Turmoil in the Middle East since January, 2011, starting off with Tunisia.
(a)In Egypt, at the beginning of February, the 'Muslim Brotherhood' tries to hijack the "revolution," * calling for war with Israel *.
(b) Some US journalists are severely beaten, accused of being "Israeli spies."* Some terrorism also reported there.*
(c) At the celebration of the fall of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, a racist Arab Muslim mob of 200 attacked and sexually assaulted CBS' 60 Minutes reporter Lara Logan, while yelling "Jew!, Jew!"*
(d) Protests spread to other oppressive dictatorship in the Arab-Muslim Middle East such as: Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, etc.* Iranian Islamic Republic [typically] cracks down with harsh brutality.*
Egyptian protester: We don't want Muslim Brotherhood to 'hijack' our protests
Published on February 3, 2011
The protests in Egypt have become more intense as acts of violence by pro-Mubarak have reportedly infiltrated the massive gathering of individuals speaking out against the Hosni Mubarak government. I interviewed a young Egyptian protester by phone on Wednesday. Cynthia Farahat is an Egyptian dissident who described herself as a "conservative in the American sense of the word." She told me that supporters of Mubarak are stirring up violence by assaulting those who are protesting the government.
"I had joined the protest myself, and I have seen an extraordinary display of peace and civility that I never expected to see in a third world in Arab Islamic country. I was overwhelmed by the display of peaceful protesters and the tolerance. It was actually amazing," she explained.
"My friends are there. Mubarak's side attacked them today. I couldn't get to Tahrir. I tried to go but, they closed all entrances to Tahrir Square, and many of my friends said because I am a girl and I have a political history, I might be targeted there. So they refused to let me go, but they are being attacked right now, and some people called me with Molotov cocktails [who are] Mubarak supporters," she said.
"Most of these people are policemen. They are secret police. They caught them. They checked their IDs. Some of them of course not all of them," she said. " They were handed to the military who kept them in a government building until they can do something about it."
It seems the Muslim Brotherhood wasted no time in taking advantage of the chaos in Egypt right now. It was difficult at first to see who was fueling the protests, as Brotherhood supporters were apparently small in numbers in the street protests but their long-time organized influenced, despite their opposition to the Mubarak, behind the scenes at higher levels remains a concern on Capitol Hill.
"My worry is that [the Muslim Brotherhood] are a very large organization and they could be exercising a more influence than what you see in front of the CNN cameras. It's an organization that's spawned three other terrorist organizations--Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda, and Hamas," Senator Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican, told me on Wednesday night. "We don't know the names of the leaders as well as we should, which is why I gave the speech on the floor--to go through who the top leader of guidance is and then what he said about the West and Sharia law."
"[The Muslim Brotherhood] was one of my major concerns. When the 25th of January protests started, I was,ironically, one of the people who were very apprehensive about it and not encouraging it in anyway, because the media was everywhere, and the West and in Egypt were trying to portray it as a movement that was coming out of Islamists," said Cynthia. So I was among the people who refused to go on the first days. I was very apprehensive about the nature of these protests. Later, my perspective completely changed, because I have seen video of my friends and my colleagues protesting. The Muslim Brotherhood had a very insignificant almost no presence in the protest at all."
Ms. Farahat added that not only was the Brotherhood small in numbers but were also rejected by protesters she saw.
"The Muslim Brotherhood, and I saw it the other day—I was watching, they tried to recite the slogan 'Islam is the solution, and they were attacked by the rest of the protesters and forced to shut-up. They were just asked to shut-up. It wasn’t about the Muslim Brotherhood. [The protesters] were not going to allow [the Brotherhood] to hijack the diverse event."
Ms. Farahat believes opposition groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, which was organized in 1928 and known to have ties to groups engaging in terrorist activity, are not popular in Egypt.
