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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Muslim Brotherhood’

What Egypt’s President Sisi Really Thinks

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

{Originally posted at Middle East Forum website}

Former air marshal Husni Mubarak, now 86, had ruled Egypt for thirty years when his military colleagues forced him from office in 2011. Three years and many upheavals later, those same colleagues replaced his successor with retired field marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, 59. The country, in short, made a grand round-trip, going from military ruler to military ruler, simply dropping down a generation.

This return raises basic questions: After all the hubbub, how much has actually changed? Does Sisi differ from Mubarak, for example, in such crucial matters as attitudes toward democracy and Islam, or is he but a younger clone?

Sisi remains something of a mystery. He plays his cards close to the vest; one observer who watched his presidential inaugural speech on television on June 8 described it as “loaded with platitudes and very long.”[1] He left few traces as he zoomed through the ranks in three years, going from director of Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance to become the youngest member of the ruling military council and, then, rapidly ascending to chief of staff, defense minister, and president.

Sisi makes two main arguments: Democracy is good for the Middle East; and for it to succeed, many conditions must first be achieved.

Fortunately, a document exists that reveals Sisi’s views from well before his presidency: An essay dated March 2006, when he attended the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. His 5,000-word English-language term paper, “Democracy in the Middle East,”[2] has minimal intrinsic value but holds enormous interest by providing the candid views of an obscure brigadier general soon and unexpectedly to be elected pharaoh of Egypt.

While one cannot discount careerism in a term paper, Sisi’s generally assertive and opinionated tone—as well as his negative comments about the United States and the Mubarak regime—suggest that he expressed himself freely.

In the paper, Sisi makes two main arguments: Democracy is good for the Middle East; and for it to succeed, many conditions must first be achieved. Sisi discusses other topics as well, which offer valuable insights into his thinking.

Democracy Is Good for the Middle East

Sisi endorses democracy for practical, rather than philosophical, reasons: It just works better than a dictatorship. “Many in the Middle East feel that current and previous autocratic governments have not produced the expected progress.”[3] Democracy has other benefits, as well: It reduces unhappiness with government and narrows the vast gap between ruler and ruled, both of which he sees contributing to the region’s backwardness. In all, democracy can ac- complish much for the region and those who promote it “do have an opportunity now in the Middle East.”

In parallel, Sisi accepts the free market because it works better than socialism: “[M]any Middle East countries attempted to sustain government-controlled markets instead of free markets and as a result no incentive developed to drive the economy.”

It is reasonable, even predictable that Gen. Sisi would view democracy and free markets in terms of their efficacy. But without a genuine commitment to these systems, will President Sisi carry through with them, even at the expense of his own power and the profits from the socialized military industries run by his former colleagues?[4] His 2006 paper implies only a superficial devotion to democracy; and some of his actions since assuming power (such as returning to appointed rather than elected university deans and chairmen[5]) do not auger well for democracy.

Conditions for Democracy to Succeed in the Middle East

Sisi lays down three requirements for democracy to succeed in the Middle East:

Turkey Offers to Host Muslim Brotherhood Leadership

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Turkey has offered to host the seven Egyptian leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood who were asked to leave Qatar.

Turkish media quoted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan late Monday as saying his nation would welcome the leaders if they wished to come to Turkey.

Erdogan, who leads the Islamist AK Party, made the remarks while speaking to reporters on his presidential plane during his return flight Monday from a state visit to Qatar.

Turkey has also been mentioned as a possible destination for Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal, who it was rumored was also asked to leave Qatar. Hamas officials later denied the report published in a Tunisian newspaper, however, saying the group’s relations with Qatar were “passing through an extraordinary phase.”

One the Hamas terror organization’s greatest financial and strategic backers, exiled Hamas commander for Judea and Samaria operations Saleh Arouri is currently living in Turkey. It is Arouri who is believed to have been the true mastermind behind the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens in Gush Etzion this past June.

Arouri confirmed to a group of clerics in Turkey in early August that the Izz a-Din al-Qassam military wing of Hamas was responsible for the murders.

When he made that announcement he was sitting next to Qatari-based Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The Doha mega-preacher, a favorite on the Al Jazeera Arabic-language satellite television network, had organized the gathering.

Hamas Denies Political Bureau Chief Khaled Meshaal Leaving Qatar

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Hamas has denied a report quoting Arab sources who said that Khaled Meshaal might leave Qatar. It is believed Meshaal, who heads the political bureau of Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization, has been considering moving to either Tunisia, Turkey or Malaysia, according to a report by prominent Arab affairs reporter Khaled Abu Toameh.

It was Meshaal who repeatedly nixed various cease-fire agreements between Hamas and Israel during negotiations in Cairo, when terrorist factions sent representatives to consult with him in Doha.

