Thursday, February 3, 2011

Andrew Bostom on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood

Friend and Author, Andrew Bostom wrote a piece that I felt compelled to share with everyone. His knowledge of Islam, it's history and it's doctrines give him a level of credibility lacking in all of our media outlets, talking heads and bureaucrats.

Do not be fooled into thinking the events in Egypt are somehow not contributory to what may lay ahead for the region. The players at work in Egypt are also busy in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Jordan and others as you read this. Andrew's insight into this is a must if you are going to parse truth from myth as the demonstrations across the region progress.

I want to make sure everyone also understands that at the core of the COIN/ROE discussion is our government's failure to understand the fundamentals of Islam and by extension, the enemy.

Egypt: “Lost,” or Found?

Posted By Andrew Bostom On February 2, 2011

Across the political spectrum, the punditry has been sharing its profound analytical wisdom on the Egyptian protests, and resultant political turmoil. Two dominant themes have emerged from these analyses: delusive celebratory predictions about the “democratic [2]” uprising in Egypt from both mainstream (i.e., Left) and conservative [3] pundits, or a historical drivel already assigning blame to the Obama administration for the “loss [4]” of Egypt.

Amidst this cacophony of uninformed nonsense, motivated by the twin perversions of cultural relativism, and partisan hackery, I read these sobering observations [5] written by an Egyptian student, Sam Tadros:

The opposition you wonder? Outside of the Muslim Brotherhood we are discussing groups that can each claim less than 5,000 actual members. With no organization, no ideas, and no leaders they are entirely irrelevant to the discussion.

The perspicacious Mr. Tadros’ concern raises larger questions—almost entirely ignored—about the Muslim Brotherhood’s unequivocal ideology, and societal goals, but more importantly, why its message resonates with the Egyptian Muslim masses.

The 1928 charter of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) states, “Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its Constitution; Jihad [6] is its path, and death for the sake of Allah (i.e., murderous jihad “martyrdom [7]) is the loftiest of its wishes.” Hamas [8], popularly elected by Egypt’s Palestinian Muslim neighbors, is a self-avowed branch of the MB as proclaimed in its charter (article 2), “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times.” Both the Egyptian MB, and its Hamas affiliate seek, progressively, local, regional, and ultimately global imposition of Islam’s totalitarian religio-political code—the Sharia [9]—through non-violent and violent jihadism.

Mirroring the attitudes of its Palestinian constituents, elective democracy has already brought Hamas to power. Are there consistent trends discernible in Egypt? In a rigorously conducted face-to-face University of Maryland/ [10] interview survey [11] of 1000 Egyptian Muslims conducted between December 9, 2006 and February 15, 2007, 67% of those interviewed-more than 2/3, hardly a “fringe minority”-desired this outcome (i.e., “To unify all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state or Caliphate”). The internal validity of these data about the present longing for a Caliphate is strongly suggested by a concordant result: 74% of this Muslim sample approved the proposition “To require a strict [emphasis added] application of Sharia law in every Islamic country.” Subsequent confirmatory survey data just released in December 2010 [12] by Pew indicated that three-fourths of Egyptians favored these draconian Sharia-based punishments: lethal stoning for adultery, execution for “apostasy” from Islam, and limb amputations for theft. Moreover, Historian David Littman [13] reported to the UN Human Rights Commission on April 23, 2010, “The FGM (female genital mutilation) figure for Egypt… remains today a deadly 97%” This barbaric practice is sanctioned by the Shafiite school of Sunni Islamic Law that predominates in Egypt. The predictable medical complications of this barbarity—acute (“severe pain, shock, infection, bleeding, acute urinary infection, tetanus, and death”) and chronic (“chronic pain, difficulties with micturition and menstruation, pelvic infection leading to infertility, and prolonged and obstructed labor during childbirth”)—are described in this 1993 British Medical Journal [14] report. Indeed, it has been the semi-secular, authoritarian military regime of Mubarak that made FGM illegal in a vain attempt to protect Egyptian Muslim women against the obvious wishes of its citizenry. Finally, reflecting longstanding attitudes of Egypt’s Muslims engendered by the canons of mainstream Islam, the late Sunni Muslim Pope, Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi [15], Grand Imam of Cairo’s Al Azhar University from 1996 till his death last March 2010, wrote a 700 pp. treatise rationalizing traditional Islamic Jew hatred, past and present. Tantawi also sanctioned homicide bombings against Israeli non-combatants, and supported “martyrdom” attacks on US troops in Iraq–although under pressure he eventually equivocated on this latter justification,

This is the overall context which explains the MB’s popularity in Egypt. But as Der Spiegel [16] just reported, the MB is not only popular, it is savvy and fully capable of cultivating a “moderate” image for consumption and witless regurgitation by Western media sycophants. Noting how the MB’s current rhetoric is being, “carefully calibrated to convey normality,” even its emblematic martial—i.e., jihadist—symbols are being concealed during media encounters:

A Koran, two crossed swords and a message: “Prepare yourselves.” The crest of the Islamist Egyptian group Muslim Brotherhood is nothing if not martial. Perhaps even a bit too martial for the international press. On the first floor of a shabby apartment building on El-Malek El-Saleh street in downtown Cairo, the group – which for years has been Egypt’s largest opposition movement – is receiving a gaggle of scribes from abroad. And the official symbol is nowhere to be seen. Even verses from the Koran or photographs of the holy Kaaba in Mecca, of the kind that hang in living rooms across Egypt, are absent. Instead, visitors are confronted with desks piled high with fliers, packed bookcases and cabinets full of file folders. The message is clear: The Muslim Brotherhood is but a normal political party, right down to the business cards, water fountain and chalk board.