"When a few of the Islamic crowds try to break the protests to pray theywere rejected by the rest of the protesters. Rejecting a prayer is a very unusual sight in an Islamic country. The protesters sort of look at the Muslim Brotherhood as part of the opposition of Mubarak’s regime," she explained.
"The significant thing is the opposition is almost totally rejected by most of the protesters, and they are seen as players with the Mubarak regime. That’s why they are refused any conversation or any dialogue with the new vice president Omar Suleiman...because they are trying to gain popularity among the masses ."
However, Senator Kirk cautions that history shows the power that eventually takes over the environment seen in Egypt today is usually absent among the crowds of people making demands in the streets.
Jerusalem Issue Briefs-The Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian Crisis
The Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian Crisis
[Vol. 10, No. 26 2 February 2011]
- Will the Obama administration's policy toward Egypt be based on a perception that the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood would be extremely dangerous? Or have they taken the position - voiced in parts of the U.S. foreign policy establishment - that the Brotherhood has become moderate and can be talked to? Initial administration reactions indicate that it does not rule out Muslim Brotherhood participation in a future Egyptian coalition government.
- Since January 28, the Muslim Brotherhood's involvement has become more prominent, with its support of Mohamed ElBaradei to lead the opposition forces against the government. In the streets of Cairo, Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators disdainfully call people like ElBaradei "donkeys of the revolution" (hamir al-thawra) - to be used and thenpushed away - a scenario that sees the Muslim Brotherhoodexploit ElBaradei in order to hijack the Egyptian revolution at a later stage.
- There has been a great deal of confusion about the Muslim Brotherhood.In the years after it was founded in 1928, it developed a "secret apparatus" that engaged in political terrorism against Egyptian Copts as well as government officials. In December 1948, the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmoud al-Nuqrashi Pasha. It also sought to kill Egyptian leader Abdul Nasser in October 1954.
- Former Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Akef declared in 2004 his "complete faith that Islam will invade Europe and America." In 2001, the Muslim Brotherhood's publication in London, Risalat al-Ikhwan, featured at the top of its cover page the slogan: "Our Mission: World Domination." This header was changed after 9/11.
- The current Supreme Guide, Muhammad Badi', gave a sermon in September 2010 stating that "the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death, just as the enemies pursue life."
Initially, it was widely observed that the Muslim Brotherhood has been very low-key during the current crisis in Egypt. Most analysts admitted that it is the best organized and largest opposition group in Egypt, but they played down its role. Yet since January 28, the Muslim Brotherhood's involvement has become more prominent. One tangible example is the support the Brotherhood has given to Mohamed ElBaradei to lead the opposition forces against the government.
In the streets of Cairo, Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators disdainfully call people like ElBaradei "donkeys of the revolution" (hamir al-thawra
), to be used and then pushed away.1
Thus, there is a scenario that sees the Muslim Brotherhood exploit a figure like ElBaradei in order to hijack the Egyptian revolution at a later stage.
What is the Muslim Brotherhood? It is known as Ikhwan al-Muslimun
in Arabic, or just Ikhwan
, established in 1928 by an Egyptian schoolteacher, Hassan al-Banna. Outwardly, it was a social and religious organization, but over the years it developed a "secret apparatus" that engaged in military training of its cadres and political terrorism against Egyptian Copts as well as government officials. This dualism continued years later. In December 1948, the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmoud al-Nuqrashi Pasha. It also sought to kill Egyptian leader Abdul Nasser in October 1954.