At least seven top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood group were asked to leave the country on Sunday by the monarchy of Qatar, according to an Egyptian member of the organization. Hamas was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood.

“We appreciate the great role of the state of Qatar in supporting the Egyptian people in their revolution against the military junta, and well understand the circumstances faced by the region,” said Dr. Amr Darrag, a Brotherhood leader and head of the Freedom and Justice political party. The group has since been banned in Egypt by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

“In order to avoid causing any embarrassment for the State of Qatar, which we found to be a very welcoming and supportive host, some symbols of the Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing … have now honored that request,” Darrag told international media on Sunday. He vowed that the “revolution will continue.”

Qatar Expels Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Leadership

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Qatar is reportedly attempting to heal its strained relations with Egypt and others in the region by expelling some members of the Muslim Brotherhood – the organization that spawned Hamas and other terrorist organizations — who have made their home base in Doha since being kicked out of Cairo.

The secretary-general of the organization, Mahmoud Hussein, is among those who were asked by the monarchy to leave. Also on the list were former Egyptian minister Amr Darrag, and cleric Wagdi Ghoneim, according to the Rassad news agency, which said the group is seeking another headquarters in exile, possibly Turkey.

Ambassadors from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates all were recalled from Qatar by their governments in June to protest Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its associated terror groups. All view the organization to be a threat to the region, and to their nations individually as well.

Turkey, however, has long been a firm supporter of the group and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been vocal in his praise for Gaza and its Hamas rulers.

Egypt outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood after repeated violent riots following the coup that deposed former President Mohammed Morsi, backed by the group.

No Turkish Delight for Israeli Energy

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Turkey is not going to be signing any deals for Israeli natural gas exports any time soon – at least, according to a statement by Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.

The Turkish energy mogul said Tuesday that Ankara was unlikely to approve construction of a gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey. Yildiz blamed the sour relations with Israel on the Jewish State’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge this summer against Hamas and allied terrorists. The operation was carried out to silence the incessant, deadly rocket fire being aimed at Israeli civilian families in the southern part of the country.

Jordan, however, has just concluded a deal to import natural gas from Israel over the next 15 years, at a cost of some $15 billion.

The massive Leviathan natural gas field discovered beneath the waters of the Mediterranean, off the northern coast of Israel, turned the Jewish State into a regional energy exporter practically overnight. Talks between the Leviathan consortium and Turkish counterparts subsequently had been taking place quietly over the past year, but politics sabotaged any deals that might otherwise have come to fruition.

“For energy projects to proceed, the human tragedy in Gaza will have to be stopped and Israel will have to instate a permanent peace there with all elements,” Yildiz told reporters in Ankara. “It is out of question to proceed on any energy project unless a permanent peace is established, with contribution from all sides and with necessary conditions. A human tragedy unfolded (in Gaza); it is all too easily forgotten.”

Relations between Turkey and Israel have been limping since 2006, when the number of attacks from Gaza escalated sharply. Israel was forced at the time into launching a maritime and overland blockade of Gaza when Hamas and allied terrorists carried out a cross-border attack and abducting an IDF soldier. In that attack, two other soldiers were killed and a third was critically wounded.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AKP party have long been strong supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood — which spawned the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza. Likewise, Erdogan and Turkey continue to defend actions by Hamas, regardless of the consequences.

Obama’s Gaza Game

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Re-posted with the kind permission of the author. To read the original, please go to: http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2014/07/obamas-gaza-game.html

While Israelis are fighting and dying, families huddling in bomb shelters and soldiers going off to face death, the men and women in suits and power suits moving through the great halls of diplomacy are using them as pawns in a larger game.

During the Cold War, Israel was a pawn in a larger struggle between the US and the USSR. Now it is back to being a counter in a larger game.

Israel’s function within the great halls of diplomacy was always as a lever on the Arab states. It was not an end, but a means of moving them one way or another. When the Arab states drifted into the Soviet orbit, the “Special Relationship” was born. The relationship accomplished its goal once Egypt was pried out of the Soviet orbit. It has lingered on because of the emotional and cultural ties of Israel and the US.

Now Obama is using Israel as a lever to push Egypt back into the Islamist camp. Egypt’s rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood broke the Arab Spring. Political Islam, which seemed to be on the ascendance, is back to being a freak show represented by terrorists and Turkey’s mad mustachioed dictator.

Egypt was where Obama went to begin the Arab Spring. Egypt is still his target. Israel is just the lever.

The reason Israel was never allowed to truly win any wars was because it was being used as a lever. By being a “good lever” during the Cold War, it could damage Egypt enough that the latter would come to the negotiating table overseen by the US and move back into the Western sphere of influence.