At the moment [17], pro-Mubarak demonstrators have appeared en masse in the Cairo streets, and they are engaged in violent clashes with anti-government protesters. Perhaps the military regime will prevail in the near term—clearly a preferable outcome. But if ever the Islamic attitudes and desires of Egypt’s masses are given full “democratic” expression, the ultimate ruling elite is likely to be the MB. And the MB represents the apotheosis of millennial-old Egyptian Muslim attitudes towards all non-Muslims as recorded in 1836 by Edward W. Lane [18], the great Arabic lexicographer, who resided amongst the Egyptians for a decade:

Of the leading features of their character, none is more remarkable than their religious pride. They regard persons of every other faith as the children of perdition; and such the Muslim is early taught to despise. It is written in the Kuran (5:51 [19]): “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.”

Monday, January 31, 2011

Egypt; Does it Affect our Afghanistan policy? It Should!

Nobody seems to be asking this question. The talking heads can't make the connection because for the talking heads, there is no commonality. Hasn't that been the argument all of this time? We have been trying to get someone - anyone in government or anywhere in the media to consider, even for a minute, the possibility that there might be other factors to consider and yet they remain immutable.

There was almost no publicly displayed concern when Tunisia crumbled and very little talk about the 'growing pains' in Lebanon. Egypt has been different though. Egypt has been seen as an ally in a region of the world where the difference between your friends and your enemies can be defined by the bruise on your forehead - assuming you still have a head to bruise.

Mubarak's government media made it clear the Muslim Brotherhood was behind this latest round of protests and within days, the Muslim Brotherhood made it clear that they were. During this same period, Iranian officials made it clear that they supported the protestors and their quest for 'democracy'. The Egyptian government outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood in 1954 just 26 years after they formed in that country largely due to their political opposition. Their efforts in Egypt since then can be defined as an underground movement and when these latest protests began in earnest last week, their effectiveness became readily apparent.

The fact that Iran has come forward and made clear their support of the protestors who are being 'lead' or 'encouraged' by the Muslim Brotherhood should suggest they are in league with each other - at least ideologically. If our government has shown a complete lack of credible understanding of Islam they have never-the-less been more or less all in agreement that Iran is rogue in a part of the world they (the US government), see as otherwise peaceful. If Iran is rogue and their Clerics have in fact hi-jacked an otherwise peaceful religion, shouldn't we be concerned that they are apparently in league with the Muslim Brotherhood's efforts in Egypt? Is there any serious indication that elections in Iran have been conducted without coercion? If not; then what exactly is the definition of a democracy in Iran?

Let's also recall that the Muslim Brotherhood is the principle advisory 'committee' for this sitting government and the Pentagon. Getting nervous yet? This sitting government's military decisions in that region of the world are based largely on advice from Muslim Brotherhood officials.

If, then, the Muslim Brotherhood is behind a protest that is lauded by the Iranians who all agree are violent and 'extremist' in their ideological views, what confidence can anyone have for the future of Egypt? The protestors in Egypt may well achieve democracy but it will be short lived. In their first democratically cast ballot, they will likely vote themselves into another form of slavery taught by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian Clerics. The sad truth is all of the countries with predominantly Muslim populations in that area with autocratic regimes are likely to follow suit.

Our Representatives in DC are likely to get several lessons in Islamic Theocratic processes in short order. The question is what they will learn from these lessons and whether it will cause them to reconsider their rosy view of Islamic doctrine and Islamic society in Afghanistan specifically. Let's not forget that the COIN strategy governing our military prowess in that country has a lot more to do with US human terrain assessments than it has to do with sound battle strategy.

As Iran is about the business of developing a nuclear program capable of delivering a warhead, they are also busy seeding the region with their version of Shia Islam and replicating themselves. If the toehold they now have in Iraq is a devastating indictment of our complete misunderstanding of the draw of fundamental Islam on Muslims, misunderstanding the Iranian and Muslim Brotherhood's intent for the crumbling governments of it's neighbors will be confirmation of that ignorance.

In the end; governments come and governments go. In a Democracy or a Constitutional Republic such as ours, casting blame on the incompetency of government is tricky. In this land of government, 'by the people, for the people', the people have only themselves to blame for the shortsightedness of their elected representatives.

If, then, the people are in fact dissatisfied with the way our Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Coastguardsmen are being led on the plains of Afghanistan, they are going to have to rise from their soft cushioned thrones in front of the television set, pick up the phone and do something about it.

Our Warriors are.

They are doing the very thing they swore to do; obeying the lawful orders of the Officers placed above them - who are carrying out the mission statement of the White House and blessed by those same representatives…By - Their - Silence!

Semper Fidelis;

John Bernard