The Muslim Brotherhood also had an expansionist agenda right from the start, and called for the re-establishment of the Islamic Empire. In the late 1930s, its newspaper called for retaking "former Islamic colonies" in Andalus (Spain), southern Italy, and the Balkans.2
This theme was maintained in recent years by its former Supreme Guide, Muhammad Akef, who in 2004 declared his "complete faith that Islam will invade Europe and America," with the caveat that Westerners will join Islam by conviction.3
Others have also made this point. According to Sheikh Yousef Qaradawi, widely regarded as the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood:
Constantinople was conquered in 1453 by a 23-year-old Ottoman named Muhammad ibn Murad, whom we call Muhammad the Conqueror. Now what remains is to conquer Rome. That is what we wish for, and that is what we believe in. After having been expelled twice, Islam will be victorious and reconquer Europe....I am certain that this time, victory will be won not by the sword but by preaching.4
Over the years, the Muslim Brotherhood opened branches in a number of Arab countries and even has front organizations in the UK, France, and the U.S. But it has not disavowed its original commitment to Islamic militancy and its global ambitions. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood's publication in London, Risalat al-Ikhwan
, has maintained a clearly jihadist
orientation; in 2001 it featured at the top of its cover page the slogan: "Our Mission: World Domination" (siyadat al-dunya
). This header was changed after 9/11, but the publication still carries the Muslim Brotherhood's motto which includes: "Jihad
is our path; martyrdom is our aspiration."5
The current Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Muhammad Badi', gave a sermon in September 2010 stating that Muslims today "need to understand that the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad
and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi
generation that pursues death, just as the enemies pursue life."6
In short, the Muslim Brotherhood remains committed to supporting militant activities in order to advance its political aims. From looking at the biographies of its most prominent graduates, one can immediately understand the organization's long-term commitment to jihadism
1. Abdullah Azzam (of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood) and Muhammad Qutb (of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood) taught at King Abdul Aziz University in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, where they had a student named Osama bin Laden. Azzam went off to Pakistan with his student, bin Laden, to help the mujahidin fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
2. Ayman al-Zawahiri (bin Laden's deputy) grew up in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
3. Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (the al-Qaeda mastermind of the 9/11 attacks) came out of the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood.
Given this background, the Muslim Brotherhood has been widely regarded in the Arab world as the incubator of the jihadist
ideology. A former Kuwaiti Minister of Education, Dr. Ahmad Al-Rab'i, argued in Al-Sharq al-Awsat
on July 25, 2005, that the founders of most modern terrorist groups in the Middle East emerged from "the mantle" of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Many columnists in the Middle East have warned in recent years about the Brotherhood's hostile intentions. Tariq Hasan, a columnist for the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram
, alerted his readers on June 23, 2007, that the Muslim Brotherhood was preparing a violent takeover in Egypt, using its "masked militias" in order to replicate the Hamas
seizure of power in the Gaza
Strip. And columnist Hussein Shobokshi, writing in the Saudi-owned Al-Sharq al-Awsat
on October 23, 2007, said that "to this day" the Muslim Brotherhood "has brought nothing but fanaticism, divisions, and extremism, and in some cases bloodshed and killings." Thus, both Arab regimes and leading opinion-makers in Arab states still have serious reservations about the claim of a new moderation in the Muslim Brotherhood.7
Ironically, in the last five years, prominent voices in the West have considered opening a political dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood. For example, Dr. Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke published an article in the March-April 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs
called "The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood" in which they advised the Bush administration to enter into a strategic alliance with the organization, which they referred to as "moderate," calling it a "notable opportunity" to use the Brotherhood to promote American interests. James Traub echoed many of their arguments in the New York Times Magazine
on April 29, 2007, in which he claimed that "the Muslim Brotherhood, for all its rhetorical support of Hamas, could well be precisely the kind of moderate Islamic body that the administration says it seeks." In addition, a committee in the British House of Commons also advocated the UK opening a dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood, as well.
At the same time, some U.S. officials and dignitaries seemed to have softened their approach to the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed President Mubarak to open up participation in the Egyptian parliamentary elections, resulting in a major increase of elected Muslim Brotherhood members from 15 to 88. Subsequently, Mubarak became more reluctant to take U.S. advice.
Visiting U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer met twice in 2007 with the head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's parliamentary bloc, Mohammed Saad el-Katatni, according to Brotherhood spokesman Hamdi Hassan.
