speaks volumes of what dark desires and yearnings lurk in the heart of the American Left today,” Glazov writes.
So expect Washington now to carve out an even greater “positive position concerning Arab and Muslim causes” than it already has to the detriment of Israel — and to please the MB. If the Egyptian Islamist revolution, however, should degenerate into an orgy of bloodletting, like Iran’s and the Soviet Union’s did, it will not bother the American Left, for whom Egypt will simply become the latest in a long line of political pilgrimage sites. And thirty years from now, it may well be former President Obama who will travel to Islamic Republic of Egypt to get his hug.
To get the whole story on why leftists reach out in solidarity to Islamists, read Jamie Glazov’s book, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.
Hat tip Leslie Burt