Israel couldn’t be allowed to win a big enough victory because then there would nothing to negotiate. Likewise, Israel wouldn’t be allowed to keep what it won because then there would be no reason for Egypt to come to the negotiating table. Sometimes Israel would even be expected to lose, as in the Yom Kippur War, to force it to come to the negotiating table.

Swap Egypt for the PLO and that’s how the disastrous peace process happened. Then swap the PLO for Hamas and that is where we are now.

Obama’s initial support for Israel’s war on Hamas was only to the extent necessary to bring the terrorist group to the negotiating table. And then once Hamas comes to the negotiating table, the White House will back its demands against Israel in exchange for getting the Brotherhood on board with its agenda.

Israel is just the means; the Muslim Brotherhood and political Islam are the objective. That objective may mean the end of the West, but those striding boldly through the halls of diplomacy are not worried.

The real target of the Hamas campaign wasn’t Israel; it was Egypt.

Egypt’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood had included Hamas. That crackdown worried Hamas far more than anything that Israel was doing. Meanwhile the Muslim Brotherhood’s loss of power meant a major setback for the sugar daddies of the Arab Spring; Qatar, Turkey and their Western allies.

The new alignment had placed Qatar, Turkey, Obama and the EU in one row, while Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the PLO were in another row. The latest phase of the Gaza War between Israel and Hamas was meant to break apart that alignment.

Obama’s tilt toward Iran had encouraged Sunni Muslims to throw their backing behind ISIS leading to significant gains in Iraq. Qatar and Turkey, backers of both Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, then used ISIS to push the myth that the only counter to Al Qaeda was the Brotherhood’s political Islam.

We Are The Good Guys

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

We are prattling ourselves to death, blabbing in the television studios and in the military briefings. “When the Hamas terrorists emerge from the underground and see all the destruction, they will understand that they lost.” Really? Does anybody in Hamas really care about the destruction and the casualties?

What was Hamas’s status before this war, and what is its status today – both in the Arab world and the world at large? That is a determining factor.

Who requests a cease-fire and who dictates its conditions? That is a determining factor.

We must understand that a war that does not have a clear, determined, unequivocal and decisive goal will always be lost. If you do not have a clear goal – don’t go to war.

Israel does not have a strategic perspective as to why it is fighting. That is why we cannot manage to define a clear goal.

And worst of all, we are fighting unethically and thus endangering our courageous sons in battle.

What are we fighting for, and against whom? In the beginning of this war, the stated purpose was to halt the rocket attacks on Israel. Then I heard that the goal is to destroy most of the terror tunnels (at least the ones we know about).

But rockets are not enemies; I cannot remember ever having been attacked by a tunnel. The enemy is fanatical Arab Islam, which seeks to destroy Israel. You can call it Hamas, PLO, ISIS, Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood. You can call it the Islamic Movement of the North or you can call it Ahmad Tibi, the Arab MK. All of them are different arms of the same octopus. All are of the same fanatical Arab Islamic ideology, defined so well by Tibi: “We do not have rights in the land. We have rights to the land.

The only innocents in Gaza are the IDF soldiers. We are not in a police operation to capture a crime family. We are in a national war, fighting for the existence of the state of Israel.

They (our enemies) sanctify slavery and death. We (the Israelis) sanctify liberty and life. They are the savages of the desert who came to Israel looking for work from the Zionists – and we foolishly gave them parts of our homeland. We armed them with the best weaponry and turned them into a sovereign entity that democratically elected Hamas, by a vast majority, as its legitimate leadership. Therefore, as soon as Gaza’s civilians have been given reasonable time to evacuate, any delay in the momentum of battle or any move that endangers the forces of light in their just war against the forces of darkness is patently unethical.

When Israel retreated from Gaza, it turned that strip of land into the southern arm of the Arab Islamic octopus that seeks our complete destruction. It is the arm of the octopus on the threshold of Ashkelon and Tel Aviv. Anything less than decisive victory in Gaza will bring upon us a much more difficult battle against all the other arms of the octopus.

Many Israelis are asking why, despite our knowledge of their existence, we did not destroy the terror tunnels earlier. Hizbullah has an estimated 100,000 missiles aimed at us from the north. When those missiles start to fly, what will we say? After all, we knew about them. So why didn’t we destroy them?

The Gazan octopus arm is a test case, as the rest of the arms are closely watching it. If it is not clear to the northern octopus arm, the arms in Judea and Samaria, the arms of the Arabs who live in Israel and who are now rising up, ISIS’s arms, and Iran’s arms that an attack on Israel brings about the loss of territory from where the attack was staged along with complete liquidation of the local leadership, the following can be expected: a downpour of rockets from the north, nuclear weapons in Iranian hands, ISIS taking control of the Syrian missile arsenal, and a horrific war in conditions much more difficult than those we face now.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/we-are-the-good-guys/2014/07/31/

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