The critical question is whether the Obama administration's policy toward Egypt will be based on a perception that the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood would be extremely dangerous. Or have they taken the position - voiced in parts of the U.S. foreign policy establishment - that the Muslim Brotherhood has become moderate and can be talked to? The initial reactions of the Obama administration indicate that it does not rule out Muslim Brotherhood participation in a future Egyptian coalition government.8
Unfortunately, there is a dangerous misconception about the Muslim Brotherhood in parts of the foreign policy community in the West that could affect calculations in Washington and London in the weeks ahead.http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=442&PID=0&IID=5953
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CBS News reporter Lara Logan beaten, sexually assaulted during Cairo celebration
By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 15, 2011; 8:37 PM
CBS News said in a statement Logan was covering the celebrations for CBS's "60 Minutes" program on February 11 when she and her team were surrounded by "a mob of more than 200 people whipped into a frenzy."
"In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers," CBS said.
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Egyptian anti-government demonstrators face army tanks on Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Feb 5.
Egypt ruling party leaders resign
Blast rocks gas terminal in Sinai
An explosion rocked a gas terminal in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, setting off a massive fire that was contained by shutting off the flow of gas to neighboring Jordan and Israel, officials and witnesses said.
Egypt’s natural gas company said the fire was caused by a gas leak. However, a local security official said an explosive device was detonated inside the terminal, and the regional governor, Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, said he suspected sabotage.
The blast and fire at the gas terminal in the Sinai town of El-Arish did not cause casualties. The explosion sent a pillar of flames leaping into the sky, but was a safe distance from the nearest homes, said Mabrouk.
The blast came as a popular uprising engulfed Egypt, where anti-government protesters have been demanding the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak for the past two weeks. The Sinai Peninsula, home to Bedouin tribesmen, has been the scene of clashes between residents and security forces. It borders both Israel and the Gaza Strip, ruled by the Islamic militant Hamas.
The terminal is part of a pipeline system that transports gas from Egypt’s Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea to Israel, Syria and Jordan.
The head of Egypt’s natural gas company, Magdy Toufik, said in a statement that the fire broke out in the terminal “as a result of a small amount of gas leaking.”
However, a senior security official said an explosive device was detonated in the terminal. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue with reporters.
A Coptic church in the Egyptian town of Rafah bordering the Gaza Strip was in flames on Saturday, with witnesses reporting a blast although a local official denied an explosion was the cause.
Witnesses said they saw flames coming out of the Mar Girgis church in Rafah after hearing an explosion. Armed men on motorbikes were spotted near the church, one of them said.
North Sinai’s governor Abdel Wahab Mabruk, however, denied on state television there had been any explosion in Mar Girgis.
The church had been left without police guards at the time of the fire, witnesses said, after security forces disappeared en masse amid nationwide rallies calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.
Security is usually in place around Christian places of worship after several attacks against Copts and had been boosted after a bombing in Alexandria at the turn of the year.
Arab states rocked by the mouse that roared
Sydney Morning Herald - Jan 21, 2011
... in communist regimes or ossified dictatorships like Syria and Tunisia". ....the oppressed locals... Iraq and Afghanistan have proved that invasion is a costly and difficult way to effect change. As they stand today, the MENA countries reveal that cozying up to despots and writing billion-dollar cheques for those that don't have the people's oil to steal, creates more problems than it solves for the reformist-minded. Inevitably, change must come from within but the oppressed should not be made to fight with one hand tied behind their backs, with Washington and other foreign capitals turning their backs because of their own vested interest.
The Egyptian-born writer Mona Eltahawy is eloquent on this: "Not once in my 43 years have I thought that I'd see an Arab leader toppled by his people. It is nothing short of poetic justice that it was neither Islamists nor invasion-in-the-name-of-democracy that sent the waters rushing on to Ben Ali's ship but, rather, the youth of his country."
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